Rap's Coach Sam Mitchell; Fired
The NBA’s coaching carousel continues to turn, but its latest revolution struck a little too close to home.
On Wednesday, less than twenty-four hours removed from a stunning thirty-nine point defeat at the hand of Chauncey Billups (24 pts, 14 Ast) and his band of mile high marauders, aka the Denver Nuggets, Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo put an end to Sam Mitchell Era in Toronto.
Mitchell exits with a career regular season win/lose record just under the five-hundred mark (159-189) strong enough for 1st and 2nd place in the NBA’s Atlantic Conference in each of the past two seasons, not to mention the NBA Coach of the Year title Mitchell claimed way back in 2007.
How quickly we forget
On February 28th 2006, Bryan Colangelo stormed into town, riding high on his Fathers coat tales and talking a lot about what he had accomplished in Phoenix.
It’s common knowledge that anytime a new GM roles into town that the first place he looks to make his mark, to put his own stamp on the team he now controls is the coaching position. It’s very uncommon for a new GM to be able to move into his new role with a vast amount of confidence while working with somebody else’s parts.
The latter, working with someone else’s parts was the route Colangelo elected back in the spring of 06' and Mitchell promptly responded with a Coach of the Year performance, a 47 win season and the clubs first Atlantic Division title.
Following two playoff seasons under Colangelo’s management, Sam Mitchell, at the first sign of trouble was unceremoniously canned, sacked, ousted and now, finally GM Bryan Colangelo will be able to handpick Mitchell’s successor, a task nearly two and a quarter seasons in waiting.
Mitchell’s replacement, whomever Colangelo has in mind represents a double-edged sword for the Rap’s current General Manager. Although Mitchell’s replacement will be a subordinate protege to current Rap’s GM Bryan Colangelo the individual will also represent a part of the Raptors organization that is 100% BC (Bryan Colangelo) and the future successes or failures of that individual will corelate directly with big boss and General Manager Bryan Colangelo. There will be no more room for "he’s not my guy" or "we’re lacking a couple pieces" going forward it’s all put up or shut up.
For those who believe in Karma with a capital "K" coach Mitchell’s attempt’s this year to curb his often robust language have become a moot point just seventeen games into an eighty-four game NBA schedule.
Mitchell had promised during the preseason that his swearing days were over and that he had already been clean of curses for quite sometime. Well, if this afternoon’s news was enough to force an expletive from the lips of the Georgian Peach, Sam Mitchell then perhaps old Sam is a better man than either you or I. Just a thought.
Raptors Assistant Coach and Niagara Falls native Jay Triano has been promoted to Head Coach on an interim basis becoming the first Canadian-born head coach in NBA history.
Congrats to Mr. Triano for backing into this once in a lifetime achievement. Given Jay’s long history with Canada’s National Basketball team I could see no candidate more deserving yet less qualified for the position. That is of course unless the folk at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment are willing to consider my application.