March 3, 2011

Care for some tea? Triano scoffs at NBA across continents

Ok that's not completely fair.

Triano's latest talks with reporters showed a rather displeased coach biting his tongue when it came to questions regarding the team's upcoming game in London. He didn't like the idea of the Raptors and Nets having to play a regular season game after a 5 hour flight in a different time zone,  a different arena and a different culture while the other 28 teams don't have to set foot on another continent.  Although coach was understandably a little irked that this trip changes the team's regular routine, his point is generally mute.

It goes without saying, the Nets will face the same challenges and therefore the game favors no team and the 2pts awarded at the end of the game will resemble the 2pts from any other win this season.  The only disadvantage would be if both teams had to quickly fly back and play on the road, but as a courtesy, the league is giving the Raps and Nets a four day break after they return from London and both teams will play their next three games at home.  In any case, neither team is even in the playoff hunt and being relevant for a weekend might be a nice change...

But that's not the point.  Triano's comments nudged opened up the conversation on the possibility of a global NBA and how it might be received.

Commissioner David Stern has been hinting at this global NBA concept for a few years now and tomorrow's game in London is the first step in his master plan.  Its reception will likely be used as the starting point to gauge the NBA's future overseas.
Just the thought of a continent hopping NBA is so dicey and has so many angles it's difficult to know where to begin ones analysis.

For starters, it's a complete contradiction to the idea put forth by Stern that several teams may need to contract because of plummeting revenues and an arguably thinning talent pool.
Then there's the coaches nightmare or keeping players focused and game ready in a different atmosphere across several time zones.
Trades would take on a whole new meaning as going from California to New York isn't quite like being dealt to the UK, Greece, Italy, etc... A lot of strain on the families no doubt.
Finally, there's the generally uncertainty that a continent ruled by football/soccer can support an NBA franchise long term.

Stern certainly has the mindset of a business man looking to tap all markets interested in his product, but his product hasn't been known to be very accepting of other markets.  In fact, the Raptors make for a great example in this case.  The league's only team north of the boarder has famously had a very hard time recruiting free agents in the past, finding europeen players much more accepting of the Canadian environment. Recently, former face of the franchise Chris Bosh was quoted as saying "I didn't want to go there" and "you could tell you're somewhere different. You could feel it, you could look at it, you can smell it."  As a result the Raps have more international players than any other team in the NBA and yet its only a 4 hour drive to Detroit or Cleveland.

How do you think the Americans are gonna take playing in countries that use multi colored money? It's different, you can feel it, look at it, smell it....

February 25, 2011

Balance of Power shifts back to East. Raptors press snooze

They don't make trade deadlines like they used to.

Forget the numbers and just take a look at the players. Anthony, D.Williams, G. Wallace, Brooks, Dragic, Perkins, B. Davis, M. Williams, Battier, T.Murphy, Felton, W. Chandler, Gallinari, Landry, Hinrich, Bibby, Harris, etc...A barrage of household names swapping places and quite possibly the return of the Eastern Conference.

After a few years of the Western Confernce hoarding star players and leaving the East with non .500 teams making the playoffs each year, the acquisition of Melo to the Big Apple and Williams to the Nets is set to reverse the trend.  Star players bring in more star players.  Just ask Dwyane Wade.  While a lot was made of the 2010 free agent class because of the level of top caliber talent, the 2011 free agents class is deeper and filled with more quality players headlined by Chris Paul, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, who recently indicated he'd like to play with Deron Williams.

So your wondering where does this leave your Raptors? Most of you already the know the answer. I mean taking a chance on a former first round underachiever like James Johnson is a start but what about the rest? It was difficult to watch so many good young players swapped around the league knowing full well the Raptors would have no part in any of the action (although supposedly there were talks about Gallinari). Sadly, the Raps won't be involved in many deadline deals or serious free agent signings for at least a few years.  People tend to talk about this team like they are in a true rebuilding stage, but the reality is this is only the very beginning of rebuilding process. The roster is still littered with players trying to find a spot in the league, a handful of veterans, and no proven young star to build around.

That’s not to say all things are grim in Raptorsville. Bargnani and Dorozen have stepped up their offence while we continue to wait for their defensive abililties to catch up. Bayless and Davis have shown a lot of potential but will need to see more minutes to expedite their development. Once they clear up the murky situations of the rest of the team, specific needs can begin to be addressed. In the meantime, you can expect Colangelo (if he's still here) to continue playing a wait and see game, observing which players sink or swim.

So for now, sit back, relax and take pleasure in each Raptor's for your own health.
Oh, and welcome back enjoyable Eastern Conference games.

Find all the trade deadline action here:

February 23, 2011

The Phoenix Rises from the Ashes

Byran Colangelo and his staff have done quite a job dismantling and trading for other teams castaways.  The end result, a team just ahead of the lowly Cavaliers in the standings.

Say what you will, but at the very least Mr. Colangelo has made this years soap opera season rather enjoyable and this blog is my way of saying thanks.

So without further ado, RaptorsWhiteboard is born.