The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Posts Tagged ‘Nathan Jawai’

Hollinger be talking; Kapono be thinking; Sampson be signing; Manatee be resting

Posted by Arsenalist on October 1, 2008

The name’s Sampson. Jamal Sampson. The initial reaction to this signing was much like the ones of Hassan Adams and Willie Solomon: Who? Once you get past the disappointment of signing somebody on the fringe of the association the normal next step is to wonder what he can do for us. At the worst it’s a move that will replace Maceo Baston, at best he might turn into a Loren Wood or Jelani McCoy. The numbers aren’t flattering and he’s bounced around (the Raptors are his 7th team) but who knows, with some playing time he might be able to show us a little something something. All the best to Sampson, I mean that, hopefully he puts up a fight in training camp and gives Humphries a run for his money.

If you really want to read between the lines you could say the Sampson signing is insurance for Nathan Jawai. The Raptors are taking every precaution with The Manatee’s heart condition. The question that comes to mind is whether we did a proper physical before we drafted him. He missed most of summer league and couldn’t get past media day, not being crude here but isn’t it too soon to be seeing specialists? This one’s got early retirement written all over it. All the best to him too, he seems like good people. I really wanted to see how he reacts when he’s put in the game to defend Dwight Howard, I’m taking he’s seen nothing like the sort before. NBA initiation, it’s the best.

Hollinger’s Raptors preview is out and he’s predicting a 47-35 record (tied with best ever) which would be good for third in the Atlantic and fifth in the East. To sum it up he’s saying that our interior defense is our biggest strength and the lack of depth in the backcourt our biggest weakness. Hollinger’s a closet Raptors fan who wants us to trade for a more experienced reserve. Well, we all do but since we refuse to pay the luxury tax and have a plethora of small and unproven contracts, we can’t make a move. So we better learn to live with what we’ve got. In summing up last season he brings up 1 good and 1 bad point. The good: We were better than our record last year and should’ve piled up more wins but the TJ Ford saga and Bargnani’s regression while playing heavy minutes cost us wins. The bad: He once again brings up his stupid, retarded and nonsensical point differential argument and uses it to argue point #1. There are many things wrong with giving any sort of weight to point-differential without considering records against +.500 teams. After all beating a good team by 1 point is much more indicative of a team than blowing out a sorry opponent by 20.

Dave Feschuk is back and his initial offering is weaker than an Arsenalist 3AM post. And that’s weak. The subject of the matter is Jason Kapono and how he was two players last season: a good one and a crappy one. Says Kapono about his inconsistent playing time and performance:

“Partly the blame’s on me, I’ve got to perform in the short time that I do get, and then extend my minutes. Hopefully now I have earned somewhat of a chance to kind of work through an oh-for-2 or oh-for-3 start (from the field).”

“Partly”. Let me finish of his thought for you: Sam Mitchell didn’t know how to use me and I was just trying to get mine in an offense that is based on freestyling. I’m a shooter and you can’t yank me after I miss my first two shots – see, I’m not Bargnani or Humphries. And so I didn’t play great defense last year, well, who did? Cut me some slack here, this time I don’t have Delfino to compete with and I’m damn sure that Adams and Solomon aren’t taking any PT away from The Kap. As long as I get some consistent playing time and have some idea of when I come in to the game I’ll put up some numbers. Running a play for me would help too, I can’t do this on my own. I tried last year and you should give me credit for that instead of talking about my 4 3’s all spring. You know?

There’s an article about Will Solomon in the Sun. It’s about how he left a couple million dollars on the table and went to Europe instead thinking there was more money there. Fast-forward six years and its no longer about the money but the pride of playing in the NBA. I don’t know, something tells me if he had gotten Delfino-money in Europe he’d manage to suffocate that pride for a few more years. Again, good luck to Solomon. He’s also good people. Plus he seems like a motivated guy who could play hard for a new contract. Always good to have those unless they start jacking up shots to pad stats (see Voshon Lenard).

Finally, Matt Devlin’s thinking that Jermaine O’Neal is looking “lean and strong” and by O’Neal’s own admission he’s never worked out this hard in the summer in quite some time. Andrea Bargnani was working on his back-to-the-basket moves at Tim Grgurich’s Big Man’s Camp and Sam Mitchell wants him to play “18-feet and in”. That sounds good on paper but Bargnani’s mid-range jumper had back-rim written all over it last season and he was far more comfortable shooting the 3, a lot like Bruce Bowen. Don’t know how that’s going to work but I’m all for moving Bargnani closer to the basket.

