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Bryan Colangelo’s Initial Success with Toronto Raptors was His Downfall

Yahoo Contributor Network

Bryan Colangelo was ousted by the Toronto Raptors after just over seven seasons as their president and general manager. The ironic thing about Colangelo being shown the door is that it was his initial success which led to his downfall.

During his first season in Toronto the team won the only division title in the history of the franchise, he was named general manager of the year and his coach, Sam Mitchell, was named coach of the year.

Sounds great, right? Wrong.

Mitchell was never the coach that Colangelo wanted but he wasn't able to fire him when he first arrived and he surely wasn't able to fire him after the team won their division and Mitchell was named coach of the year.

Having to stick with Mitchell until his 8-9 start to the 2008-09 season is what started the slow unravel for Colangelo in Toronto. In essence, it was when all of Colangeleo's mistakes started and he went from a basketball deity who could walk on Lake Ontario without getting his expensive shoes or custom suits wet to a punchline among basketball fans after he made bold and splashy moves for Hedo Turkoglu, Jermaine O'Neal and Shawn Marion that blew up in his face.

When Mitchell was fired 17 games into 2008-09 season the only real choice for Colangelo was to promote someone already on the coaching staff. The logical pick was Jay Triano because he had head coaching experience with the Canadian National Team and would be a sentimental pick as the first ever Canadian head coach in the NBA. Besides that, Triano is widely respected and has coached on the United States National Team as part of Mike Krzyzewski's staff.

The Triano experiment didn't work out as the team went 87-142 during his tenure and it soured Chris Bosh on staying with Toronto as the team failed to make the playoffs Bosh's final two seasons here in Toronto.

It's also when the now infamous deals for Turkoglu, O'Neal and Marion happened.

Colangelo made a wise move to hire a defensive-minded head coach in Dwane Casey after the lockout and initially the move worked as the team improved what 26th in points allowed to ninth in Casey's first season. However, Colangelo never really went all in on building a roster with defensive-minded players and last season the team sunk back to 17th in points allowed.

The combination of starting off with a coach he didn't want, having to promote form within and then hiring a defensive-minded coach without building a roster to match was a trio of mistakes that due to him.

Basically, it's a coaching carousel that turned into one heck of a muckled mess.

The irony is if Colangelo and Mitchell didn't have so much success together their first season it's conceivable that Colangelo's time in Toronto would have had a much different result.

So much for the theory that getting off on the right foot is important in any new job.

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