Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Why Colangelo said yes to Triano

Many pundits and fans alike wondered aloud why the Raptors and Bryan Colangelo chose to remove the interim tag from Jay Triano's name and replace it with head coach. While I still remain skeptical, I understand the logic and reasoning behind the move. That's why I am here to give you 6 reasons why Colangelo decided to stick with Triano, without interviewing a single other coach.

1. When Colangelo conducted his end of the season evaluations with each player, one of his questions was to evaluate whether or not the players believed their current coach was the right man to lead the team back to the post-season. The players rallied behind their coach and responded with a resounding yes. They stood behind their coach and praised his work ethic and wealth of basketball knowledge. Triano's record as a head coach (25-40) obviously did not reflect the relationship he had built with his team. But the respect he had earned over the course of the season from the players did.

2. Andrea Bargnani's improvement after Triano took over the team is a huge factor in why he was permanently made head coach. Bargnani's stats under Triano were impressive as he became a bigger part of the offense and got consistent minutes. But Triano's biggest impact on Bargnani was his self-confidence. After a subpar year that saw his stats decrease and outside shot disappear, Bargnani responded with career highs in every category. Triano also had a positive affect on his defensive play as Andrea improved his footwork and toughness in the paint. Which led to his block total reaching over 1.2 blocks and 4.4 defensive rebounds, impressive numbers considering his slow start in the first half of the season. The most overlooked factor is that Bargnani's improvement under Triano and continued improvement under Triano makes Colangelo look good, as he has been widely criticized for his drafting of Bargnani first overall. So Bargnani becoming a force in the league reflects positively on Colangelo and his massive ego, which is almost as big as his massive collars.

3. A smaller factor was the Raptors winning streak and strong finish to season. After the firing of Mitchell and the acquisition of Marion, the Raptors finally gelled and played some good ball down the stretch, going 9-4 in their final 13 games. While Triano's overall record is mediocre at best, he seemed to put it all together towards the end of the season. Although the Raptors were well out of the playoffs by that time, who knows what could have been if the season was 92 games rather than 82.

4. Another important factor in the decision was the lack of quality coaching candidates available. The names out there being bandied about for Philly and Sacramento's vacant coaching positions are former coach of the year Eddie Jordan, legendary coach turned broadcaster Doug Collins, Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau and Mavs assistant Dwayne Casey. Eddie Jordan is too much like Sam Mitchell to hire, Doug Collins only seems to interview for Philly, Washington and the Bulls, Tom Thibodeau has been mentioned as a head coach for years but never seems to get the gig and Dwayne Casey was previously interviewed but was narrowly edged out by Sam Mitchell. Colangelo's close friend Marc Ivaronni is available and was rumoured to be Colangelo's eventual coach when he fired Mitchell but now seems likely to become Triano's lead assistant. Oh, and by the way Jeff Van Gundy and his manic depressive ass won't come out of retirement to coach a team that couldn't make the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, so forget about it.

5. The Raptors will also benefit from the good PR involved with making Triano the first Canadian head coach. The fact the he is the head coach on the lone Canadian team is the icing on the cake. Triano is infamous in Canadian basketball history as he broke or equalled 11 school men's basketball records, including having the most career points with 2,616 at Simon Fraser University. Triano was a national team player from 1978–88, captained the team from 1981–88, and played in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics. He led the Canadian team that won Gold at the 1983 World University Games in Edmonton, Alberta. Overall he is a good ol Canadian boy who loves basketball and more importantly loves Canada.

6. Triano is well respected around the league and has a stellar reputation around basketball circles across the globe. He was just named lead coach for USAB's 2009 summer national senior team program in July, a precursor to the preparations for the 2010 world championships and the 2012 London Olympics. The former coach of Canada's Basketball program was also known for his role as an assistant coach of the USAB Select Team (2007 and 2008), the head coach of the NIKE Skills Academy in Vancouver (2006) and Toronto (2007), and as a coach at the prestigious EURO CAMP in Treviso, Italy for the six years prior to his role in the NBA. He is a well travelled and experienced coach, who has instructed some of the NBA's brightest stars and will continue to do so in Toronto for the next 3 years.

So if you had any doubts or questions as to why Triano was made the head coach and signed to a 3 year deal.........now you know and knowing is half the battle........holla at ya boy!!

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