Tag Archives: Bryan Colangelo

Bryan Colangelo’s iPod Playlist – Summer 2009

bc-ipodAfter a busy summer of wheeling and dealing, two time executive of the year, Bryan Colangelo can finally relax. He’s done his part, now all he can do is sit back and watch. I decided to take a little inspiration from this post Natalie over at Need4Sheed did and came up with a Bryan Colangelo “Summer of 2009” play list. As always, if you have tunes to add, do so in the comments and I will update the list with the good ones.

1. Poppin My Collar – Three 6 Mafia
2. Checkmate – Jadakiss
3. We Takin’ Over – DJ Khaled
4. Run This Town – Jay-Z ft. Kanye & Rihanna
5. Guess Who’s Back – Scarface ft. Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel
6. I’m A Hustla – Cassidy ft. Jay-Z
7. Hustlin’ – Rick Ross
8. Big Pimpin – Jay-Z
9. This Is Why I’m Hot – Mims
10. All Eyez On Me – Tupac Shakur
11. Back In The High Life Again – Steve Winwood
12. Some Guys Have All The Luck – Rod Stewart
13. Man Of The Hour – Pearl Jam
14. Victory – Biggie Smalls & Puff Daddy
15. No Body Does It Better – Carly Simon
16. Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop – Young Gunz
17. Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson
18. I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty
19. I Believe I Can Fly – R Kelly
20. If I Ruled The World – Nas

*Bonus Track* I’m Doing Me – Stephon Marbury


Incoming: He’s Baaaack – Rasho Nesterovic

RASHOAction – The Toronto Raptors have signed Rasho Nesterovic to a 1 year deal worth approx. $1.9M
Reaction – LET’S NBA!

Note to readers: The name Rasho Nesterovic will always go hand in hand with the phrase “Let’s NBA!” If you don’t know why – This should explain it all. (Kudos to Lockdown from RealGM)

The Details: The whirlwind summer continues for Raptor fans. Bryan Colangelo kept the ball rolling by locking up Rasho Nesterovic for the 2009-10 season. This marks the 7th new addition to the team over the span of 2 months. The signing comes as no surprise as it wasn’t a matter of “if”,  more a when and for how long. Colangelo made it pretty clear at the Jarrett Jack press conference that his next goal was to bring back Rasho. Lucky for him, he was working with some leverage. Rasho is one of a growing number of players who WANTS to play in the great white north. He maintains his off-season home in Toronto and mentioned in almost every interview since he was traded that he never wanted to leave. Both sides seemed keen to get this deal done and the one year contract is a bonus. Once again, the mastermind of BC comes through – He gets the veteran he wants while maintaining flexibility for next summer

The Benefits: I liked the Rasho deal with the Spurs and I like it even better this time around. This move isn’t going to make headlines outside of Toronto, but Rasho brings to the table a lot of the intangibles that went missing last season. He is the definition of a “know your role” player. A perfect compliment to backup Bargnani at C – Doesn’t demand the ball on offense, rebounds well, can hit the occasional jumper and plays defence. My only concern would be having him and Evans on the floor at the same time as the front line on the second unit (hopefully won’t happen since Jay has shown a lot more competence with his rotations than the Smitch). As a Pacer, Nesterovic averaged 6.8ppg and 3.4rpg over 70 games but it’s not his numbers that make this signing a positive one. In his previous stint with the Raptors, he was a veteran presence in the locker room who served as a mentor for Bargnani. This time shouldn’t be any different. The stat sheet may be lacking but those aforementioned intangibles along with the ability to play one-on-one defense makes one believe this is another step to get the team back on track.

Looking Ahead: I love this deal for the team but it pretty much kills any chance of the team bringing back Pops Mensah-Bonsu. With only one roster spot remaining, it will likey be used on a wing player. Unless Pops was serious about his transformation, the list of probable players is a pretty short one which includes Carlos Delfino, Joey Graham or any available player that can be had for the league minimum. Personally, I would be perfectly OK if Colangelo stopped right now and left that spot available for possible tweaking during the season.