That’s it for this morning. Eid Mubarak!

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 19 Comments »

Bargnani unleashed, media day and some pure horse-sh*t from Colangelo

Posted by Arsenalist on September 30, 2008

Yes, training camp is almost here. The first sign of the new season is media day, that’s the day when they take those pictures you’ll see for the rest of the year next to box scores, player comparisons and such. They measure their height (in shoes) and weight and re-introduce the team to the local media. There’s tons of interviews on the Raptors home page and there’s also Hoops Addict who’s got all the scrum audio including Jermaine O’Neal. See, I’m very jealous of the Hoops Addict, the man happens to have a press pass and if I ever meet the guy I’ll be sure to strike him down, rob him and leave him for the dead. Watch out buddy.

My brother from another mother Nathan Jawai has suffered an injury setback and will miss the early part of training camp. Something came up during his “cardiac screening”. Hopefully its just a heavy heart from missing Fosters beer and nothing more. I’m really curious to see what energy-level and hustle (if any) this guy brings to the table, maybe he can be the Joey Dorsey we never had. Just for the record I’m expecting zilch from him this season. Maybe a few instances of hilarity and couple Hump moments here and there but that’s about it. I’ve also decided to give him a nickname from here on out, people want to call him “Jaws” and such viscous names but given his rather raw skills, massive physique, I’ve come up with the name The Manatee. I will explain myself no further.

Michael Grange has made a post titled “Top Issues Facing Raptors”. He’s bringing up the points that we’ve been talking about for the past three months. Welcome Michael. There is a little quote in his article that is borderline shocking and offense and its attributed to Bryan Colangelo, here it is:

“Team president Bryan Colangelo thinks this is the most talented team the Raptors have had.”

The team that lost to the Knicks and then the following year beat the Knicks were vastly superior to these Raptors: True superstar. Check. Athleticism. Check. Talent. Check. Team balance. Check. Experience. Check. There’s really no comparison, just because we have O’Neal and Bosh on the same roster doesn’t mean we’re the best Raptors unit ‘ever’. This is media hype and quite frankly a hot steaming pile of bullshit.

On to the other writer that covers the Raptors, he’s saying that the Raptors are “a team with much promise but not much depth”. To me that’s an oxymoron statement, I think you need to be deep to have promise, unless by ‘promise’ he means how Colangelo’s promising that this is the most talented Raptors team ever and how one would expect the appropriate results to follow. Anyway, I”m getting caught up in semantics, his article’s about Andrea Bargnani and how he needs to play better for us to have a chance at climbing the Eastern Conference ladder. Enter Bryan Colangelo’s defensive quote:

“Different players react differently to the league and the circumstances. You’re talking about a guy who came in with the pressure of being the No. 1 pick, then the pressure of being the starting centre on a team with high expectations, a team that made the playoffs the year before. Guys evolve. He’s still just 22 – 23 soon – and it’s interesting to see people evolve. I do think that he’s feeling more comfortable in the locker room, on the floor with these guys. I think you’re going to see a different player and a different person this year.”

I hope he’s right but I don’t buy the “pressure of being the No. 1 pick” argument. What was that Caliper test all about? I thought Bargnani had the nerves to shoot a child in the face at point-blank range and not flinch as the blood trickles down his sleeve. He didn’t seem to show that pressure his rookie season so what happened? Here’s what happened: the scouts caught up with him and he/we failed to react. Him and the Raptors expected things in year two to go as swimmingly as they did in his rookie year without much further effort – a very wrong assumption. My take on Bargnani.

Apparently Bargnani didn’t back down once from Jermaine O’Neal over the summer while the latter was going “as hard as he could” at him. This is good news and might be a sign of his new found mental and physical toughness. According to the Sun, he’s gone through a “metamorphosis” and has turned into a female polar bear. Actually he’s gained 12-15 pounds, is stronger, more agile, got rid of his adenoids and fixed his deviated septum (God, I hate those). I’ll reserve judgment until I see him play but gaining physical strength is only the start of the rehab process of Bargnani. His technical issues last year were about as concerning as his physical “can’t box out” issues. We’ll see soon. Soon.

