There has been some recent discussion about Raptors GM, Bryan Colangelo, getting a contract extension. To me, this is an absolutely ridiculous notion. What exactly has he DONE to deserve an extension? Anyone? Someone suggested to me that Colangelo’s ability to sell ANYTHING will make MLSE give him a new contract, and he maybe right. If you don’t know a lot about basketball, I’m sure Colangelo could give you excuses and reasons enough to make you think he should stay on.
I do think it’s fitting that the Raptors win for only the second time in 8 games in the game that both Rudy Gay and Andrea Bargnani miss due to injury. That’s not to suggest that Gay has the same negative effect that Bargnani often does, but when the organization is desperately trying to sell Gay as an elite player, this doesn’t help their argument.
Anyway, one of my more popular posts in the past was “5 Stupid Reasons NOT to Trade Bargnani“, so I thought I would do a companion post, but focusing on the guy who desperately needed to read that post last year.
Like that one, this one is in response to those few Raptor fans who still seem to think Bryan Colangelo should keep his job despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary. Board members of MLSE, I’m looking at you…
5. He’s Drafted Well
I’d say it’s more that he hasn’t drafted poorly, overall. There’s a difference.
I didn’t like the Andrea Bargnani pick from the beginning and it appears not to have been a good pick. More than a handful have players have had better careers than Bargnani and it’s clear he didn’t make the right choice. He was not only not the best player available, but also a poor fit. Double fail.
He also blew his second round pick that year, picking PJ Tucker over Craig Smith, Daniel Gibson, Paul Millsap, Leon Powe and Ryan Hollins, all who have had much better careers. Tucker didn’t even make the team.
First round pick traded away by Glen Grunwald for Tracy Murray. Interestingly, Jared Dudley was selected with Toronto’s Pick, but Wilson Chandler, Rudy Fernandez, Arron Afflalo, Carl Landry, Glen Davis and Marc Gasol were all available at that spot, as well. Obviously this has nothing to do with Colangelo, because he had nothing to do with trading away the pick, but I thought it interesting enough to bring up.
Colangelo traded away this pick in a package for Jermaine O’Neal. Indiana took Roy Hibbert with the pick, but also available were Serge Ibaka, Nicolas Batum, Courtney Lee, George Hill, Nikola Pekovic, DeAndre Jordan, Omer Asik and Luc Mbah a Moute.
So while he didn’t draft badly in 2008, the fact that he dealt the pick away when so many good players were available has to count against him. Especially when you consider the failure the trade for O’Neal was.
DeMar DeRozan was a guy Colangelo had targeted from the beginning, along with Earl Clark, James Johnson and Jrue Holiday. Overall, it’s hard to argue against this pick. Holiday and Ty Lawson were the only players that Colangelo could have realistically taken instead who have become better players.
DeRozan isn’t worth his new contract, has never become the defender or rebounder that the organization hoped he’d become, but he was still a decent pick for that spot. Not great, but pretty good.
Ed Davis was probably never even on Colangelo’s radar, which is one reason he never even worked out for the Raptors. The reason was because Davis was projected to be long gone by the time the Raptors picks (although I predicted there was a chance he’d be available, in the days leading up to the draft).
With the Davis pick, it’s hard to give Colangelo credit for a couple of reasons. First of all, Davis basically dropped in his lap and there was a huge drop-off in projected talent after Davis (although that didn’t stop Rob Babcock from passing on Andre Iguodala to draft Rafael Araujo). Davis was also never one of Colangelo’s “guys”. He was basically who Colangelo felt he had to take. We saw evidence of this with Davis struggling to find minutes, while in Toronto, and with Davis
Colangelo also picked up the 50th pick in the drafted, with which he selected Solomon Alabi. While Alibi was projected to be a first round pick, he never panned out and only lasted a handful of games in Toronto.
While it’s hard to judge this one since Colangelo’s 5th pick, Jonas Valanciunas, has barely played half a season, it appears he did very well here. Valanciunas may not become a franchise player, but he’s shown enough to be hopeful he could end up becoming a very good, two way center, which is a rarity in the league, nowadays.
Colangelo should get full marks for this one since Valanciunas’ contract situation didn’t allow him to come to the NBA for another year, something that would have turned off a lot of clubs (apparently that’s why Cleveland passed on him).
Last year’s 8th pick, Terrence Ross, is also a bit of a question mark. He’s shown incredible athleticism, the ability to score, as well as defend. However, he’s been wildly inconsistent and while he’s shown he can shoot, he also hasn’t shown much of an ability to get to the hoop. He’s way too comfortable shooting from outside, and hasn’t really exhibited the skills to believe he can be anything more than a good role player.
