Tag Archives: Toronto Raptors

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

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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.

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Raptor Report: Heels on the Airwaves

radioI haven’t had a chance to put out my thoughts on the Jarrett Jack signing but plan to get to that sometime today. I did though, get a chance to be a guest on the Fan590 last night to talk about the Raptors.

Firstly, I would like to thank Zack Cooper (@ZCooperstown) for having me as a guest on his show. He was a great host and led me into the questions with ease. We got a chance to cover everything from Summer League to Jarrett Jack and his impact on Bosh staying past next season.

The segment aired while most of Toronto was asleep so for those who missed it you can listen to it right here. Please excuse my rookie mistakes – This is my first time doing anything of the sort. Gotta admit, I was nervous going into it but had a blast and hope to get an opportunity to do more of these in the future.

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Raptor Report – School’s out for the Summer

The Toronto Raptors were 1 of 22 teams who took part in Vegas Summer League this year and ended the week with a record of 3-2. The win-loss record holds little importance here with the focus put on learning a teams system. The Raptors had 4 players on the SL roster who are under contract for the 2009-2010 season and the games gave the coaches a chance to see how they have been developing and pinpoint what they need to work on for the rest of the summer. The rest of the roster was made up of hopefuls trying to snag a roster spot on this team or any other that was scouting at the tournament.

DDDeMar DeRozan – I said it all week long – this kid is “As Advertised” and possibly more.
From Kevin Arnovitz on True Hoop

DeMar DeRozan is far more polished than advertised. He uses his quickness to build his game. As Mike Moreau said in David Thorpe’s twitter thread, “Demar DeRozan really comes off the curl with speed, balance and elevation-very controlled. Will come off a decade’s worth of pindowns.” He also rarely takes a bad shot — uncommon among rookies and in Summer League, and particularly uncommon among rookies in Summer League.

Breaking down his game, its evident that 3 point shooting is not part of his repertoire as of yet and I am happy about that. He showed a very solid mid-range game with the ability to get a shot of quickly before the defense was set. Dunkin’ DeRozan didn’t forget to show off his hops during summer league but struggled when he was sent to the free throw line. He was able to make room for himself and get to the basket consistently but with maturity will come the ability to make quicker decisions on passing out from the post. I was pleasantly surprised with his ball handling but if he wants to be a starter in the league at the 2 guard spot that is another part of his game he can work on which will help him create better. Tim Floyd instilled defense into the minds of his players and DeMar has good foundation but it would be to his advantage to focus on this facet of his game for the rest of the summer. The Raptors have a glaring weakness and he needs to step up to the challenge. The team has been horrid at protecting the 3 point line and have a penchant for constantly being slow on their rotations. If this kid can work on his man D and team D, coach Jay Triano will find it hard to keep him off the floor.

After only a year in college, Raptor fans got a little glimpse of what this guy is going to be doing on the next level. DeRozan showed why he was picked 9th and by years end I believe he will prove to be the steal of the draft.

unibrowQuincy Douby – Quincy Douby has been putting in the work and it showed. Knowing he is comfortable with his jump shot, the coaches asked him to be more aggressive and drive to the basket. He did as they wished, resulting in frequent visits to the free throw line. Showing his determination to improve he received high praise from the staff after leading the team in scoring and assists over the 5 games.
In a recent interview with the SacBee, Douby gave a ton of praise to the Raptor coaching staff.

“I learned more during one 10-day contract from coach Triano than I did during my three years with the Kings,” said Douby
“I went through three coaches in three years there. With Toronto coach (Jay) Triano is showing faith in me, letting me play my game. I’m out here showing that I’m a player, and I’m going to continue to work and help the team in any way I can.”

What impressed me more than the 18ppg was the 3.8apg. Summer league is after all a showcase and most players want to get theirs, yet Douby was able to do that and make the others around him look good. With Jarrett Jack Toronto bound, Douby will most likely be filling a spot at the end of the bench as the 4th or 5th guard. Watching his performance over the past week gave me a bit of confidence. Incase of injury to any of the other guards, he will be able to step in and provide some instant offense and take on PG duties in a pinch. Defensively this guy isn’t gonna be stopping Chris Paul from getting to the basket but he will do a better job than Roko Ukic. I envision Douby to try and become an Eddie House type of guy and he needs to just keep working at it which should in turn get him 10 minutes of floor time every other game or so next season. If he manages to discover waxing and fixes those eyebrows I’ll tack on an extra 5 minutes of playing time per game… just saying.

rokoRoko Ukic – Thank BC for Jarrett Jack, because if Roko was the guy coming in for relief PG duty, I don’t think any of the other off-season moves would have been worth it. The kid has potential but it is still raw. He could develop into an exciting player but he seems to be developing at a snails pace.

Besides DeRozan, Roko is the guy I focused on during summer league and came away unimpressed to say the least. He needed to work on his jumper and 4 games into the tournament I still cringed every time he took one. The ball handling is there but he seems overly excited to be running an NBA team offense leading to an inexcusable amount of turnovers. He needs to slow it down, stop leaving his feet to make passes and make smarter decisions when he decides to drive the basket. Another thing… Whats with these Euro players dribbling with their head down? It drives me crazy when Bargnani does it and even more so when the guy leading the offense is doing it.

Considering going into the offseason, Ukic was the primary backup point guard, after just 4 games he was completely outplayed by Quincy Douby at that position. He has a long road ahead of him to develop into the guy people projected him to be. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is waived at some point before or during the season and is back playing ball in Europe next year.

pobPatrick O’Bryant – The knocks on this kid have been about commitment to put in the work and take direction. Personally, I rather his derriere be warming the Raptor bench next season over Will Soloman.

