The NBA’s Softest Team Vows to Get Tough

By: 04.21.09  •  30 Comments

At the risk of enraging some of the many Toronto fans who are regularly on our site, I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a softer team in the NBA this season than the Raptors – I’m talking physically and mentally. And I’m pretty sure that most sane Raps fans would agree.

Raps’ GM Bryan Colangelo says that’s all about to change. From the Toronto Star:

No more Mr. Nice Guys.

As Bryan Colangelo enters an off-season of change, even though he’s unable to predict today how substantial that change will be, he made it glaringly apparent the one thing he needs to address is the Raptors’ level of toughness.

“We are too nice, we are too nice as a group. Collectively, the group is too nice,” the team’s president said in a wide-ranging, hour-long state of the franchise session yesterday.

“That’s not to say you’ve got to go out and get bad guys (but) when you step on the court, you better have some fight. I think some of the guys were saying you better have some dog in you.”

And that’s more pitbull than poodle.

“It becomes a matter of pride at some point,” Colangelo said “It can’t be me up here defending the roster all the time, it has to be them defending themselves. But in terms of what we’re looking to do when we’re addressing personnel this summer, we’re going to be bringing in perhaps players with a different mentality.

If he’s really serious about changing the culture, he has to be willing to pretty much blow it all up and start over again. He should be ready to let Shawn Marion (a free agent) walk. Marion will almost definitely want more money than Toronto is willing to pay, and he won’t exactly help any team shed a rep for being soft.

He should be open to fielding trade offers for Jose Calderon and even Chris Bosh. I know, I know, Raptors fans love Bosh, and I agree, Bosh is nice. But is he much better suited as a second option on a very good team as opposed to having to be the man somewhere? Definitely. If a team stepped up to the plate with a legit offer of good young players and picks for him, Colangelo would be crazy to turn it down.

Now, this s going to sound contradictory to everything I’ve written to this point, but the last guy I’d be willing to move would be Andrea Bargnani. Everyone else on this roster is a known quantity, including Bosh. Guys with Andrea’s size and skills aren’t easy to come by, and as we saw in the second half of the season, Bargnani could be an unreal player down the road.


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