Arsenalist

The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Posts Tagged ‘Pat Riley’

Silly putty and Dwayne Wade + GFFFFG

Posted by Arsenalist on June 9, 2008

Serge Ibaka. If you haven’t heard that name before, remember this blog as the one that told you about him. On Day 1 of the Euro Camp he was the guy that people couldn’t take their eyes off of; this prompted a salivating Fran Fraschilla (European hoops guru apparently) to utter the generic hyperbolic complement that makes you go Whaaat? How come I never heard of this guy??:

“If he were in high school in the U.S., he’d be the No. 1 prospect in the country.”

Chew on that McDonalds All-Americans.

Let’s turn our attention back to fantasy trades because lets face it, they are what keep the summer chugging along and without them we’re struggling like fish out of water. Here’s the proposition: trade #17 + TJ Ford + expiring for Dwayne Wade. Let that thought sink in. Sinking…sinking….sunk. His stock isn’t high right now and we’d be taking a gamble because of his injuries but what do we have to lose? TJ Ford and a pick? We’ll get a legitimate scorer (possible #1 on the team) and become the second best backcourt in the East behind Boston. It sends Chris Bosh a clear message that the franchise is doing what it can to win now and pumps the team up for next season.

Assuming we get some rebounding help through the draft and Bargnani returns to his rookie form, we’ll be alright. Am I losing my mind? I don’t think so. Wade can deny all the trade rumours he wants but he needs a change of scenery more than anyone in the league and I don’t care what Miami does this summer, they’re too tied down to Shawn Marion’s salary and a plethora of crappy players to be competitive next year. I’m looking at this through Danny Ainge glasses here so forgive me for being too bold. Once we have him in the bag, let’s try to land Richard Jefferson by dangling some expiring contracts and maybe a future first rounder. Kiki’s team is moving to Brooklyn and you know they’ll be wanting to make a run at Deron Williams or Chris Paul to lead them there – he’ll gladly tank a year as long as it means saving some dough. Now, we have RJ, Wade and Bosh – our own “Big 3”! So there! I’m not saying Miami would bite on this but its a path worth exploring.

Hoopsworld which is making a real habit of pulling stuff out of their arses is saying TJ Ford for Corey Maggette is one of the most likely trades this summer. You know its slow when blogs are reporting trade rumours started by other blogs. Jamal Crawford would be a nice addition but something tells me his 40% FG isn’t going to sit right with Colangelo, at least not right enough to give up TJ Ford for him. On the flip side, the Knicks have little motivation to trade one of the few players who produces well and plays hard for them.

The folks at Raptor Talk (not to be confused with Raptors Talk) inform us that raptors.com has completely deleted the Chuck Checks In archives from their website. They’ve also got a nice picture of Hazel Mae who always struck me as being in the GFFFFG category. Swirsky has resumed his blogging on the Bulls site.

CDR impressed the Nets in his workout but they’re not ballsy enough to take him at #10 and he’s not going to be there at #21. Its a dilemma. If Rush isn’t there, we should pounce on him.

The Chicago and Phoenix job openings have made us recall names that were seemingly gone from memory: Jeff Hornacek, Chuck “The Rifleman” Person, Vinny del Negro, Tyrone Corbin…I almost expected Joe Wolf’s name to pop up. Jerry Reinsdorf’s taking a lot of heat for not grabbing Doug Collins but I’m with him on that. Collins is a great analyst but not a good coach – at least not for this era. His demeanor is too hard-nosed and he doesn’t relate to NBA players as he should, his dismissals from Detroit and Washington were because of the same reason: a little too intense for the modern NBA player.

And that’s your Raptors blog for this morning. I leave you with the Steven Seagal emotion chart.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Riley likes Calderon but he’s not thaaat crazy + other shit

Posted by Arsenalist on May 26, 2008

Somebody feed me a trade rumor so I can keep these daily posts going. Its only May and already the off-season is becoming unbearable with no Raptors activity or news. The club should hire a press secretary just like the White House whose job it is to come out to a podium at the ACC everyday and give a statement, even if dick all is going on. Something like, “Today we have no news but hopefully we’ll have news tomorrow”. And on the days something does happen like Colangelo glancing at a player in a random practice somewhere, we should be notified of every last detail about the player including the birthmark on his inner-right thigh along with the percentage chance of the Raptors offering him a contract. That would keep things moving along nicely.

Now if you were paying close attention to the Raptors during the season you would’ve noticed that Pat Riley is totally in love with Jose Calderon. Riley being a Calderon fan is hardly something unique in the NBA but would he trade the second pick just to get his hands on the Spaniard? Would he pass up a chance at Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose for a 26 year old point guard that has trouble guarding his own shadow and was basically the second best player on a bad NBA team? I doubt it but maybe Riley’s getting soft in the skull as he grows older.

The Knicks could have the top 3 picks in the draft and they’d still fuck things up, so I don’t know why they’re treating that 6th pick like its a chance to draft Michael Jordan. Believe it or not the best thing they could do is trade that pick to a team for expiring contracts as long as they’d take Eddy ‘This vehicle makes wide right turns’ Curry and Zack ‘I swear I have a neck’ Randolph with them.

