Plea to Raptor Fans, Don’t Boo Chris Bosh!

Chris Bosh released his inner cave man more than a few times as a member of the Raptors

In a quiet, undramatic divorce, not like those ones you see on Divorce Court, Chris Bosh and the Toronto Raptors parted ways after a 7 year long-term relationship. The break up wasn’t messy but it was by no means mutual as the breaker certainly offended the breakee.

GM Bryan Colangelo went as far to say that Bosh didn’t care down the stretch run of the 2009-10 season. “Whether he was mentally checked out or just wasn’t quite into it down the stretch, he wasn’t the same guy,” Colangelo said. “I think everybody saw that, but no one wanted to acknowledge it.” Head Coach Jay Triano further stated that “When you talk about Chris being a leader in the locker room, I think it’s the one thing he wasn’t for us.” Hard feelings much?

Today, Chris Bosh returns to Toronto for the first time since his decision to join Dwyane Wade and Lebron James in Miami. Yes, Lebron James too.

With Bosh essentially leaving fans and most importantly the Raptor organization hanging, it is no wonder why many people expressed their resentment towards Chris Bosh. It wasn’t the first time that their franchise player bailed on them. 3 high draft picks in Damon Stoudamire, Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter that had the possibility to carry the franchise all stated their desire to leave the city at some point in their tenure with the Raptors. Not to mention Hedo Turkoglu who requested a trade after one tumultuous season.

It was all too familiar to Raptor fans. Except in this case, like a good stripper, Chris Bosh teased Canadian basketball junkies into thinking he might just come back. However, like a good stripper, the hope dangling in front of them never materialized.

Even though Bosh gave us Raptor fans a good long tease that only ended in disappointment, I am asking you not to boo the man who gave you seven hard-fought seasons.

I understand your pain, but this time the circumstances are entirely different. Chris Bosh didn’t quit like Vince Carter or cry to his General Manager like Damon Stoudamire. He played out the entire length of his contract like a real man should, and wasn’t making any excuses for his team’s lack of success. Almost every night Bosh put his heart and soul on the floor for the Raptors.

It was also the behind the scenes work that makes Bosh different from previous Raptor defectors. His mid-range jumper is as reliable as anyone’s in the NBA and while his size may still be a problem Bosh he worked his tail off in order to add muscle to his 6”10 frame. The growth of Chris Bosh is a product of his effort as Raptor colour man Jack Armstrong likes to say, “Input equals output.”

It became apparent that Chris Bosh was not a franchise player and building the team around him as your cornerstone was not going to work. Nevertheless, you can hardly blame Bosh for that. It isn’t his fault that he can’t carry an entire team on his back like his new teammates Lebron and Wade. His rebounding may not be that of a top NBA rebounder, but he was still a legitimate 20-10 guy. On a nightly basis you could count on his consistency. He didn’t get his shiny new contract for no reason now did he?

Chris Bosh might not have handled his situation as well as Toronto’s other former franchise player Roy Halladay, but he also isn’t a robot like Roy Halladay. Bosh doesn’t just exhibit human emotions either, he exhibits human emotions that are likeable and entertaining. His passion on the court at times was like none other. He was genuine in his attempt to make the Raptors a true contender.

I think after this divorce Raptor fans have forgotten what a great guy Bosh is off the court, which is part of what made us to fall for the guy. Remember this all-star advertisement?

The situation at hand isn’t about forgiving and forgetting because Chris Bosh has nothing to be sorry for. Bosh doesn’t deserve to get what seems to be the inevitable, a hate filled homecoming. He doesn’t deserve to get booed from the fans that he worked so hard to please for seven seasons. He didn’t Lebron James his city or Carmelo Anthony his teammates. Chris Bosh deserves a cheer and I ask you Raptor fans to give him one.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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End of an Era

The sun is setting on Phoenix's Steve Nash era

To use a cliché that will probably be used more than once in the coming months but the sun looks to be setting on the Phoenix Suns’ Steve Nash era. Nash’s 6 year tenure delivered everything to the Phoenix franchise except for that elusive NBA championship. Nash made stars out of nobodies, and made out his General Manager’s and coach’s to be geniuses. However, with Kid Canada at 36 years of age and the Suns front office appearing to make some more questionable decisions, NBA fans will have to get accustomed to seeing Phoenix as pretenders rather than contenders.

