Sunday, March 14, 2010

I've Been Exposed As a Raptors Fan

About 8 months ago I was the happiest man in the world. The Toronto Raptors were making so many moves, and it appeared they would finally be an upper echelon team in the Eastern Conference. When the Raptors signed Hedo Turkoglu, I was smiling from ear to ear. I'll never forget it. Considering all the moves, I, along with the experts, believed the Raptors would be a 5 seed, maybe a 4 seed in the Eastern Conference come playoff time. I made a bold prediction of a 51-31 record, and possibly an Eastern Conference Finals reach. Yes, maybe these were biased predictions, but nonetheless...I had very high expectations for the Raptors in 2009-2010.

On February 19th, the Raptors defeated the Wizards 109-104, and improved their record to 31-24. Although that's just a so-so record, it appeared the Raptors were turning the corner and would only get better. But since then it's been....well, not what I thought. The Raptors are losers of 8 of 9, now have a 32-32 record, are the 8 seed in the East, and are just 1.5 games away from being out of the playoffs. Could it be? Could the Toronto Raptors really not make the playoffs?  We're not talking about a 4 or 5 seed like I predicted, we're talking about not making the playoffs?? Damn. I was way off. Now granted, the Raptors are only 2.5 games out of the 5 seed, but nonetheless. Having a record of 35-32 and a 5 seed isn't because of talent, it's just because the rest of the conference is so bad.

Last night's loss to the Warriors put me over the edge. Considering how bad the Warriors are (18-47), and how much the Raptors are playing for, it was very upsetting to see how flat the Raptors came out in the second half. Chris Bosh wasn't shy to vent his frustrating following the loss:

Although those are harsh words, Bosh is spot-on right. The coaches can preach all they want, but that means nothing come game time. Chris Bosh can dominate all he wants, but the Raptors won't be successful if he doesn't get the back-up support. It's because of this, along with his obvious frustrations, that I'd be surprised if Bosh re-signs. Bosh is an all-star, and he deserves a lot more than an average, first round playoff exit (if the Raptors even make the playoffs) team. Now, I could be wrong (because as you can see, I've been wrong before), but this team needs to start winning if they have any shot of keeping their superstar.

Is Bryan Colangelo overrated as a GM? While I applauded his off-season moves, they haven't made the team better. Yes, the Raptors have a deep bench. Yes, trading for Amir Johnson was a brilliant move. But his biggest acquisition, Hedo Turkoglu, has been a huge disappointment. Turkoglu is making roughly $10M this year, and he's playing like a pile of garbage. I knew Turkoglu was overpaid, but I didn't think it'd be this bad. Given Colangelo's failures over the past three seasons, could his job possibly be on the hot seat? I personally don't believe so, but just the thought of it shows how badly the Raptors and Colangelo have failed this year. 

You know what sucks about all this? I, as a die-hard fan can't do anything about it. I can throw my couch pillows at the television and curse my brains out, but that's about it. I can't join the team or scream at the personnel--I can only sit back, and witness losses to teams like the Warriors (18-47), Kings (22-44), and Sixers (23-42). It's very embarrassing to be a Raptors fan.

The Raptors west coast trip ends tonight against the Blazers, and I'm guessing their record will slide to 32-33. When's this nightmare going to end?

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