The Toronto Raptors and The Star Player Philosphy

Ian McDonnellContributor IJuly 13, 2010

TORONTO - OCTOBER 31:  Andrea Bargnani #7 of the Toronto Raptors takes a shot against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Air Canada Centre on October 31, 2007 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
Dave Sandford/Getty Images

I was thinking over something my brother and I were talking about over the weekend. I am sure plenty of people have talked it over with their friends.

It was about star power in Toronto, and why the stars always flee.

You could say that it’s because of Toronto and Canada and all the tax stuff (which I don’t buy completely). But although we seem to strike out with the American audience, Toronto has one of the largest markets in professional sports. So the fans are there.

But seeing as how most of the major talent in the NBA is American, maybe a stay north of the border isn’t in the dreams of the up and coming stars of professional basketball. Maybe that’s the problem.

On the other hand, maybe it’s because the Raptors haven’t won anything. Toronto has suffered several major setbacks in its history due to the loss of a key player looking to move to a major American market.

But the Raptors aren’t the only team with that problem. We certainly don’t have a tougher time than, say, Minnesota. In fact, lots of teams have trouble keeping players, and maybe it’s because they haven’t done anything yet.

Who knows? There could be a lot  of reason. Let’s pretend like it’s the first issue though.

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Let us pretend the major American players simply have no interest in playing in Canada. This is what my conversation with my brother was about, and our ideas were not new. They inevitably came to the concept of Toronto “the super world team” Raptors. 

This is based on the assumption that only non-American stars would be willing to spend their entire career in a Raptors' uniform.

To be honest, it’s hasn’t happened yet, and I don’t think there is any reason to believe that superstars outside of the US are any more likely to play here than people who called the states their home.

So, what our discussion turned into was more along the idea of having a European style team—one that emphasized all-around team play rather than the star player concept a lot of NBA teams adopt.

Perhaps Toronto was never meant to hold onto its stars in the NBA. Maybe the team should be modeled after Euroleague teams like Olympiacos, Barcelona and CSKA Moscow, all of which operate with a sharing style offense where the scoring load is split between three or four players equally.

Another thing those team's have in common? They all stand at the top of the standings every year.

Of course, the Euroleague isn’t the NBA, and team-first squads have existed before in the league.

The Raptors are not the Pistons of 2003-04, but maybe before they go and hand Andrea Bargnani a heap load of pressure and ask DeMar DeRozan to do much more than he’s capable of they should tweak the philosophy a bit.

Right now they have a team with no superstars, but there is no reason they can't win a few games.

And that is fine with me. I would rather see a winning team than a Raptors jersey at the All-Star game.