Is Bob McCown Right On The Toronto Raptors?


I could have grabbed the family and driven the 2 hours down to Portland to catch the Raptors the other night on their lone visit to the pacific NW. After seeing and hearing about their past performances I decided against it. Another wise choice.

This team is materially broken and no one that I have read or heard has any answers.

Tonight Bob McCown had a great chat with Jack Armstrong about the team and what to do. I’ve summarized the last half below. McCown suggested that his problem is he likes both the GM and the coach, and usually when he calls for a head he doesn’t but given how bad things are, someone needs to be fired for this.

Armstrong “My move would be to bring both guys in and tell them to stick together, that they have 60 games left and you guys have to figure it out”
McCown “These guys built this team, they’ve already committed to this group and it’s not working”
Armstrong “what’s the alternative? you are going to promote an assistant…..
McCown “No, I’d promote Butch Carter”
Armstrong: That’s not happening. I’m surprised he hasn’t had an opportunity elswhere. I don’t count that as an alternative.”
McCown ” I know the issues there, he lives in Toronto, what do you have to lose, I don’t know if he’d take it for the rest of the year.”
Armstrong “Of course he’d take it, I can name 10 execs and 10 coaches, i won’t do that because situation you are in b/c you stand by your people. if you stand by Bryan Colangelo at end of season, and you are Larry Tanenbaum and you are 20 games in you still stick with it, but you are hanging by a thread. What you do is a thorough search search for gm and coach at the end of the year.”
McCown “mlse is king of thorough gm and coach search, do we need a committee?”
Armstrong I don’t know if they know how to do it. I have more confidence of them doing a thorough search in april as opposed to in season”
McCown “we will agree to disagree- i’ve seen enough, it’s gone to hell in a handbasket since Bosh. This isn’t 4-5 bad weeks, it’s been 3 years, someone has to pay”
Armstrong “the payment is in April not now.”
Interview ends
McCown “We strongly disagree. I respect Jacks view point. I don’t have a fast trigger finger to fire people unless they are an idiot, it didn’t take long to figure out JP Ricardi or the bonehad Raptors GM. I like these guys, problem is the players can’t play. This thing is so broken, there is no risk at all, it’s rare you have the chance to fix it by doing anything.”

Really good take by McCown who echoed the same frustration that I hear/read from Raptors fans and even those who cover them.

The first thing I think that needs to be asked is what’s the goal for the rest of the season, what are you trying to accomplish, because I don’t know what that is.

Armstrong said earlier that no one thought they would be a playoff team, but they did think they would compete. Right now they aren’t doing that. So is that the goal? To put a team out there that competes?

Firing a coach or GM has to have a purpose.

I think you only fire the GM if you don’t believe he is the right guy to fix the mess. If the team has to be blown up, then the question is do you want the current GM to do the blowing.

The biggest question is, who at MLSE is qualified to make the decision. Does anyone trust the braintrust there to do it?

McCown makes a great point, how much worse can it get by doing something that doesn’t work. I guess the response is that you don’t make a move just to make a move.

Either way, it was McCown as passionate as you ever see him. It was a good segment.

Word on the street is that Scott Woodgate’s number 2 at Sportsnet pulled the rip cord today. For those not familar, Woodgate is the Vice President – News and Information at Rogers on the Sportsnet side. So the Director of Content apparently upped and left. I haven’t been able to find out why, yet. It’s a curious thing for sure.

More tomorrow….


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December 12, 2012 3:05 am

I can think of one reason to get rid of the GM before the end of the season (This would be the Michael Grange solution): you can have either an interim person who knows their job is to prepare the team for the future (i.e. do what you can to get prospects, draft picks and tank) or hire somebody who understands that and has job security to be able to tank one or two years and do other moves to prepare for the future. While Colangelo talked about making moves for the future last night, I think everybody knows he must be thinking of trying to win every game he can this season.

December 12, 2012 3:35 am

Any commentary on the most recent ratings?

Brian Gerstein
December 12, 2012 10:14 am

Just caught it on the podcast. McCown was fantastic. I don’t know if I have ever been as proud of Bob as the way he handled himself during that interview with Jack Armstrong. This is why I tolerate Bob when he goes through those periods when he just does not seem that motivated. When he steps up, and is passionate and articulate on an issue, and holds people accountable, backing it all up at the same time, there is no better radio IMO.

I really don’t have much to add. I predicted in the middle of the West Coast debacle, that Colangelo would be called in upon his return by the powers at be, so that he can explain to them what happened, and why, and looking ahead, how will he deal with the new reality of this team being out of the playoffs, once again during his tenure, before Christmas. The big unknown is the new ownership group and how they will go.

