Rudy Gay Press Conference

On Monday I attended the season ending media conferences for Dwane Casey and Bryan Colangelo, which you may have watched yourself live and can still watch for yourself in its entirety at raptors.com. While we can go through every little thing that the Raptors’ coach and General Manager said, I chose instead to highlight the parts of the pressers that stuck out to me.

You can find my thoughts on Casey’s media availability here.

Below, you’ll find some talking points from Colangelo’s presser and my thoughts on some of those points…

- First and foremost, the most relevant news of the day was Bryan Colangelo letting us know that a resolution with respect to his job status (there is only a team option for 2013-14 remaining on his contract) is expected in the next two to three weeks (he said that he and the board came to an agreement that they would out off the decision until after the season) and that more importantly, if he remains President and GM, then Dwane Casey will remain head coach.

My thoughts on the matter are well known by now. I think Casey deserves another chance, but I’d be able to live with a new General Manager deciding that he wants to hand pick his own coach. What I would not have been okay with is Colangelo staying on and firing Casey.

As for my thoughts on Colangelo, the architect of a team that has missed the playoffs for a half decade without cap space or a likely draft pick to show for it this year absolutely cannot be extended long term, which means the options are either send B.C. packing or simply pick up his option for next season and then make a long term decision on him during 2013-14, depending on what the franchise’s future looks like at that point.

- Colangelo started things off by stating that the team is farther along than a lot of media people seem to think they are and also admitted that while the win/loss record may not be up to par yet, the team is “pretty much” where he expected them to be at this point in terms of roster makeup.

- Colangelo said that after improving from a .268 winning percentage in 2010-11 and .348 in 2011-12 to .415 in 2012-13, the next step is to become an over .500 playoff team.

- Colangelo called Rudy Gay “the closest thing to an All-Star that this team has seen since Vince Carter and Chris Bosh himself.

At $17,888,932 next season and potentially $19,317,326 in 2014-15, he damn well better be, Bryan.

- Colangelo called DeMar DeRozan a “tremendous scorer” and added that he’s “just scratching the surface” at 23-years-old.

Good scorer? Sure. Improved player? Absolutely. But “tremendous scorer?” That’s going about a mile-and-a-half too far.

- Colangelo called Jonas Valanciunas “one of the great young prospects in the game right now” and added that “I can’t imagine any organization would be happier than we are with Jonas Valanciunas being part of this team.”

Finally, a player evaluation Colangelo and I can agree on. For my money, Valanciunas looks to be on track to become an All-Star big man in the near future and the type of true centre that can anchor a successful team on both ends of the floor.

By the way, I was killing some time on Basketball Reference’s season finder on the weekend and do you know what I came up with? Jonas Valanciunas is the first rookie under age 30 in NBA history to post a PER of 15+, a True Shooting Percentage of .600+, a Total Rebound Rate of 14+ an a Block Percentage of 4+ (the only two other guys to do it played just three games and two games, respectively, in their rookie seasons). In addition, the only other players to record those advanced statistics in a season at age 22 or younger (minimum 1000 minutes played) are Shaquille O’Neal, Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum.

The kid’s a stud.

- Some of the more intriguing comments of Colangelo’s nearly 40-minute presser were in regards to Kyle Lowry. Colangelo talked about how Lowry was ineffective for too long this season, and while Bryan made clear that the following was not an indictment of the coach, he did say that Kyle “was ineffective because he just wasn’t in a position to utilize his skill sets and his mentality.” Colangelo went on to say that between off-season surgery, his early season injuries and his minutes fluctuating between backup duties and starter’s minutes, when it comes to Lowry, “I can’t say he was ever physically right this year.”

The biggest takeaway from the Lowry talk was that it doesn’t sound like Kyle will be getting an extension before the season starts, but rather he’ll have to earn it on the court next year. I’m fine with that. Lowry showed glimpses of being a potential All-Star caliber point guard at times, but he also disappeared for sizable chunks of the season and he still hasn’t proven himself as a full-time starting point guard on a competitive team over a full season. Give him some incentive to come in and earn his long term money by proving it next season.

