Raptor Report Cards

We continue to look back on the season that was and wasn't for the Toronto Raptors here at the Dino Nation Blog. I had a chance to be a guest on Raptors Rundown on the Game Point Blog. Thanks to Kris for the invite to be a guest on his podcast. He mentions that I am an inspiration to him and his blog. When I started the Dino Nation Blog it was never thought that it would inspire people to start doing this. It really is a honour that people feel that way. I have a love and passion for what I do, if that is inspirational to someone that is fantastic. It is nice that so many young people have taken a liking to what I am doing. I joke around about my age, but even though I don't have kids, young people are important to me. From the littlest fan like a Kid Raptor to these young people starting their own blogs is great. One of the goals of the Dino Nation Blog was to build the interest and love of basketball in general in this country. So hopefully we are doing that and the legacy of people inspired by the Dino Nation Blog can continue to grow. I believe that Charles Barkley was right in that no one is a role model in Pro Sports. I don't consider myself one ether. However I do try to represent myself and this blog in a positive light. So thanks again to Kris and anyone else that feels I have had an impact on them in that positive way. This was really not something that I expected to come out of doing this thing.

Now on to the Dino Nation Blog's report cards. If the Raptors were taking these home to get signed by Mom and Dad they may get grounded. Given how they finished the last semester of basketball it is hard to think of many that will improve on their mid-season grades. When your team goes form 6 wins above .500 to out of the playoffs and 2 games below .500 that can only be expected...Right? A reminder that these grades are based on the expectations compared to reality. So if a bench player gets a higher grade than a starter it is based on the expectation level being lower. They also are based off the previous grades and if they improved from there or regressed.

Jose Calderon (Mid Term Grade- C+) He did get his starting job back. But was that based on his great play or a drop off in Jarrett Jack's performance that allowed it to happen? Clearly getting his starting job back did not help matters with Jose. His numbers on offense were down across the board this season and his defense is the same. Which is not a good thing obviously. In fact when we look back to when Jose signed his sizable contract it is safe to say there has been a steady regression in his performance. Some Raptor fans were outraged by the fact Kenny Smith suggested a few years ago that Calderon was not a starter in this league. This was at the peak of Calderon's performance where some were even talking him up as a potential All-Star. Well as we look back Kenny Smith was closer to being right than those folks thinking Jose was an all-star. Bryan Colangelo may be hard pressed to move Calderon in the off-season. However he must make this move, because if he moves Jack instead and Jose continues to perform at this level fans will never let him forget it- (Final Grade D+)

Jarrett Jack ( Mid Term Grade B ) Jack really had taken this team by the horns in the first half of the season. He lost his grip to the point it allowed Calderon to replace him as the starter. It took Jack some time to accept being back to the number 2 guy again. Ultimately he needs to pick up his defense as well. He is hands down better than Calderon in that respect but we must see that every time he is on the floor. Jack down the stretch when few players seemed to care if this team made it or not, he did and it was written all over his face. He needs to make his 3 point shot more consistently. He can take some pride in the overall success of the Young Guns. He has been the wise old man that advises this youngsters on the ways of the west and life in the NBA. (Final Grade- B-)

Marcus Banks ( Mid Term Grade C+) Can a guy that rarely plays and people were praying Colangelo could trade for a bag of balls actually be the Raptors best defender at the position? It is hard to tell to be honest with you, because we don't see enough of him. Despite being vastly overpaid you can not question Banks effort when he is given chances. Offensive side of thing he still drive me nuts when he gets in there. However I really have lost the fire to say get rid of this guy. Perhaps hearing him on "The Hoops" show was a turning point for me. It helped make you understand that Marcus Banks is a pretty solid guy and he has given all he has when called upon. (Final Grade C+)

Demar DeRozan (Mid Term Grade B-) He lost his starting spot but at the very end of the season closed with a career high. DeRozan unfortunately has to be compared to folks in his draft glass like Evans, Curry and Jennings. DeRozan is not going to ever measure up this season in comparison to those guys. However he never had as a big a role on his team as those players as well. On defense Demar got taken to school a lot this year. However part of his problems are based on the Raptors overall sucking on defense. It is hard to learn how to play defense correctly when the people around you are not performing up to snuff as well. In the interview I did with Kris, I said that I would feel massive disappointment if Demar is not one of the most improved players on this roster next season. It was a year of learning and the test of what he learned will come next season. As for this year he was up and down and very inconsistent on both ends. ( Final Grade C+)

Antonie Wright (Mid-Term Grade F) I took a lot of heat for the mid-term grade. The ironic thing is Wright would rise up after that grade and show some signs. I am still not in love with him as a player and I honestly do not feel he is back next year. However he is without question one of the few people that improved in this second half. He to his credit was one of the few guys showing fight down the stretch for this team. He unfortunately turned his ankle and his season was brought to a pre-mature end. He never measured up to being the defender that he was hyped to be. That being said he was one of the best defenders on team that lacked defense. I felt he talked far to much for a guy that was at best a role player on this roster? I will be surprised if he is back but he can take heart in at least he got out of my dog house. Which I am sure he cares about deeply. Yeah Right....or should that have been Yeah Wright. (Final Grade C)