The Bleacher Report (I know, I know) ranked the 10 worst trades of the decade and surprisingly the Vince Carter fleecing isn’t on there. They do know that Aaron Williams sucked balls and Eric Williams never scored a meaningful hoop for us? On a parting note I’d like to remind you that Josh Howard loves America.

I go now. You there. You there on computer. Take this feed and eat it.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , | 24 Comments »

Proof that Andrea Bargnani is working hard this summer

Posted by Arsenalist on August 1, 2008

Andrea Bargnani working on his game

Andrea Bargnani working on his game

I’ve been known to read peoples facial expressions and judging from the picture above the Paul Bunyan look-alike muscled an offensive rebound away from Bargnani and then put it in for a 3-point play. Seriously though, aside from working with John Lucas and attending Tim Grgurich’s big man camp I have no clue what Bargnani’s been upto. Pete Newell’s big man camp starts off next week and there was some talk earlier in the year of Bargnani attending it.

In a HoopsWorld article from a couple days ago it was suggested that he could move out of the four spot and onto the perimeter which somehow is supposed to be a good thing. In a perfect world he would be able to defend the small forward position and score using his size on offense but realistically speaking he’s still a lot closer to a PF than a SF. Jay Triano alluded to two of Bosh, O’Neal and Bargnani being on the floor at all times which would mean there will be minutes for Bargnani at the PF as one of Bosh or O’Neal moves over to play center. Lest we forget Bargnani’s “natural position” is the power forward and so far in his Raptors career he’s been asked to play center.

I don’t think the difference between defending the C and the PF is much different in the NBA, both require him to box-out, rebound and use his quickness as an advantage. Last year a lot of fans felt that he was playing out of position and if we moved him over to PF it would fix a lot of his problems, I don’t buy that argument. At the end of the day he’s got to play big-man basketball and both positions offer the same defensive challenges and offensive opportunities, in fact you could make a case that he should be able to take advantage of centers more easily considering how they’re usually slower. Regardless of which position he plays Sam Mitchell has to try to use him as a plus point rather than a liability.

Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon were playing pick-up at some guy’s house and gave their thoughts on the Jermaine O’Neal trade. Both are counting on a “renewed” O’Neal to lead the Raptors this year. Parker gave his thoughts on ex-teammate Will Solomon joining the squad and says its another shot at the NBA for him after being very successful in Europe. Sure, whatever to not give the impression that we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel here. Jamario Moon will be heading down to Vegas again to work out with Joey G and O’Neal later in the month.

Resident fruitcake Mike Ulmer got to interview Nathan Jawai and once again failed miserably. My favorite gem from this interview has to be the question, Are Australians just like Canadians? No Mike, Australians marry kangaroos, eat their offspring and run around naked in shopping malls trying to set off fire alarms. WTF?!? You get a chance to interview a player, ask him basketball related stuff like his impressions of Mitchell, what he thinks of his teammates and other interesting stuff. Who cares if he thinks Torontonians are nice?

Jack Armstrong will replace Chuck Swirsky on the Fan 590. He’s paired up with some hockey coach just to even the balance for the puckheads. I might actually listen to a Fan 590 show after years of boycotting it because of their idiocy when it comes to covering basketball. Eric Smith is a fair enough analyst but after that the drop down is so significant that its not worth it.

The folks over at Rush the Court have compiled a list of schools which have produced the most NBA draft picks (Google Spreadsheet) and not surprisingly UCLA and North Carolina are #1 and #2. You might be surprised at #3, its not Duke. My Kansas Jayhawks are #8.

Could they have found an uglier picture of Bosh? On a non-basketball related note, this has to be one of the craziest stories I’ve read this year.

That’s about it for now. Thanks for swinging by in the summer time. A special thanks to the ArseBlog for linking it up.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 19 Comments »

Bryan Colangelo should be more like David Morway

Posted by Arsenalist on July 14, 2008

Dead Season is in full swing. Our beloved Raptors are in Vegas where they’ll play the Nuggets tonight at 6PM. Nathan Jawai is expected to get some play in tonight’s game; he’s still recuperating from an injury he suffered while reaching for some popcorn that fell through a movie theater chair earlier in the year. He did manage to retrieve the popcorn but injured his groin in the process. Says Nathan:

In hindsight it was probably a bad idea to twist my body and stick my arm between folding chairs for two bits of popcorn and I probably should’ve let it go, especially since I weigh 395 pounds. I’ll continue to work hard at not spilling popcorn and I’m confident that I’ll overcome this affliction.

