photo by Nida Alibhai

“It’s embarrassing. I don’t like it. I’m not used to it and I’m not going to stand for it. We all have to get better.”

- Jerryd Bayless after the Raptors 110-93 loss to the Chicago Bulls

After the Raptors 110-93 loss to the Chicago Bulls last night, it was clear that Jerryd Bayless was frustrated. He didn’t hold back while talking to the media, letting it be known that he would not stand for the type of loss Toronto just endured. Unfortunately for Bayless –and for the disgruntled and disillusioned Raptors fans who felt it was appropriate to boo at the end of the game– there isn’t a lot he can do to change things.

Anyone looking at the Raptors roster for their game against the Bulls last night could see that the Raptors were clearly overmatched. Without their starting point guard Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani, their leading scorer and the most difficult guy for opponents to game plan for, the remaining Raptors were a team going in a lot of directions without any direction.

While Bayless provides a scoring boost and the ability to attack the rim and get to the foul line, he cannot make up for the other things this roster lacks. Sometimes, though, he tries, and the results have been mixed. When he’s feeling it, he puts points on the board or racks up the free throws (like the 31-point performance against Detroit where he went to the line 12 times). When he isn’t, the offense is stalled and he puts up an ugly 1-for-9 or 2-for-10 stat line.

With a team that needs to focus on developing its players as much as it needs to look at wins and losses, it’s a tough situation for the players, especially those not used to being on a young team that is a constant work-in-progress. Coming to Toronto, Bayless gets more opportunity than he’s ever had before. The price of that opportunity is playing for a team that’s focused on the future. My greatest hope is that Bayless remains frustrated when he feels his team is not performing up to their ability, but that he grows to recognize what their capabilities and limitations are so that the losing doesn’t beat him down too much. It would be also nice if his high standards could rub off on teammates who may have become numb to some of the sting that comes with the losing, ensuring that every game is played by a roster of guys playing up to their potential.

I love the intensity with which Bayless plays. I love that he takes matters into his own hands when things are not working or when his teammates are content to stand around the perimeter and wait for something to happen. I just worry a bit when I hear comments like the ones he made last night,  because as much as I respect his desire to not get used to losing, I hope he’s got more patience than his comments show.

If not, he might be in for a long winter.

Comments (12)

  1. Yah, refreshing attitude coming from a Raptor.
    But you know what, put up or shut up.

    Really curious about Bayless. No doubt in my mind we got the better of the trade with NO, but my jury is still out on him(guess that definately makes him a Raptor). If he can back up the bravado and become that PG that we need, eventually swapping roles with Jose who remains as a highpriced, but reliable back-up, then this becomes BC’s best deal(yet?)

  2. Bayless has been the Raptors’ best player in two of their last three games, and he was the second-best player against Charlotte, after Amir. From what I’m seeing, this might be a bigger steal than turning Turkoglu into Barbosa.

  3. What is exactly wrong with that comment of his? He said he doesn’t like losing, that the team needs to get better, yada yada yada, so typical, we hear it a lot, it’s common, and we like it, shows they care, so what exactly is out of the ordinary here? Did he call out the organization? The fans? The coaching staff? No, no, and no. This article was ZERO content, and I must say, I’m surprised. Terrible..

  4. First off, the fact that Bayless might be in for a long winter, is not something we are supposed to be concerned about. It’s his job, and he’s not one of those stand-out players who can be allowed to feel unhappy with the team (the only team that wants him, as of now!).
    Second, you pardon me Scott but I don’t understand why it’s safe to say that Bargs scoring 25/30 points is not enough when the Raps keep losing, and the same does not fit with Bayless as well. He is the prototypical man who plays mostly by and for himself (like Weems) and whose best games don’t bring wins on the standings table.
    We are not here to care about Bayless’s business, seems to me, and we must judge him on the base of the team being better or worse with him on the field. That’s it.

  5. H.J.M.: Over his last 3 games, Bayless has averaged 22 points, 6.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds and made 61 percent of his shots while playing pretty good defence. He’s not just scoring, he’s scoring efficiently and doing other things that contribute positively to the team. I don’t expect that he’ll keep this up, but it’s not accurate to say that compare Bayless to Bargnani with the way J-Bay has played recently.

  6. Players are criticized for accepting losing without complaint.
    Players are now also criticized for not accepting losing without complaint.

    Lesson learned: Anything you do is wrong.

  7. Not criticizing him at all. Saying I love his passion. Just saying, he’s never been in this position before on a young team where development counts for as much as winning does. It’s going to be tough for him as such a competitive person.

    Jo, I never implied that he called anyone out. Or that there was something wrong with his comment. Treat this piece as commentary rather than my criticism of Bayless. Did you read the end of the post? That’s what I’d like for the team to learn from Bayless. I hope for these guys to all play to their potential and reach it as fast as they can. I’d hate for him to get so frustrated with losses that he fails to see other developments. Not criticism. Respect, if anything, for his approach to the game.

    Jason, my response to Jo applies to you as well.

  8. All this fuss analyzing a cliché? If you haven’t noticed already, Bayless likes telling us what we want to hear. On the court? Well, he’s better than Jack, but I don’t think he’s the future point guard of this team.

    PS. Scotty is the Raptorblog forum gone for good?

  9. I don’t know Holly, not trying to bash here, but I read it differently. You said you “worry a bit” when hearing comments like that made by Jerryd, that, in a sense, is criticism. Then you make a complete about face and say that you hope the rest of the team takes the same approach? But you just said it worried you..

  10. Hey Ted. It would have cost me several hundred dollars a year to keep that forum going, and it was pretty dead anyway. There are a bunch of other active Raptors forums out there if you’re looking for a new one.

  11. The Score can’t foot the bill to save an interweb classic?

  12. Bayless reminds me of Jack, he likes to talk to the media, and give his opinions about the team and teamates, not always a wise move as Jack found out.
    The place to do the talking is on the court, if you want to be a PG, and lead the team, instead as a combo shoot first and lead 2nd, as Jack was.
    Bayless has a chance to be an excellent back-up, and learn from Calderon, an experienced starting PG with many years of experience in how how to lead an offense.

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