Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 at 12:00 pm  |  63 responses

Too Many Euros on the Raptors?

It’s a question posed by a rather angry (and perhaps, crazy) Globe and Mail scribe: “So if we’re going to whisper things about Bosh – if we’re going to put that out on the table just in time for the New York Knicks to come to town for the Raptors’ season finale tonight – let’s talk about the Europeans. Or, as general manager Bryan Colangelo more properly calls them, ‘international players.’ C’mon, you know that’s been out there all year, right? Does this team have too many international players? Or maybe just one too many Canadian-born head coaches? Jose Calderon is not a starting point guard. Period. He is a walking mismatch. Andrea Bargnani seems happy being a complementary player who can disappear when it matters. And Hedo Turkoglu? I mean, really. So since we’re looking in all the closets and corners, I asked Colangelo five questions via e-mail about his team being too international. He received it on his BlackBerry while watching Bosh get his face rearranged in Cleveland last week. (Bosh, no doubt, deliberately took the elbow for cover – all the easier to shut it down mentally.) This is a serious matter for a GM, who in his words still gets ‘told by a few agents not to bother.’ Toronto’s long-term viability as an NBA franchise will depend on international players because international basketball players are a great deal like Latino baseball players: They’ve grown up with passports, so for them going through the Canadian border is not akin to an invitation to a night in Guantanamo Bay. The flip side is that people still wonder about communication and culture. Hell, old-time basketball guys still wonder whether a team with so many internationals gets less respect from NBA game officials. Colangelo wonders why Turkoglu doesn’t get more calls (‘Hedo, for whatever reason, has just struggled getting calls but it has nothing to do with him being an international player’) and Bargnani’s limited trips to the charity-stripe are due to his hovering on the perimeter by design. But with Bosh out, Colangelo agreed that, ‘Andrea does need to get more post-oriented and get to the line.’ Colangelo acknowledges his team has problems with defensive intensity but ‘that is not something limited to the international players.”’

  • Add a Comment
  • Share
  • RSS

Tags: , ,

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    In short, Yes.

  • http://missjia.com meloMan2.0

    Uhh, YA THINK!?
    This article is about 3 years late

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Difference between being “Euro” and being “soft”. If they’d kept guys like Delfino around, I don’t think it’d be anywhere near as bad.

  • AM

    Euro is synonymous with being soft.


  • sa

    Too many Colangelos on the raptors. He’s the sh’thead who build this mess.

  • raptorsfan

    this isnt breaking news

  • Buschfire

    yeah I’ve hated Calderon since Day one i don’t see what people see in this guy?!?!? Delfino? shoulda kept him?!? yeah ok like how we should keep Belinelli right? anyways I’m tired of Euro trash, I want our old team back of OAKLEY WILLIS DAVIS MO PETE VC ALVIN WILLIAMS and so on…

  • http://twitter.com/PDXGayBBall dma

    Hedo, Calderon and Bargnani.. that’s only 3. Flip it over to the Spurs (Duncan, Parker, Manu) and they’re being hailed as geniuses.

  • olddirtyphil

    I really dont think where someone is from should have anything to do with how they play. We are all people and they are all pros.

  • James aka…

    The problem is we have too many finesse players, and too many defensive liabilities. If you traded any of our current euros, including bargnani, for pre-injury garbajosa, we would improve because he has what we lack. Also, yes, bye bye colangelo would be good at this point. We’re anchored to a gilbert contract in the form of hedo and jose. Untradeable and cap murdering. Bargs is too soft, but he can score and block a shot now and then.

  • larrylegend

    @dma: dunk-on and manu ain’t euros!
    @bushfire: i am with u.

  • LA Huey

    Whoa, let’s not confuse “international” with “European”. Nash, Nene, and the Argentines are tough. Also, despite being American, I’ll have to give those Frenchmen some props too and exempt them from Euro/soft status.

  • mtgyles

    Iunno about the whole euro thing, this article has some good points and some bad points. One of those bad points being about Jay Triano. If buddy knew his stuff he would know as soon as team Canada dropped him as head coach, team USA scooped him up right away to be an assistant. So if he is good enough to be an assistant for team USA i think he is a good enough coach, to coach in the NBA.

  • Ricochet

    @dma: what about bellinelli and nesterovic?

