The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Posts Tagged ‘The Manatee’

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 »