I've paid little attention to my Raptors the last few weeks because of the NFL playoffs, but as the NFL post-season winds down, I will slowly shift my attention back to the Raptors.
The Raptors are playing like crap, in my opinion. I haven't paid too much attention to them over the past month but I know that although they've won half their games, half the teams they've played sucked. There is no urgency or intensity in their approach to the game. When you watch a game, they look like they're expecting something to happen, as if the game will just come to them.
This is a really young team that is still learning what it takes to win games. They play hard very occasionally and half the time it works. Well the problem with this is that kids will work hard and if they don't see results, then why work hard? And then there are times where the hard work pays off, they win, and they play an easy game where they didn't have to work hard, and then the effort reverts to the old way.
The next frustrating part of the team is the misuse of players. Here are my suggestions to Bryan Colangelo and Sam Mitchell:
Kapono needs the ball to score. You're paying him almost $7M/year to shoot the ball but no one passes it to him. He's no good as a decoy if he doesn't score first.
Chris Bosh: If the lane is open, do not pull up for a jump shot. That is what small forwards and shooting guards do. You are the power forward. Note that first word "Power"? Your mid-range jumper has become your bread and butter, when it should only be your secret weapon. Use it when they've clogged the paint and you have no where else to go. I'm more impressed when you score 20 points in the paint than 40 points on jump shots. It helps everyone else, trust me.
Bryan Colangelo: Juan Dixon sucks as a point guard. You know it, I know it. I think even he knows it. Jose needs a real backup.
Since I've got your attention, here's another one: It's not that I've given up on him, but you need to sign someone to help us forget about Andrea Bargnani for a little while. Because Toronto fans expect instant success without any growth period, and it'll take Bargnani longer to reach his potential than fans have patience for. But see, if you don't do something now, media will be all over it and Bargnani will hear the word "bust" too often and it will ruin his confidence and eventually, his career.
In terms of the NFL, this past weekend was disappointing to say the least.
First, the San Diego Chargers beat my beloved Indianapolis Colts, preventing the possibility of watching two awesome games:
1) The most prolific quarterback in the past decade (Peyton Manning) vs the best clutch performing quarterback in the past decade (Tom Brady). And then following that game, we'd see
2) The most prolific quarterback in the past decade (Peyton Manning) vs the best quarterback alive ever period (Brett Favre).
Secondly, the San Diego Chargers lost key players LaDainian Tomlinson and Phillip Rivers, to injury, which means the Patriots have been given a free ride to the Superbowl to face the Packers.
Am I being too quick to write off the New York Giants? I don't think so. The Giants are a team that is required to establish the run before they can have any kind of effectiving passing game. Eli Manning is not a great 'under-pressure' quarterback. Unfortunately for Brandon Jacobs, the Packers are one of the best teams in the league at stopping the run. And then moving on to their offensive line, also formidable. The holes that these guys open up for Grant, Jackson and Jones. Unbelievable.
This'll be a great piece to write about next week when the Superbowl matchup has been set in stone, but can you remember a time when Favre has had the kind of talent he has around him today? I can't. Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Brandon Jackson and Ryan Grant. They're not exactly Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth and Laurence Maroney, but put them up against pretenders like Antonio Freeman, Robert Brooks, Mark Chmura and Dorsey Levens.. that's a whole new ball game.
The same comparison can be made for Tom Brady who has never really had the offensive weapons that he has this year... although the comparison ends right there when you consider all the offensive records Favre holds while Brady, at least statistically, hasn't had much to offer until this season.