Where Damon Stoudamire gets his pot.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Well folks, it's official. The Jay Triano era has officially hit new levels of disappointment.

The Toronto Raptors dropped a game to the Oklahoma City Thunder this evening by a score of 91 - 83. Yes, the same OKC Thunder who have appeared in numerous sports websites under speculations of being the worst team in NBA history. With the victory OKC improves to 3 wins and 24 losses on the season.

A couple years back, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Hornets played a fair share of games in Oklahoma City as a test-run before Seattle got absolutely ransacked for their beloved franchise. This is like the basketball equivalent of foreplay with Joan Holloway of Mad Men only for Kathy Griffin to come in for the real deal.

For the Raps to lose to the lowly Thunder doesn't bode well for Triano, the first Canadian to coach in the NBA as the head guy. Bosh looks disgruntled. Bargnani remains inconsistent. The wing players are severely outmatched. Jermaine O'Neal is an absolute shell of his former self. But in short, the motivation and hunger has been replaced with apathy and complacency. This team, given the way they've performed since Sam Mitchell's departure, is destined for the draft lottery.

Yet the season is barely past the quarter mark. The playoffs remain a reasonable expectation, but management needs to act now. Which is why I propose two names to take over in Toronto: Eddie Jordan and Avery Johnson.

To start, I realize Avery Johnson's reputation in the league took a serious hit after the 67-win Dallas Mavericks bowed out in the first round to the Nellie-ball G-State Warriors. People say he's too much of a hard-ass, he's too controlling, and with the emergence of Devin Harris as an elite-level point guard, that he stifles the development of young players. All of this is true, to an extent, yet you can't deny that Johnson's Mavericks played wildly successful basketball during his brief tenure. Outside of Don Nelson sticking it to him in that opening playoff round, the Mavericks were greatly improved with Johnson's arrival as opposed to Nelson's former loose style. The Raptors could use some discipline. Triano, like your typical Canadian, seems like a mild-mannered, patient fellow. Sorry, but that's not going to work with this sack of unmotivated guys (save for Bosh and a couple other exceptions).

Eddie Jordan is another name which could help the sorry state in Raptorland. Over his tenure in Washington Jordan has repeatedly extracted maximum results from injury-depleted teams. The make-up of those Wizards teams was never built for success - rather based around two or three big-time players - yet Jordan could take them to the second round of the playoffs. Finally, this season, he met a situation which he couldn't remedy and received a pink slip. But he remains a bona fide leader and motivator, both characteristics which a future head coach in Toronto should exemplify. (Something tells me his style would take really well to the college game...)

So please, for the sake of Raptors fans, let Triano slip back to the outside of the huddle as an assistant. Plenty of talented NBA coaches have drifted from their professions and need to be dragged from the commentator's booths. Either one of these two guys will suffice.

1 comment:

jfresh said...

k-griff isn't all bad.