  • http://twitter.com/PDXGayBBall dma

    haha sorry i misread it.. though it was calling out international players. ok how about the lakers – vujacic, pau and bryan ;)

  • mtgyles

    I dont know if you can call the euros soft but the physical presence isnt there. Im not sure if you can really blame them though. When they were raised playing ball in europe, thats just the style they are taught over there. A real team sense of ball as well as shooting. Thats why most good shooting big men come from europe. I think its more of just that what they are taught and fail to adjust to the NBA style of play, when they come over.

  • Ricochet

    @dma…again: that’s calderon, bargnani, bellinelli, nesterovic and turkoglu (eurasian but we’ll count him in)…that’s 5, not 3 ;)

  • Mark

    Pops mensah bonsu showed heart and is strong. great energy player for raptors last year.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    That might be the dumbest thing i have ever read. Yes, Toronto’s roster is filled with Euros. Quality players are quality players. Andrea and Jose are both quality players. Hedo is to, when he’s not faking sick to go clubbing. They just need a coach to bring it all together.

  • http://thegoodpoint.com Sam Joynt

    If the Raps could swing a sign and trade for a young and promising center with an attitude (DeMarcus Cousins or the like) once C-BO bonunces out the door, and could move Bargnani to the 4 and play inside outside bigs, as opposed to a flat out team of jump shooters there could be some hope. Especially is DeRozan and Weems can continue to improve at the wings.

    A scoring guard, who could allow Turkoglu to run the point from the 3 spot could also possibly be a solid pick up, a la the Magic of a year ago.

  • MountainGoat

    Too many d1cks on the dance floor!!!

  • Buschfire

    the players i don’t mind keeping for next year:

    if we can keep them…


    the rest of em I just hope we can do better…

    I only don’t mind Turk and Bargs because yet again i have high hopes and dreams that well they play to expectations next year…if not both of em can go too…. which will prolly happen….

  • Buschfire

    ‘which will prolly happen’ referring to not meeting expectations…

  • 6marjons

    i dont like this new term of ‘euros’, this could potentially cause a lot of problems.
    the raptors arent the only team with several european players on the roster, the reason it causes more headlines is because the raptors european players are in the starting 5.
    they’re not the best team in the league for sure, but is that really because of the european players or simply the style of play of each of these players. there are many teams that have been put together with a lot of players having the same style of play and they havent worked – why do you think ben gordon was shipped out of chicago when derrick rose got his feet settled, both players like the ball in their hands and it wouldn’t have worked long term, its the same when you have a team like philadelphia earlier this year AI, AI and Elton all function best on the basketball court when they have the ball in their hands. There wasn’t enough ball to go around and now look at the 76ers.
    The Raptors have been put together badly, definitely, that is without a doubt. The only dominating player they have is in Chris Bosh but every great player needs a second punch. The majority of the Raptors are complimentary players to stars, not a second punch.
    But can we not bring race or culture into this. Because quite frankly I thought times had changed enough where players weren’t picked because of the colour of their skin.

  • Buschfire

    I don’t think the colour of their skin has anything to do with it, it has to do with the type of basketball going on in Euro league…it creates a “softer” player according to the “pros” but I’m just passing the message on…(don’t shoot the messenger)

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com TADOne

    No, there are too many pu$$ies on the Raptors.

  • vmcb

    Sign-and-trade Bosh for Noah, James Johnson, and change. Then trade Jose wherever, for whatever.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Where are the Calderon fanboys now?

  • a_whiteman

    No way chicago is giving up noah

  • tavoris

    I wonder if Spanny is somewhere tearing up his David Hasselhoff Baywatch poster after reading this. @Allenp-I know he’s gonna go off on me, but I don’t care anymore, since he’s been mentioning my name for months.

  • T-Moneyy

    Toronto will always have to rely on non American players because most Americans just flat out don’t want to live outside of the U.S. I was listening to the ESPN NBA Today podcast this week and one guest was arguing that, if Chris Bosh couldn’t go to a better team this summer, at least he could get out of Canada… notwithstanding that Toronto is actually the 3rd biggest city in North America. Some American players would rather live in Milwaukee and OKC than Toronto. There’s nothing you can do about that. The international players don’t feel a need to live in the U.S. at all costs and understand that Toronto has a lot to offer. Thems the breaks.

  • http://myspace.com/weezyleezy337 GametimeWeezy

    1 euro is worth 1.37 dollars…so if they got 5 europeans they really got 6.85 players in America. Technically they’re playing 6, almost 7 on 5… so they should win more games. So clearly too many euros is NOT working out for them.

  • Rob

    too many euros= too many softies

  • Harlem_World

    That was always the knock on euro’s, but I think those days are over. I’m pretty sure for each europuff there is probably a Channing Frye equivalent. Toronto just suck. They’ve done a good job of collecting the softest euro’s on the market.