- Like Casey, Colangelo noted that the Raptors need to address their backup point guard situation and mentioned that they have some targets out there. Colangelo also mentioned that they still look at John Lucas III as a third guard. For the record, JL3 has a team option worth over $1.5 million for next season.

- After mentioning that the team played “better than playoff basketball” after the 4-19 start, Colangelo said that the goal now is to make the playoffs, stating “I will take that squarely on my shoulders.

If Colangelo’s team option for 2013-14 is picked up, as I expect it to be, then I think it’s pretty safe to say it’s playoffs or bust for his job after that. As for his “better than playoff basketball” line, the Raptors had the sixth-best record in the East after the Rudy Gay trade, though as I cautioned last week, putting too much stock in the final two weeks might be fool’s gold. If you ask Bryan, though, the teams the Raptors beat in that final stretch “were coming to play” despite popular belief and the Raptors “hit them in the teeth early” with aggressive play on both ends of the floor.

- When asked if he ever considered a coaching change during the 4-19 start, Colangelo’s response was “Absolutely not. Put that one to bed. I’ll leave it there.” He also mentioned how much respect the players have for Casey and said that Dwane is still “the right coach for this basketball team.”

- Colangelo says the Raptors have “marketable trade pieces” and “valuable assets.” Personally, I can’t see anyone other than Valanciunas having an eye popping value on the trade market.

- If you think that this current group of Raptors “can’t play together,” well then according to Colangelo, “you’ve grossly misinterpreted this team.” In addition, Colangelo noted that while the numbers do play a big part, “it’s not all about analytics.

What would the ghost Raptors say to that?!

- When presented with the never ending Bargnani question, Colangelo said that nothing’s really changed with the situation and that as long as Andrea remains a Raptor, the team will do the best they can to get the most out of him. However, Colangelo also brought up the “change of scenery” discussion again and noted that a number of teams were interested in Bargnani before injuries derailed any trade possibilities.

My hope is that by this time next year, Bargnani will be long gone and we’ll never have to deal with asking these same questions again.

- When discussing the likely lack of cap space that the team has over the next little while, Colangelo said that it looks like there is a two-year window where the team will have to “grow organically” and that they will have some options in the form of some of the mid-level exception, potentially the bi-annual exception, veteran minimum contracts and of course, trades.

While the part about the team being able to grow organically sounded nice, I see it more like he capped himself out with a mediocre roster and now has little choice but to watch the team grow organically, but y’know, either way…

- Colangelo also mentioned that the use of the amnesty provision might affect the team’s potential luxury tax situation, but that it likely won’t affect their actual cap situation.

If Linas Kleiza picks up his $4.6 million player option for 2013-14, then I assume this will be the summer that the amnesty comes into play.

- When it comes to the draft and the slim chance that the Raptors keep their pick by moving into the top-three, Colangelo said that the team would retain that pick “and wouldn’t be disappointed with that.” On the other hand, in yet another indication of just how weak this draft class looks, Colangelo added “but equally, we’re not disappointed to not have a pick in this draft” before saying that “it’s not a bad year to take a pass.”

- Colangelo said that it’s important to add players with a veteran presence and also mentioned that Jamaal Magloire was missed in the locker room this season while he did a “terrific” job in his role on the player development side.

If Magloire was still around in the locker room, you can bet that he wouldn’t pussyfoot around the playoff talk next year without fully guaranteeing it, because that’s what veteran leaders do.

- One of the things Colangelo says he took from the players’ exit interviews was that the guys look to Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan as the focal points of the team

- All three Raptors rookies are expected to go to Summer League in July, with Valanciunas also expected to play for the Lithuanian national team (FIBA EuroBasket 2013)  in what the team expects to be a big summer for Jonas.

- Valanciunas works so hard and puts so much extra time in the practice gym that he sometimes needs to be told to slow down just to protect him from himself

- Colangelo says that no matter what happens with Bargnani, the team will look for more perimeter shooting and “someone who can spread the floor from the four-spot.”

- Overall, Colangelo said that he’s looking at the season “as more positive,” which I think is to be expected from a rebuilding General Manager facing contract uncertainty. The main thing that stuck out to me though was Colangelo’s support for Casey.

