Maybe a steel cage match?
Maybe it’s time for a good wrestling match?
|TARA WALTON/TORONTO STAR|
|Maybe it's time for Raptors Wrestlemania II?|
I take you back just over a year, Nov. 19, 2006 in Denver to be exact, when Andrea Bargnani’s rookie season turned around, as did the opinion of coach Sam Mitchell held of him.
It was an off-day on a west coast trip and the Raptors had sucked. Mitchell had no idea whether the No. 1 pick was tough enough to play in the NBA and the kid really didn’t know how tough the NBA was every night.
The bigs all went to a local gym, one ball, four or five games (the memory blurs on that point); ball put in paint, two bigs told to go get it, guy could do almost anything he wanted to win.
Bargnani impressed enough with his desire that Mitchell gave him a big run the next night in Utah and the kid’s season sort of took off from there.
I mentioned that night to a coach last week and his eyes twinkled. “Yeah, put him in there with Joey, see who comes out.”
Not sure Sam’ll do it again, that’s the kind of drill that works once, but it might be something to try.
So, I’m sitting in the local establishment at the LAX Marriott last night, couple of sips into a Stella and wondering whether it’s a burger or the wings and the phone rings.
"You watching this game,” says a guy who invented this beat I’ve got, referring to Suns-Spurs.
"Yeah, just moved to a new stool so I could see it,” says I.
"See that play? Nash high pick-and-roll? With Brian Skinner. BRIAN SKINNER! He’s still in the league? And what’s that thing on his face,” says my man.
"Yep, another guy they had no idea how to use in Toronto. Just like Corliss Williamson. Yep, Lenny Wilkens a hall of fame coach for sure,” sayeth I.
The facial hair? I have no idea but it’s a bad look.
Got a note from Dean Edwards out in Whistler, who’s probably dreaming of exploiting Winter Olympic fans and renting his place for seven figures for the 2010 Games, who wants the Raptors to sign Ruben Patterson, just released in Sacramento.
Aside from the obvious flaws – the whole registered sex offender thing – here’s what one Eastern Conference advance scout said of Patterson when we were talking about him in Indy last Friday:
"He might be the dumbest player in the NBA.”
So, is the total package worth it? I don’t think so either.
Back to the burger-beer establishment and a note for all the puckheads. If you’re ever out this way, I believe I’ve found the only hotel in North America where you can see the Versus Network. Yeah, for real. You can. Glanced a bit at some game involving two teams last night. Someone won. I think.
And then the network switched over to its bread and butter. Rodeo.
We’ll dip into the mailbag for one:
Q: Hey Doug, I see you sitting behind Chuck and Leo eating gummy bears. When Chuck is calling the play by plays, does he watch the on-court action or a monitor, or a combination?
A: Gummy bears? Come on, man, don’t you know anything? It’s popcorn. Gummy bears are for kids. Or so I’m told.
And the one thing about sitting there is you can’t hear them so I have no idea what they’re calling the game from. I presume they watch but when Sam or someone is standing in front of them, it’s nice to have a monitor nearby.
Speaking of the mailbag, just click here to send along a submission.
So, that’s it for now, gotta run to shootaround in a while and, unfortunately, it’s at the Laker facility near the airport (Staples Center not available) and not at the dude’s house with the replica court. That’s gotta be some place. Of course, we’ll never know ‘cause it’s in a gated community and beat grunts aren’t on the pass list. As usual.