Archive for the ‘Chris Bosh’ Category

Chris Bosh and Bryan Colangelo

The Ultimate Raptors Rankings are the RaptorBlog editors’ attempt to rank the top 30 Toronto Raptors of all time. These rankings are obviously somewhat arbitrary and endlessly debatable, but they’re based on each player’s contribution, performance and longevity as a Raptor, and on how beloved they are by Raptors fans.

Chris Bosh’s Raptors résumé:

- Second in franchise history, games played (509)

- First in franchise history, points (10,275)

- First in franchise history, rebounds (4,776)

- Five consecutive All-Star nominations as a Raptor (2006-2010)

Starting from when he was drafted fourth overall in the 2003 draft after the most-hyped top three picks in the history of the NBA draft — LeBron, Darko and Carmelo — Chris Bosh has always been viewed by the general NBA fanbase as an afterthought, a nice piece of the puzzle but not a player you’d want to build a team around. The fact that Dwyane Wade was selected right after Bosh in that draft hasn’t helped Bosh’s image as the quintessential sidekick.

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Game No. 52: Heat 113, Raptors 101

The “Hollywood as Hell” Heat on a Friday night, a sold out Air Canada Centre and a crowd that was just waiting for a reason to explode. The atmosphere was set for a great night of basketball in Toronto, and the undermanned Raptors did their part in trying to deliver.

The Raps were able to undo a horrible start with an improved effort, but ultimately, the talent gap between the two teams took precedence.

Here are some thoughts on the game.

1- This game played out a lot like the Raptors’ home loss to the Lakers in February, where Toronto fell behind a vastly superior team out of the gate, fought back to get back in the game, and then fell apart to take another home defeat. On Friday, the Raptors found themselves down 16-2 within minutes. The Heat never seemed like they wanted to go in for the kill though, and the Raps picked up their intensity level to hang around, cutting the deficit to four after one quarter and eventually sending the game to the fourth quarter tied at 83. I don’t know if the result was ever really in question, but the Raptors gave us reason to believe until the Heat threw one last knockout punch in the final minutes.

2- Another similarity between this game and the loss to the Lakers was the unbalanced officiating down the stretch. Yes, the Heat only took five more free throws than the Raptors, DeMar DeRozan had a game-high 10 free throw attempts, and the teams finished with 16 personal fouls a piece. But if you watched this game, you know which team the refs were siding with in the fourth quarter. The defining moment for me was Dwyane Wade managing to draw a foul on Jose Calderon despite leaning in and smacking Calderon in the face with the ball (Jose was given a tech for arguing), while at the other end, Wade flopped on a phantom elbow from James Johnson and drew an offensive foul. The big three of LeBron, Wade and Chris Bosh combined for just two personal fouls in 111 total minutes. This team is already talented enough to win its share of ball games. They don’t need anymore help from the refs.

3- After two visits from the Heat over the last couple of seasons, one thing has become clear, they’re not quite the draw I thought they’d still be in year two. Any time a team has three All Stars and two future Hall of Famers, they’re going be worth watching and a team that brings people to the arena, but in all honesty, did either of Chris Bosh’s two returns to Toronto with his superstar teammates even amount to half of the hype and buzz Vince Carter generated for his first five or six returns to the ACC? Heck, I don’t even think Miami brought the same buzz into Toronto that the Lakers brought this season. I don’t know whether to blame it on the fact that Bosh is just too dry to generate much of a response from fans or to simply blame it on the fact that our attention span and focus on a sports craze is as short as ever. Whatever it is, the Heat hype has seemingly already started to fade.

4- From an individual standpoint, there were a few Raptors performances worth mentioning. Jose Calderon’s 16 assists made it five straight games with 10 or more for the Spaniard and increased his total to 74 assists over seven games since his return to the lineup. DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani were a formidable offensive duo, combining for 55 points on 19-of-34 shooting, but neither did much of anything else on the floor to help the Raptors (though at least DeRozan got to the line 10 times). The most encouraging performance came from Amir Johnson, who put up a double-double of 12 points (on 6-of-8 shooting) and 12 rebounds in 30 minutes. With Aaron Gray’s play beginning to slow down, I wonder if another strong showing or two from Amir will get him back into the starting lineup before the season is over.

5- As obnoxious as I find the Heat, I’m not naive enough to ignore the fact that they’re a great team and are obviously very capable of winning an NBA championship this season. Having said that, and despite the abundance of talent they possess between three players, I still don’t think they are the best team in the NBA, or even in the Eastern Conference for that matter. The Bulls and Thunder are the better teams and the more balanced teams, in terms of how their talent is spread out throughout the various positions and the bench. I know LeBron and the Heat turned it on against the Bulls in the East Final last season, but if Derrick Rose is healthy, Chicago can even the score this year.