Inked: Andrea Bargnani – More Pasta for the Paisan

With everything going on in Raptorland in the past 72 hours my head has been on a permanent spin cycle. Prior to all the Hedo hoopla, the Toronto Raptors agreed to keep Andrea Bargnani rolling in spaghetti by signing him to a five year, $50 million extension. The deal goes into effect for the 2010 season and from my understanding the final year is a player option. The contract is a safe signing where giving Bargnani a starting raise of $1.5 million over his current salary may prove to be a steal in the long run. Simultaneously, it also brings a sense of security to the front court, shoring up the Center and Small Forward position for the next 5 years. Along with point guard Jose Calderon (under contract through ’12-’13 season) and swing man rookie DeMar DeRozan, the team looks to be coming together as a strong contender in the Eastern Conference.

The Numbers
Upon hearing the news, the Internets went wild, most of the voices knocking the number for a yet to be proven guy. Sports fans tend to be hard to please when it comes to their team spending money. It’s a dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t situation. Its always a risk to give out these contracts (see: Jerome James) but if there is any man Raptor fans should trust right now its Bryan Colangelo. Looking at the NBA landscape the number is not as absurd as it sounds. Big men are a hot commodity and command a lot of money to start with, let alone a 7-footer with a definitive skill set. Fact is, Bargs was going to get paid eventually. A 7-footer who averaged nearly 20ppg on nearly 50% shooting post All-Star break. If he were to keep up that level of play next season and BC had waited to ink him, $10 million/season may not have be enough to keep his services in Toronto. I think Bargnani’s price goes up to $12 million/season if he repeats the success he had over the final 47 games of last season next year. Just looking at some of the recent contracts handed out to young bigs around the league – Andrew Bynum: 4 yrs @ $58M , Andrew Bogut: 5yrs @ $60M with $12M in incentives, Emeka Okafor: 6yrs @ $72M -Andrea’s extension is a much easier pill to swallow. It doesn’t necessarily mean he deserves the $50M or more $$ with continued growth in performance next season, but helps point out that if the Raptors weren’t willing to pay someone else would.

BC Knows Best
Even if some are okay with the numbers they are asking why now? With the economy the way it is and the cap and tax numbers expected to drop drastically, did Colangelo jump the gun? Part of this quick trigger move could be to defend the initial draft pick. Colangelo hedged his bets on Bargnani and has stood by his decision from day 1. Bargnani will always get every opportunity to succeed as long as Colangelo is the man pulling the strings. This move could also be looked as insurance for the club moving forward as Bosh, seems hesitant to sign an extension and commit long-term to the Raptors. If he does decide to bolt next summer the team will have a solid replacement in Bargnani, who probably is still best suited at the PF position. Then there is the “2010 sweepstakes” effect which may have come into play when making this decision. In 2010, a handful of teams are looking to make a splash in the FA market, Colangelo may have made this preemptive move to avoid risking losing Andrea to a team who may have come short in the 2010 lottery and choose to break the bank on a player like Bargnani. The final factor is the CB4 factor and is probably the most important at this point. Signing Andrea, Hedo and Jose long term is showing the commitment from the team and providing Bosh more reasons to want to stay. Knowing they will be fighting the odds next summer this move works best for all parties involved and there is no better time than the present when it comes to committing to winning.

Il Mago – The Future
Bargnani, the 1st overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, had an good rookie season but followed it up with a horrible sophomore slump. This past season, somewhere along the midway point (or closer to when Smitch was fired), Bargnani awoke. He averaged 19.1 points, 6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game with a .469 FG% and a .435 3PT% through the last 47 games of the season.  Those aren’t All-Star numbers, but they’re solid. He also managed to set career highs in almost every statistical category. Add in the fact that he’s 7 feet tall and only 23 years old, things are looking pretty good from my vantage point. The knock on him is the rebounding and defense but I will go on record saying his man defense is better than our current franchise player. He is still expanding his game and there is no question he has a ways to go. Adding a low post game is definitely on the to-do list this summer along with getting stronger to battle other bigs in the league. The rebounding is still a point of issue and I don’t think he will ever be a great rebounder due to the way he plays his position (outside in) but it is not out of the realm of possibility that next season we see him averaging 7+ rebounds – I can live with that.

All this said… if nothing else, we know Dolce & Gabbana is thrilled Andrea has $50Million more to keep him in custom suits for the foreseeable future.


Raptor Rant – Draft History = Epic Fail?

draft The NBA season wrapped up earlier this week and now the only thing people are talking about is the draft. It’s that time of year when the possibilities are endless and we get a major overdose of the words “upside”, “potential” and “athletic”. Workouts and interviews, teams want to know what the prospects can bring to the team on and off the court.