I’m going to keep telling myself that big guys take longer to develop and with the Raptors being desperate for size in the front court a 7 foot warm body can’t hurt. POB has a nice jumper but so do most of the bigs on this team. He needs to use his frame, get stronger on the boards and impose his will to become a reliant shot blocker. My advice would be to watch some Samuel Dalambert tapes and try to become that type of player.

Worst case scenario … Patrick O’Bryant = 6 fouls to give off the bench.

Rest of the Class (Notables)

Smush Parker: A guy who has been a round the block and then some, didn’t do much to impress me as he jacked up shot after shot. He has no chance of taking a spot on the Raptor roster that is already handcuffed with the untradeable contract of similar player Marcus Banks.

Brent Petway: Petway is an entertainer. Unfortunately, all the athleticism in the world can’t help him until he manages to do more on the floor beside provide a few highlights. He may want to look into Jamario Moons approach of making it and if he keeps at it I wouldn’t be surprised to find him on a NBA roster a few years down the road.

Ekene Ibekwe: This guy was my surprise on the Raptors roster. He had good instincts, moved the ball, active on the boards and shot a good percentage. All the skills are there in raw form and with more playing time in other leagues, he may have a chance to play on the big stage soon.

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Raptor Rant – Never Underestimate an Athletes Will to Win (Race to 50K)

cb4 V/S cv31

These are the dog days of summer when it comes to the NBA. You are trying to get excited about next season and summer league ball just isn’t cutting it.

Enter twitter…

I joined twitter about a year ago (@Nat77) and used it primarily to connect with other sports bloggers and fans. It was different from facebook because it lends itself to discussions. Slowly it began replacing my RSS reader and before I knew it I was addicted. Twitter has become a primary platform for athletes to connect with their fans and several athletes on twitter have echoed my sentiment, admitting the addiction.

Sometime last week, Charlie V(@cv31) challenged Chris Bosh(@chrisbosh) to see who could amass 50 thousand followers first. It’s not uncommon to see athletes conversing over twitter and this was a chance for fans to take part. The wager was that the loser would have to star in the winners video on Youtube. CV wanted Bosh to do the Shane Mercado and Bosh left it up to his “twitter army” to decide CV’s fate if he came out on the losing end of this. Bosh started off the challenge behind Charlie by about 2k followers but with the help of some major twitter spam, live chats and a entire country backing him – he managed to take the lead. The two started pulling out all the stops. Bosh pulled out the free stuff card and CV raised using the charity card.

This was all meant to be in good fun but at some point along the way it started to annoy the diehards. These guys were straight up begging – Charlie V even offered up $3100 worth of diamonds if he won! At any given time my entire twitter feed was taken over by the two, lost in the mix were tweets from people that were actually offering up intelligent material to ponder over. It came to a point I just wanted one of them to win quickly so my twitter could return back to normal. I found it amusing at times to see these athletes showing how bad they wanted to win even though this duel wasn’t going to be settled on a basketball court. No one likes to lose, especially two guys who play a sport for a living – winning is everything.

Late Tuesday night,  Bosh was down about 500 followers with under 1000 to go. It was the 4th quarter, it was go time and for a change Bosh came through in the clutch. He thanked his fans, CV gave him a virtual pat on the back and the world was spinning again.

In other news…

Lets NBA! – Trading away Jawai and Humphries suddenly left the Raptors lacking depth at the 5 spot. It has been widely rumored that the team is interested in bringing back Rasho Nesterovic using their bi-annual exception ($1.9M) Rasho has openly stated that he has always loved the city and the feeling is the team would welcome him back with open arms. The reunion will happen, the only question remains is – when?

Jacked Up – We are at the halfway point regarding the waiting period to see if the Pacers are going to match the offer sheet signed by Jarrett Jack to join the Raptors next season. Multiple sources have mentioned they don’t believe that Indiana is in a position to match but as we have seen this summer (See: Marcin Gortat) it ain’t over till the clock strikes 12. For what its worth, Bosh did have Jack as a guest on one of his live chats where the two spoke about Jack coming up to Toronto soon to find a place to stay – that is if bosh doesn’t plan to set up the bunk beds in his home. The two were roommates in college and from listening in on the chat, they seem to have maintained a solid friendship. I wanted the team to draft this guy in place of Joey Graham in 2005 and getting him now with the experience under his belt would be so much sweeter.

D Squared – The heir apparent in Toronto coming through “As Advertised” at NBA summer league. In 4 games, he has averaged 16.3PPG and 4.5RB (DD stats) He has been aggressive in all the games, his jump shot has been falling and aside from the production at the FT line, DeMar DeRozan is already proving to be just what this team needs. He has not shied away from having the ball in his hands in late game situations and the coaching staff have trusted him to make the correct decisions on the floor. With just 1 game left to go, he knows what he has to work on for the rest of the summer. There has been nothing but praise about this guy from the day he got drafted – check out this interview by Holly MacKenzie from the score – and we are still a few months from seeing him take the court in Toronto, but I believe this rookie will be in ROY conversations by mid January.

Delfino – $5 million? Apparently that’s what its going to take to get the former Raptor to return to the ACC. News came out yesterday that he was offered $4million a season and he was none to thrilled by that number. Personally, $4 million is still too much for a guy who didn’t show us enough the first time around and I would be hesitant to bet the bank on him. Sure he fills in some of the leaky spots in the rotation but I would much rather have Jack split time at the 1 and 2 and sign a Matt Barnes or Linus Klieza to fill the holes at the backup 3 spot. Either way we probably wont see any movement on this issue until the Jarrett Jack deal is finalized.

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