Where Damon Stoudamire gets his pot.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Radar Maker

Nash is the only one who didn't wax his chest. Idiot.

To start I have a couple columns from the Martlet I'd like to share. The first contends that the Raptors need to shore up a couple problems - and at the time this was written, coaching and Andrea Bargnani were the top candidates - to secure Bosh's trust for the longterm. Because if they don't, the franchise puts themselves in a hole for at least a few years. And given a marginal draft history - their best drafting was probably done by Isiah Thomas - Bosh's faith in the franchise's direction must be the number one priority over the next 18 months.

With a couple weeks of retrospection I maintain that the Raps could improve at the head coach position. That said, give Jay Triano the rest of the season to prove his merit. If the Raps finish well below .500, then I think you look elsewhere.

Andrea Bargnani, on the other hand, is safe. Since he took the starting centre position from an injured Jermaine O'Neal he's flourished in the new system. Bargnani has been borderline infuriating at times in his short career, but in the past two or three weeks we've seen more than enough evidence that he belongs on this team and factors heavily in their future.

(Note: I'm watching the MLK Day action, which is fantastic for someone such as myself who works nights and thus watches far less action than I wish to. The matinee MLK match-ups might be one of the unheralded aspects to the NBA. And then Dirk Nowitzki - who looks a little Aryan - nails a buzzer-beater against the 76ers. Oh, and Mike Bibby just missed an open lay-up against the Raps. And I'm not talking about a straight-on, clanked-against-the-back-rim missed lay-up. Bibby has an angle on the rim and went SHORT on the bank.)

This is the second, and current, column in the Martlet
. Which is really a more comedic piece about the five biggest career collapses among current players. I really wanted to include Tracy McGrady in this piece, but seeing as the Chinese voters might put him in the starting line-up in Phoenix, with no regard for his actual on-court play, I didn't think I could swing it. Certainly one of the better columns in a while.

So how about these JO for Shawn Marion rumours?

There's no doubt the Raptors play infinitely better when JO is out of the line-up. Bargnani has filled the centre role with ease and helps their squad play at a quicker pace. JO keeps them stagnant on offence and has increasing difficulty finding points. In short: they don't need Jermaine O'Neal on their team.

Obviously his large contract holds some trade value around the league. It expires by 2010 - in other words it passes the first question other teams might ask about your trade bait.

But does Marion fit with the Raps? From a basketball standpoint, yes. From a personality standpoint, no.

Marion could immediately step into the small forward position that has caused the Raps such difficulty this season. Does this stagnate the development of Joey Graham? Sure does, but he's had three years to prove his merit, and despite improvements to his game, he's not their answer at small forward.

Marion would give them a spark of athleticism and defence at the perimeter (which is more than some Raps SFs can offer). If the Raps really want to implement a high-tempo offense, Marion is a great option for the receiving end of some Calderon alley-oops.

The biggest downsides in a potential trade are character issues with Marion and his considerable decrease in efficiency. Throughout his tenure with the Phoenix Suns, Marion had problems with accolades being showered upon Amare Stoudamire and Steve Nash, who, unbeknownst to Marion, took his play to a much higher level with his arrival. If Marion came to Toronto, he'd be far from the top alpha dog. This is Bosh's team. It's even Jose and Andrea's team before it's Marion's.

Plus Marion's stats have plummetted since his Phoenix departure. His rebounding statistics remain passable at 9 per game, but his scoring is 10 points fewer than his best Phoenix seasons. Marion is no longer a young man, though still pretty spry. You can't say that he isn't surrounded by good players. Mario Chalmers isn't a slouch at point guard, regardless of being a rookie. Dwayne Wade, despite his scoring prowess, can pass the ball. And yet Marion isn't scoring.

Could Jose inject some moxy into Marion's career? If Colangelo pulls the trigger, with the assistance of Pat Riley, we'll find out.

At least Marion has an expiring contract. That's all anyone cares about.

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