Every team wants to improve and most go the best player available (BPA) route, but I am convinced that the Raptors rank towards the bottom of the list when it comes to draft success. I have been following the team closely since 1997 and each year I cringe when the commissioner reads out the selection. Things started off well for the franchise with solid picks including Damon Stoudamire, Marcus Camby, Tracy McGrady and Antawn Jamison (that became Vince Carter). You can knock Isiah Thomas for a lot of things he did while GM of the Raptors, but drafting players is not one of them. Since then it has been more of a hit and miss affair. When Glen Grunwald came on board as the GM, he brought along Jim Kelly as the head scout. Fans of the team often express their rage on draft picks and all fingers point to Jim Kelly who remains employed by the Raptors to date under the title of Senior Director, Player Personnel.

1st round picks since inception (1995): 15

Isiah Thomas Era (1995 – 1997): Damon Stoudamire, Marcus Camby, Tracy McGrady
Glen Grunwald Era (1998 – 2002): Antwan Jamison (Traded-> Vince Carter*), Jonathan Bender (Traded), Aleksander Radojevic, Morris Peterson, Michael Bradley, Kareem Rush (Traded-> Chris Jefferies*) Chris Bosh
Rob Babcock Era (2003 – 2005): Rafael Araujo, Charlie Villanueva, Joey Graham
Bryan Colangelo Era (2006 – 2008): Andrea Bargnani, Roy Hibbert (Traded)

The Raptors have never picked lower than 21st in the Draft and 9 of their 1st round picks have been of the top 10 variety. All that said, the names in the list above are far from stellar and there have definitely been some questionable picks along the way. I question why the team loves to draft based on a position they need to fill rather than the BPA. I question why the team is so caught up in character they overlook the pure talent of the player. I question the method to their madness! Of their 15 picks, the Raptors have pretty much blown 5 of them…
– Jonathan Bender was traded for Antonio Davis and that worked out better for the Raptors as Bender never lived up to the hype.
– Aleksander Radojevic played all of 12 NBA games and was the first of many big man busts to don the Raptor uniform.
– Michael Bradley managed to stay in the NBA 5 years but totaled only 173 games due to perpetually being on the injured list.
– Chris Jefferies had TMac’s sleepy look with no skill to go along with it. He made it through 2 years and a total of 72 NBA games
– Rafael Araujo somehow managed to suit up for 139 NBA games but to date this pick brings out the most rage from Raptor fans.

Every single one of these picks were made when Jim Kelly has had a major role in the scouting/draft process. I know its not fair to pick him out from what is probably a team but he has been the only constant during the time in question.

2nd round picks since inception (1995): 11

Isiah Thomas Era (1995 – 1997): Jimmy King
Glen Grunwald Era (1998 – 2002): Tyson Wheeler, DeeAndre Hulett
Rob Babcock Era (2003 – 2005): Remon Van de Hare, Albert Miralles (Traded-> Pape Sow*), Roko Ukic, Uros Slokar
Bryan Colangelo Era (2006 – 2008): P.J. Tucker, Edin Bavcic (Traded), Giorgos Printezis, Nathan Jawai

Looking at these names, there is not a single player drafted in the second round who has played at least 82 games in the NBA. That in itself is pretty telling number, because even though it’s not uncommon for players drafted in the 2nd round to never make it, a 0% success rate is sad. This information on its own may not mean much, but when you look at the percentages compared to overall draft results it gives you a clearer picture.

# of 2nd round picks – not including the Raptors (1995-2008): 400
# of 2nd round picks who have played** in the NBA – not including the Raptors (1995-2008): 136

This shows that 34% of players picked since ’95 have played at least 82 games in the NBA. The second round of the draft is where teams take that stab in the dark and the players picked are raw experiments, or as of late, cap decisions.  Bleacher Report and Hoop Doctors have covered the topic of some of the best players to come out of the 2nd round.

This information may seem like a loose end but I will be back later in the week with part 2 of this series to tie it in with players who were passed on by the Raptors. Part 3 of this series will involve comparing the draft success of teams who have enjoyed a similar level of success to the Raptors over the past 15 years.

(*) Statistics of player acquired were used for this analysis
(**) Must have played at least 82 games to qualify

All data was collected from NBA & Basketball-Reference