Yesterday, it was reported by the Arizona Republic that the Phoenix Suns acquired disgruntled Toronto Raptor Hedo Turkoglu in a trade for guard Leandro Barbosa and forward Dwayne Jones. It was also reported by the Arizona Republic that the Suns are involved in a sign and trade with the Atlanta Hawks that would have restricted free agent Josh Childress going to Phoenix with brand new 5 year $30 million contract. These moves are in addition to the signings of Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick to multi-year contracts earlier in the off-season.

The Raptors have just been looking to get rid of Hedo Turkoglu’s monster 5 year $53 million contract after Turkoglu stated he did not want to play in Toronto anymore.

The Phoenix Suns’ decision to take on 4 more years of Hedo Turkoglu seems questionable at best. Obviously, it is possible that we see him regain the form that made him into a marquee player in the NBA, but I highly doubt that.

One of the major reasons that Turkoglu was unhappy in Toronto was because he felt he did not have the ball in his hands enough, much like that kid in elementary school who always whined because he didn’t get the ball enough but never actually did anything with it when he got it.

What makes the Phoenix Suns organization think that Turkoglu will have success in Phoenix?

Hedo Turkgolu had more downs than ups in his 1 season with Toronto

I don’t blame Turkoglu for wanting the ball more because he is a guy who makes plays for others. In his brief stint with Toronto you could see his excellent court vision and his ability to make plays that very few players can make. His 6 foot 10 frame causes mismatches for opposing players and in theory he also should have a solid mid-outside shooting game.

However, it is evident that Turkoglu will have the ball in his hands even less of the time with the Suns’ offence revolving around Steve Nash and his handling of the ball.

On top of playing like garbage in Toronto, he was also lazy. He didn’t rebound, defend, or play hard on the offensive end. The last thing the Phoenix Suns need is a guy who doesn’t defend and rebound.

Just like in Toronto, Turkoglu is going to turn into a sluggish stand-still 3-point shooter, which he a) was not very successful at and b) not happy with the role.

Hedo Turkoglu is 31 years old and not getting any younger. He came into training camp last year out of shape, not ready to play, and content to count his money while the organization gave him a reprieve. The Phoenix Suns do not need a guy who’s going to complain about his role on the team, and not produce on the floor. If Phoenix Suns fans are hoping for some clutch play from the so-called “Mr. Fourth Quarter,” they really should not be counting on it because Raptor fans saw none of that last season.

Following the Suns loss of star power forward Amare Stoudemire, they went out and acquired the 28-year-old underachieving power forward Hakim Warrick to replace him, and then re-signed the overachieving outside shooting Channing Frye. They committed $18 million and $30 million respectively, but without a legitimate inside scorer these moves just don’t make sense.

There is no way that Steve Nash can keep going all superhuman on us. At some point in time he is going to show signs of aging, and the Phoenix Suns are going to have to re-tool. Nash has 2 years left on his contract, which is a very small window for the organization. Nevertheless, with the roster that they have now, it is apparent that they will be unable to contend.

A starting line-up of Steve Nash, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, Hakim Warrick, and Robin Lopez is not going to get the job done.

Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, and Shawn Marion all thrived under Steve Nash

Committing multiple years to mediocre players is going to seriously hurt the Phoenix Suns in the future once Steve Nash is gone. Steve Nash has made some guys a lot of money including Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, and Shawn Marion. How have these players fared before or after their time in Phoenix? Answer that question, then ask yourself how are all these new players with big contracts going to thrive once Steve Nash is out of the picture?

I haven’t even talked about Josh Childress who could potentially be a good fit for the Suns run and gun style. But after some up and downs in two seasons in Greece combined with Steve Nash’s aging, 5 years at $6 million per is too steep a price.

Oh yeah, if you guys are thinking that I forgot about Goran Dragic and screaming that he is the ultimate successor to Steve Nash…well I didn’t.

Let’s get the facts straight. Goran Dragic has shown the ability to be a very good point guard at some point in the NBA, but no one is Steve Nash. Nash is a once in a lifetime player, and the NBA has never and might never again see a player like him. Once Nash hands the reigns over to Dragic the style of play and most likely the success will not be the same. You can take that to the bank.

I think that it is clear that when Steve Nash does eventually retire or leave Phoenix we are going to be talking about the bad contracts that the Phoenix Suns have given to these players.

Honestly, if I didn’t know any better I would have thought that Bryan Colangelo is running both the Raptors and the Suns.

An aging Steve Nash, no Amare Stoudemire, and numerous bad contracts is not the recipe for success in the desert.