In reality the giant injured himself in pre-draft workouts.

A non-Raptor to keep your eye on during the game is Denver’s second round pick Sonny Weems who likens himself to a future DPOY. There’s something about the hunger of an out-of-contract rookie desperately trying to get into the NBA that’s very intriguing and Joey Graham’s about to find that out. Graham’s great game against Sacramento was a nice enough event but to think that its increasing his trade value to anything meaningful would be foolish. You can put up big numbers in the summer and it won’t mean a thing if you didn’t come to training camp without an area of your game being improved. If Joey wants to seriously contend for Moon’s spot he needs to sure up his mid-range game, increase his lateral quickness and up his basketball IQ to the level where he doesn’t look confused when the ball’s in his hands. It’s a tall order for Graham but if he can nail 2 out of 3, you never know.

As for tonight’s game I’m expecting to see something better from John Lucas and Daniel Ewing, they were both awful against Sacramento and will be looking to rebound. If Jaycee Carroll continues to hit running floaters and knock down jumpers for the second game in a row, I’ll be switching to him as my outside pick to make the team.

Interesting blog from Indiana GM David Morway who takes us inside the war room of the Indiana Pacers and tells us how the deals with Portland and Toronto went down. They were targeting Brandon Rush from the outset and had made the Roy Hibbert agreement with the Raptors well in advance. He also says that they aggressively tried to acquire another pick in the first round but nobody was giving it up. Firstly, I wish Bryan Colangelo would write a blog like this and give us fans an idea of what was going through his mind. Secondly, if the Pacers valued first round picks to a degree that they wanted three of them, why didn’t the Raptors care to have even one?

Everybody in Charlotte’s on the trade block including Gerald Wallace. If he had been our major off-season acquisition I would’ve had a real problem with it. He’s been putting up big numbers on a very bad team and hasn’t helped that team achieve anything. In the process he’s gotten rewarded with a big but relatively reasonable contract (~9M). He’s also had issues with injury as you can see by his game tally. Having said all that, I would welcome him on this team given the talent already present in the front court. Salary-wise, this trade would be almost impossible for us unless we managed to shed someone like Kapono, Bargnani or Parker in the process, something I feel the Raptors are very reluctant to do.

I wrote an email to Matt Devlin yesterday:


Welcome to Toronto.

Day 1 Raptors fan here. Looking forward to hearing you call the games. Raptors fans are one of the most passionate fans in all of sports, for many people its very hard to believe that given the incorrect “hockey crazed” label of this town. Most of us understand the game very well and can “see through” the commentary and media coverage around the Raptors. I guarantee that you’ll be a fan
favorite (even more so than Swirsky) as long as you simply call things the way you see them.

I really look forward to hearing you and Jack together.


Eric Gordon’s done for the summer league and there’s no chance Greg Oden suits up for it either. Canada’s playing Slovenia at 6AM tomorrow.

Later. Feed.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Calderukic time + Defending Colangelo + Second round draft history

Posted by Arsenalist on July 1, 2008

Tuesday marks the first day of free agency and the Raptors have but one call to make. It’s to Jose Calderon offering him at least $40 million over 5 years. I suspect this deal to get done fairly quickly, after all Bryan Colangelo doesn’t trade Ford without having some assurance that Calderon’s demands aren’t too extravagant to not be met. We’ll end up paying Jose a lot of money and then proceed to bitch about it if/when he gets burned out by Mitchell who’ll be forced to play him 37 minutes a game because we won’t acquire a backup PG and/or if Ukic isn’t able to fill in adequately . Here’s hoping Calderon’s performances stay at least on par and his defense improves enough so that Bosh/O’Neal don’t spend their time clogging lanes left open by Jose.

There are also unconfirmed reports that Roko Ukic has signed a two year contract with the Raptors. It only makes sense. I figure we’ll see something more official in the next couple days.

Update: Calderon staying according to his website, no numbers yet:

“Early this morning, through my agents, I reached a preliminary agreement with the Toronto Raptors. I want to thank Bryan Colangelo, Maurizio Gherardini, Sam Mitchell and all of the Raptors family for the confidence that they have placed in me. I am sure that together we are going to achieve big things in the future.”