Pop Quiz: The Raptors have picked at #17 once before, who did they pick? Tick tock tick tock tick tock…Ha! It was Michael Bradley! Another interesting totally unrelated tidbit: Jason Maxiell was picked 26th the same year we picked Joey Graham. Last year’s #17 pick? Sean Williams. The year before that? Shawne Williams. That’s scary!

Here’s a thought: if the Detroit Pistons lose this series they’ll be inclined to blow things up because it’ll be the third straight year they’d lose in the conference finals. Serious GMs don’t stand for that shit and given the emergence of Rodney Stuckey and Arron Afflalo, there might be a SG sale in Detroit and picks would do the trick. The first two to go might be Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton and the Raptors would be wise to inquire about Hamilton who at 30 still has 3-4 excellent years left in him. Hamilton would finally give us a legitimate scorer at the guard position since Vince Carter and if one of Ron Artest or Corey Maggette could be added to the roster via trade, it would make us an instant force. I know, I’m dreaming and should probably end this paragraph but not before giving a link to some Richard Hamilton/Ray Allen history.

Here’s something that’s been on my mind a lot – flopping. The reason there’s so much of it in the league isn’t because of Euros or players diving or any of that cuntiness, its because of the NBA rules and the officiating that backs it up. The officials are so quick to call a charge that they ignore when the defender got their ‘position’ and are inclined to forgive any lateral movement that the defensive player was making while the offensive player was in the air or after he had ‘gathered’ the ball. About 50% of the charges called in the NBA right now are either no-calls or defensive fouls. Its become quite aggravating seeing players credited as being good defenders just because they weaseled out of making a play and chose to twist themselves hoping to get some contact.

Joakim Noah got caught carrying a spliff after he was picked up for drinking in public. How dumb can you get? This also forever bans him from the list of “character guys” GMs such as Bryan Colangelo would ever bring on their team regardless of talent. On an entirely different note, did you know Joakim Noah’s mom was some sort of supermodel?

I don’t know if you necessarily need to be deranged to write for The Bleacher Report but you certainly have to be a daft cunt. In today’s excrement of an article, the writer proposes that it would be beneficial for the Raptors to trade T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, Maceo Baston, and Joey Graham for Allen Iverson. How pointless for all parties involved. Consider subscribing to their RSS feed for gems such as these and other unintended humor.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , | 16 Comments »

“If your team sucks, it may as well be in Miami”

Posted by Arsenalist on February 5, 2008

Toronto Raptors 114, Miami Heat 82

That’s Charles Barkley’s take on the Heat. It’s also what’s keeping Riley from jumping off the nearest bridge. In all the years of watching Riley coach, this is the first one where he seems calm and serene even when his team’s getting pounded to the tune of 40 points. Maybe it’s old age. Maybe he’s just resigned to the inevitability of watching his squad embarrass themselves on a nightly basis and willing to live with the legitimate excuse of injury. Either way, Pat Riley seems like he just doesn’t care anymore. From his point of view, signing Shaq to a ridiculous deal which has put a financial straight-jacket on club already paid off with a ring and that excuses the team to stink it up for the next three years. I’d take the deal if it was presented to me, let the Raptors win a championship this year and miss the playoffs for the next three years? I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Anyway, getting to the Raps. We could do no wrong, you can try hard and even then you won’t find a negative thing to say. The game was practically over with the Raptors up 30-8 which meant that TJ Ford could make his return pressure-free. TJ looked good out there, he was quick, showed great vision by laying a nice pass off to Kapono for a layup and then almost taking Humphries’ head of with a bullet pass that was right on the money. Any questions about his explosiveness were answered when he drove baseline and threw it down with authority. Apparently the man to thank for TJ being in-shape and in good spirits is ex-Cavalier coach John Lucas, who has been closely working with TJ for six hours a day. A side-note on John Lucas is that he’s a great communicator and relates to NBA players very well. Another side-note which allegedly got him fired from Cleveland was that the reason he was so well-liked was because he shares crack stories. Either way, I’m glad to have him working with the Raptors because whatever he’s doing with TJ is working. Forderon is back and no matter how some people spin it, that’s a great thing.

Going back to Pat Riley, he hates to even think that his team might’ve quit on him:

”I hate to even think those thoughts, I’ve been around 40 years, I’m proud of the road I’ve taken, and I don’t have any of that in me. I don’t care what anybody thinks. I’ve been good at making sure there isn’t any of that in my teams, either. We have to do some evaluation here.”

What’d you think of the first quarter Riles?

“Too quick, too efficient, too ready, too good. That was Toronto in the first quarter. An absolute clinic.”

Thanks, I agree. Duane Wade, any thoughts?

‘We [stunk] more the past couple of games than we have all season. Bad basketball. Terrible basketball. Maybe the season is getting away. I’m trying. I’ve said all I can say, doing all I can do. I’ve talked to guys. I don’t have the answers. I don’t know the formula.”

