B2 • THE SILHOUETTE
THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 2011
What You Need To Know This Week In Sports Sports Editorial
Story of the Year
Cleaning house won’t fix Raps BRIAN DECKER SPORTS EDITOR
The Toronto Raptors have a lot of questions to answer this summer. Never mind the ownership sale of parent company Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the Raptors will have their own questions to answer, mainly about the braintrust and coaching staff that has overseen their demise to becoming (once again) one of the worst teams in the NBA. Just a few short years removed from being considered a team on the rise with a young, exciting core of players, the lovable loser Raps have returned to their usual spot in the proverbial basement of the league. What’s worse is that this season isn’t just bad; it’s bad even by Raptors standards. At 20-54 on the year, the Raps are on pace to finish with the third-worst record in franchise history – a level of incompetence once only associated with purple pinstripes and games at the SkyDome. This summer, the jobs of the architects of this stunning mediocrity are up for renewal. The contracts of President and GM Bryan Colangelo and head coach Jay Triano run out, and it’s up to the rest of the organization to decide whether they come back. On paper, it seems easy to figure out; after a promising first season in which he was named NBA Executive of the Year, Colangelo has seen his team make the playoffs just once, and never advancing past the first round. He’s made a number of blockbuster deals that, while looking like good moves at first, blew up in the Raptors’ faces and turned into spectacular failures. Prized acquisitions TJ Ford, Jermaine O’Neal and Hedo Turkoglu all ended up being unwanted commodities by the end of their days as Raptors. Triano, meanwhile, took from predecessor Sam Mitchell what was an incredibly poor defensive team and turned it into another incredibly poor defensive team. The Raps’ most glaring weaknesses when he took over are still their biggest downfalls today. Raptors fans certainly have no shortage of qualms with the franchise leaders who have overseen their team’s demise. But while it might provide momentary satisfaction to see a total rebuild, those fans owe it to themselves to ask whether a proverbial trip to the chopping block is really worth it. Consider that since Chris Bosh, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, left last summer, the team has effectively been in a rebuilding situation. Sure, they’re not loaded with superstar talent or oodles of cap room, but a few talented pieces like wing scorer DeMar DeRozan and big men Ed Davis and Amir Johnson, the Raps have at the very least a few bright spots. But even aside from having a few talented cornerstones, gutting the front office might not even be a good idea. Colangelo, while no stranger to failed transactions, has had his share of brilliant moves. He stole Johnson from the Milwaukee Bucks, managed to trade the once-untradeable contract of Turkoglu and has made solid draft picks the past few seasons. He’s proven himself to be a master architect of complicated trades, able to facilitate multi-team transactions and clear cap room with the best of them. And as for Triano, his meager win-loss record isn’t a fair indication of his coaching chops. He’s been given a brutal team to try and coach through a season; it’s not easy winning games when your starting lineup often consists of players like Joey Dorsey and Julian Wright, both journeymen at best. And yet, even with this squad, the coach has managed spirited wins over Dallas, Chicago, Boston and Oklahoma City – four of the league’s best teams and legitimate title contenders. Indeed, blowing up the whole team’s structure doesn’t make sense. No one expected title contention from the Raptors this year, and starting over again would mean throwing away a year of lessons learned. With a young team, growing together as a nucleus is important, and even a year of losing together helps in the learning process. There’s also the question of what to do with Andrea Bargnani, the team’s seven-foot leading scorer, who, while sublimely talented, might be one of the worst rebounders and defenders in the league. While Bargnani hasn’t shown himself to a franchise player, he’s at least worth something; he’s a 22 point-per-game scorer while always being the central focus of opposing defences, and helps provide the mismatches and double teams so critical to running an NBA offence. With a large but not crippling contract, Bargnani is the kind of player worth keeping around while other players develop. No one’s going to mistake the Raptors for a team with a bright future immediately ahead of them. And while the men who have led them to their current state of affairs haven’t exactly led them to the Promised Land, it might be worth keeping them around and giving them another chance. After all, it can’t get any worse.
2010 World Cup in South Africa Last summer’s World Cup provided all of the drama and intrigue that one would hope for in the most watched event on the planet. The tournament boasted gigantic crowds, star-making performances, and marked the emergence of the notorious vuvuzela. In the end, it was Spain that finally claimed it’s first World Cup title.
Failure of the Year
The Decision There has been no worse choice on the part of a professional athlete in recent memory than that of Lebron James to stage The Decision. Designed by James and his public relations army to boost his image and draw attention to his move from Cleveland, the contrived television event backfired. James has been a pariah ever since.
A big friggin’ thanks, y’all It’s the last issue of the year. We’d like to extend some thanks. First, to the readers who check our pages each week. You make this all possible. Second, to the coaches and players we interview after games and practices. We’re convinced we could go to a thousand schools and never find a group as comfortable, accomodating and friendly as the one here at McMaster. Third, to our volunteers. You guys friggin’ rock. Finally, to the athletes, coaches, trainers and everyone else we write about. We do what we do because what you do is great. Thanks, everyone. It’s been a slice. Sincerely, Silhouette Sports
2010-11 Marauder Sports Moments 1a. Men’s Volleyball title win over Western
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1b. Men’s Rugby title win over Western 3. Jessica Pearo wins CIS gold 4. Men’s Lacrosse wins CUFLA title 5. Justin Glover signs with Roughriders
Just in case you didn’t get enugh Sil Sports this year, check the shelves next week for the Silhouette Sports Magazine. It’s going to be tight, friend.