That meeting I am sure happened yesterday, so we will find out soon what transpired from it. If I was in charge, this is what I would do:

#1 Fire Colangelo and Stefanski now, and use Wayne Embry again as interim GM, as he did a great job clearing the deck prior to Colangelo coming onboard. This at least will shake things up, and since Colangelo is realistically not coming back next year, why give him the keys anymore. Search for a new outside GM now.

#2 Let Casey know that he did an amazing job last year, and this year he has coached like shit. Find out why from his perspective. If it is due to him being forced by Colangelo to play certain players and start them, like Bargnani, then give him the free reign to run the team the way he wants to without outside interference, so he can install the defence again like last year. If he had free reign to run the team, and this is the result, then fire him now as well. For now, you can let an assistant coach run the team, until you find an outside qualified coach to do so.

#3 Apologize to the fans on the PA system prior to the next available home game. Thank them for their support, and let them know that from now on, everybody will be held accountable, and there will be no more free rides. This franchise has been too bad for too long, and it will not be tolerated anymore.

Mike V
Mike V
December 12, 2012 10:54 am

“Armstrong said earlier that no one thought they would be a playoff team, but they did think they would compete”
What a load of garbage. A quick look at the season predictions showed that a lot of people covering the team thought they would be in the playoffs:
And, in case you need more proof at what a bunch of homer idiots cover this team, just look at where ESPN ranked them Not one over 13th in the East.

The Blue Jays reporters get a lot of criticism for being biased towards them but the Raptors ones have been magnitudes worse and don’t seem to get the same flack (Maybe its because no one is still following this team, I don’t know..). Bringing any of them on (be it Smitty, Jonesy, and yes even you Coach) is a complete waste of time and frankly an insult to the fanbase that still exists. I can’t remember the last time any of them gave an honest assessment of the disaster this team is. Colangelo didn’t do enough to be given the extension he got, IMO and yet after 2 seasons of failure since then, not one of them has the guts to call for his head. Eric Smith must really be afraid of losing that special access he thinks makes him SOOO much more valuable than the average blogger unafraid to tell the truth.


Brian Gerstein
December 12, 2012 11:10 am
Reply to  Mike V

Good link. Here is another one:

I predicted myself prior to the season that we would likely come close, but not make the playoffs, as long as our defence played like last year and we could score more. I did however not want to make this year about the playoffs, but developing the players, especially with a couple of rookies like Jonas and Ross.

34 1/2 games was our over/under projected by the oddsmakers when the season started, so you are right, enough so called experts saw us contending for a playoff spot if things went well, which obviously they haven’t.

Darren Johnston
December 12, 2012 5:26 pm

I am normally a very patient guy when it comes to sports management. Having said that this has gone on way too long. Enough is enough with Colangelo’s vision (or lack there of) I would fire him asap and go and get the exact opposite Colangelo has put all or most of his eggs in the basket of big ‘white’ over seas players and it simply doesn’t work. They also need a GM that is willing to take what he can get out of Barg & Calderon NOW. An apology and maybe discount on future ticket purchases would be nice as well.

D&D SportsTalk
December 12, 2012 5:29 pm

Brian, good points except for the “apology” one – I’m not particularly excited about hearing any suit take the mike on court and pull a Glen Grunwald on us – when Glen did it, it seemed genuine, non-scripted, unprecedented (as far as I know), and was
followed up by a flurry of activity that the fans will likely all agree did produce competitive basketball and a playoff berth.

I am still not convinced this assortment of players can’t compete as long as I
don’t see any attempt to play the game the way it was designed to be
played – we’ve beaten this dead horse but it’s still there to be beaten
because so few from the organization will acknowledge, let alone speak
to, THE issue: our offense refuses to relentlessly pursue
high-percentage shots down low, refuses to even try to get oppositions
in foul trouble, refuses to earn the ref’s respect and get calls,
refuses to get to the line; and on both ends of the floor, our team
refuses to take rebounding seriously.

The translation is clear – they refuse to play inside, they’re soft, and we’re going to continue to get slapped around and disrespected by our opponents and the refs as
long as we refuse to man-up and play the game as it was designed to be
played, which is inside-out.

How to fix it? Commit to playing the game from the inside out, to whit:

Step 1. BAN 3pt shots from now to the all-star break. Run all offenses into the paint for high percentage shots.

Step 2. Pay bounties for clean blocks, steals, rebounds, and points in the paint.

When we have learned, digested, become an inside-first team that makes life
tough for opponents on both ends of the floor, then we can afford the
luxury of shooting from the outside. Until we’ve become that tough
inside-first team, we have not earned the luxury of hiding from the
melee out on the perimeter.

