March 16, 2010
It seems like a rough time to be a Toronto Raptor right now. Five straight losses, and nine of the last 10 will do that to a team. But it seems like everyone on the Raptors hates being on the Raptors right now.
The Globe and Mail's Michael Grange has an illuminating story on just how bad things have become. Hedo Turkoglu(notes) and Andrea Bargnani(notes) haven't performed and are ducking the media. Bryan Colangelo is already accepting the blame for the team's dismal performance. It's just bad all around, which isn't good when you're trying to re-sign your franchise free agent in the offseason. These kinds of things tend to frustrate those kind of guys, and Chris Bosh(notes) is no exception.
Does the Raptors' slide indict [Chris Bosh] as an NBA star in a league where teams are often only as good as their best player?
"No," he said.
"What else do you want me to do? Score 30, 40 points a game? Twenty blocks a game? That's not my game. That's not what I do," added Bosh, who has played below his standard since returning from an ankle injury but still leads the Raptors in scoring, rebounding and overall efficiency by shocking margins on a roster devoid of a proper secondary star, [Hedo] Turkoglu notwithstanding.
There's even more. Head coach Jay Triano ran the team through a practice Monday, which wouldn't be notable if it weren't for the fact that the Raptors had just played back-to-back games on the road. According to Grange, it's the first time Triano has done such a thing, and he thinks it's a sign that Triano has lost the team.
Triano could have tried to flex the muscle some think he doesn't have in a ham-handed display of who's the boss. Instead, he chose to explain the basketball equivalent of a bag skate by simply suggesting it was a matter of logistics: Working them hard Monday could make for an easy day Tuesday and a fresh team Wednesday night when the Raptors meet the Atlanta Hawks.
Bosh bought it.
"It was a teaching tone," he said of Triano's mood in practice. "It's the right tone. Yelling and screaming is a waste of breath, I've always felt. We're professionals. If you want to scream at a bunch of grown men, good luck."
Fair enough, but sometimes coaches have to yell at players, just so they'll remember who's the coach. And with the Raptors just a game ahead of the Bulls for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, now might be a good time.
In the inimitable words of Michael Ray Richardson: ship be sinking.