Hedo Turkoglu (Mid Term Grade F) Took heat for this one as well. Who doesn't agree now? F as in Flop, Failure, and some other word that begins with F that he made Raptor fans say more than once. From his night club escapades with no pictures to partying when you called in sick for work. Then of course we had BALL. Which many say Hedo did not see enough off. Epic Failure sums up Hedo Turkoglu's first season in Toronto. Even his apology on the way out the door lacked energy and effort, not to mention sincerity too. His defense was brutal, his effort was worse. This has a chance to be one of the worst signings in Raptor History. That is saying a lot because there have been some bad ones. Yogi Stewart I am looking at you!!! Colangelo promises you will see a better Hedo next year. My question is was that a promise to fans or a wish for himself. Perhaps both. ( Final Grade Still F)

Sonny "Money" Weems (Mid Term Grade B) He earned a nickname and a ton more this second half. Sonny Weems became one of the few reasons to watch this team down the stretch. His rise from out of no where reminds folks of that of Jamario Moon. However let's hope he does not fall as fast. I am convinced he will not. Weems is pretty fundamentally sound. That jump shot is looking more "Money" by the game. He adds energy and spark and he will if nothing else challenge his buddy Demar to match his effort and energy. The best story of the second half of the year by a mile. He deserved to be a starter as much as HeDON'T deserved to take a seat. Sonny is flat out the BEST STORY of this season. (Final Grade A)

Marco Belinelli (Mid Term Grade C-) Bryan Colangelo set the bar very high for Marco when he said that he felt he had the potential to be 6th man of the year. He was no where near that. He in fact seemed to be stuck in Jay Triano's doghouse for most of the season. He just never delivered and you now understand why Golden State was not exactly worried about tossing him overboard. Worse yet early on Colangelo picked up an option on his contract. Can Marco turn it around? Hopefully. Team Italy for the Raptors did not have a good second half of the season. (Final Grade- F)

Reggie Evans (Mid Term Grade- He was Injured so Incomplete)- Reggie Evans injury in the pre-season really set his Raptor career off on the wrong foot quite literally. Evans did eventually play and unfortunately never was able to match the bull in a china shop we saw in pre-season briefly. He often looked out of sorts trying to be a scorer at times. It was not pretty. He was not the dominate force on the glass he has been in the past. It was revealed in exit interviews that Reggie may not have been at full strength even when he did return. Clearly his injury screwed up his entire season. I unlike most have not given up hope in terms of Reggie. But clearly he feel far short of the expectations he had that were sky high in terms of what his impact would be. (Final Grade D)

Rasho Nesterovic (Mid Term Grade D-) It was a feel good signing that really never amounted to much. Rasho is a good guy and will never cause you a problem. That being said he was used sparingly at best. He can once in awhile pop off the bench and shock you with some solid play. But clearly bringing back Rasho really didn't amount to much. I don't expect him to be back but I think most Raptor fans will always appreciate him. Unfortunately he just is not a guy that is going to contribute much on the floor anymore. Off of it he can be an asset but not so much that it is worth paying him the money it would cost. (Final Grade D)

Amir Johnson (Mid Term Grade A-) Fear Amir!!! Also fear if he can stay on the floor. But if he can look out. Johnson has done a solid job and in a contract year for him has delivered that goods. He is the only of the Raptors Free Agents that I suspect the Raptors will push hard to re-sign. Chris Bosh obviously they will as well but that story may be written. If Bosh goes signing Amir becomes even more of a priority he closed the season playing strong without Bosh. Showing he can be a scorer as well as a rebounder and defensive presence on that end of the floor. The last ever guy to make the jump from high school to the pros made a big leap in what people think about him around the league. Raptors will not be the only ones looking to sign him up this off-season. Foul magnet deactivate and he can be great. ( Final Grade A )

Andrea Bargnani ( Mid Term Grade A-) Things were looking o.k for Andrea at times this season. But when Chris Bosh went down to injuries where was he? Most times he was no where to be found. He recently was quoted in an article that he is ready to be the franchise guy if Bosh leaves. I strongly disagree with Andrea. He has never shown the ability to be a good Batman. He quite honestly struggles to be Robin on some days. Rebounding still a major issue and his defense is soft. Someone please teach this kid how to foul someone hard and not allow them to score. People question Bosh as a leader and if he is truly a top flight player. Well for those people is Andrea even in Bosh's neighborhood? He shouldn't be cause he isn't. When we are still talking bout a guy making 50 million dollars in terms of potential something is wrong. If Colangelo had waited to extend Bargnani till now how much less could he have got away with. Overall it was a season that was inconsistent for Bargnani. It was a good year but not a great year. If Bosh goes the Raptors need great from Bargnani and I am not sure he is capable. (Final Grade B-)