By the way, did you catch Bosh’s dunk to give the Heat a 12-point lead in the final seconds? More importantly, did you catch Chris get all excited about it and talk smack as if he did something meaningful? It’s because he’s a tough guy, you know, the kind of tough guy that splashes around by himself in a wading pool for the Maxim cameras. I’ve always been a fan of Bosh’s game, but has there ever been a more accurate assessment of him than Kevin Durant’s “fake tough guy” claim?

6- A large portion of the crowd roared when the Raptors eclipsed the 100-point mark (free pizza) in a losing cause again, but on this night, they weren’t even close to being the most disappointing fans in the building. That title goes to the hundreds of “fans” who showed up in Heat jerseys in a feeble attempt to pass as supporters. Give me a friggin break. I used to see a handful of Wade jerseys in the stands when the Raptors would host the Heat in the old days. Now all of a sudden there’s a plethora of Miami fans living 2400 km away in Toronto? It’s bad enough that non deserving “fans” in Miami are trying to play the part of passionate fanatics right now, but to see weak-minded followers in different markets latching on to any bandwagon they think can deliver instant gratification is simply pathetic.

Raptors Player of the Game: Amir Johnson – 30 Min, 12 Pts, 6-8 FG, 12 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 TO (As good as Jose was, and as strong an offensive game as DeMar and Andrea had, Amir was probably the most complete Raptor in this game in terms of playing on both ends of the floor)

Heat Player of the Game: Dwyane Wade – 36 Min, 30 Pts, 12-19 FG, 1-2 3PT, 5-7 FT, 6 Reb, 6 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk (Bosh and LeBron were each dominant as well, as the Big Three combined for 86 points)

On Tuesday, Andrew Unterberger wrote an intriguing piece for The Basketball Jones, looking at the players whose jerseys have been retired, should be retired or may be retired by the various Eastern Conference teams in the NBA.

To no one’s surprise, Vince Carter and Chris Bosh made the list for the Raptors, only they made it under the “possibly” category, with no former Raptor in the “definitely” category, and deservedly so.

With Unterberger’s post sure to stir up discussion and debate among the 15 Eastern Conference fan bases, it obviously got me thinking about which players should even be considered for some sort of jersey honouring or retiring in Toronto.

Given the fact that we’re talking about a franchise that has just four winning seasons and five playoff trips in 17 years of existence, there won’t be that many names to consider. Having said that, Toronto has seen its fair share of stars walk through the Air Canada Centre tunnel in purple, red or black.

I’ll start by saying this. I think that a player should play at least three seasons, if not more, in one city to be considered for any type of team honour. Given the usual 82-game schedule in the NBA, this means that players should play somewhere in the neighbourhood of 246 games with one team to garner consideration.

This already eliminates players like Damon Stoudamire, Tracy McGrady, Marcus Camby and fan-favourites like Jerome Williams, Donyell Marshall and Charles Oakley (though Oakley did play over 200 games with the Raptors).

Anthony Parker just misses the cut with 235 games played and though Joey Graham may have played 275 games as a Raptor, unless we’re creating an All-Disappointment team, I don’t think we’re talking about Joey G.

That leaves us with eight players – Antonio Davis, Doug Christie, Andrea Bargnani, Vince Carter, Alvin Williams, Jose Calderon, Chris Bosh and Morris Peterson – to even consider honouring.

While Andrea Bargnani may go down as a top-five player in franchise history or higher when his career is done, I don’t believe we’ve seen enough of “Andrea the All Star” as of yet to declare his candidacy for a jersey honouring. That might change in a couple of years, but not yet.

Doug Christie played parts of five seasons with the Raptors and was a member of the Raps teams that first established roots in Toronto. He was an underrated player, a great defender and should be remembered fondly by Raptors fans for years to come. But Christie made his escape from Toronto just as the team was really getting off the ground and never took part in major team success in T.O., other than the first playoff trip in 2000. As much as I liked Doug, I don’t think he’s jersey honouring material.

Antonio Davis is one of only three All Stars in franchise history, played over four seasons (310 games) in Toronto, averaged about 13 points, nine rebounds and over a block per game here and more importantly, was a key piece of the most successful period in team history.

If you read my Ultimate Raptors Rankings post on Alvin Williams or listened to our interview with him as part of RaptorBlog Radio, you know how highly we regard “Boogie.”