Amare Stoudemire may not have helped bring the Suns an NBA championship. However, he did make the team into contenders.

Contenders? I’d be happy to see the Phoenix Suns as pretenders in the coming years.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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Hedo Turkoglu wants out of Toronto

After a number of successful seasons with the Toronto Raptors, Hedo Turkoglu recently expressed his desire to leave Toronto on Turkish television. Oh wait, let me rephrase that. Following one lackluster season into his 5 year $53 million dollar contract, Hedo Turkoglu stated on Turkish television that he is actively seeking his release from the Toronto Raptors. Turkoglu follows the long line of former Raptors who also wanted out of Toronto including Vince Carter and Tracy Mcgrady.  Apparently these feelings all stemmed from the incident on March 28, 2010 when Turkoglu was benched for the first time in four years. He was apparently spotted at a Toronto nightclub immediately after missing a game due to a stomach virus. Hedo claims that he was only out for 15 minutes and went out only  when some teammates called and asked if he was sleeping. Hedo says that “these events put me off both basketball and the Raptors organization. Needless to say, the fans started to lose my love.”

Turkoglu came to Toronto with high expectations after leading his Orlando Magic on a fairytale run to the NBA finals. Turkoglu was even dubbed “Mr. Fourth Quarter”. None of these expectations came to fruition as Hedo ended his first season as a Raptor averaging 11.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists.

I don’t think that anyone who followed the Raptors season can seriously consider the garbage that is coming out of Hedo Turkoglu’s mouth. His season did not get off to a good start last year as he came to training camp fat and out of shape. However, most Raptor fans gave him a pass in this regards because he had finished a grueling season that included a trip to the NBA finals as well as playing internationally for Turkey. Little did we know that this was a tell tale sign for the season to come. Throughout the season Turkoglu barely brought any intensity to the table, and showed at most, brief flashes of the magic that he seemed to have left in Orlando. Raptor fans kept waiting for the man that had been nicknamed “Mr. Fourth Quarter”, but time after time Hedo came up short in clutch situations. There were murmurs from Turkoglu during the season that he didn’t have the ball in his hands enough to do the same things that he did while he was with Orlando. In an interview with Raptors colour commentator Jack Armstrong after a game against the New York Knicks where he posted season highs of 26 points and 11 rebounds, Turkoglu responded to a question with one word….”Ball.”

The problem with this demand from Turk was that whenever the ball was put into his hands he rarely did anything with it. There was no explosion in his first step, his mid-range jumper wasn’t falling, and often he would just give it off to someone else. It was evident that he flat out did not care about the game or his performance. Turkoglu was always smiling, and that’s great when you’re performing at a high level. But when your team is going through tough times as the Raptors did near the end of the season, and your play is sub-par there shouldn’t be any reason to be happy. Well I guess for Turkoglu there was and always will be 53 million reasons to be happy.

Things got so bad in Raptor land that fans started booing the prized free agent. Turkoglu said in his interview that it was the first time in 10 years that he had been booed by his home town fans, and that it made him feel “extremely bad after.” In general, I am a person that thinks that booing your own team is a stupid thing to do.  If your players are trying their best there is no reason to boo them for their bad play. How is that going to help them? However, if players aren’t trying that is a totally different story. Turkoglu is adamant in saying that he always tried his best no matter what. Yeah right. Despite the fact he played 6 less minutes than the year before even his stats can show that he didn’t bring the same type of aggressiveness that he had in Orlando. He averaged only 9 shot attempts a game compared to 13 the previous year, and only 3 free throw attempts a game compared to 5 the year before. The only thing that didn’t deteriorate was his three points shooting as he shot around his career average at 37%, but again very few of these were in clutch situations. Also, on multiple occasions with time on the clock, Raptor fans watched as Turkoglu decided to sit back, run down the clock and take a contested three with the game on the line instead of driving hard to the basket like we’ve seen in the past.

I feel that it would be best for the Raptors and Turkoglu if they could part ways. The question then is, who takes on Turkoglu’s large contract? At this point, if I’m a general manager, I sure don’t want to be taking on a guy who seems to have lost the fire in his belly. Moreover, that same guy is 31 years old. On the other hand, Turkoglu is a proven winner that has come up clutch in the past.   The Raptors have not had a upper echelon wing player ever since Vince Carter gave up on Toronto. It is obvious that Turkoglu is not going to be the answer to those problems over the next few years. If the Raptors could deal Turkoglu, maybe they will find a player that could fill that position for years to come.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com

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