Sam Mitchell, now the ex-head coach of the Toronto Raptors, was swiftly replaced last week by the then assistant coach Jay Triano. Apparently, winning “coach of the year” does not give one much job security these days. All in all, the decision was not a surprise, given Colangelo’s obvious and understandable desire to install someone of his own choosing as well as the pitiful week the Raptors had just prior to the falling axe. In this climate of constant coaching changes, Mitchell should not have been that surprised either. Coaching is equally about keeping your players motivated as it is about Xs and Os. And the recent trouncing by the Denver nuggets demonstrated a huge lack of both, with the former being the higher cause for concern.
Here’s a clip: (highlights include a refreshing JO speaking about personal responsibility as well as Triano trying to turn Hassan Adams into an all-star!)
Triano, the first Canadian born coach to ever coach in the NBA, will inherit a no doubt talented team with an equally no doubt roster with many holes. The most glaring of these is the backup point guard situation with two unproven, often confused looking, frustratingly inconsistent PGs in Will Solomon and Roko Ukic backing up the solid Jose Calderon. They are weak on the wings, with Anthony Parker possibly the worst starting 2 in the league. They have an aging ex-all star in Jermaine O’Neal with a scary history of serious injuries.
But given all that, Calderon and Bosh are all-star calibre. Bargnani is showing some serious signs that he’s here to play this season. Joey Graham has been perhaps more good than bad. And O’Neal (if he stays healthy) can be a tenacious rebounder and intimidating presence in the post. I heard the other day that altered shots are better for the defensive team than blocked shots because they result more often in defensive rebounds while blocks often give the ball back to the team on offense. And JO has the ability to consistently alter shots.
So it is up in the air as to how this team will perform under the tutelage of a “new” face. My prediction is a playoff berth without home-court advantage and perhaps another first round exit. But it is early and there is a game today. And we all know how one game can change peoples minds. Especially the acute minds over at realgm.
Enjoy the game.