Then you have arguably the most beloved Raptor of all time and the man who played more games north of the 49th than anyone else – Morris Peterson.

If you ask me, Davis, Williams and Peterson represent the quintessential Raptors résumés for jersey honouring consideration, but not for jersey retiring. If the Raptors ever go the way of the Maple Leafs and either just don’t retire numbers (other than Ace Bailey’s and Bill Barilko’s) or do a mix of retiring and honouring numbers, then those three names should be near the top of the list.

Jose Calderon is in his seventh season with the Raptors and with 459 games played (third all time in Toronto), could become the franchise’s all time leader in games as early as next season, provided he stays healthy and isn’t traded by then. Calderon has averaged about 10 points and seven assists over his career, is the franchise leader in assists and has been an integral component of two of the franchise’s five playoff teams. For the most part, he’s been an above average player at his position and even got some All Star consideration and buzz for a couple of seasons, though he ultimately fell short. Like the three players I mentioned above, I don’t think Calderon has done enough to have his numero ocho retired, but as of right now, you might be able to make the argument that he is more of an “honour” candidate than anyone not named Bosh or Carter.

Speaking of those who shall not be named, there is no doubt in my mind that at some point, Vince Carter and Chris Bosh should have their Raptors accomplishments celebrated, whether by just raising a banner to the rafters or flat out retiring numbers four and 15.

They scored 19,695 points in Toronto between the two of them, were both selected to five All Star games as Raptors and combined to garner three All NBA selections (one second-team selection for Bosh, a second-team and third-team selection for Carter) while playing in Canada.

Perhaps most impressive of all, Basketball Reference’s “Elo Player Rating” ranks them both among the top 100 players of all time…seriously.

Whether you want to admit it or not, we’re talking about two guys who will get some Hall of Fame consideration. For a franchise that’s been low on success and has often been an NBA punch-line through its first 17 seasons, that’s as good as it gets.

To summarize, here’s how I would consider some of the best and most memorable Raptors players in terms of jersey honouring:

Definitely Retire: N/A

Consider Jersey Retirement/Definitely Honour: Chris Bosh and Vince Carter

Consider Honouring: Jose Calderon, Antonio Davis, Morris Peterson, Alvin Williams

Bobblehead Night and Video Tribute: Damon Stoudamire, Tracy McGrady, Doug Christie, Charles Oakley, Jerome Williams

Just A Bobblehead: Donyell Marshall, Marcus Camby

What do you think of this list, and which category do you think guys like Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan will finish their Raptors careers in?

In honour of Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVI between the Patriots and Giants, where companies around the world will dish out millions for 30 seconds or more of advertisements, I thought this would be a good time to look back on the best Raptors-related commercials of years gone by.

Some of these are absolute classics, and take us for a trip down memory lane, right through all of the eras of Raptors basketball.

Here are the nine best Raptors-related commercials I could find on the web:

First up is a very awesome, very 90′s commercial advertising Damon Stoudamire as the one and only “Mighty Mouse.”

Next up, later in the 90′s, Kevin Willis takes a trip to spend some time with a family in Ajax, Ontario (just a little East of Toronto) and reminds us that we could watch the Raptors on “The New VR.”

Now, a little cross-branding between the Raptors and Leafs. Doug Christie’s Paul Morris impersonation is admirable.

With the Vince Carter era in full swing in Toronto, and “Vinsanity” taking the basketball world by storm, Nike capitalizes by pitting Carter against a Raptor for a game of one-on-one:

Perhaps the best Raptors-related commercial of all time, and one that I used in a birthday post for Vince Carter’s 35th last week. Here’s Vince, fresh off of knee surgery I believe, dancing through the streets (to the tune of Joe Budden) on his way to the Air Canada Centre to “Give back to the fans, give back to Toronto.” Yeah, right.

While the Chris Bosh era and Bosh himself never got the attention that Vince Carter did, the Raptors did achieve some level of relevance with Bosh in Toronto. Here’s an ESPN commercial featuring Bosh and a Raptors t-shirt.

Here’s a commercial I really liked when it ran a few years ago in support of the  Raptors Foundation for Kids. It’s a play on “when they were kids” and is obviously supposed to be a child-version of Chris Bosh. There was also one with a mini Jose Calderon, but I can’t seem to find that one.

We finish with a couple of food-related Raptors commercials, beginning with a truly dark time for the Raptors, Mr. “Ball” himself, Hedo Turkoglu, and his “yes, coach” Pizza Pizza/Sprite ad.

