I want to say off the top that I wish Jay Triano the best of luck. I really mean that despite the fact I have not been a fan of the move to hire him as the head coach. At the end of the day he is a Canadian and is making history in being a head coach in the NBA. That is something great for all folks that love basketball in this country. It may help open doors and allow chances for people that come along in the future. Any time Canadians can have accomplishments in the sport of basketball on the highest level of the sport it can only do good things for all Canadians in the sport. I do not dislike Jay Triano in any way shape or form. In fact in my view he never should have been let go by Canada Basketball. The performance of Leo Rautins in comparison to Triano is prove of just what a great job Jay had done. It may also speak to the lack of what Rautins has done but that is a different blog for a different day. But my issues with Triano being named the head coach really have little to do with his passport or the fact he is from just down the road from where I live.
Bryan Colangelo admitted that this team was to nice and needed to get tougher. I agree with that. So if that is the case this team needs to change it's culture and attitude in order to change that. So how is that accomplished by hiring a head coach that has been with the organization for 7 years. In those 7 years the Raptors have been labelled as a "soft" team. Triano has been a part of all those years. So is he not part of that? In the press conference yesterday that to be honest for me felt like an infomerical to sell Triano to the fans, there was lots of talking of having to work harder and push this team harder. There was also mention that Jay had the endorsement of the team in exit interviews. I don't put much stock in that. I have been told by many guests that Raptors respect Triano and have supported him being the coach. I am not saying that is not the truth. I am sure it is. However do they truly believe that in their heart? Jay as he pointed out has been here longer than ant player or even the G.M for that matter. Jay is a likeable person and I think to a man people are pulling for him to succeed. Does that wanting him to succeed and him having good solid relationships get turned into respect? Is that true respect? I am not sure.
There is no questioning that Triano is a highly knowledgeable basketball mind. In another circumstance for another team Jay Triano could make a great head coach. However for this team I am not sure if that is the case. This team to me is or I guess was in need of an outside voice that would challenge them to do more and be more. I had made it no secret that Eddie Jordan was my front runner on my list of who should coach this team. Jordan for years was able to keep a team that had major injuries and issues together and in the playoffs. I think the job he did with the Wizards was outstanding given the circumstances.
There is also the money issue. Sam Mitchell is still getting paid and some suggest that impacted on the situation and improves Triano's odds as he would not be paid a large amount as a first time head coach. However if that is the case that is pathetic. MLSE claims it is not. I am tired of hearing excuses about cash from an organization that owns 2 hockey teams ( Leafs, Marlies ) a soccer team ( Toronto FC) the Raptors and not to mention all those nice condos that are being build around the ACC. Fact is they have money and if they every use the excuse that it is not possible to do something because of money it is B.S. If Phil Jackson whacked his head and decided he wanted to live in Canada and coach the Raptors they would have the money. They are the ones that said they are committed to win an NBA Title. If that is the goal of the organization money should not be a factor. However the truth is MLSE wants to make money first and if they can win a title as well great. I am confident in saying that Jay Triano would want and deserve to be the best man for the job not the most economical. Bryan Colangelo says he is. He also said that the board has to vote on any coaching change. It makes you wonder who was truly available for Bryan to consider. He says he did look through other candidates. Although he never really met with anyone about the job beyond Triano that we are aware of.
But this is the way it is. Triano is the coach and has a deal the guarantees the next 2 years and an option for a 3rd. So perhaps Triano in building his staff can bring in those new voices that are needed to correct the things this team lacks. Mark Ivaroni has been rumoured to be the name that is at the top of the list. Triano says he looks to bring in coaches that will make him better. Ivaroni is close to Bryan Colangelo and understands the way he does things. If we did not hear it once yesterday we heard it a thousand times that Jay and Bryan share the same basketball philosophy. Well Ivaroni does as well given working with Colangelo with the Suns. It is clear things have to change and if it has to be assistant coaches that will have to be good enough as far as it goes for me. Can assistants make that big an impact? If you look around the league you will find lots of good examples where they do. I will say this I think Triano is not afraid to line up a staff of folks that if things did not go well for him you could find his replacement on his bench.
I hope that Triano can make it work. Bryan Colangelo did all he could to take the blame for the 20-45 record that Triano racked up last season. But it was what his record was. There are lots of excuses that have been given. I will not bore you all with listing them again, we know what they are by now. They are legit in some cases but this is the highest level of basketball in the world and it is about getting results. The fact the Raptors beat up on a lot of teams down the stretch is not impressive to me. I also find it hypocritical of folks to say not to blame Jay for the record but than in the next sentence point to how this team finished the season. You can not have it both ways. If you are not going to blame him for the record of the team that is fine. However you can not use the record at the end of the year to prove your point. People can take numbers and make magic out of them. In fact in listening to all of that stuff yesterday I almost forget that this team was a bad as it was.
So even though I do not support this move. I still wish Jay Triano the best of luck. He may truly need some. He also needs his G.M Bryan Colangelo to make some magic happen with this roster. I always am happy to be proven wrong if it means the Raptors will be better for it. Hopefully Jay learned one thing from Sam Mitchell. What is that? Not to read stuff that is written about him. I really respect Jay Triano and honestly hope that I am wrong but I just don't see this as a good move. I really want to drink the kool aid but just can't. So go out there and prove me wrong Jay Triano. Nothing would make me happier.