Add Kelly Dwyer to the Bryan Colangelo fanboy list. He’s very irked that two Toronto newspapers had the audacity to second-guess Colangelo’s wheelings and dealing of the past couple years and suggest that Colangelo could very well be an average NBA GM (this of course set off khandor). I wonder how long Colangelo will milk that division title which we happened to win the year the Atlantic was part of the NBDL. The article also calls for a Leave Britney BC Alone video.

Dwyer does bring a good point up, it’s up to Sam Mitchell to use Jermaine O’Neal effective and if he can’t, the Raptors should eat the rest of Mitchell’s contract and get themselves a coach that knows how to use what he’s given. The Raptors have to make sure that Jermaine O’Neal’s offensive game complements Bosh and doesn’t take anything away from it. Bosh should never be starved of shots and O’Neal’s role should be well-defined enough so that combined with Bosh they can create a threat which will open up the rest of our offense, not create two black holes. Last season’s player utilization was hard to watch with the sub patters of Kapono, Bargnani, Humphries and Rasho all open for criticism. Not to mention how Sam got away with Kapono hitting only three threes in two months. Ugh, disgusting. Colangelo will not stand for anything similar with Jermaine O’Neal since he’s on a short two year contract in which results are expected.

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you the Toronto Raptors second round draft history:

1995, #35 – Jimmy King, Michigan
1998, #47 – Tyson Wheeler, Rhode Island
1999, #46 – DeeAndre Hulett, USBL
2003, #52 – Remon Van de Hare, FC Barcelona
2004, #40 – Albert Miralles, Spain
2005, #41 – Roko Ukic, Croatia
2005, #58 – Uros Slokar, Slovenia
2006, #35 – PJ Tucker, Texas
2008, #41 – Nathan Jawai, Australia

Two things to point out, the only good piece that ever came out of this lot is Roko Ukic and we have Rob Babcock to thank for that one. As you can see, expectations should be very low for anything we pick up in the second round so there’s no disappointment in what we got. The annoyance of this pick isn’t in the pick itself but in the fact that CDR – an athletic defensive minded SF – was taken right before us. The Raptors weren’t proactive enough in trying to get something out of this draft and failed to even partially address a very obvious need – athleticism.

Ron Artest is not opting out of his contract with the Kings. Ron Ron says the Kings have “been there for me”. How very romantic. The real reason of course is that he knows no team will pay him more than the $8M he’s making now and he doesn’t want to play for a contender for less money. I mean, if the Kings were “there” for you, why not just outright say you won’t be opting out at the end of the season. These athletes really piss me off sometime. Emotions aside, when the season ended I wanted the Raptors to acquire Ron Artest in a trade and draft Brandon Rush. 0-2 there.

The Wizards resigned Antawn Jamison for 4yrs/50m which is fair market value for him. Applause for Ernie Grunfeld. Wait a minute though, he’s talking about giving Gilbert Arenas a 100 million dollar contract which will ensure that the Wizards never get past the second round for the next decade. If ever there was an opportunity to sign-and-trade somebody, this is it. If Grunfeld actually gives him the deal after he blackmailed the Wizards by threatening to leave unless Jamison got his contract, it’ll show how owners and GMs are absolute slaves to players. Arenas single-handedly lost the Cleveland series and he gets rewarded with a deal. Blah!

Now if you read this space fairly regularly you must know what I think of those imbeciles over at The Bleacher Report. This time their “analysis” of our draft has this to say:

The addition of Jermaine O’Neal is either going to be a hit or miss for the Toronto Raptors. In my opinion the Raptors got the worse end of this trade. Although they got better in size including the addition of Roy Hibbert they got nothing at the guard position.

Piss off. Seriously. Stop writing and sell that domain to a company selling bleachers.

Stuck in Vancouver till Thursday night. Watching American History X again, sick movie. Might give TauEpsilonNu’s idea a second thought.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments »

Nathan Jawai Highlights (Cop-out post)

Posted by Arsenalist on June 30, 2008

I’m in Vancouver for work. So here’s a cop-out post containing highlights of the future Raptors Hall of Famer:

Better post later (maybe?):




Warriors Pre-draft Interview:

Jazz Pre-draft Interview:

NBA Draft Aussie Prospects:

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , | 17 Comments »