Comments (24)

  1. “Colangelo called DeMar DeRozan a “tremendous scorer” and added that he’s “just scratching the surface” at 23-years-old”

    BC is so full of shit. Lets say derozan is just a good scorer which is fair. Is he a good basketball player? Not really. How does he impact games other than scoring? He doesnt. He marginally improved in some areas this year but in the overall hes still lacking. Hes still signicantly better than ross though who i would gladly include as a sweetener in a bargs trade.

    • Demar and Rudy are top 20 in the NBA in scoring.

      The NBA has about 450 players.
      And I do think that Demar is 23 (about 14 months older than Quincy Acy; a rookie)

    • You’re full of shit! Tee is right on the money here.

    • uptil I saw the receipt of $6570, I be certain that…my… father in law had been realie earning money in their spare time on their apple labtop.. there uncle haz done this less than 6 months and at present repaid the mortgage on there place and bought Lotus Elise. this is where I went, kep2.com

  2. Raps should offer Phil Jackson the GM, President and even a piece of the ownership pie….

    Is that idiot Richard Pettie still in charge?? Ship his ass out…

  3. Accountability says that, after 5 losing seasons, the man at the top has got to go. Buh-bye Bryan.

  4. Not only should Bryan go based on accountability – but even at yesterday’s news conference, his goal is to be just a play-off team, he makes moves that will get us the 8th spot and be a 1 and done play-off team. I never never here him talk about building a “championship” team, a team that will not only make the ‘Off’s but be strong performers while they are there. I believe that BC’s best is just to get us to that 8th seed – we need some one who wants this team to be a winner every year and compete for a championship as much as possible, that’s the vision I want to here from the GM.

    He will always bring in boarder line (arguable) all-stars as the “best” players to lead us to the promise land of a 1 and done 8th seed team and hires nothing-nobody coaches!

    • Couldn’t have said this any better myself. As a resident New Yorker for 20 years, I have seen with my own eyes the knicks operate under this very mentality during the Layden/Isiah years. It wasn’t until a change up top (Donnie Walsh) that the fans started to reap the benefits of an effective REBUILD (shedding ridiculous contracts and stockpiling draft picks).

      I understand being realistic about goals, but as the frontman for a basketball franchise in one of the biggest markets in North America, it is absolutely unacceptable to simply build a franchise that will “make the playoffs.” Then again, if the ACC continues to sell out games and the team is medicore….what incentive is there to win a championship. SMH

      • Wait…..

        When was the Knicks a “championship” team!?!?! They still are just a team that is good enough to make the playoffs but aren’t a serious threat to do anything.

  5. @AD – I said last week, IMO and I (hope) its Lowry that is packaged with Bargnani if anything. Unless the deal was totally sweat, then sure anybody can go, but I would keep Ross over Lowry…Ross is worth another year to see what is what, he has earned that at least. Imagine we “threw” Davis in a deal for nothing to get rid of another bad contract (Hedo comes to mind) after his rookie year – that would have sucked. If the Magic can a great young player like Tobias Harris for JJ Reddick – the Raps can surely get something of value for Bargnani alone.
    Anyone notice Gasol’s 16 rebounds on Sunday!??

    • Lowry was a big disappointment this year no doubt but a significant portion of the blame should go on casey. When he gave lowry more freedom, he played better. Hes not calderon. Also, i think lowry in a contract year will be a beast. I would keep him unless were getting back an all star. Ross on the other hand, is totally overhyped by the raptors and media. No motor, no ball handling skills, poor shooting. Just flashy dunks. Players like that are a dime a dozen in the nba. I know hes a rookie but you can tell with wing players if they will be special early in their careers. Ross doesnt have it. He might turn out to be a nice role player but thats his ceiling. Not a keeper and neither is derozan for that matter but not going to get into that.

  6. I’m at the point where I feel like vomiting then get angry every time I hear this man speak. It saddens me that we fans have a team that has no draft pick, is capped out and has a very mediocre roster with Valanciunas being the only player who has room to greatly exceed what he is now. I wish people weren’t happy with having a team that has the ceiling of a 7th seed and a quick 1st round exit but I guess the sheep will always come.

    I will not spend another dollar on the Raptors as long as Bryan Colangelo is a part of the franchise.

  7. “someone who can spread the floor from the four-spot.”