Sam Mitchell can’t believe his eyes:

“It would be hard for us to play much better”

We’ve seen the Raptors blow leads very often but after going up by 20 early there wasn’t even a remote chance that Miami could make a comeback. They just didnt’ have the personnel. We never let the intensity down on defense even when we were up by 30, call it lessons learned from past experiences. This is the closest thing to a perfect game that the Raptors have played this season. Our starters shot 69% with Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani and Anthony Parker having solid and effortless offensive performances. Chris Bosh’s facials on Alexander Johnson and Dorell Wright punctuated the dominance of the night and another smooth and unforced performance by Andrea Bargnani gave more weight to the argument that he’s out of his mid-season slide. Bargnani once again was one of the two top-scorers on the team, something we all expected to happen from the beginning of the year. Better late than never.

There’s a few obvious things that he’s doing that are helping his game and even though all the readers know this, it’s worth repeating:

  • He’s taking his time after catching the ball at the arc. There’s no immediate and rushed offensive move being made, he’s analyzing who’s playing him, how he’s being guarded and then making a decision.
  • When he catches the ball in a position of advantage, he immediately goes to work. That baseline reverse dunk was a prime example of that. Two weeks ago he would’ve caught that ball, allowed the defense to get set, and then jab-stepped a shot that was too hard.
  • He’s playing loosely. There’s not a tightness in his game, he appears more relaxed when receiving the ball after setting a screen and evaluates what the defense has put at his disposal. One might say he even looks athletic. As Jack Armstrong alluded to about fifteen times, he’s reduced his speed and his playing at a controlled pace.
  • He’s looking to setup his teammates. When a player is in a funk he generally focuses on just getting himself off. Bargnani’s court-awareness over the last few games has been exceptional, whether it be making an extra pass on the perimeter to zipping one in to the low-post, he’s looking to pass when there’s an advantage to be gained.
  • He’s hitting the mid-range jumper. More than the three, it’s the 18 footer that makes him dangerous. Threes are easy to defend because the defense can just crowd you, but once you put the doubt of the drive in the defender and hit the mid-range jumper then the defense is in a catch-22. I can’t explain how and why, but Bargnani’s starting to make that jumper, we’ll attribute it to confidence.

Feel free to add your own.

Let’s put things in perspective though, we’re not as good as we looked today and we’re not as bad as were against the Lakers. Somewhere in there is a middle ground which the Raptors need to find. We’re not going to shoot as well as we did today but we can play with the same amount of defensive intensity which will give us a chance against the better teams and more importantly, in the playoffs. Our rebounding problems were overcome by our hot shooting but it should be noted that Miami, the league’s worst rebounding team, outmanned us 37-31.

There’s no point celebrating a win over a depleted and sun-tanned Miami team too much. Let’s leave it at this: The Raptors didn’t play down to the level of their opposition, played with a high level of enthusiasm and intensity and never allowed Miami to gain any momentum. Offensively, we were brilliant, we moved the ball end-to-end, when they played zone, we broke it in half by driving the ball after quick passes and never game Miami a chance.

You’ve heard of a quarterback controversy, well now we have a PG “controversy”. Sorry to sound like a drama queen but Sam Mitchell will have a little trouble telling Jose Calderon that he’s coming off the bench again. Jose won’t mind and he’ll be a total professional but Sam will know that the “benching” is undeserved. Jose’s been awesome for us while TJ’s been out, he’s been hitting his jumper with machine-like accuracy and his jumper coming off a high-screen opens up many offensive options for us. I think there’ll be a transition period where you’ll see the Raptors struggle a little once TJ returns to the lineup, we just need to be patient during that time and allow TJ to learn the reigns once more. After all, a QB doesn’t lose his job to injury and neither does a PG.

We don’t play till Friday so there’s plenty of time to feel good about this one.

Liners:

* If I’m a Heat fan watching this game on Leage Pass, I’m thinking the Toronto announcers are a bunch of assholes by the way they were gloating about and bringing out all kinds of Italian dishes and sausages. Pretty classless I would think.

* How many time did Chuck say “It’s all good” today? 15? 20?

* Ricky Davis is so NOT a Riley-player. I was surprised when Riley acquired him and am even more shocked that he’s still in Miami.

* I’m not sure that even with Mourning, Shaq and Haslem healthy, the Heat are anymore than a 7th seed heading for a first-round exit. Wade is wasting some of the best years of his career, it’s a shame.

* Jamario Moon resisted the chance to shoot the ball which is always a good option. He’s best when he’s keyed in on defense and not even thinking about his offense. The ball he snatched away from Ricky Davis’ attempted pass was classic Moon.

* The way we beat the zone today was great to watch. Riley didn’t dare try it again.

* Parker and Bosh making fun of Delfino’s arm movement after he hits a three was hilarious.

* Ford’s return hopefully means that this is the last we see of Darrick Murray Martin.

* Anthony Parker is the Top Rap.

Till tomorrow.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 23 Comments »