Monday, July 23, 2007

Toronto, I think its about time we give the man a break.

It is amazing how one man can help release so many different types of emotions from the fans of a sports franchise. Amazing how one man can make the people of a city feel confusion and embarrassment. Then make those same people feel anger and hatred. And follows that up with making them laugh, lots and lots of laugher at that man's expense. Since the 8th pick of the 2004 NBA draft was announced, one man has given the city of Toronto one heck of a ride. That man.....

That's right, Rafeal Araujo! The legend! The show STOPPER!

Alright here is the deal: Before the 2004 NBA draft the Raptor fans were getting frustrated. The Raps made it into the second round of the playoffs and really came one Vince Carter shot away from getting swept by the Lakers in the finals (it was Philly vs Bucks in the conference finals and I am quite sure the Raps would have beaten the Bucks if they beat Philly). Big things were on the horizon. We were on the cusp of something magical. Carter signed his big contract, other Raptors got locked in with deals and it was looking pretty much like this team was going to do some really big things. Then the injuries happened. Vince Carter, Jalen Rose, Alvin Williams, Antonio Davis, Lamond Murray all missed substantial time over the next few seasons which killed any chance of keeping the momentum going from those playoff years. So pretty much, the high hopes we fans got from that second round playoff series turned into frustration almost too quickly.

New GM Rob Babcock was brought it and it was then his time to shine. Time to set the ship right and get things moving back in the playoff direction. Since injuries played a huge role in the problems the franchise had, we would get a high draft pick and still have a team that was better then it's season record had shown. Here are some names that would have helped the team out and were available at number 8...

Andre Iguodala
Andris Biedrins
Al Jefferson
Josh Smith
Jameer Nelson
Kevin Martin
Anderson Varejao

Now I admit that while I would have taken every single one of these guys over Rafael Araujo, none of them are superstars (yet at least). And it's not like Rafael Araujo is the biggest draft bust ever. 5th pick of the 2002 draft was Nikoloz "Who" Tskitishcvili, selected before Amare Stoudemire, Caron Butler, Tayshaun Prince, Nenad Krstic and Carlos Boozer. But Rafael Araujo came during a time where Rap fans were frustrated and wanted improvement very badly. Instead they got things getting much much worse. The "injury seasons" turned into the "just plain crap" seasons and that was the turning point. We could accept the excuse of injuries but we couldn't handle being crap. And Rafael Araujo was the flag bearer of the "just plain crap" seasons. We wanted to see improvement and we saw the opposite. And every bit of our frustration was then directed to Rafael Araujo.

Yeah it's unfair. It was Rob Babcock as the Raps GM who selected this guy way way too early. And it was Richard Peddie (chairmen of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment) fault for hiring Babcock as the GM of the team when clearly Babcock couldn't do the job. Babcock being the one who traded Vince Carter for a bag of basketballs. Poor Rafael was given a grace period, but when it became clear that this was as good as it gets with him, we let him have it. Any joke about how bad the team was usually involved his name. Even today, we still punt his name around for a few laughs. That's professional sports for you, sometimes you are the superstar and sometimes you are the punch line.

Now Rafael is playing summer league basketball trying to get a new contract with Utah Jazz. The power of our Lord and Savior, Bryan Colangelo, turned Rafael into Kris Humphries. And compared to Rafael, Hump played like Tim Duncan for us this year. And it is now time I think to end the jokes about Araujo and hope for the best for him. Hey he tried, it was obvious he tried. He should never been selected in the first round, or at least not in the top 20. He didn't make that choice. And it's not like the Raptors are the same team they were even 2 season ago. We are different, we are now successful and back on track towards the championship. And while I still might make a sly little comment at Rafaels expense once in awhile, I truly would like to see him have some success. Really, after all the crap we gave him, he deserves it.


Anonymous said...

Rob just linked to your site..

you've motivated me to start my site up again!!

Anonymous said...

I to hope he finds some success with Utah or whoever.. however when you're still playing on summer league teams entering your 4th season you have to start to wonder.