To make matters even worse, Colangelo passed on Andre Drummond, who looks like he could end up being a top center in the league, in a few years. Yes, there were definitely far more question marks about Drummond before the draft, but considering the team’s need for a home run, Drummond probably would have been a better gamble.
Ross was a safe pick, and apparently was the guy Dwane Casey wanted, not Colangelo, whose players had all been chosen prior to the Raptors selection.
With Quincy Acy, who the Raptors picked up at 37, looks as though he could end up being Colangelo’s first successful 2nd round pick as a Raptor. While it’s hard to judge how good Acy will be in the handful of games he’s played, he’s shown enough to predict he’ll become a legit NBA player, which is all you can hope for with a 2nd round pick.
In five drafts, Colangelo has had two top 5 picks, four top 10 picks and five top 15 picks. He hasn’t drafted one bust, but he also hasn’t drafted anything close to an All Star (at this point). Again, decent drafting, but not good.
He hasn’t drafted well in the second round, but he’s also been more than willing to trade second round picks away, possibly realizing his lack of success. I’ve actually read people defending Colangelo’s penchant for trading away second round picks because he knows he isn’t good at selecting there as a strength. I’d say the fact that he doesn’t draft well in the second round should be a red flag that maybe he’s not a great judge of talent, something that is backed up by other personnel moves he’s made while in charge of the team.
4. He’s Turned The Team Around
Yes, the team has gone from one of the worst teams in the league, the season after Chris Bosh left, to a young, fairly talented team on the rise. But Colangelo turned the team around after what HE did to it. Giving him credit for turning the team around is like giving credit to a contractor who accidentally destroyed your house, but then was able to fix most of the damage he did. Do you re-hire the contractor after that?
This is what I don’t understand. Colangelo was bought into a pretty good situation. He had a 23 year old big man who was a perennial All Star, the first pick in the draft (albeit not a great draft), some pretty decent young assets, and cap room. He built a mediocre team that couldn’t get out of the first round, and then the team progressively got worse until it bottomed out. The fact that he was able to recover from that shouldn’t be a plus. Especially considering that he hasn’t even been able to get the team back to the playoffs, yet.
3. The Current Team Has A Lot Of Potential
That’s highly debatable, and if you want to read more about that, just check out my previous post where I discuss this very thing.
2. He Hasn’t Made Any Bad Moves Since Signing Turkoglu
Not for lack of trying, though. The Steve Nash dalliance would have been a huge mistake, and the Lakers situation is pretty strong evidence of that. And while he he’s made any “bad” moves, you don’t judge a GM on his individual moves. You judge him on his overall job.
This is one of the more frustrating points that people bring up, because it focuses on the individual moves, rather than looking at the entire body of work. Basically not being able to see the forest for the trees.
You can make good individual moves and still build a mediocre team without any shot of being a contender. And you can make bad moves and still be a great GM.
Sam Presti, the Oklahoma Thunders much vaunted GM, drafted Cole Alrich, a non-factor in his 3rd NBA season, over Ed Davis, Larry Sanders, Eric Bledsoe, Avery Bradley and Greivis Vasquez, all who would have much better choices.
Building a Championship calibre team isn’t about not making bad moves, or even making good ones. It’s about having a sound strategy and a plan, and doing what it takes to make that plan come to fruition. Colangelo has never seemed to have a good strategy or plan. He’s always seemed to be making moves on the fly, without any clear understanding on how it will affect the team as a whole.
1. There Aren’t Any Better Options Available
This is one of the most common, but also the most peculiar. My first question is, “How on earth do you know that”? Do these people have a list of all the the available candidates with their resumes and references on their desk? How many of these people have they interviewed?
Really, it’s a bit ridiculous for someone with little knowledge of the inside workings of all the teams to come to the conclusion that there aren’t any better options. They don’t know. I don’t know. And probably MLSE doesn’t know, either.
But it’s doesn’t matter.
You don’t keep someone on who’s done a poor, or even mediocre job, just because you’re not sure if there’s someone better. Colangelo simply doesn’t deserve to keep his job, so making up excuses for him to remain on, while possibly doing more and more damage to the long term prospects of the team isn’t smart thinking.
Related, I’ve been asked whether I wanted Rob Babcock back in charge, in order to combat my claim Colangelo should not be back. This obviously is beyond ridiculous. That’s like a verbally abusive boyfriend asking his girlfriend which boyfriend she’d rather be with, him or the physically abusive boyfriend she used to go out with.
I think the correct choice is neither.