NBA Roundtable

Bryan Colangelo – 50 Win Target

In General NBA on September 29, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Toronto Sun reports

The happiest day of the year (media day) came and went yesterday with an optimistic Colangelo announcing that not only does he expect the Raptors to qualify for the playoff this season, he expects his rebuilt squad to actually make a run in the post-season.

“And that means probably putting yourself in a position (to be) the fourth or fifth seed (in the Eastern Conference),” the always-dapper GM said, while adding that the Raptors likely will have to win more games than the previous club record of 47 to accomplish that goal. “Are (we) shooting for a target of 50 games? Yeah, I think that’s what we should be realistically looking at.”

The next couple of paragraphs from the writer, Steve Buffery, were interesting too

Colangelo’s optimism is based on the reconstruction job he pulled off in the off-season, the adding of some excellent new parts (Reggie Evans, Hedo Turkoglu, etc.) while retaining his big three of Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani.

However, and this is a big however, Colangelo also realizes that if the great experiment fails, his franchise player, Bosh, probably will walk at the end of the season. And the GM, if he’s back, will have to start from the beginning. Perhaps blow up the team again.

The pressure on Colangelo this season is enormous.

The Pressure On Colangelo

There is a fair amount riding on Colangelo this year, but I don’t think his job is on the line. I reckon that if things fail, and even if Bosh then decides to leave, Colangelo’s job will still be safe. He will, however, begin to come under heavy scrutiny from the fans and media alike … but I think it’ll take another few large failures, or one or two massive failures, before his job comes under threat.

50 Wins

I have to say … it shocked me to see this quote.

Everything would have to fall into line perfectly for the Raptors to even have a chance at 50 wins, and that includes a massive amount of development from Andrea Bargnani who would very likely need to become a legit 20-10 big man who also plays good defense.

The chances of Toronto winning 50 games are minimal. I’d place them somewhere south of two percent.


Bryan Colangelo is doing a poor job of controlling expectations with statements like this.

He’s setting himself up for the fall … but more importantly, he’s unnecessarily risking his team’s morale because when these guys realize their hopes and dreams are unrealistic, and that they’re not good enough to achieve their targets, it will definitely have a demoralizing + negative effect on their season.

Even if the team has a very good season and wins 45 games, and claims say the 6th seed in the East and consequently gets demolished by one of the big three (Orlando, Cleveland, Boston) in the first round … the season will seem like a failure.

Bryan Colangelo is creating additional pressure for his own team + on his players.

  1. Controlling expectations

    What Bryan Colangelo is doing now is akin to Isiah Thomas and the Knicks, rather than Donnie Walsh and the Knicks.

    I’m having trouble putting this into words … but here’s a shot at it.

    Donnie Walsh creates a calm atmosphere with quiet self + collective belief … a place where the pressure is controlled and relatively low for his players … which is an ideal situation for players to grow and flourish.

    Whereas Isiah Thomas routinely set unreasonable expectations that created a backlash from the fans + media on the player’s perceived failures. With each subsequent failure the pressure grew and grew on both the players and the franchise … to the point where the battle became insurmountable, and eventually the team felt like they were drowning + defeated before they ever took the court.

    One environment (Donnie) allows the players to operate freely, while the other (Isiah) creates constraints.

    Now obviously there’s a lot more to both situations … but controlling expectations is an important part of a GM’s job and right now Colangelo is closer to the Isiah Thomas part of the world than he is to the Donnie Walsh side of things.


    A GM should never create additional pressure for his own team.

    A GM’s job is to reduce pressure.

    A GM should step into the light and take one for the team (the criticism) when time’s are tough, and should step into the background when times are good so that the player’s receive the acclaim.

    A GM should control the media + expectations where he can.

  2. Dave,

    Strike One … was Colangelo’s quote about having fixed all of the team’s problems, on paper, with the Radical Roster Make-over this summer.

    Strike Two … is Colangelo’s quote which sets the 50 Win target for this year’s team.

    Strike Three … now seems like only a matter of time.

    It’s almost unbelieveable to think that he hasn’t learned a thing from the last 3+ seasons.

  3. Khandor,

    Colangelo’s quote about having fixed all of the team’s problems, on paper, with the Radical Roster Make-over this summer.

    Agreed — especially that point — it’s been driving me nuts for weeks (both from Colangelo + several Raptors fans) … making minor inroads on problems is not fixing something … nevermind the problems that are being ignored.

  4. I think the 50 wins is a right expectation. I think the pressure is necessary and is at the right level.

    If I were BC, I would have said the same.

  5. I totally agree with Tom. This is not the season to insult the media, the players, and most importantly not fans.

    Colangelo HAS to say what he said, because it’s what everyone else is thinking. For him not to, would make him look a) ridiculous or b) cautious to the point of stupidity.

    The goal for the Raptors is to make a run in the playoffs. To realistically do so, you wanna hit the 4 or 5 spot (like Colangelo said). To reach that spot, I definitely agree that we’re talking the in the 47+ win range. Final next step is, do we think this team is capable. Yes. Personally, I think this team is better than the division winning team, and they had to integrate many (10?) new players as well.

    At this point in the season (being, before), what everyone should be looking at is not what they WILL do… impossible to know. It’s what they’re CAPABLE of doing. I think this team is definitely capable of 47+ wins and I don’t think it’ll take a perfect storm either.

    This team is too good not to beat teams it “should” beat. And has the streakiness/offensive weapons to steal a couple from the teams it probably should lose to.

    I’m excited for the season and I’m glad we have a GM that has the balls to say what everyone else is thinking. Set the bar high Mr. Colangelo. The fans and the organization deserve it.

  6. Raptor Cowboy,

    The GM of the team is NOT supposed to say what “the regular fans” … aka, “everyone else” … is/are thinking.

    IMO, a Top Notch GM in the NBA is supposed to be:

    A. More intelligent than that;
    B. More media savvy than that;
    C. Have a great deal more Basketball Acumen than THAT.

    [apologies for the errors and the double post]

    Sorry, Dave … not a good day from a typing standpoint. 🙂

  7. Haha, no problem Khandor … hopefully one of these days wordpress will add an edit feature for visitors to use in the comments section. That would be a life saver for all the typing mistakes I make elsewhere!

    Tom L. and Raptors Cowboy, I disagree but I always appreciate hearing from you both. Thanks for chiming in.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: