A four-point guide to Bryan Colangelo’s plea to keep his job as Raptors general manager
In Bryan Colangelo’s end-of-year press conference on Monday, the Toronto Raptors president and general manager decided to put his usual pomp, bravado and marketing-brochure bafflegab on the shelf. Instead, with his contract up for renewal next year, Colangelo took a small bite of humble pie and, for a brief moment, even jumped on the straight-talk express. He touched on a variety of subjects, celebrating his successes and admitting his failures over the course of his five-year tenure in Toronto. We take a quick look at what the man once considered a basketball wunderkind had to say, from the insightful and honest to the embellished and utterly ridiculous.
1. Andrea Bargnani needs to step up his D
At one point, Colangelo called the Raptors starting centre “the enigma of enigmas, to you and many.” It was a description both poetic and honest. The GM went on to criticize Bargnani’s defensive approach, harping on his lack of commitment on the glass. In all, it amounted to a refreshing reversal of message from an executive unaccustomed to candid criticism. Our take: honest and true.
2. Colangelo’s record at the helm proves he deserves another shot
Despite acknowledging his many mistakes, Colangelo still made a compelling case for his re-signing. A new set of salary cap rules is on the horizon and he’s navigated three previous shifts in the league’s economic system in his 16 seasons as an NBA general manager. He also he pointed out that, this year, he fought back the urge to trade away the future for the present, swallowing the bitter pill of the rebuilding process. “I think I’ve shown the ability to sacrifice,” he said. Our take: true, but he’s pushing it on the “noble sacrifice” bit.
3. Jorge Garbajosa’s 2007 leg injury was a game changer
Somehow Colangelo always comes back to this one relatively insignificant moment. Sure, Garbajosa was a nice player with a solid defensive streak—and it was a shame to see him go down the way he did—but Colangelo’s constant lament for a role player is a little much. As the Star’s Dave Feschuk pointed out: “If a franchise can be felled by a setback to a six-foot-eight Spaniard who averaged 8.5 points a game, the franchise had foundational issues.” Our take: he’s abandoned the truth in favour “truthiness.”
4. DeMar DeRozan’s second year was comparable to that of Kobe Bryant
Things started to get a little out of hand when Colangelo noted that DeRozan’s second-year numbers stand, by comparison, better than the sophomore stats of Bryant, among others. DeRozan put together a quality campaign that showed a great deal of promise. But the 21-year-old is not in Bryant’s class as a player. Period. Our take: come on now. That’s just silly.
• Feschuk: Raptors GM makes compelling case to keep his job [Toronto Star]
• Boards a familiar stumbling block for Raptors [Globe and Mail]
• Colangelo hopes for one last chance [National Post]
• Unplugged: Bryan Colangelo’s state-of-the-Raptors address [National Post]