The song by The Birds states “to everything there is a season” and for the Raptors the season is upon them.
Media Day is the onset of the basketball season. With it come hopes, dreams, predictions, smiles and laughter. The Raptors, like all of the 30 NBA teams, took part in Media Day. Players discussed their off-seasons and coaches and management discussed the potential of playoff berths and successes.
For the Raptors, one word rang louder than any other word : Team.
With the off-season departure of leading scorer and franchise player, Chris Bosh, the Raptors players and management are selling fans on the prospect of playoff basketball in the Spring. To do this, they say, the Raptors will need to work as a team and share the role of leader.
Bryan Colangelo spent much of his off-season acquiring players with a pedigree for team basketball and eliminating players that didn’t fit that mould. Gone are discontents Hedo Turkoglu and Marco Belinelli and that Chris Bosh guy. Adding to the team-first feel of the 2010-11 Raptors are Linas Kleiza, Leandro Barbosa, Julian Wright and Ed Davis.
It has become clear that with the absence of Chris Bosh the Raptors will have to find scoring and rebounding from a number of different sources. Many of the Raptor players exhibited great teamwork during the World Championships as well as great scoring touches. Both should help translate into an exciting team. Hopefully points, defense and rebounds also follow.
But didn’t the Raptors play as team last year?
Jose Calderon spoke on the issue of team scoring during media day, “We go into the season with great expectations, we can be a better team. I think we have a lot of players who can play, maybe we don’t have that star role for somebody, I prefer sometimes it’s better to have five guys scoring 12, 15 points than to have one get 35. We have to play like that, share the ball more than ever and play like a team.”
With the number of times the Raptor players mentioned the word “team” during the media scrums, it would appear that perhaps too much of the offense was focused on its star player and impending free agent Chris Bosh last year. The Raptors are hoping the idea of sharing the ball will translate into wins.
It also appears that too much was made of Bosh’s leadership credentials.
Jay Triano recently spoke on Chris Bosh “deffering” vocal leadership to other veteran players and that his lack of vocal leadership last year could have been a cause of the Raptors end of season woes.
Jarrett Jack added : “If you look at Chris, he’s more an example guy… Twenty-four and 10 is not a bad example to put up out there…Different people do it different ways.”
The ball is in the “teams” court and together they will have to find a way to make up for Bosh’s absence and find new leadership as a unit or individually.
Perhaps the Raptors will be better off this year without Chris Bosh. A new beginning. A new philosophy. A chance for others to finally step up in Bosh’s absence.
Media Day. Where hope springs eternal.
To everything Turn, turn, turn. There is a season Turn, turn turn.*** Kristoffer Pedlar The Zan Tabak Herald *** Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @Zantabakherald