Posts Tagged ‘Ed Davis’

Mmmmm....losing.

Mmmmm….losing.

Got some sporty friends coming over for a special occasion? Want to impress them with your ability to cook up failure, disappointment, and mediocrity? We’ve got you covered.

Chef Colangelo’s tried-and-true recipe should do nicely. First, the ingredients:

(Serves a city of 2.6 million)

  • 2 cups of marketing
  • 8 lbs of optimism
  • 1 tsp or less of talent (optional)
  • 1 point guard controversy
  • 1-2 talented but over-hyped rookies
  • 3 cups of NBA journeymen
  • 1 rock (for pounding)
  • 2 apologies for poor officiating
  • 1 secret ingredient (be sure to overpay grossly for this one)
  • A pinch of Primo pasta sauce
Directions:
1. Before cooking, tell your guests how awesome the meal will be.

In the pre-season, word was that the Raptors would be back in the playoffs in April. Last year’s defensive boost, thanks to Coach Casey, was sure to continue. We were a lock for the 8th spot, at least. And with Valanciunas the Lethal Lithuanian on board, this was bound to be a great year.

2. Start slowly. Very slowly.

One of the worst starts in franchise history had people screaming for a total rebuild before Christmas. Word spread around the league that this was a surprisingly bad team. One of my favourite quotes from the early season came from Ben Golliver at The Blazer’s Edge, writing after the 4-18 Raptors had visited (and lost by 18 points to) his hometown Blazers:

The horror stories bubble quickly around the NBA and the word has been out about the Raptors for a few weeks now. It’s never the same until you see it up close though. This wasn’t 2012 Charlotte Bobcats bad or 2011 Washington Wizards bad, but it was worse in a way, because the Raptors seem like genuinely nice and good people who are trying to win, or at least not actively trying to lose.

It’s a beautiful quote because it’s so completely Toronto. We’re the lovable losers. The dinner guests you invite over because you feel bad for them, and they bring you an awful bottle of homemade wine that tastes like tepid grape juice and gives you the runs.

3. After simmering for a while, change ingredients.

In one of the season’s most bittersweet moments, the beloved Jose Calderon was moved, along with Ed Davis, in a three-team deal that brought Rudy Gay to Toronto. Gay appeared to have an immediate impact, pouring in the points and hitting big shots. For the first time since Mookie Wilson, Torontonians had a sports star whose name could be chanted and sound like booing:

But the honeymoon didn’t last long, as folks started to realize that for every big shot he hit, Rudy was hoisting up about a thousand others that would clang off iron. His shooting percentage was shockingly low, and before you could say “buyer’s remorse”, fans were wishing we could go back to the days of a reliable, pass-first, shoddy-defending point guard.

4. Serve sheepishly, but with assurances that dessert will be amazing.

When the chefs at MLSE realized that they’d served Toronto yet another helping of lousy basketball, they were ready with 17 excuses reasons why fans should be ready for some serious contending next year. Seriously. For serious this time. They even made a website and video about it:

But in all honesty, we know what next year will be like. If the chef is the same, the meal will still have the same odd smell, the same mealy texture, the same bitter aftertaste.

The Raptors finish 2012-2013 moving into un-charted territory, even for a club with their sad history: for the first time, the team has seen five straight seasons with no playoffs. The drought has been on for so long that we’ve started to forget what water even looks like.

But don’t worry. Chef Colangelo’s cooking up something great for next year.

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Jose is gone, thanks to a deal involving (appropriately) three teams. (Photo: detroitbadboys.com)

Losing Ed Davis is frustrating.

Losing Jose Calderon hurts.

Ed Davis is a good young player with lots of potential, and one of the precious few positives of this season has been watching that talent develop. How much better will he get? Who knows.

Jose Calderon, on the other hand, was the 1997 Volvo of the Toronto Raptors. Not flashy, not fast, not ugly but not elegant. Consistent, reliable, and quietly efficient. Aging gracefully.

