Raptors Wrap: Bryan Colangelo's Best Decision

Major KelchnerCorrespondent INovember 1, 2007

IconBryan Colangelo was a godsend.

The Toronto Raptors were a dying organization with a roster of no-talent misfits when Colangelo took over as GM.

Frankly, they were no better than they'd been in their expansion year.

Former GM Rob Babcock robbed the Raptors by taking a paycheck for the job he did. His reign included the selection of Rafael Araujo over Andre Iguodala in the 2004 Draft and the ill-advised signing of street-baller turned NBA project Rafer Alston.

Araujo is no longer playing in the Western Hemisphere; Alston and his attitude have since departed for Houston.

I happened to be at the Air Canada Centre the night Colangelo made his Toronto debut. He received a standing ovation when he was introduced over the PA system—the biggest cheer of the evening.

Raptors fans, in other words, were ready for a change.

Upon taking the reigns, Colangelo promptly traded Araujo to Utah for Kris Humphries, grabbed Rasho Nesterovic from San Antonio, and sent Charlie Villanueva to Milwaukee for T.J. Ford.

The Humphries trade has worked out, Rasho has been solid, and Ford has been a competent floor general.

But Colangelo's best move was the one he didn't make.

With Babcock on his way out, many observers assumed head coach Sam Mitchell was done too. When a new GM takes over a franchise, after all, he often remakes the organization from scratch.

Not so with Colangelo.

Sam Mitchell is a hard-nosed, loyal, no-nonsense coach—and Colangelo's decision to hold onto him was a wise one. It's hard to imagine a leader better suited to keeping Toronto's run-n-gun system firing on all cylinders.

The Raptors' reward?  

Mitchell guided Toronto to a third seed in the 2007 NBA playoffs, earning NBA Coach of the Year honors in the process.

This season, the attitude surrounding the organization is one of pure optimism. Fans expect great things from a team that has added new cogs to a finely-tuned machine.  

As I see it, the faith is well-placed. After all, we have a GM who knows when to make big moves...and when not to make any move at all.