Saturday, January 29, 2011

Raptors Lose Again; Should Bryan Colangelo Be Extended?

Do you think Colangelo should be
offered an extension? Please comment below
The Toronto Raptors have lost a tenth consecutive game, and last night allowed Ersan Ilyasova, Corey Maggette, and Andrew Bogut to score on them at an outrageous pace as they lost to Milwaukee 116-110 in OT.

On Toronto's side of the ball, not a whole lot happened in they way of development. Sure, Amir Johnson had a good game (24-12) but DeMar DeRozan's shot was off as he went 5-14 and a total of 11 points. New acquisition Alexis Ajinca did well in his limited minutes (13), and Ed Davis managed nine boards in only 22 minutes.

But it's not all about counting stats. The fact is, Toronto can't defend anybody right now and haven't been able to for a few years now. The Raptors have enough offensive firepower to take down any team in the NBA, but their 105.1 PA isn't doing them any favours. As much as Andrei Bargnani deserves to start on most teams - and he certainly could be the Raptors starting PF when they're ready to contend, as much as Amir Johnson and Jose Calderon deserve prominent roles on any club, and DeMar DeRozan is a solid future piece, the truth is, these players can't be described as anything but sub-par on defense.

The Raptors have no inside defensive presence and frankly, a poor perimeter defense as well. There is no quick fix, the Raptors need to invest in players that are willing to go all-out on both ends of the court. Signing a Shane Battier-type player this offseason would be a good start, but Bryan Colangelo also needs to focus on guys that are more than just role-player pieces, perhaps a big-man that's comfortable in the key. Alexis Ajinca could fill that role eventually, as could Ed Davis potentially.

But will it be Bryan Colangelo? It is fairly well-known that his contract expires at the end of this year and Colangelo is reportedly looking for a 4-5 year contract offer.

And I think the Raptors should do what they can to extend him. Yes, he's made regrettable trades, notable the Jermaine O'Neal to Toronto trade, in which Roy Hibbert may end up being the best current piece in the whole deal. The Hedo Turkoglu signing also didn't work out, but hey, the Raptors did receive good pieces from Phoenix for Turkoglu, so we can call that a wash. Yes, he wasn't able to re-sign Chris Bosh... but would anybody have been able to pry Bosh from Miami - and is Bosh even worth a max contract anyway?

While Colangelo has yet to lead the Raptors to anything resembling a playoff run, he's done all a GM can do in his power to lead his team to a championship - it just hasn't worked out. However, this isn't to say that drastic measures mustn't be exercised. I believe that althoug it's awfully hard to measure how well NBA coaches do their job, I don't think Jay Triano should be a coach in this league. The Raptors have yet to live up to their full potential with Triano at coach, and the team does seem to lose a curious amount of close games.

As well, Colangelo must do everything in his power to either sign or trade for an impact player this offseason. The team is devoid of a face, and Bargnani & Calderon don't cut it. No team will win a title (or make the second round of the playoffs, for that matter) with either of them being even the second best player. Bryan Colangelo needs to bring in a star, even if he has to wildly overpay.

But, this will need to compound a top three 2011 draft choice. As I've said earlier, it's much better for the Raptors in the short-term that they tank, the draft is a much easier way to acquire high-end talent, as it comes at a much lower financial price than free agency.

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