The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Posts Tagged ‘Jermaine O’Neal’s sad story’

Preseason’s almost done and Mitchell’s still worried about our wings

Posted by Arsenalist on October 21, 2008

Good Tuesday morning to you. I love Tuesday’s, its still got some of that Monday stench but overall its a nice little fella, gets you going towards hump day. Its also a day when you can get cheap chicken making for a great opportunity for a dinner-date at the local dollar theater. Aah, gotta love Tuesdays.

Sam Mitchell’s making a lot of sense this morning as he calls for our 2’s and 3’s (Parker and Moon really) to ‘step up’ and not rely on Bosh and O’Neal to do the work. Nothing could be truer and Mitchell’s fearing that the ‘concentrated’ talent everybody’s talking about is stuck in threes player with the rest of them being pylons. If you think about it we’re somewhat following the Celtics model from last year – JO = KG, Bosh = Pierce and Calderon = Allen. Now, now, I know you’re thinking that Arse has inhaled too much wet paint but I’ll concede that our talent is weaker and have different types of players than theirs but the model is the same. Get three good to great players and surround them with a cast that works. It worked for Boston last year and Colangelo’s hoping that somehow two of Hassan Adams, Will Solomon, Jamario Moon, Joey Graham, Roko Ukic and even Ralph Sampson become the James Posey and Kendrick Perkins from last year’s Celtics. It’s true, look it up.

Anthony Parker’s thinking the Raptors will approach tonight’s game “like a regular-season game”. Tune in to this one if possible, I think we’ll finally get a look at what October 31st against Philadelphia might look like. Hopefully both teams give their starters 30-35 minutes and make this a good run. I want to have something positive to remember leading up the regular season and if they lay an egg tonight this blog could get really ugly, really fast. I know its preseason but the Nuggets will provide a test that needs to be passed if the team wants to go into opening night with some sort of confidence. Hopefully Sam Mitchell doesn’t yank Bosh and O’Neal under the preseaon mantra and openly tries to win this game rather than pretend to be a conservative coach which he’s sooo not.

There’s some Moon hate talk by Dave Feshcuk who’s rightfully pointing out that Moon’s been absolutely miserable this preseason and it might be to the fact “Moon flitted away his summer doing little to improve his game, specifically his erratic jump shot.” Although Moon claims otherwise, his on-court performances have been the worst since he joined the Raptors and more importantly his jump shot seems scarcely better. I thought the Raptors should’ve kept a close eye on Moon’s summer program just like they did with Bargnani. If he’s going to be your starting small forward and log more minutes than Bargnani, it only makes sense, no? But as things stand he’s done nothing to make the defense respect him more than last year. Says Moon:

“Overall, it seems like I’m playing some of the worst basketball I’ve played in a long time. I’m glad it’s pre-season.”

Yes, you little knob. It is preseason but that doesn’t mean all your troubles will go away come October 31st. I’m telling you people, we should be very concerned about this position, much, much more than last year. At least last year he played with some enthusiasm and hustle, so far this year he looks like a guy lost in a grocery store looking for aisle 145. Dave also reports that O’Neal is still wearing Pacer underwear!! Nice job D, can you also please report the brand of his jockstrap and whether he’s a zipper or button fly kind of guy?

There’s a basketball round table at TSN where Doug Smith, Eric Koreen, Tim Chisolm (my boy!) and Jack Armstrong are debating questions like “What impact will the new players have on this team?”. Basically they’re talking about what we’ve been talking about all summer long. It just sounds a lot more credible when coming out of their mouths. Once again Chisolm’s got the best comments so I’ll post one of them here:

Offensively, he and Bosh can wreak havoc on opposing front lines if they can find a way to mesh their respective games (a work-in-progress thus far in preseason). While both can play in the high and low post, with O’Neal preferring to play with his back-to-the-basket and Bosh preferring to face-up, the two still have to develop the kind of chemistry that allows both players remain effective without compromising each other. While it is easy to say that Bosh is the main cog, the whole dynamic of the way the team plays offense down-low is going to change with J.O. and it remains to be seen how exactly that change will manifest in Bosh’s game and in his ability to remain effective. Two savvy basketball players will probably figure it out, but how long that takes could be the storyline to watch early in the season.

There’s a game against the Nuggets tonight…in Edmonton. It’s part of promoting the Raptors across Canada but let’s not kid ourselves its just a meaningless preseason game. If you really want to promote the Raptors across Canada, play a couple regular season games in Vancouver or Calgary and then you’ll truly be recognized for your efforts. I know that might not sit well with you regular season ticket holders but think of the greater good it will do. The Bills finally realized this after decades and the Raptors shouldn’t wait that long and strike while the metal is hot.

Bosh is injecting O’Neal with a love of the game and has given the poor 21 million dollar man a reason to live. It’s really quite heart-warming, O’Neal was dying in Indiana, he had no food, no desire to play basketball and by all accounts was living in a garbage can feeding off of Arby’s waste. Then came the trade and O’Neal stripped away his rags, got rid of his mullet and took an ox-cart to Toronto and started saying things like:

“Coming to Toronto was a mental rehab for me. I was checked out in Indiana. There was too much going on away from basketball. I was telling Chris after the game that I didn’t like playing basketball. The Pacers organization was thinking more about their image problem than the game. And when you mentally check out, physically you check out. We get paid a lot of money to perform at a high level and, mentally, you never want to check out. That’s inexcusable. That was an issue and I addressed it by coming here”

Poor guy, how did he even manage to survive these years. Hopefully nobody ever in this world is burdened by what he’s gone through in his life. Send donations to the Raptors Foundation to facilitate O’Neal’s rehab. Please.

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