October 17, 2005

How bad are the Raptors?: Well, lessee ... for the first time in 17 years, an NBA team dropped an exhibition game to an international squad. Maccabi Tel Aviv of the Israeli league dumped Toronto 105-103, leading Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell to say, "If it kills me, we're going to try to get better. If I have to die trying, then that's what's going to happen. I'll die in the gym."

posted by wfrazerjr to basketball at 09:23 AM - 23 comments

I fucking hate this team of misfits and never-weres. The only things good about it are Sam Mitchell's post-game interviews and Chris Bosh's game. A game that no doubt will be leaving just as soon as humanly and contractually possible. The front office does need to be fired so much as blown up. Clippers fucking North. I was at the Utah game to open the preseason and I swear to god an 8-year old with a little purple jersey ran out onto the court and out-rebounded Arrujo.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:31 AM on October 17, 2005

The front office does need to be fired so much as blown up. Again? How many times can this franchise "start fresh"? There are times when I wish they'd be "mercy killed" by the NBA (like Vancouver). At least it would give more airtime on the sports highlight shows for the return of the NHL...

posted by grum@work at 09:41 AM on October 17, 2005

I just think of the virtual dream team who has moved in and then out of Toronto - it's sad - it's like a farm club. Help me remember them all...Carter, McGrady, Stoudemire,

posted by Bill Lumbergh at 10:08 AM on October 17, 2005

There are some very nice suites at the Air Canada Centre that would make a lovely place for Sam Mithcell to spend a quiet, restful eternity. After all, it's not like the place gets noisy during basketball season.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 10:58 AM on October 17, 2005

The NBA needs to contract. Same problem the NHL was facing, talent pool spread too thin, too many crappy bush league teams. How many times can you rebuild. Get out of the these dead markets. Toronto is a hockey/baseball town.

posted by HATER 187 at 11:23 AM on October 17, 2005

Sure it does, but for the Leafs when they are playing. And even at that, it does not get all that noisy (infested as it is with corporate deadwood),

posted by gspm at 11:24 AM on October 17, 2005

Yeah - Hater - except if you check home attendance figures. Toronto puts most NBA cities to shame. The fans are out there supporting, the team/ownership has oodles of money -it's the goddamn management that's both dead and bush. This city can support all this and an NFL franchise (not going to get one)- there are like 7 million people in the Golden Horseshoe.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:44 AM on October 17, 2005

Weedy makes a great point...if there's fan support (and the numbers definitely indicate it), the front office needs to step up and spend that money on something other than their Learjets or their third wives' collagen injections.

posted by supersly26 at 11:48 AM on October 17, 2005

I thought they had bad attendence because they seemed completly uninterested in putting a good team out on the court. If you make, spend it. Give something back to the fans that have supported you.

posted by HATER 187 at 11:55 AM on October 17, 2005

Some perspective, for starters: 1. Maccabi Tel Aviv won by 2 points on a last-second basket. If that shot rims out, who knows what happens? 2. It's a pre-season game. Some of the Raptors *coughJalenRosecough* were clearly not giving their all. Yeah, it was embarrassing but still not nearly as embarrassing as Vince Carter coming to town last season and dropping 39 points on us. Rob Babcock does have a plan in place to free up cap space for the free agent period of 2007 and then start getting better in the 2007-08 season. That means the next 2 seasons will be tough to swallow. Whether the plan works remains to be seen. Incidentally, Charlie Villanueva looks like he was probably worth the 7th pick after all, in spite of Stephen A. Smith's spiteful yelpings on draft day. Babcock had a horrible first year as GM, but he is showing signs that he might have the foresight to turn this team around eventually.

posted by Scott Carefoot at 01:24 PM on October 17, 2005

Scott - you're as generous as ever, and yes Villaneuva looks like he has an NBA game - but STILL no help at centre, STILL Bosh being beaten up for another year and STILL not enough depth at the two positions we haven't had any depth in for three years (PG, C)!!. Hey I like the look of Joey Graham. He's also 24 and likely not getting any better - so we've got someone who can spell Mo Pete, occassionally. Big whoop. I'm not asking for the finals, here - hell, I know we're not going to the playoffs either. But I need a sign! And Villaneuva playing well isn't enough. We likely could have drafted him at Graham's spot. The best move of Babcock's career has been the Mike James deal - only because it's a miracle he was able to free the team from his ridiculous contract with Alston.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:23 PM on October 17, 2005

I only get interested when a team breaks out of the gate 2-30 or so. Will anyone ever break the Sixers' landmark 9-73 record from '72-'73? I'm getting my hopes up regarding the Houston Texans, meanwhile. They don't look like they can beat anyone -- is Minnesota on their schedule?