    Ah, is no one taking notes from what we’ve just gone through? Someone to spread the floor from the three spot and have Gay play more minutes as a 4 is a better plan I think. But of course I’m not the brilliant GM who has lead a team through five seasons without a trip to the playoffs.

    • I would also like to see some more lineups with Gay at the 4 next season, but I don’t think we should let Bargnani’s failures cloud our judgement of 4′s who can stretch the floor. There are big men with range in the NBA that still rebound and defend.

  8. There was an article written on this website somewhere that stated the raptors had one of the best point differentials when looking at just their starting five in the league. Let’s leave the starting five as is, we need PROVEN bench impact players. Kevin Martin, Jamal Crawford, JR Smith, Jarrett Jack, Ray Allen, JJ Reddick… we need someone of that caliber coming off the bench next year who can consistently impact games. And I would love to see Andre Miller as our back up PG tossing up alley-oops to T-Ross.

    Everyone is complaining the raptors will be an 8th seed next year, but if you take away their awful start, they are probably in the 7-8th seed. One or two moves as mentioned above, why can’t they compete with Brooklyn, Chicago, Atlanta??? People complain that this will not be a championship team but the reality is until someone dethrones the Heat or Lebron moves to the Western conference, no team is a championship team, unless you’re the champion. The naysayers will continue to be the naysayers but just watch people, just watch.

    • Yeah, Jarret Jack and Jerryd Bayless are a couple of backup point guards having a major impact on playoff teams. Sure wish the Raps had somebody like that at backup PG.

  9. I watched the press conference and was shocked to hear BC say that this teams needs Bargnani in the lineup next season because they need 3 point shooting. That’s reason enough to not bring BC back next year.

    • He’s supposed to say that Bargnani is trash and hurts the team. Then go talk to the other GM’s and get something of value for the guy…..cuz that makes sense. He said positive things about him and also mentioned a change of scenery.

      Would you try to sell a car after saying it’s a piece of crap and doesn’t perform to potential buyers??

    • He never said they need Bargnani, he said that regardless of what happens with Andrea, the team will look for perimeter shooting and possibly a four who can stretch the floor.

  10. Ownership should gut the whole f*cking thing next year, including Colangelo: as is, the team’s doomed to mediocrity. MLSE knows it. Grow some balls ownership if you really want a CHAMPIONSHIP and go all in for the 2015 draft.

  11. I hate this “Blow the whole thing up!” rhetoric.

    How many Raptors from the past couple years (also “Blow the whole thing up!” years) are now contributing to playoff teams? Bayless and Jack are extremely important to their teams. Even guys like Marco Bellinelli, Reggie Evans, and Matt Bonner are playing key roles on playoff teams. You can’t hate the whole thing, top to bottom, just because you’ve missed out on the playoffs again. Well you can, but it only means you’re a cynical emo hipster, it does NOT mean you’re a “discerning fan” who “demands the best” (although you can keep telling yourself that).

    “I’m pissed, fire them all!” also makes for really, really boring discussion. You basically have nothing more to say after that point – see you in October!

    BC is right about one thing that has been ignored here – the team’s winning percentage has improved each of the last three seasons and should be better again next season. They have a 2 year window before major contracts start expiring. At that point some of the most important pieces (ex. JV) will only be in their MID-TWENTIES, about to hit their prime, right as the roster gains major flexibility. This is not a dismal outlook.

    I am no more happy about the past five years of miserable mediocrity than any other fan, but I don’t mind the outlook for the next couple of seasons.

    The Leafs were in the same “Fire Brian!” boat after tiring of his re-build before their season started. They’re now back in the playoffs and things are looking a lot better over there. This Raptors roster is in exactly the same position as the Leafs were a year ago.

    • SB: fine you’re passionate… I am too… but isn’t Andrew Wiggins (a Canadian no less) and Jabari Parker the next generation blue chippers who are legit championship contenders for the near future? I for one am of the camp that wants a shot at Wiggins, a real shot at a championship? Last question: are you employed by Colangelo?

      Student of the Game

      ps. I doubt Wiggins/Parker will be rocking emo/hipster when they take over… played out playa

  12. Colangelo should be selling BMWs or fucking real-estate in Los Cabos , not running a basketball franchise.

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