Wednesday, August 15, 2007

T.J. vs Jose Pt. 2

Raptor T.V. has been kind enough to replay almost all the Raptors wins from this past season. They are completely ignoring the loses (except for the Jan 3 Suns/Raps game) so we are not getting the complete story from last year but some things have definetly come to light rewatching the past season.

- The Raptors in November/Decemeber and even January were a different team then Feb/March/April. They had flashs the first 3 months and you can see those flashs of greatness get longer and longer as each game passed until the last 3 months were almost every game they showed consistency for close to 48 minutes.

- Andrea Bargnani's career started in Orlando in the first half of December. That was the game that changed everything actually for both Andrea and the Raptors team. Bosh was out, the Raps had lost 4 games in a row, and the fire Mitchell vibe was in full effect. Bargnani hit 5 long range 3's and the Raps won on the road against (at that point in the season) a strong Orlando team. They won 6 of the next 8 without Bosh. Both Bargnani and the Raps needed the confidence boost that they could do it and win a game, and that Orlando game was where they got that boost.

- Kris Humpries really stepped up when Garbo went down. He got very little time until that point and when he did play he didn't look great. But man, did he ever get with the program late in the season.

- Parker was so valuable in the second half of the season, it was interesting to see that he wasn't all that and a bag of chips in the first half.

- It was Bosh when he played carried the team during the tough first half, but Rasho also lead a big hand in the first half of the season, especially during December.

- And T.J. and Jose.....

The poll I had about who you would keep between the two, TJ won by a slim margin. I wrote in the past about how I felt Jose was perhaps the stronger of the two. I think now rewatching the season I have changed my opinion. I remember late November, maybe during the 4 game slide before the Orlando game, watching Ford race down the court and turn the ball over. And this happened over and over again. He couldn't hit a shot, couldn't hit a lay-up. Jose would come in and hit that sweet lay-up he does off the pick n' roll and hit the jump shot that TJ was missing. And out of frustration it became get rid of T.J. time and start Jose. Because at that point, after years and years of shit we Rap fans have been dealing with, seeing the 7-14 start EVEN though we should have realized that it would take some time for the team to gel, it was not giving us any type of hope. In fact it was killing all the hope I had from the moment our lord and saviour Bryan Colandelo came to town. Patience was not something I had and I wanted Mitchells head on a platter and TJ...well... not so much back in Milwaukee but at least coming off the bench. Now after the season is all said and done, well, it didn't take me that long to get rid of the frustration. I already knew that TJ got much much better in the latter half of December when Bosh was out. If Bargnani's game was Orlando, then TJ's was the LA Clips in LA when he hit the game winner.

But maybe that initial feeling stuck around in the back of my mind. Again, I don't think I would get rid of Jose if given the choice between the two, BUT I have a much stronger opinion on how important TJ is towards the success of this franchise. When Jose is on, he is really really on. But at times during the season, he is also on the court when the Raps offense gets the most stagnant. TJ with his speed could always collapse the defense or draw defenders in and kick it to the open man to create something. Most importantly TJ's decision making improved a great deal as the season went on. His jump shots from mid-range also became much more consistent. Jose still had a slightly better jump shot (especially from long range) and also could still finish around the basket at a higher percentage BUT the difference between the two got smaller as the season went on.

So my opinion is that it's pretty much a tie between these two and the Raptors with out a doubt need to lock in Jose at the end of this year. Jose both on the court and off is just as valuable to this team as anyone else. But let's not doubt TJ again, he has proved why he is the starter for the Raptors.

(Of course since TJ won the poll, not as many people doubted him as I thought would)

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