Last week saw the four-year anniversary of the appointment of Brian Burke as President & GM of the Maple Leafs. Bizarrely, yesterday also marked another four-year anniversary that actually interests me more: the firing of Sam Mitchell as Raptors head coach.
Now at the time, I was not happy with the move. Okay, so maybe the team had just suffered the fifth-largest defeat in franchise history, but hey, at least it wasn’t the worst. And yes, the team had started a season of high expectations at only 8-9, but there were already dealing with injuries at that point.
Besides, let’s be honest. Raptors Nation would kill for that kind of a start to a season these days.
Today, with that wonderful commodity often used by the sports media, hindsight, I’m even more confounded, and in fact annoyed, by the decision to fire Mitchell.
I’m one of those people who believes it isn’t worth living in the past or going over old ground. What’s done is done. You can’t change what’s already happened. However, I’m going to break this golden rule for once, just to see what has transpired in Raptorland since Mitchell was fired.
As we know, statistics can often be manipulated to back up any argument someone is trying to make.
(For example, the average four year old asks 400 questions a day. Now if you wanted to present this statistic positively, this would make the child naturally inquisitive, a sign of high intelligence and wanting to absorb as much information as possible. But if you wanted to portray the kid negatively, you could say that they were in fact a lazy idiot, incapable of working anything out for themselves.)
However, I truly believe the following facts and figures, no matter how they are presented, still present a damning indictment of Colangelo’s decision to sack Mitchell.
Sam Mitchell’s record as Raptors head coach:
Played: 345. Won-lost: 156-189 (45.2%)
Two playoff appearances
One division title (including a franchise-equalling 47 wins)
2007 NBA Coach of the Year
Raptors record since Mitchell left:
Played: 313. Won-lost: 114-199 (36.4%)
No playoff appearances
In fact, Mitchell’s record from a Raptors historical perspective also seems worthy of mention. Only Lenny Wilkens has a better winning percentage (45.9% versus 45.2%) while also being the only coach with more playoff games (17-11.) Overall, Mitchell has coached and won more games than anyone in franchise history.
So what does any of this have to do with anything? Well not a lot really, other than confirming what I always suspected: that Colangelo made a hasty decision getting rid of Mitchell in the first place.
I’ve repeatedly been on record over the last few years, defending Bryan Colangelo whenever possible, but this is his one decision that bugs me most. That’s right, even more than mistakenly believing that Chris Bosh, the guy who I sports-hate more than anyone else, was a franchise player.
Photo credit: www.hiphoopjunkies.com
- By paul.taylor
- December 4, 2012