Raptors general manager Colangelo takes questions during the team's media day before the upcoming NBA basketball season in Toronto

GM Colangelo calls Raptors play “unacceptable,” “embarrassing”

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Last season the Toronto Raptors weren’t very good, but they had a pretty good defense (12th in the NBA) that kept games close. So it stood to reason that if you added Kyle Lowry’s offense, the much anticipated Lithuanian big Jonas Valanciunas and rookie Tereence Ross, this team would take another step forward.

Nope. The Raptors are 4-16. They have a bottom 10 offense still and their defense is a mess, 28th in the NBA. Toronto is giving spot-up shooters good looks and not closing out, and they are the second worst team in the NBA at defending guys in the post (via Synergy Sports).

GM Bryan Colangelo has caught up with the team and is doing interviews to try and find out why. He might start by looking in the mirror and discussing with that guy roster construction and what kind of team he is trying to build. Colangelo also talking to players and coaches to try and figure it out.

But he’s not happy, he told Doug Smith of the Toronto Star.

“This situation is, from all standards, unacceptable,” the team’s president and general manager said. “It’s disappointing, it’s embarrassing but this is where we find ourselves….

“There’s been a lot of dialogue, a lot of discussion,” he said. “It’s constant evaluation of what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and why we’re doing it.”

The team and coaches held a closed-door 25-minute meeting after getting thumped by the Jazz this week, too.

Colangelo has no guaranteed money on his deal past this season and having been on Toronto radio the past week a couple times I can say he is a target of the fans. With reason, again what plan do you see in how the team is constructed? And now, what are you going to do with the enigmatic Andrea Bargnani, who has two years and $22 million left on his contract AFTER this season. He’s not going to be easy to move.

In the long term, the Raptors may be better off with another lottery pick to build around, even in what is seen as a down draft this year. But the Raptors problems are deeper than that and coach Dwane Casey and Colangelo need to figure out what the path is for this team and get them back on it. And get them to defend, too.

Enjoy 50-best circus shots of last NBA season

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As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.

For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.

Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.

To avoid trash talk, Steven Adams told Kevin Garnett he didn’t speak English

Kevin Garnett
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Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.

Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.

Brilliant.

Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.

Pistons’ Stan Van Gundy “encouraged” by players speaking out, protesting social issues

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 17: Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons yells to his players during the first half of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on April 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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 Jason Miller/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption ***Stan Van Gundy
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Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.

Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.

A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.

“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…

“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”

Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.

The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.

Sunday is 16th anniversary of greatest dunk ever: Vince Carter over Frederic Weis

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It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.

But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.

Best. Dunk. Ever.

By anyone.

Weis was never the same.

In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.

Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.