Brian Gerstein
December 12, 2012 6:11 pm
Reply to  D&D SportsTalk

What you describe is the way to do damage in the playoffs and go deep as well. The problem is the make-up of our team that Colangelo built are mostly jump shooters, and we have few options as far as back to the basket types who can make a living inside the paint. Casey can only do so much with the personnel he has been given to work with.

DeMar thankfully does not settle anywhere near as much as he used to, but still needs to attack more and not bitch when he doesn’t get the calls. Hell, half the time I don’t think he deserves the calls, as he is a horrible finisher, and until he does, he will never get the refs respect, I don’t care how many years he is in the league.

From what I saw of Jonas playing in Lithuania he will be capable of playing inside the paint, but he is an afterthought on offence with no set plays called for him. He can certainly be as good, if not better pick and roll player with Jose as Amir is, it is just a question of practicing those sets.

Amir should be banned from taking any outside shot, I don’t care how open he is. He is a much higher % field goal player inside. Davis, even with his improved stroke, needs to live inside as well. Our bigs need to create space for each other and learn how to share the ball inside so they in unison are there for the offensive boards as well, plus when was the last time we got the other teams bigs in foul trouble.

This is another reason why we need players that don’t just pad their stats on a losing team, but will pay the price inside that is conducive to winning in the regular season, but, dare I say, in the playoffs whenever that happens.

Mike S
Mike S
December 12, 2012 9:13 pm
Reply to  Daniel

Yes it would be nice to get more details on the radio ratings………… far as I know all we have seen is the press release from 590 patting themselves on the back

Mike S
Mike S
December 12, 2012 9:44 pm
Reply to  Mike V

Thanks for the Sportsnet link Mike………….very interesting……………however it looks like the ESPN link is from the 2010-11 season……………am I right?

I agree with just about everything you wrote……………….the basketball “experts” in this city have overrated the Raptors on an annual basis………… the last 10 years the Raptors have done much worse than those “experts” predicted except for one year (the year Mitchell won coach of the year)

Every time the Raptors make a move those people all have great things to say about it………………but if they were all great moves then why has the team been so god awful ???

Mike V
Mike V
December 13, 2012 7:42 am
Reply to  Mike S

OK I’m an idiot, posted the wrong thing. John Hollinger at ESPN did predict 33 wins for this season, which would be something like 11-13 in the standings and I think in general. the point still stands.

Brian Gerstein
December 13, 2012 4:23 pm

Multiple sources are claiming that MLSE is conducting a board meeting regarding the current state of the Raptors. Lot of noise, but no confirmations, but Ryan Wolstat of the Sun and Eric Koreen of the Post are both saying the same thing. Stefanski is out of the country, but everybody else attended the Raptors practice today.

December 14, 2012 2:17 am
Reply to  Mike V

Even Bob predicted that the Raptors would win 42 games and be 6 or 7th in the East.

mike in boston
mike in boston
December 14, 2012 8:20 am
Reply to  Mike V

Bringing any of them on (be it Smitty, Jonesy, and yes even you Coach) is a complete waste of time and frankly an insult to the fanbase that still exists.

just listened to this interview. You’re both very right: Armstrong was really pathetic. It’s so embarrassing to listen to the guy try to defend the players, the coach and the GM in the face of the futility of this season. His line “everyone has to share the blame” is as big a cop-out as it gets.

The kicker for me was when he claimed “we’ve seen that BC has the ability to make good trades … you don;t win executive of the year for nothing!” I’m no expert on the NBA but i’m pretty sure no one outside of Toronto could look at BC’s trade record in the last 3 years and think that the good outweighs the bad.

At the end of the day Bobcat nails it: look at the GM’s record since he has been here. It’s not just about this year.

Brian Gerstein
December 14, 2012 10:01 am

Why Damien Cox should NEVER write about the Toronto Raptors:–fire-raptors-gm-bryan-colangelo-no-point-doing-that-now-cox

I tweeted him the inaccuracies in his article regarding how the NBA draft works, as apparently, he has no clue that after the completion of the regular season, they have this thing called a draft lottery, so your regular season spot in the final standings is likely not going to be your final draft position. I sent him the odds post draft lottery i.e. the actual chances of us retaining the Top 3 pick to use, and how even if we do finish in 6th place, for example, we still have a chance, albeit not a great one.

He also talks about the young core and not trading them in order to improve our record and thus not get a Top 3 pick. Again, although I did not comment on that with him as well, as knowing Cox, he would likely block me, as he does others, and in fact I may already be blocked as I am writing this, there should be no untouchables on this team, except for Jonas, as he has to be the centrepiece we build around, plus you won’t get enough for what his expected potential will be.

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