  • mems

    different year same problems. raptors have a great star player who wants to win yet surround him with crappy players and overpay role players, make terrible draft picks and force him to want out.

  • James aka…

    Toronto is the 5th biggest City in North America

    1. Mexico
    2. New York
    3. L.A.
    4. Chicago
    5. Toronto

    Still the point is apt about the fact that its not some backwater. Our taxes are higher but not extravagantly so. Jermaine O’Neal said he was sacrificing an extra Million out of 21/yr.

  • MikeC.

    @James – Good thing we got that tax money from Jermaine while he was here, considering how often he was hurt. He personally cost the Ontario health care system a full million dollars.

  • Mitya

    I’ve always felt that way, but if you look at their “local” guys like Chris Bosh and Jarret Jack – they also look kinds different. They should be called the Toronto Eclectics.

  • Marco

    The “garbajosa better than bargnani” concept is the biggest braifart I’ve heard about the raptors this season…

  • erich

    It’s just about putting together the wrong europeans and not putting together europeans on a team.
    If you have for example Dirk Nowitzki you have a, in a physical way, average player but he got shooting skills a high basketball IQ.
    That together with his mentallity has proven to be one of the toughest matchups in the league.
    I would never put him together in the frontcourt with a guy like Bargnani.
    But hey, how about Ronny Turiaf.
    Then we put Pau at center, Tony at Point Guard and from way back (R.I.P.) Drazen Petrovic at Shooting Guard.
    There you have five Euro’s that are competative, mentally tough as well as physically.

  • erich

    One offer from my side.
    If you think europeans ain’t tough enough while you are sitting on your couch and watch TV.
    Then please come over here and play against me.

  • erich

    @ Buschfire
    Willis and Oakley would foul out after 10 minutes of play with the rules we have right now in the league and VC was the one who played bad intentionally to cause a trade.

  • Rob

    @enrich Pau Gasol physically tough??? Sorry enrich but that disqualifies you automatically

  • erich

    I didn’t write Pau is phisically tough.
    But I think he is mentally tougher, more competativ than many players in this league and like Dirk he has a high skill level mixed with a high B-Ball IQ. Please disgualify yourself if you doubt that. :-)

  • Aaron

    vmcb Posted: Apr.14 at 3:08 pm
    Sign-and-trade Bosh for Noah, James Johnson, and change. Then trade Jose wherever, for whatever.

    Very insightful and hilarious.

  • erich

    There you have five Euro’s that are competative, mentally tough as well as physically.
    That’s what I wrote.
    And I mean that for this group of players.
    Basketball is a team sport.

  • http://dsfjklf.com Jukai

    I’m not a fan of the Euro-not-physically tough thing either… It’s just that the tough ones (Garbojas, Navaro) go back cause they can’t find their place in the L.

  • Ben__24

    The Raptors do lack toughness, but the problem isn’t their glut of European players. The problem is their lack of a real NBA coach.

    Jay Triano is a likeable guy, but his greatest accomplishment before joining the Raptors as an assistant was being Canada’s national team coach. He got his job as an assistant because it’s a good PR move to have a Canadian coach on the NBA’s lone Canadian franchise.

    He got promoted to head coach mainly because he’ll never challenge Colangelo the way Sam Mitchell did. The franchise’s most glaring weakness is its coaching, not its players.

  • http://www.luketynan.blogspot.com Dacre

    The toughest Euro’s ever:

    * DIRK: Carries other players TEETH in his ELBOW and goes and SHOOTS FREE THROWS.
    * TONI KUKOC: Dude would tune out Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen on the regular in training, and they would STILL GO TO HIM for a clutch three with the game in the balance.
    *Dino Radja: Dino. Radja.
    * Vitaly Potapenko: When this guy was in the league (he was the precursor to the floppy haired Varej’) with Cleveland – you were waiting to see who he was going to strangle with his bare hands. He made Michael Cage look like a librarian.
    * Detlef Schrempf: The first German player to freeze out his coach whilst with the Pacers as a ROOKIE. Dude was on some straight up nazi juice.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Okay whoever says the Raptors should have kept Euros like Delfino (who is SOUTH AMERICAN AND NOT EUROPEAN IN THE FIRST PLACE) have NO clue about the Raptors at all. At ALL. Trading Delfino and Roko Ukic for Amir Johnson was the best move the Raptors made all year–the last thing they needed was another shot-jacking small forward taking minutes away from Sonny Weems.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Word, Dacre.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    @Teddy: I think people are talking about Delfino’s earlier stint with the Raps a few years back. Essentially, we let him go and went out to get Jason Kapono. So we gave up a relatively multi-faceted shooting forward, who rebounds well for a guy his position and actually attacks the basket… for who was then the world’s best spot up shooter.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Yeah, but Delfino was never that great for the Raptors anyways, in my opinion. And Kapono definitely was never the best spot up shooter in the league–he was just good at the 3 point contest during All-Star weekend.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Dacre, add Primoz Brezec to your list.

