The Colangelo files: A look at the GM's tenure

The Globe and Mail

Toronto Raptors' general manager Bryan Colangelo leaves a press conference in Toronto on Wednesday December 7, 2011. (Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Hired Feb. 28, 2006, and took over a team that would go on to finish with a record of 27-55, the 12th-worst mark in the 15-team Eastern Conference.

Nutshell Summary

In the seven-plus seasons Bryan Colangelo has been in charge, the Raptors qualified for the playoffs twice, the last time in 2007-08 when the team finished with a 41-41 record. The Raptors have now missed the playoffs the last five years in a row and under Colangelo’s watch the team has compiled a winning percentage of .423 (247-337). The last three years Toronto’s winning percentage had slipped to .343 (79-151).

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Colangelo’s Predecessors

Isiah Thomas was the team’s first GM (and a minority owner) who oversaw the Raptors’ birth into the NBA in 1995-96. Thomas ran the team for two full seasons and the first 11 games of the 1997-98 campaign. With Thomas in charge Toronto compiled a winning percentage of .297 (52-123).

Glen Grunwald assumed control of the team that had a record of 1-11 on Nov. 20, 1997, and would go on to win just 15 more games the rest of the season. Under Grunwald the Raptors would make the playoffs for the first time in 1999-2000, the first of three straight postseason appearances. Toronto compiled a .432 winning mark (226-297) with Grunwald in charge.

Rob Babcock will forever be remembered as the guy who drafted Brazilian stiff Rafael Araujo with the eighth pick overall in the 2004 NBA draft. Babcock has the shortest tenure of any of the club’s full-time GMs, his rule lasting just 125 games. Toronto winning percentage during that time was .376 (47-78).

Colangelo’s good moves

Not that he had much to do with it, but winning the NBA draft lottery back in May of 2006 – the first time the franchise history they got to pick first (Ed: See Colangelo’s bad moves) was a good way to begin his tenure; the unloading of the seemingly untradeable Araujo to the Utah Jazz; the signing of free-agent guard Anthony Parker; signing free-agent forward Jorge Garbajosa; drafting DeMar DeRozan; the trade for Amir Johnson; the hiring of coach Dwane Casey; drafting Jonas Valanciunas.

Colangelo’s questionable moves

The failure to trade Chris Bosh once it became clear he was serious in his desire to test free agency; the drafting of Italian centre Andrea Bargnani with the first pick in 2006 draft; the signing of free agent Jason Kapono; trading for veterans Jermaine O’Neal and Hedo Turkoglu; going all-in trying to sign Steve Nash, including signing Landry Fields to a three-year, $20-million (U.S.) deal, only to see the Canadian head to the Lakers; the trade for Rudy Gay, an expensive short-term move for a player who can become a free agent at the end of the 2014-15 season; trading for Kyle Lowry, whose inconsistent play this past season continues to raise concerns about Toronto’s point guard spot.