These are the things I liked, and will miss, about Jose Calderon:

  1. He rarely turned the ball over.
  2. When doofus teammates would dribble themselves into a corner with 4 on the shot clock, they could always throw the ball back to Calderon for a smooth and usually accurate jumper.
  3. When called for a foul, he would plead with the ref like an Italian man whose pizza has just been stolen.
  4. He didn’t complain about having to share starting PG duties with a rotating cast of clowns and ball hogs.
  5. His name is fun to say.
  6. Mimicking his three-point signal after another big trey was the only time I could flash a gang sign in public without getting beat up.
  7. He had a good sense of style; a happy medium between the ridiculously precision-plucked eyebrows of Carlos Delfino, and the just-woke-up-caveman look of Aaron Gray.
  8. A few seasons ago, he shot an NBA-record 98% from the free-throw line. I can barely tie my shoes with a 98% success rate.
  9. No tattoos.
  10. No ego.
  11. While everybody else will engage in angry debate over whether this was the right trade or not, Jose will quietly report to his new team and continue to play solid, unselfish, fundamental basketball.

Gracias, Jose!

(cartoonstock.com)

(cartoonstock.com)

Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the midway point of the season. A variety of publications have released their “mid-term report cards” on the Raptors, which kind of made me feel bad for the Raps. A lot of them weren’t exactly the type of reports you’d want to put up on the fridge.

I know, I know, I spend a lot of time making fun of the Raptors. But like that parent who just can’t see how ugly and stupid their kid is, I’m an eternal optimist with this team. They’re all…special…in their own way.

So below is a summary of the grades dished out by the teachers at TSN and The National Post, with a special bonus from me. Because everyone’s good at something. Right?

Player TSN says… The National Post says… Yeah, but…
Quincy Acy C-
“Has to cut down on blown defensive assignments.”
C
“Has been a willing learner.”
Beard-growing: A+
Alan Anderson B+
“Game-altering performances.”
B
“It is difficult to get past Anderson’s accuracy from the field.”
Alliteration: A+
Andrea Bargnani D-
“His laconic play has finally soured the front office on him.”
F
“Ineffective offensively and regressed defensively.”
Looking slick in a suit: A+
Jose Calderon A
“His leadership has been invaluable.”
B-
“Struggled badly in his 15 games as Kyle Lowry’s backup.”
Ability to grow 5-o’clock shadow before noon: A+
Ed Davis A
“A revelation.”
B+
“A revelation.”
Being a revelation: A+
DeMar DeRozan C+
“His play has fallen off dramatically.”
C+
“His defense remains a mystifying negative.”
Having capital letters in his name: A+
Landry Fields C
“His jumpshot has remained horrendous.”
C-
“Still digging out of an early-season hole.”
Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Drake: A+
Aaron Gray C-
“Rebounding, his one great strength, has been missing all year.”
D+
“Has not been of much use.”
Looking confused: A+
Amir Johnson A-
“Still struggles to guard his position one-on-one.”
B+
“Johnson’s ceiling is limited, but he has maximized his ability.”
Hairstyle choices: A+
Linas Kleiza D
“Cannot replicate (or even approximate) his international effectiveness.”
D
“Has been totally ineffective.”
Being one of two Lithuanians I can name: A+
Kyle Lowry C
“Biggest disappointment of the season so far.”
C
“Lowry’s play has varied wildly.”
Making me nervous in close games: A+
John Lucas III C-
“Doesn’t offer enough elsewhere to offset his lack of scoring.”
C-
“Started off the year on a tremendous cold streak.”
Being more famous than John Lucas I or II: A+
Mickael Pietrus D+
“Doesn’t have it in him to contribute to an NBA team like he used to.”
C-
“Terrible offensively.”
Keeping knee doctors in business: A+
Terrence Ross C+
“He needs to shoot much better and learn to pass more often.”
C
“Flashes of brilliance to go along with complete no-shows.”
Potential to be the third Raptor to lose a dunk contest: A+
Jonas Valanciunas C+
“Fouls far too much.”
C
“Perhaps the Raptors’ worst defensive player.”
Looking absolutely nothing like his bobble-head doll: A+
Dwayne Casey N/A C
“Has relied a little too much on his veterans.”
Having gone from coaching a championship team to the Raptors without killing himself: A+

Raptors Get Bench-Slapped

Posted: January 13, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Four of the Raptors’ starting five had 20 points or more today. Ed Davis and Amir Johnson were fearsome up front, with 42 points and 26 rebounds between them. Unfortunately, the second unit was…disappointing. In short, the bench could have played better.