Chris Bosh (Mid Term Grade A) Injuries, frustration and a sad ending to a great career with the Raptors. That might be how we look back on the end of the CB4 Era if that is where we are heading. Bosh was injured right out of the gate after the all-star break. He sat and watched this team fail without him. He would never really recover from that point. I am not talking in terms of health. In terms of mentally. Then he ends up taking an elbow and it was all over for him for the season and for the Raptors. Chris is getting beat up a lot by folks. Saying he fades down the stretch of seasons. He becomes easily frustrated. But ask yourself how you would feel? The last 3 major moves made by Bryan Colangelo have failed. Jason Kapono, Jermaine O'Neal and Hedo Turkoglu have all not worked out. Chris is part of the problems this team has endured but his share of blame is far less than most would have you believe. But on this season along he clearly fell off and he did not have a team around him that was able to pick him up. If this is the end then a grade of B seems appropriate for bye. 20 and 10 is not easy to replace each night and Raptor fans may learn that lesson the hard way next season. (Final Grade B-)

Jay Triano ( Mid Term Grade C+) Jay Triano has his job still. Amazing when you consider how this team performed when it mattered most. The defense is horrible and was for the majority of the season. I question his ability to motivate players on this level as an NBA head coach. I guess the point is for my money Jay Triano is book smart but I am not convinced he his street smart. Colangelo believes in him and I clearly question that. Jay may at the end of the day, just might be a great assistant coach on this level and not have the stuff to be the guy. That is not a crime and he would not be the first to have this happen to him. You only need to look to Mark Ivaroni on his staff for an example of that. Colangelo is willing to let Triano learn on the job. Raptor fans clearly are not embracing that idea with open arms. Eventually you are what your record says you are. Jay Triano eventually has to be held accountable for that record does he not? The Organization stuck with Sam Mitchell through some bad years. However Sam never had the talent on paper that Jay has had. Sam also when he did have talent got this team to the post season. (Final Grade D-)

Bryan Colangelo ( Mid Term Grade B-) No move at the deadline and for the 3rd year time in his run with the Raptors his major off-season move is a bust. He also sticks with a coach that most at least in the fan base feel is not the guy to take this team anywhere. On top of it all he will be the G.M that will be likely will be part of Chris Bosh leaving. This is not exactly the legacy that people hoped for when he arrived. Colangelo has hit a lot of singles and doubles. But his home run swing has been lacking in his time here. He needs to hit a major homer run this off-season especially if he is unable to re-sign Bosh. Is Colangelo a victim of bad luck of bad decision making. Perhaps a combination of both. He also has the legacy of those 150 Million worth of contracts that belong to Hedo, Jose and Andrea. Colangelo is clearly down the question will be is he out. I know this much Colangelo will go down swinging if he is. (Final Grade D+)

Dino Blogger ( Mid Term Grade C+)- This has been a really learning year for myself. I added some folks to the mix here in Anas and Danielle. I hope that they will develop and grow as I did when this thing started. It was also the first season I had access to Raptors and it was a learning experience. I always feel that I can do more and do things better. That being said I am trying my best to build on to things and have added more things to the list of things I am doing. I am proud of some of the stuff I have been able to accomplish this season. It is never easy to stay motivated when things go south. However they did and I feel that I was still able to keep things rolling. As we finish our 3rd season of covering the Raptors and close in on 3rd year doing the Dino Nation Blog. Someone pointed out I forgot to give myself a grade in the original posting of this so I was going to give myself a B...but based on not giving myself a grade B-.

That is about it...oh by the way if you thought Patrick O'Bryant was forgotten he wasn't he just wasn't a factor on the floor and won't be back.


  1. Nice list. You're going to take some flak for that grade on Banks, but I gotta agree. In the context in which he plays - deep on the bench, not as a starter or even seventh man - he's pretty solid. Maybe a tad pricy, but they could certainly do a lot worse.

    I disagree a little on Reggie. If you weigh his rebounds against his minutes - his boards per 36 minutes - he actually grabbed them at a higher clip then he has in the past two seasons. Maybe that's the result of his limited minutes, but I think it's a positive sign for next season.

    At the same time, he was huge liability on the offensive end, looked out of shape and was hurt most of the season (and only owns one blazer, as I recall). At best, he was a C-.

  2. I love Reggie he is one of my favourite guys in locker room. He just didn't have that impact numbers may paint a picture that was not the reality. Reggie hopefully gets right and we see the guy we saw in pre-season.

    With Banks I just have finally decided to forget the contract and just base how I feel on his actual play. Maybe I should have done that all along.

  3. I am in total accord with your final report card. My only quibble would be with Andrea, who does not deserve a B- as a final grade. When Bosh went down both times, and at the end of the year when we needed Andrea to fill the scoring load, he failed miserably. He was invisible in the must win game at home to the Bulls, and refused to make any efforts at all to get to the line. With Bosh almost certainly gone, Bargnani has to find a way to show up on a more consistent basis.

    I would also like to see you give an overall grade to the Raptors team on the court as a whole, and to MLSE, who are doing the hiring/firing and dictating the direction the Raptors go.

    I do enjoy these kind of write-ups by you James. Our future both short term and long term is bleak, so Raptor fans will be truly tested looking ahead. It really is mind boggling how Colangelo is giving everyone a free pass from his final presser, but understandably, he needs to protect his so called assets for any upcoming moves. Behind the scenes he is really pissed, but he brought this all upon himself, with his more than questionable moves and makeup of this roster.