Take a Chance on Me

Don’t back down now. It’s time to go all-in.

Bryan Colangelo has to push his chips in the middle and hope for the best.

In a draft class where sifting through the talent is about as difficult as getting the Raptors to play good defence, there is no better opportunity for the Toronto GM to make a bold move.

The Raptors should take Kemba Walker.

With each mock draft miles apart from the next, there’s no telling what player each team is going to draft. Even though the Cleveland Cavaliers, who hold the 1st overall pick, are reported to have decided on Kyrie Irving, sources are also saying that is far from a guarantee. The talent level for this draft class was already sparse before 3 of the top 5 prospects decided to delay their trip to the NBA. All that’s left in the lottery is supposed to be the scraps.

Okay, maybe not quite the scraps, but this draft is not the 2003 class by any means. That’s why the Raptors need to make a big splash. With each player even farther from a sure thing than usual, the best bet for Bryan Colangelo would be to put his money on a guy who has the ultimate boom or bust potential.

A college superstar who theoretically doesn’t have the attributes to translate those skills to the NBA. You hear the story every year. That’s Kemba Walker in a nutshell. Walker has the intangibles that others don’t have though. His great character and leadership are unquestionable while his upside is sky-high.

Colangelo has failed as a GM. He must carry a pretty big rabbits foot around because he is awful lucky to have received a multi-year extension. His bold moves have fizzled. The European movement, Jermaine O’Neal, Hedo Turkoglu. Nothing has worked for Bryan Colangelo.

The Raptors essentially fired their defensively inept coach Jay Triano and have hired Dallas Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey thus ushering in another new era under Colangelo.

The era needs to be started off with a bang. Kemba Walker might not possess all the qualities of the Raptors’ change towards a more grinding defensive philosophy but he does have exactly what the Raptors are missing. Star potential.

On a team lacking any direction, Kemba Walker could be the player to guide them to where they want to go.

Andrea Bargnani is a faux star. He wants to be considered the best but doesn’t want to put in the effort. The Raptors are getting away from that, the horrible pasta commercial and all.

Related: Andrea Bargnani Needs To Go

Kemba Walker should love the letter ‘e.’ He’s explosive, exciting, exhilarating and electrifying. Jaw dropping handles, cheeky floaters and freakish quickness. Kemba and his 6″1 frame aren’t close to being considered a true NBA ready point guard but he is an unselfish player, which is always a good place to begin.

Small forward may be the Raptors most glaring need but drafting another slasher with limited shooting range would be redundant and uncalled for. The Raptors don’t want another Demar Derozan. They shouldn’t shove just anybody into that small forward spot. They can wait another year to find a guy that fits the mould.

Drafting another big man would be wrist cuttingly painful for a front court that is already over capacity. Ed Davis and Amir Johnson will require more playing time in order to develop properly and Andrea Bargnani is still under contract for 3 more years. Stretching to find a legitimate big man in this year’s draft would be silly.

A team in the modern NBA must have a floor general. Jose Calderon cannot be a starting point guard on a contending team and Jerryd Bayless has proved that he can’t make the transition. Kemba Walker has the ability to be the Raptors very own General MacArthur.

Kemba Walker is not the safest choice. However, assuming Brandon Knight is unavailable at the 5 spot, Kemba is the right choice. Taking the safe route up to a certain point will only get you so far. The draft is where franchises can make-up for previous wrong doings. It can heal the wounds that have been left by the ghosts of seasons past.

The Raptors were unlucky not to be rewarded for their terrible season. The 5th pick in a weak draft doesn’t seem fair for a team that lost its franchise player. Maybe in the end it will all be for the best.

If they draft Kemba Walker.

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. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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NBA Going Global…At Least Trying To

International stars Andrea Bargnani and Sasha Vujacic battled it out at the O2 arena in London

The Toronto Raptors lost their franchise player in the off-season. The New Jersey Nets set the record for the worst start to an NBA season last year going 0-18 before getting their first victory. With that in mind, you have to ask why the NBA would choose those 2 teams to play the first ever regular season game in Europe. Why would the NBA ever think that this would be best way to build their brand overseas?

On Friday, the NBA played its first ever regular season game in Europe at the O2 arena in London, England. This endeavour is all part of Commissioner David Stern’s attempt to make the NBA a more global phenomenon. However, like the NFL, the NBA is going about this all wrong.

You think they would have learned from the majority of terrible games that the NFL has showcased internationally. Of the 5 games that the NFL has played outside of North America, only 1 of those games has been worthy of spending 3 hours of a Sunday watching. The Bronco-49er game this past season may have ended up being a good game, but the sound of Kyle Orton and Troy Smith facing off against each other doesn’t really make me jump for joy.

I can see why the Raptors were picked to play this game. They have a serious international flavour to their team. Most notably Andrea Bargnani (Italy), Jose Calderon (Spain), and Leandro Barbosa (Brazil). Not to mention the natural connection that many Englanders could possibly feel towards their commonwealth nephews. Still, with Bosh departing for South Beach there was no doubt that the Raptors would struggle this season.

The Nets, on the other hand, are just a confusing choice. The NBA was incredibly lucky that the Nets front office pulled off the unthinkable by acquiring Deron Williams because without him these past two games in London would have lost whatever small amount of lustre that it had.

It’s never a good sign when the biggest story of your team’s season is Kim Kardashian.

If the NBA wants to continue with this global expansion they have to fully commit to it because otherwise there’s no point. It’s obvious that they don’t want to burden possible contending teams like Boston or LA with a mid-season trip overseas. Seriously, you think Phil Jackson wouldn’t be mouthing off about the distraction of a London trip in March?

The atmosphere in London for the Raptors and Nets was comparable to a College atmosphere. Fans were chanting and doing the wave, but imagine what the atmosphere could have been like if the games had held any actual significance.

Sure, the two games’s sold out but that really isn’t that big of an accomplishment for a stadium that holds just under 19,000. Some fans are just so desperate to see NBA ball in person that it doesn’t matter who is playing. When exhibition games come to town in Vancouver the games sell out in a flash simply because there are a lot of people who need their fix of real basketball, not that an exhibition game exactly qualifies as real basketball. At least the games in London were both regular season games.

The NBA was bailed out this weekend. Fans at the O2 arena were treated to one good game and another exhilarating one, possibly the best of the year. You can thank the Raptors run and gun style as well as their 105 plus points allowed per game defence for that. The Raptors have put up some real stinkers this year, hence the 17-46 record. However, the Raptors shot very well this weekend and displayed lots of energy while the Nets were up for the challenge.

Very fortunate because I’m pretty sure the goal of this London trip wasn’t to showcase what the majority of the NBA really is. An overabundance of perennial bottom feeders that are unable to compete with the elite teams.

If the NBA wants to do this again next season they need implement a couple of games that mean something. If international is what the NBA wants it then meaningless basketball is not what the NBA should give.

The NBA was let off the hook this weekend by two teams energized at the idea of making history but if they try to pull this again next year the result probably won’t be as favourable.

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. You can also follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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