No, seriously. I mean the actual physical bench would probably have been more effective than the players who came off it to support the starters.

Toronto’s bench was outscored by an astonishing 43-7. They managed 6 rebounds, and turned the ball over 8 times. An early 20-point lead turned into an 11-point loss to the team some people think Toronto may end up battling for the 8th playoff spot in the East.

You’re welcome, Milwaukee.

Photo: fivechan.org

‘Tis the night before Christmas, and all through T.O.,
Not a commentator is stirring, not even Matt and Leo.
The Raptors have won five consecutive games,
With a lineup of youngsters, subs, and no-names.

The players are nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of playoffs dance in their heads.
But management can’t sleep. They’re not even yawny;
They’re trying to figure out what to do with Bargnani.

In the blogosphere there has arisen such a clatter,
And Colangelo knows it’s a delicate matter;
Do we trade Jose? But he’s playing so well,
He and the young guys are starting to gel…

And what about Lowry? Do we really need him back?
Is he our next Mighty Mouse? Or just our next Jarrett Jack?
And then there’s John Lucas, the infamous shot-taker,
Who hoists ’em up now and asks questions later.

One thing’s for sure: as the new year approaches,
Raptorland looks to its management and coaches
To make good decisions. To rid us of fear.
To give us a reason to stand up and cheer.

The players are certainly doing their part;
It’s hard to find fault with their effort or heart.
Jonas puts heart into each shot he takes,
No matter the cost, or how many fingers he breaks.

Lanky Ed Davis is making great strides,
And Ross makes us cheer when he takes to the skies.
Amir’s got our logo on the back of his cranium,
And Linas…well, he’s our second-best Lithuanian.

So as MLSE takes a brief Christmas break,
And tries to decide which moves it should make,
Perhaps what we need isn’t just a new player…
…what did Toronto do when displeased with its mayor?

Merry Christmas, Raptor fans!

DeRozan and Davis practise the Raptors new 4th-quarter offense, the innovative "Hide-and-hope-it-all-works-out" strategy.

Record: 9-21 (3-7 over the past 10)

High point: Beating the Celtics.

Low point: Kobe playing a half-assed game (no, wait, make that quarter-assed) and then showing up just in time to hit the winning jumper right in front of the Raptors bench.

Stuff I’ve Noticed:

–          If James Johnson never took a shot from further out than five feet, he might be my favourite player.

–          Somebody must have told DeRozan that he should become a jump shooter. I hate that person.

–          If you cover one eye and squint a little, Linas Kleiza kind of looks like Andrea Bargnani.

Memorable Quote:
“It just goes to show that we can compete with anybody.”
 – DeRozan, after a 6-point loss to Miami. (Note to DeMar: competing-and-losing still counts as losing.)

Ah, the NBA.com highlight reel.  A nightly recap of the league’s prettiest passes, biggest blocks, and most deadly dunks. Or, sometimes, a nightly recap of how many times a given team managed to make the Raptors look bad.

Last night, an astonishing 50% of NBA.com’s top ten plays were shots of the Clippers beating the bejeepers out of the poor old Raps, who tallied their eighth straight loss. Here’s why I love the highlights above:

#10 – Griffin’s big alley-oop. Check the game clock on this one. It took exactly 15 seconds for the embarrassment to begin.

#7 – DeAndre mugs Davis. Oh, Ed Davis. I like the kid, and in some ways he reminds me of Chris Bosh. For example, the way he gets overpowered on the boards.

#5 – Billups no-look pass. See, the no-look pass is something the Raptors do all the time. Problem is, we keep forgetting that it’s the passer who’s not supposed to look, not the receiver. And let’s not forget that Billups wore a Raptors jersey once upon a time.

#4 – DeAndre blocks Barbosa. Ouch. Just…ouch.

#1 – DeAndre’s alley-oop. Just like Griffin’s dunk at #10, this one comes within the first minute of play, this time in the 3rd quarter. I guess the Raptors aren’t known for their quick starts.

So congratulations to the Clippers, for recording 50% of the night’s top plays. Who knows how many more highlights they would have grabbed if all-star guard Chris Paul had been in the lineup? Oh well. There’s always next time.

You’re welcome, Los Angeles.