We're halfway done
Halfway home. Feels good.
Generally hate those Mid-Season Report Cards but what the heck, why not stir up the zanies and let ‘em chew on these.
(C is the baseline; if you’re having an average year for your skills, that’s what you get)
Jose Calderon: A
I don’t know where they’d be without him, either.
Anthony Parker: C
Been okay, better lately but an average year so far.
Jamario Moon: B
Best story of the year. Maybe best story of ever around these parts.
Chris Bosh: A
You don’t read a whole lot of ‘Trade Bosh’ talk now, do you?
Andrea Bargnani: D
Some good games early, a disappearing act of late.
Juan Dixon: C
Asked to do something he’s not ready for. Is that his fault?
Rasho Nesterovic: C
He’s gonna be valuable around playoff time.
Carlos Delfino: B
Best addition of the off-season.
Jason Kapono: C
Shooting percentage down, but so is playing time.
Kris Humphries: C
Lots of flaws but energy and hustle count.
Joey Graham: C
Average year from average player.
Darrick Martin: C
He is what he is.
T.J. Ford: Incomplete
They miss him more than you think.
Jorge Garbajosa: Incomplete.
If he’s back this year, it’s a huge bonus.
Maceo Baston: Incomplete.
Unfair to mark a guy who never plays.
Sam Mitchell: B
Three games over .500 isn’t bad for all this team’s gone through.
Here’s one from the mailbag
Q: Whatever happened to the fast-break in the NBA off the defensive rebound?
I remember Russell would grab the rebound for the Celts, outlet pass would almost reach halfcourt, the ball would move up the SIDE of the court and result in incredible layups or bank shots from near lane. How come we never see this anymore? What has changed over the years?
Charles N, Mexico/Toronto
A: Coaching happened.
More correctly: Micro-managing coaching happened.
Way back the day, guards would collect outlet passes and look up for an open teammates. Today, they collect outlet passes and look to the bench to see which play the coach wants called. Once they get that stop sign, things slow to the pace of sludge too often and it’s dribble, dribble, dribble, entry pass into the post, a couple of weak side screens, maybe a jump hook or a pass back out for a three.
That’s why Phoenix is such an aberration, and a delight. They run like teams used to run. But until coaches start trusting their players a little more, things aren’t likely to change.
It’s Martin Luther King Day today and while it doesn’t resonate as much as it should up here in the general population, it does with the guys I’m around all the time.
Here’s Sam on the great man:
"He was just truly a remarkable individual to do what he did under the circumstances in which he did it, knowing how his life was probably going to turn out and understanding how important life is to all of us … To still have the courage to say the things he said and stand up for the things that he stood up for, it’s just remarkable.”
Sam was just a wee lad when Dr. King was assassinated – the little pup was born in ’63 – but he soon learned how dark those days were.
"I remember my mom, as I got older, my mom and dad talking about when he was assassinated and how things were and how you just felt like it was someone close in your family had just died. People were just devastated.
My mom said for weeks, you just didn’t know what to do with yourself. How to feel, how to think. You just felt like you were fighting for all this progress and it was, ‘where do we go now?’
He had an unbelievable mark on our future. I say to our guys all the time, I’ve said it before, I probably wouldn’t be standing here today if it wasn’t for some of the things he stood for.”
Not to go all serious on you and the world is far from a perfect place when it comes to race relations but it also a far, far better place for having Dr. King in it, even if for far too short a time.
Yet another trip to the mailbag:
Q: Does Jose carrying around a pink Dora The Explorer backpack in his rookie year ring a bell? If my memory serves me correctly that was Jose taking part in the Raptors' rookie initiation. Can you fill us in on any initiation Jamario might be participating in as this year's rookie?
Luka M, Toronto
A: I can’t get my props straight but I believe Jose did carry a Dora backpack (Swiper being my personal fave Dora character) and Garbo spent last season carrying around one that was Spongebob (the best kids cartoon ever, in one man’s opinion. He lives in a pineapple under the sea for goodness sake!).
Moon’s not immune. He’s carrying a nice pink High School Musical backpack around this year.
We gotta figure out what to have Quag 2.0 (the new kid from the Post) carry.
So, I’m flipping back and forth between the NFL game and the Nets-Suns last night and it seems every time I click to the hoops I get the same commercial, the one for Adidas to win the trip to the all-star weekend.
Quite aside from the apparent lack of commercial inventory at RaptorsTV (the same one was on at every break), don’t you think that if someone’s trying to sell you something they should try to spell words correctly?
Now, I make the odd typo and it pains me every time I see one here or in the paper, but surely in the name of marketing and sales, someone has to realize that the word’s spelled ‘accommodate.’
That’d be two Ms.
Gotta switch sports now and it’s time to branch out with the absence of Dancing With The Stars. Ghana’s most fervent Raptor fan reports the nation’s Black Stars opened the MTN Nation’s Cup with a 2-1 win over Guinea yesterday.
Check out this lede to the story from the state-owned Daily Graphic:
Sometimes one is tempted to believe that God is a Ghanaian, particularly for the way the Black Stars got their MTN Africa Cup of Nations campaign to a flying start with a late match winner by Sulley Muntari, the most celebrated hero of yesterday's 2-1 victory by the Stars.
I’m pretty sure I couldn’t get away with such, um, descriptive writing. Read the whole story here.
Why, you ask, am I promoting the Black Stars? Well, a guy’s gotta have a team to cheer for, doesn’t he?