And of course, we conclude in the present day, with Andrea Bargnani promoting Primo Pasta and Sauce by shooting jumpers and saying absolutely nothing about the product other than proving he knows the name of it.

Ok, one bonus video. It’s not an official commercial, but it’s probably better than anything else on this list. Courtesy of the creative geniuses at The Basketball Jones, you know what’s coming, “no one man should have all that pasta.”

Enjoy your Super Bowl weekend, and don’t forget to “like” RaptorBlog’s official facebook page for Raptors-related news and notes. We’ll talk again after the Raptors play the Heat on Sunday afternoon before the big game.

On Sunday, someone brought to my attention a Boston Globe interview with Bryan Colangelo about the circumstances surrounding Chris Bosh’s departure from Toronto and the Raptors rebuild in general.

You can find the Gary Washburn piece, in its entirety, here.

What I wanted to briefly discuss are Colangelo’s opinions that Bosh was not and is not a top-tier player and that losing Bosh and being able to start fresh may have been the best thing that could have happened to the Raptors.

First, on Bosh’s status and rank in the NBA. Colangelo had this to say: “Even if there was an open market similar to what’s gone on with [Carmelo Anthony] last year and Chris Paul this year and Dwight Howard, he’s not that caliber of player. It’s just that simple.

Yes, Bryan, yes it is. When Colangelo slammed Bosh’s willingness to play through injury towards the end of his last season in Toronto, a lot of people considered Colangelo’s comments those of pure bitterness and a sore loser, but this time, you can’t argue with the man.

It’s no secret that Bosh, while a very good player and a perennial All Star, is not a top-tier NBA player by any stretch of the imagination. He is probably not even in most people’s NBA top-10 right now.

Depending on how you rank NBA players, most would agree that Bosh is a tier-two or even tier-three guy, so Colangelo’s just being honest here.

Now, could the Raptors have received more for Bosh than what they got (draft picks and a trade exception)? Sure they could have, but Bosh had decided he was going to Miami, so unless you really wanted the enormous waste of space and talent that is Michael Beasley or really wanted the Raptors to use the large exception just for the sake of using it, then really, it’s hard to complain about getting picks instead of nothing.

The next quote from Colangelo I wanted to get to, and perhaps the most intriguing one, was this: “As long as we weren’t strapped with a $126 million contract and the inability to really build around the player, we feel like this is probably the best thing that could have happened to us.

How many franchises in pro sports would say that losing the franchise’s all-time leading scorer for almost nothing was the best thing that could have happened to them? On the surface, it sounds crazy, and a lot of Colangelo doubters will likely play the quote off as BC throwing his usually slanted spin on things.

But again, I ask, isn’t Bryan just being honest? I mean come on, don’t tell me you haven’t thought about this yourself. Had the Raptors retained Bosh, they would have continued to be either a fringe playoff team or a disappointing bubble team. In other words, they would have been a perennial middle of the pack team on a treadmill, heading nowhere fast.

With Bosh as the cornerstone, Toronto never would have been close to good enough to compete for a championship but yet they probably wouldn’t be bad enough to be in serious contention for franchise changing draft picks either. They’d also have limited salary cap flexibility with a maximum contract being taken up by a non max player, and in the NBA, that’s a deadly combination.

Had Bosh stayed, the Raptors would likely still be looking at a core of Bosh, Bargnani, Calderon and DeMar DeRozan for the next few years, with little help coming in the form of very high picks or big money acquisitions.

Without Bosh, the Raptors now have a future-oriented core of DeRozan, Ed Davis and Jonas Valanciunas, with a high pick in a loaded draft class expected this season and $10-20 million in cap space expected for next season. Those content with mediocrity might choose the first option, but smarter basketball people with an eye to the future would almost certainly choose the second.

Whether Colangelo haters or Bosh fanatics want to admit it or not, the fact is that ridding themselves of Bosh and being given the opportunity to truly rebuild for the first time in years was the best thing that could have happened to the Raptors.

The last intriguing Colangelo quote from the Boston Globe interview is this: “We’re working on laying the foundation for the ramp-up and the ramp-up probably begins in earnest next year.” I think a lot of fans have kind of wondered what the actual plan in place is for the current rebuild in terms of a timeline, and Colangelo sheds some light on that question with this quote.

Does expecting this team to start the real climb towards excellence next season go against the very rebuilding project we’ve all been praising, or is Colangelo right in assuming that the additions of Valanciunas, another draft pick, cap space and a full season under Dwane Casey’s wizardry will finally turn this franchise around long-term?