The Beginning of the End
Flashback 2006. NBA Draft. First Pick. The stakes couldn’t possibly be higher. It was make or break time. The key moment to separate the men from the boys. The Babcocks, from the Bufords.
Would Bryan Colangelo make the right choice for the Toronto Raptors? Would he bring joy and pride to the Canadian nation? Or would he fluster and flake at the last moment and make the ever so classic ‘bold’ pick? A move today’s GM can’t help themselves but do. An unshakeable desire to prove they knew better than the rest of the NBA populace, from Darko to Thabbet. Full of celebrated ego, confusion, and a future on lottery island.
Executive of the Year
Never to be outdone by other victory cigar wielding contemporaries, Bryan Colangelo would draft the NBA’s first ever European number one draft pick: Andrei Bargnani. Forever entrenching himself between Michael Jordan and Joe Dumars on the great Mount Failmore of NBA draft success!
Colangelo’s next move: trading rookie of the year runner-up Charlie Villanueva for T.J Ford . Good ole’ Colangelo felt Villanueva, was hindering their almighty franchise Raptor Chris Bosh from leaping to his maximum potential. Bosh would of course, later repay Colangelo by leaving the Raptors with absolutely nothing to join the Heat. Scorched Earth. Not even a Kraft dinner as a thank you gift! This move would claim severe repercussions for both Colangelo and a Canadian fanbase, now reeling in agony without their team’s logo.
The year is 2007, and Eurofever has struck Colangelo drunk with lust for anything even mildly resembling Europeans. There is a heist in the Euroleague and Colangelo is the leading suspect and culprit. He literally robs the league blind overnight and gets former Euro MVP Anthony Parker, and Spanish sensation Jorge Garbajosa. Colangelo, then obtains the remaining leftover players (Fred Jones) who are actually willing to play for Canada, (or at least didn’t know where Toronto was located till the last second) and the Raptors are good to go!
Sam Mitchell, the Raptors head coach, leads the team to a .500 record for the first time since the Vince Carter days and wins the NBA’s Coach of the Year award! Only to be fired about a year or so later. Bryan Colangelo, wins the NBA’s Executive of the Year award for actually getting a farm team into the NBA playoffs!
So what happens? The New Jersey Nets handily eliminate the Toronto Raptors in 6 games in the 1st round of the playoffs. Colangelo becomes seduced by his Euro addiction, his mild success an enabler. The treadmill era officially begins!
Stay Tuned for Part 4, where we’ll look at how one playoff birth lead to several lottery ones!
Bryan Colangelo: Loving Three Point Chuckers Like The Rest of Us. A Common Man.
Written by Nir Regev