It has been a summer of excitement and enthusiasm with all the moves Byran Colangelo has made. The release of the schedule yesterday was a sign it is clear reality is coming. There is no question that this new group of Raptors are going to be baptized under fire. Jay Triano will need to prove Bryan Colangelo right and not wrong in picking him to coach this squad. I have grown to be accepting of Jay despite my doubts. However if this thing does not get off to a good start all eyes will be on Triano. It will be interesting to see what happens should things go wrong. I think most people want Jay to be successful because he is Canadian. It is not to suggest he is not a good coach, it is just the reality that he has a positive bias going for him. Sam Mitchell was someone who based on his personality that would be a guy you loved or hated. He was bombastic and funny, with Sam what you saw was what you got. Despite a much more mild mannered approach, Jay is a competitor as well. Last season when he smashed a defenseless clipboard you got to see that fire inside him.
One of the things, that I had said would be required, for Jay to be successful, was a turnover of this roster. He had been a part of this organization for far to long to not require that. It is a very hard task to move from being an assistant coach with a team to the head coach of the same team. The core players remain but there has been enough change that Jay can be effective. Chris Bosh has a solid relationship with Triano and actually endorsed him keeping his position at head coach. The question will be when adversity comes, and given that first month of the schedule it will, how is that handled.
No matter how much you love the moves Bryan Colangelo has made, it still will come down to his choice as coach and that coaches choice of staff. It will be a great task to get all of this talent to learn fast and get to know each other over the span of a training camp and pre-season. This Raptor team will need to be ready right from the start. It is a lot of pressure for Triano. I am not saying that I don't hope and think he can rise to the challenge. But I think everyone would agree that Bryan Colangelo has went above and beyond to give him the tools to be successful. Now it real is up to Jay.
It is also is up to Chris Bosh. If the goal for Bosh is to get a max contract he will need to rise to a new level. Much like the case with Triano, he can not say that Bryan Colangelo has not done all he could to make the team around him better. It is on the defensive end where Bosh has the most room to grow. He did average a 20 and 10 season last year. That fact seems to get lost on some with the Raptors terrible season.
Despite what people like Chad Ford seem to think they know...Bosh seems happy here. Ford in a recent article suggests that Bosh is counting the days till he can return to the United States. That seems odd when you consider that Bosh has spent perhaps the most time I can ever recall this off-season in Toronto. Anyone who saw him out at Caribana would dispute the fact he seems so unhappy here... according to Ford. When all this is said and done a lot of people could be eating crow if Bosh remains a Raptor. I am proud to say that I am not one of them.
Calderon and Bargnani also must prove they are going to be core pieces worth keeping. Bargnani took some major steps forward last season. The addition of Marco Belinelli should add some stability for him off the floor. He must continue to grow on the floor and live up to the promise of when he was selected number 1 overall. In terms of Calderon he must show he can stay healthy and expand his game. Better defense and taking more educated risk on offense is necessary. The addition of Jarrett Jack gives the Raptors options should Calderon not improve in these areas. It also will allow him to play less minutes, which at least seemed to be a factor in some way to his injuries in my opinion.
Speaking of opinions. I have lots and hopefully you do as well. I am going to start tomorrow doing a weekly radio show online. DNB Radio is set to take to the internet on Thursday at 10pm. I am going to have a guest but there also will be time for you to call in and have your say as well. If this is successful it will continue every Thursday from now right through the season. There is a call in number for the show (347) 994-2767. I hope to hear from some of you.