3/6/09

The J.O And Moon Return Game

20 games left to go in a season that has been the most disappointing in Raptors history? I would say yes. When you consider all that has gone on it is hard to argue. Chris Bosh still says this team can make the playoffs. If that were to happen it would take a totally new Raptor team that we have just not seen all season. Even if that was to happen they would still need a ton of help. I have said for a longtime this team would not make the playoffs and every move including the trade seems to suggests that they would not. It is vital for the Raptors to hold the rights to the first round pick they have. Making the playoffs would turn that pick over to Miami. What would that accomplish for the long term improvement of this franchise. The answer is not a lot. While Chris Bosh as a player wants to hold out hope that this team can make it, seeing the bigger picture beyond this season it makes sense.

However what also makes no sense is thinking this team can be better without Bosh. I just can't see a deal that makes this team better if you move Bosh. People are so focused on the here and now but fail to see the past. Not just the past of Bosh but the past of this franchise. I have told you how I think all of this goes away. Get Steve Nash. If you do Marion maybe views the situation differently here in Toronto. Jose Calderon has to learn a running system and Nash is the master of a running system. Calderon is a square peg in a round whole for this running system the Raptors seem fully committed to playing. Bosh is a running system with Nash could thrive. Bargnani could also gain from it as well as Nash has made many a 3 point shooter look very good and made them very rich.

But why would the Suns do it? For the same reason that Raptors would look to move Bosh according to everyone. Why should the Suns feel any more confident that Nash would return? There is also the issue of his age and if they would even want to re-sign him. After all Bryan Colangelo brought Nash to the Suns not Steve Kerr.

People talk of Roko Ukic and his potential well who better to mentor that than Steve Nash? You want prove of his impact just check out D.J Augustin who got help from both Nash and T.J Ford. Instead of trying to blow up the Raptors why not try to fix them. Everyone says this team has talent. People were truly shocked by what has happened to the Raptors this season. Could making that one move I am suggesting change this team into a team that can be highly improved? It just might and if I am wrong you still could move Bosh and you have the cap room added by taking on Steve Nash. You can still rebuild and start over. However what does it hurt to not try one last time to get it right with Chris Bosh. Is it not worth one last shot?

The Miami Heat have much the same challenges as the Raptors when they look to the future. Wade could walk away from the Heat as well in 2010. However given the re-birth season he has had and the rise of the Heat from the ashes not to many people are focused on that. It is all about the Playoffs for Miami but in reality can they beat Cleveland, Boston or Orlando? I am thinking not. That being said the hope that they could makes all this 2010 talk go away. Here in Toronto that hope was long gone a long time ago.

As bad as it all seems for the Raptors you can look at the Heat last season and see a lot of the same things. They had a star in Wade that a lot of people wonder rather loudly if he could return to the player that was known as flash. Maybe think about that before you want to demolish the Raptors and start from scratch. If Wade were to declare he was leaving in 2010 how good would the Heat be? Not so good right?

Jamario Moon on the other hand has been much better of late for the Heat.

Shooting % with Raptors- 47.3%, With the Heat 52.5 %

3 Point % with Raptors- 34.5%, With the Heat 42.9%

In his last 3 games with the Heat he has averaged 15 points, 6-14 from 3 point range, 8.3 rebounds.

His defense has still been pretty bad and his blocks and steals have actually gone down with the Heat. He is play on average 27 minutes a slight bump from the 25 he was getting in Toronto. Why the change in performance on offense? Dwayne Wade and winning seems to be a simple answer. Even Jamario himself last night could not figure out what changed for him or the Raptors this season. He made an appearance on Hoops. Moon was also talking it up from almost the start in Miami declaring the Heat could make the conference finals. I mean what the heck? I like Jarmario he is a nice guy and I think his dedication to the sport is truly remarkable. However he seems to just be a guy that is dependent on others for any success he can have. He needs others to do things for him to be successful. In Toronto this season he was not getting the help in other performances and it exposed him.

As for Jermaine O'Neal his numbers do not show much difference. A slight improvement in is FG% and a dip in rebounding. However Miami made this trade to secure D-Wade and they can say whatever they like that is why they made this deal. If J.O can add to the Heat great but the bottom line of it all was to gain cap space and make a serious pitch to keep Wade.

As for tonight and the return of these 2 guys I am not sure what the reaction of fans will be. For me personally it ho hum. I mean Moon was only hear over just a year. As quickly as he gained the attention and love of the fan base he lost it just as fast this year. A nice guy and still a great story but in the end I don't feel much of anything about him going or returning. I guess if he can do well with the Heat he will get another NBA contract and based on him being a good person and his story I guess, I am happy about that. When he first was traded to Miami his staying in the league to me was in serious doubt. If he can continue his improvement with the Heat he should be able to remain in the league. That for Jamario Moon is a very good thing. He was just happy to have made it to the league and was grateful of what it means to be an NBA player. That is something that sometimes is not the norm for the NBA these days.

When it comes to J.O. If you read this blog back in the summer my original reaction to the Jermaine O'Neal trade was not positive. I allowed myself to have my mind changed. Guess that was a mistake. I did learn that J.O is not the bad guy that I had always thought he was. However from a basketball perspective he did pretty much what I had expected. His injury issues were still there and always will be. The days of him being an All-Star in this league are far removed. I am puzzled how so many people became so attached to this guy in his short time here. Seeing posts about keeping J.O and getting rid of Bosh were just comedy to me. I guess that J.O as Raptor is just some trivia question that 5 or 10 years from now that will stump people that do not pay that much attention to the Raptors. Beyond that J.O being here will not have many warm fuzzy memories. So his return is a pretty much a non event. It is not like I can boo someone for being pretty much everything that I expected basketball wise.

So that is about all I have to get you ready for this one. Stampede weekend continues on with the results of their game against Utah and interviews with Brent Petway on Saturday and Nathan Jawai on Sunday. Actually my bad the Stampede don't play till Monday.

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