  • Ronald

    @Teddy: Seriously? the guy shot 50% and 48% from 3pt range in Toronto! Or were u being sarcastic? And I think people are using the term “euro” a bit loosely to describe peopole who played in the european leagues. But I think the whole thing that they have too many finesse players is correct but it doesn’t have anything to do with Calderon as from the games I’ve watched he doesn’t get too much burn.

  • Shem

    YES, Jack is a starting PG period. Calderon isn’t good on D but he’s an excellent back up guard IF he wasn’t payed 8 mill a year. Too many ballhandlers. No perimeter scoring other then Jack and occasionally Weems. Turk is a bust. BC better be going into this off season trying to pick up a scoring perimeter player JOE JOHNSON EHEM*

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Lord i loved these comments, fun read. To the person stating that “Euro League play is soft in general”, please take the time to watch a few games. Please. Frontcourt players get away with murder and guys like Diamantidis (who i loathe) will literally share your jersey just to defend you, thats how close he plays other guards, while knocking em about. And i like erich’s threat-comment: “come play me”. Nice one.

  • http://dsfjklf.com Jukai

    Delfino is South American? Really? I thought he was from Spain….

  • Beni

    I am actually quite offended by this, this is steotyping; as a European myself I feel compelled to go to that Canadian pr*ck’s house and show how tough us ‘eurotrash’ can be by kicking sh*t out of his nationalist ar*se.

  • http://www.boogiewilliams.com Boing Dynasty


  • JoeMaMa

    European players aren’t soft; that’s a stereotype to help explain why their bigs are more skilled and thus, don’t have to hurt someone to get a rebound. Also, there have been some great European shooters come out, leading to the view that all they do is shoot, which is half true, as all Euro players are trained at all positions.
    Colangelo hired Gherardini because he was an influential player overseas, where there are quality, skilled ball players. Colangelo had a superstar in Bosh, and went for skilled complementary pieces. Bargnani was considered the next Dirk; Calerdon earned his time, as Toronto fans remember, by being the ultimate team guy and playing his role perfectly, though he’s been outed now as a defensive liability. Rasho was a role player; Garbo was a success until the injury; Turkoglu has been brutal.
    I’m not going to throw Colangelo under the bus. It’s been a rough ride this year, but he’s got a good basketball mind and team in place for years to come. Remember, Toronto: the fact that we got him is still a blessing after the mess we’d had in Babcocok.
    And lastly, a note on Triano. He wasn’t picked because he’s Canadian. It looks good, but in this billion dollar business, people don’t get hired because “Canadian coach coaching canadian team” has a nice ring to it. Triano is getting big respect with the US team and Colangelo made his decision on how well he could do.

  • tavoris

    @Dacre-props for the Detlef Shrempf reference…love that dude.

  • Lloyd

    As a Raps fan, I feel the need to sound off here. No bashing Colangelo. The past couple of seasons, we’ve had teams that are really good…on paper. There’s no way Colangelo can predict the end results of these educated experiments.

    Now Euro players can be great, but the Euros do have more of a focus on skill-building and fundamentals than North America, where it’s more about grinding it out and athleticism (speed/strength). They just focus on different aspects of the game. Toughness beats out finesse most of the time, because toughness gets to the rim for high percentage shots. Finesse leads to jump shots which are obviously harder to stick. When we do hit jump shots, it’s game over; lights out. But again, the chances of a shot going in from 16 ft is a lot lower than a shot going in from a couple inches away from the rim.

    On defense, these guys go up against teams who are more athletically oriented. This leads to one guy getting blown by, then everyone collapses in to help, leading to a kick out to the perimeter, couple of swing passes and then someone gets an open look, or an open lane to the basket. Or on the other hand, the initial penetration leads to an easier bucket to the lane. This had been the case most times for the Raps.

    I sense another couple of years of painful rebuilding coming for the franchise. As a Raps fan, I just have to grit my teeth and wait for a right formula for victory.