Toronto Raptors direction unknown
BY STEPHEN DYELL
After a recent three game winning streak, the Toronto Raptors seem to be pulling together to finish off a disappointing start of the season heading into 2013. However the bigger picture remains murky with questionable management decisions and an injury plagued roster.
Without a first-round pick unless they finish in the bottom three, the direction of the young team is in distress. One of the floor leaders and longest serving Raptors in Jose Calderon is a free agent after this year and rumors of his displeasure have been floating around as he remains one of the most consistent players in the lineup this year.
The rest of the roster remains flat outside some bright spots. Most of the lineup is on a contract beyond next year including the back part of the bench.
Bryan Colangelo has continued his international invasion as he hopes to not repeat a Chris Bosh scenario but has mismanaged the precision of creating a competitive roster. Bringing in Dwane Casey to put an emphasis on defence was a positive step but it has been quickly erased due to lack of defensive talent on the team.
Only four players in the history of the All-Defensive Team have come from outside the United States. Raptors starting five for parts of the season have featured four players from outside the United States and the results of late game collapses have followed as rebounding and overall limiting high percentage shots have taken a toll.
With the off-season struck with disappointment striking out on the ageless Steve Nash, quick triggers on signings and trades have put the Raptors in a pickle that has fans questioning the direction general manager Colangelo has been pushing.
The international flavor is directed towards the cultural background of Toronto in hopes that players drafted in the system will stay in the system but have missed the mark on talented Canadians. Andrew Nicholson was drafted by the Orlando Magic at the 19th pick in this summers draft and has shown promise playing behind Glen Davis. Terrence Ross has shown potential thus far but many were surprised when he was drafted so high, especially with DeMar DeRozan on the roster. Same problem when Tristian Thompson from just outside of Toronto went one pick before the Raptors in 2011 when Colangelo decided to go with Jonas Valanciunas who came over from Europe this year.
While the youth is something to get excited about, the rebuild seems to have missed the mark as they appear to be stuck on a roster losing faith and heart. Solutions through trades could be the answer but with powerhouse super teams, Raptors seem decades away from competing for an actual NBA championship and with Colangelo at the helm, the Raptors are seamlessly falling into the spiral fellow Toronto roommates in the Maple Leafs.
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