posted by ajaffe at 03:17 PM on October 17, 2005

The other point nobody's mentioned is that Maccabi Tel Aviv is probably the best club outside North America and has won the last two (and four overall) Euroleague titles. Losing to them isn't the same as losing to, say, the William & Mary JV squad.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:26 PM on October 17, 2005

the front office needs to step up and spend that money on something other than their Learjets or their third wives' collagen injections. I wish this was the case, cause it'd make for more interesting stories, but the actual situation is worse. Much worse. Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment (which owns the Raptors) is owned by the Ontario Teacher's Pension Fund. An organization that has been criticized by Leaf fans for years. An organization accused of being more interested in profit than wins. At least if it was some eccentric owner* there might be more of a pride/ego thing driving them to have a winning team. With them, as long as they make money (and they do), it's business as usual. So, for all the woes of the Leafs and the Raptors, do something that I've been doing since grade 1 -- blame the teachers. * though, really, the Leafs' last eccentric owner didn't really help in the win department either.

posted by mkn at 03:31 PM on October 17, 2005

Hey Allen Houston retired- who knows, maybe the Raptors can drop some money on him- that wouldnt be a terrible 4- Rose, Houston, Villanueva, and Bosh- stiil not great, but it should win 30 games- no? But anyway, how about them Knicks?? lol-

posted by redsoxrgay at 04:02 PM on October 17, 2005

The Raptors won't make the playoffs. No surprise there. But they won't challenge the 76er's record for futility either. I think Bill hit this one right on the nose, Maccabi Tel Aviv is not chopped liver. Anyone in this thread who is shocked that they won, hasn't been watching the Olympics or the Euroleague over the past few years. The International game has caught up folks. Get over it.

posted by lilnemo at 05:16 PM on October 17, 2005

I found bill's comment very illuminating, but how close is "caught up"? How many NBA teams could they beat in a non-exhibition game on a regular basis?

posted by yerfatma at 06:49 PM on October 17, 2005

im not a big fan of the torontos but it amaze me that the canadians r still loyal to them its cool to have teams from another country i blame management r its the coach

posted by defrag3x at 08:23 PM on October 17, 2005

There's another Toronto?

posted by mkn at 10:48 PM on October 17, 2005

There's another Toronto? Yup.

posted by grum@work at 11:38 PM on October 17, 2005

Weedy: On what do you base your statement that "we likely could have drafted (Villanueva) at Graham's spot"? Mock drafts? Babcock picked Charlie right at the beginning of a run of big men: Frye, Diogu, Bynum, Vazquez and May. Do you really think all those guys would have still been picked instead of Charlie if he was available? As for the Raptors needing a center, that's obvious. Unfortunately, a good center is hard to find. That's why we're probably going to have to wait until the 2007 off-season when Jamaal Maglore is a free agent. The Raptors will have enough cap room to match any offer, and Jamaal will finally get to fulfil his wish to play in Toronto. I don't want anyone to have the impression that I'm thrilled with the job Babcock has done. But rebuilding is rarely easy. The Bulls sucked for 6 consecutive seasons before they became competitive. If things go according to Babcock's plan, the Raptors might "only" have to suck for 5 straight seasons. Small consolation, but I still prefer his method to Isiah Thomas' style. Isiah GMs like a crow. He collects shiny things with no discernible benefit.

posted by Scott Carefoot at 09:20 AM on October 18, 2005

Hell - I'm not even interested in a good centre - a passable one that can rebound a few will do - or at least be able to defend his position. Given all of the projections I read pre-draft, most had Villanueva at the latter end of round one. That said, I'm not sure whom I would have drafted at seven anyway, given the crapshoot last years draft was. Hey if Charlie drops 12, 10 and 2 I take it all back. Okay? But trust in Babcock and his 'plan' I do not. This guy hasn't been right yet once. Isiah - though he of the mercurial interest in players, at least saw talent correctly. And when he drafted someone surprising (Stoudamire)- it actually worked out for the benefit of the team. And it looks increasingly likely that Bosh will opt out of the franchise as soon as humanly possible - not for any other reason than this team cannot seem to improve and forces him to play punishingly out of position. So were going to have two more first rounders next draft and Babcock might still be around. If he blows that than we have no one to blame but managment for giving him the keys to Bentley (5 first rounders in 3 years) all the while knowing he's going to just drive it into a wall.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:07 PM on October 18, 2005

Weedy: I would suggest that if this year's crop of Raptors rookies are all busts, Babcock will not have a chance to screw up another draft. Too many reporters and fans (myself included) will be screaming for his head, As for Bosh leaving Toronto, this is highly unlikely, regardless of how the team does. After this season, the Raptors can offer Bosh a maximum-level contract extension. If Bosh turns that down, he risks suffering an injury in his "contract year" that could potentially cost him tens of millions of dollars. To my knowledge, no NBA player has ever rejected a max contract extension offer. There's always the possibility that Bosh could demand a trade at some point, but that's just speculating for the sake of negativity. Not every player responds to losing like Vince Carter did. Elton Brand has played on losing teams for all 6 seasons of his career and he's never made a trade demand or stopped giving 100% on the court.

posted by Scott Carefoot at 03:08 PM on October 18, 2005

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