A remake is coming, and two blasts from the past
Oh, right. The draft. Free agent camp. Free agency. Olympic qualifier. Olympics. Mail. Lots. Of. Mail.
When's a guy gonna get some time to socialize?
Remember when we wondered how long this thing could keep going once the season was over? That was silly, wasn’t it?
Can’t promise 1,000 words every morning but can promise to get something up. How interesting it’ll be? I can’t say.
All of a sudden, we’re looking at the possibility of huge change on the Raptor roster next season.
The Gangster? Gone as soon as his contract expires.
Carlos? Could very well be gone if he gets a good free-agency offer.
T.J.? I’d say it’s 80-20 he’s gone in a trade?
And for a team that only had 14 guys on the roster at the end of the season, you’re looking at the possibility of five new faces, a third of the roster changing from one season to the next.
And with the prospects still around for a two-for-one or even three-for-one trade involving a package for Ford and someone making large money, there could be even more turnaround.
A good thing?
The problem last year was that there was little “separation” on the roster. The four swing guys – Moon, Parker, Kapono, Delfino – were at about the same level in talent. Oh, and consistency, too.
That made coaching difficult because not only didn’t Sam know which three were going to be good each night, there were quiet – very quiet – rumblings that the guys who weren’t playing thought they deserved to be playing more and those rumblings were probably right.
What good teams need and usually have is relatively clear separation between the value of guys one through, say, 10, and those occupying the 11th to 15th spots on the roster.
Man, even Juan Dixon, who was deep on the bench here, thought he deserved more time and it’s easy to argue he was right.
So I don’t think Bryan needs to hit three or four home runs as he remakes a third of his roster.
He needs to hit one into the upper deck, for sure, and maybe a second. But some of his job this summer will be getting guys to occupy the end of the bench because that’s what their talent dictates.
You can have too many mediocre talents fighting for minutes, what you want is a group of stars and some backups who realize they are backups.
It’s a tough, tough job.
Over the comments section, the always-insightful Bballer wonders which was the worst draft class in the last decade and holds up 1998 as the gold standard for mediocrity.
The lottery that year:
Michael Olowokandi, Mike Bibby, Raef LaFrentz, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Robert Traylor, Jason Williams, Larry Hughes, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Bonzi Wells, Michael Doleac and Keon Clark.
Very average, for the most part. Traylor was a busy, LaFrentz was always hurt, Wells was okay but not great; Doleac turned into a role player and we all know what happened to our man Keon.
I’m looking at 2000 and saying, “blech.”
Kenyon Martin, Stromile Swift, Darius Miles, Marcus Fizer, DerMarr Johnson, Chris Mihm, Jamal Crawford, Joel Przybilla, Keyon Dooling, Jerome MOiso, Eton Thomas and Courtney Alexander.
A little bit of mail:
Q: There is a distinct way that I watch the NBA playoffs once the Raptors are eliminated. Essentially, I try to see what each team does differently than the Raptors that has allowed them to advance deep into the playoffs.
So my question is this, what is the most distinctive characteristic shared by the Lakers and Celtics that the Raptors currently (and glaringly) lack?
My answer? Above-average perimeter defence.
Chris B, Toronto
A: I would imagine a huge majority of fans feel exactly that way.
You all excited about this free agent camp thing that starts tomorrow?
I know the Legend Of Jamario Moon and all but, really, that’s a one in a million shot.
Best case scenario: The find someone to keep Maceo Baston and Joey Graham company.
Oh, and they get a dominant summer league team out of it.
Was chatting with an old friend and a couple of grunts while standing outside at halftime of Game 6 getting some fresh air and the old friend makes a call and hands me his cell phone.
Bad reception I thought, or someone in a very crowded spot who could be barely heard above the din.
After 10 or 12 seconds, it hits me:
Yes, the one and only. He was hanging at the Garden in New York, or some restaurant, or some social function or some concert (I couldn’t make that part out). Says he’s doing fine, thinks he’ll be in Toronto sometime in July (“I’m just rolling like always,” he said).
One thing that did come out: “Tell Sam I said hi, tell Bryan to get him some players.”
Last mail hit:
Q: It's June 17 and the draft is coming up and many teams are holding tryouts. What about the Lakers and Celtics? Are they holding tryouts or must they wait at the end of the final. If they must wait, isn’t it unfair to them since they don’t get as much time to prepare?
A: Oh, no, they’re doing all their draft preparations just like everyone else is, the scouts are in town doing workouts, the GMs are paying attention, as well. It just gets lost in the news.
Because it’s Jalen’s World and we’re just a small part of it, here’s an update.
Turn on the TV yesterday morning, a tad bleary-eyed in Boston, and flip to Mike and Mike In The Morning ‘cause that’s what I do on the road.
And there, in the Golic chair, sits Our Man Jalen, co-hosting the ESPN radio simulcast show and being all Mr. Media.
Do my work, wander down to get coffee and come back after 10. Still on ESPN and it’s the First Take chat show and, sure enough, there’s Jalen again, being the guest panelist.
He might be the hardest working man in showbiz.
Guess in all those years when he was telling us about his budding media career, he wasn’t just blowing smoke.
Okay, off to see what these kids at the workout look like and talk to Some People Who Know about what’s been going on with these guys the last few days.