Bigger than free agency: Bosh right to question Toronto Raptors’ integrity
The Quick Hitter: During a losing streak NBA teams have two emotions: concern and panic.
For instance, the Toronto Raptors have plenty of cause for concern: they've posted an abysmal 3-9 record since the All-Star break, which included losses to the rebuilding Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors; they've dropped from fifth to eighth in the lowly Eastern Conference and are clinging to the final playoff seed ahead of the banged-up Chicago Bulls; and they've put in too many uninspired, disgusting and lazy efforts.
However, concern quickly became panic when superstar Chris Bosh called out teammates following last night's 124 -112 defeat courtesy of the Warriors:
“We're not playing basketball the way we need to. I guess for some reason, we don't like to secure a lead and we don't like to win basketball games.”
“That's the only thing I can think of. We come out here, we talk about it, we have a billion meetings. We can talk all we want. Unless we do it, it really doesn't matter. We talk about the third quarter. We talked about the third quarter yesterday. We talked about it at shootaround today. And we go out and do the same thing. So I don't know. We just lack execution.”
“Just do it. Act like you care. You know, we need to do the things that win. We don't do the things that win. I'm going down playing offense on their side of the basketball court and their bench is louder than we are. That doesn't make any sense. They're not playing for anything. We're trying to make the playoffs. We're maybe trying to get a fifth seed, but that's like slipping every day. We can't even tell. This isn't playoff basketball. We're supposed to be gearing up for the playoffs. Their bench and players are more active than ours is. They get more stops. They get more offensive rebounds. Everybody's doing everything.”
“It's like if you look on the schedule right now and see Toronto, I'm sure people are checking something in the win box. I can understand if we lose the game going down fighting. We're not fighting at all.”
“It ain't confidence. You just play. If you got feelings and stuff like that, this isn't the sport for you. Plain and simple. The real world isn't for you if you have too many feelings. If somebody's hurting your feelings, you go out there and you play basketball and you play tough because nobody cares about how you feel. Nobody cares if you're on a 10-game losing streak. Nobody cares if you're on the road. The only think people care about is if you win a basketball game. That's it.”
“I don't know. I'm glad I'm not the coach. I wouldn't know what to do either. I don't know how many times you can change it, how many speeches you can give. I don't know how many lineup changes there can be. I don't know. The coaches can only do so much. We have to take control of this team because time is ticking and it's counting down and if we keep playing like we are right now, we're going to be on the outside looking in.” (Contra Coasta Times)
So Bosh, the franchise face, believes his teammates don't like to win basketball games, don't care, and can't take control. And he has zero issue breaking the age old mantra of keeping such controversial thoughts within the sanctity of the locker room.
And he's right. He's also one hundred percent right for going on the record.
Credit Bosh for having the guts to publicly state the obvious: right now, the Raptors lack pride, courage, and desire. Their perimeter defense is laughable. They're giving up offensive rebounds galore. And they're losing games they should win.
Of course, there will be much discussion this is a sign Bosh migrates south when his contract expires at season's end. Perhaps, this is fair. However, last night's rant was about his teammates' integrity, or lack thereof, and not believing the coaches and/or front office will fix the club's complacent culture.
That's bigger than free agency. And that's reason for concern, panic, and anything else you can think of.
The good news: the Raptors have the rest of the season to prove Bosh wrong. It starts tonight in Portland.