There is no Andrea Bargnani as well as he is out with flu like symptoms. Why don't ever just say he has the flu? I mean do we need a doctor to confirm he has the flu? But regardless this will make it tough for Toronto.
So for the record the Raptors had beat the Mavs without Bargnani and some others and actually played there best defensive game of the year holding Mavs to 76 points. But that would not happen yesterday. This was one of the those classic Raptor Tease games. After 16 years of these things happening you would think we would learn. It is just like some guys are easily drawn to a tease and then totally frustrated by them in the end. But do they ever learn? Of course not because some males do not always use sound logic in these cases. But what all males will agree is the worst thing you can do is end up dating a tease. I have spent 16 years dating one and it is not a lot of fun. No not a girl....this basketball team. They from almost the beginning have given you true flashes of brilliance. They beat the record setting Bulls. If you stop and think about it if you are any kind of fan at all you have had many of those moments where you were really convinced this team was going to do something great. It might have been in an individual game or a stretch of a part of a season. But in the end the Raptors have teased fans with no payoff. About the closest we have got, is getting to second base and were cut off at 3rd by a Vince Carter miss and UNC Graduation. Which reminds me. Ed Davis graduate in the summer if you want to survive in Toronto.
James Johnson is at least early never going to be in a conversation with Eric Williams. But one man's success is leading to another man's pain. I don't think you need to be a rocket scientist to see the writing on the wall for Sonny Weems. It was one thing when Johnson started against his former team in the Bulls. It is another when he has started the 2 games since. Weems led the Raptors in scoring the game before Johnson arrived with 19. Since Johnson has arrived it has been a slide. Just 40 minutes in 3 games and after 12 points and a 4-5 shooting night vs the Bulls. Weems has been 1-8 with just 4 points since. You only need to see the looks on his face to see his disappointment. Weems contract will come to an end after this season and it appears that Raptors have already decided what they plan do in terms of bringing him back. Things can change but it appears indications based on floor time and fact Johnson is starting that Weems may not be in the long term plans.
I had said that if the Raptors were going to not bring back Weems they better be sure. The Young Onez may be a one year fad if this keeps going down this path. The teams emerging star in Demar DeRozan if asked would probably say that Weems is his closest to him on team. Sonny and Demar in the last season and half have been almost joined at the hip. Yes I hear all of you people saying that this is a business and all of that... yada yada. But as much of a business as it may be it is also about people. Look at the Boston Celtics reaction to Kendrick Perkins being dealt, The Pistons protest of not exactly being thrilled with their coach. This is also a people business as well is my point. Raptors better hope James Johnson comes through if they are going to take away the best friend on the team of their best shot at a franchise player in DeRozan. It is just one of those little things that people may see as silly but it matters.
For a team that has a terrible time keeping it's superstars happy you have to be a little more careful than most. Not that is helped all that much for the Raptors with Bosh, Not that it helped that much in terms of keeping their core and adding Hakeem for Vince Carter. Still the fan base has embraced the Young Onez a heck of a lot more than they have Andrea Bargnani. Johnson may in fact be worth the game in shaking up the chemistry in letting Weems go. But people really need to chill on James Johnson. If I were to listen to Leo Rautins I might just think James Johnson was going to be a stop defending superstar for this team for the next 10 years. Why he feels the need to sell certain players to the fan base is beyond me. It has been 16 years and I at least feel you as Raptor fans are smarter than that. I am happy to offer my opinions on players but I am not going to try and sell you on players and act like you know nothing. We as a group are smarter and more educated basketball fans and Leo Rautins in my opinion has not changed as broadcaster to reflect that.
As for the game yesterday the Raptors after a 22-3 lead faded away and by the end of it got blown out out by the Mavericks 114-96. Which was a great thrill for Mark Cuban who was in the house. Cuban is a smart guy and he may not have figured out how to win a title but he is the owner I wish we had. He has the same financial security that MLSE offers. But he lives and dies with his team and you honestly believe he would do ANYTHING to make his team a winner. MLSE claims they want to win but with their corporate image and no real face to it like a Cuban it seems hard to believe. Mark Cuban has no worries about a tax threshold or luxury tax he is always willing to go all in if it means the Mavs can win. That is how he became a Billionaire and that is how he runs his team. Paul Jones caught up with the Mavs owner and you should really listen to this. Cuban seems to love the city of Toronto and I can not recall a time Mavs have been here and he hasn't. Toronto is a great place and you can get players to come here. It just takes the kind of things someone like Cuban has done in Dallas. If you gave the Raptors to Cuban I am sure that he could solve the Raptors issues that have plagued them for 16 years. The amount of confidence I have in MLSE to do it is far less.