More workouts, more coaches
Greetings from the west coast, sorry to be a bit late; gotta get this whole time zone thing worked out.
But here we go
Take a look at the list of draft prospects coming into Toronto to work this week and the immediate reaction is, yawn!
The only one who could legitimately be considered a 17th pick is Darrell Arthur of Kansas, who joins five others for Friday’s session.
The rest of them – Tyrone Brazelton of Western Kentucy, James Gist of Maryland, J.J. Hickson of North Carolina State, DeMarcus Nelson of Duke and David Padgett of Louisville -- are marginal first-rounders and more likely second-round choices or summer league invitees.
Of course, as I mentioned yesterday, it’s not like they’re all sitting around. Jim Kelly’s somewhere out here, Jay Triano’s in Italy with Maurizio and Masai and others are floating around the continent.
And with a session originally scheduled for Buffalo on Thursday now cancelled, it seems to be stuff happening outside of Toronto that’s just as important as anything going on in the city.
Big day on the coaching carousel, no?
Let’s go through them:
Detroit hires Mike Curry
No-brainer, saw it coming weeks ago, nobody’s surprised at all.
And I’m sure he’ll do a good job. You watch any Pistons game from this past season and when the players have a question during a game, it’s usually Curry they talk to. The way he works out the backups before every game – a full shooting practice – was a big reason Detroit’s bench got so good so quick.
Phoenix calls on Terry Porter
One of the game’s good guys, Porter gets a second crack at being a head coach after getting whacked too quickly in Milwaukee, where a meddling owner and a questionable GM panicked.
Tough gig, though. Aging team in a tough conference with high standards.
Chicago takes Vinny Del Negro.
Odd hire, isn’t it?
You’ve got a not bad young team that has no strong leader, are about to add the No. 1 pick in the draft and you hire a guy who’s never been as much as an assistant coach?
Not sure that’s the greatest of hires. And definitely a big, big gamble.
A dip into the mailbag:
Q: I'm a transplanted Torontonian over here in the Midwest. I'm wondering about the players coming over for draft workouts. Come June 26, should we expect that the Raptors will draft someone they had to the city for a workout? Or is it common for teams to take someone they haven't seen first-hand?
As a follow-up, do you have a sense of whom the Raptors might like? I know it's early, but did any of Douglas-Roberts, Rush, Lopez, Ajinca or Koufos impress?
Mary J, Chicago
A: It’s quite rare, actually, for a team to take someone they hadn’t worked out before the draft, the most recent example would be Milwaukee taking Yi last year without working him out.
But just because the kid, whoever it is, might not have been in Toronto doesn’t mean the Raptors haven’t seen him or worked him out on their own.
They’ve got scouts out at various workouts this week, three guys over in Europe and they could very well sneak a guy or two into some gym somewhere to get a look at him without us knowing. Which makes us work a bit harder trying to figure out if they do that sort of thing.
Of those five? From what I saw, Douglas-Roberts was a bit better than Rush and Lopez was the best of the bigs. But we only saw about 45 minutes or so of the workout so it’s really not a complete assessment.
This is why some nights on this beat are better than others.
Head out for dinner last night with an NBA big shot and the iconic Philly beat grunt Phil Jasner to a cool soul food place in Marina Del Ray (Aunt Kizzie’s Kitchen, if you need a recommendation).
Wander in and who’s sitting there all by himself? Rick Mahorn. In town doing his gig as an assistant coach with the Detroit Shock, who play the Sparks here tomorrow.
Sit and have dinner and tell stories for about 90 minutes. Great guy. Funny.
Had some chuckles about The Gangster (“The Gangster’s a weird guy,” he said), Bargnani (let’s just say he’s not cut in the Mahorn style) and the league (let’s just say it’s not cut in the Mahorn style).
And have the catfish, mac and cheese and red beans and sausage.
You can’t see this back home, I don’t imagine, but Jalen Rose is on one of the various ESPN panels he does and he’s wearing a dark suit, white shirt and a very baby blue bowtie. Very stylish.
So what happens tonight?
Are the Lakers going to be the Lakers who scored 41 points in the fourth quarter of Game 2? Or the team that’s averaged about 21 points in the other seven quarters of this final?
My best guess, and I’m pretty sure you’ll all point out the error of my ways if it doesn’t come true, is that the Lakers can’t quite figure it out again and Boston’s defence stymies them one more time.
There’s just something about the way the Celtics pack the paint and still get out to close out on open shooters, that Los Angeles can’t quite figure out.
I don’t think Leon Powe reprises his Hall of Fame game on the road – there’s something about playing at home that geeks most backups – but nothing the Lakers bench has done has been impressive.
The way the Laker backups have played is the biggest surprise to many of us; what was seen as a big advantage has become a huge liability. That may change at home. Maybe.
Another one from the mail and there’s lots I’ll eventually get to:
Q: Hey Doug, thanks for keeping the blog going during the summer, I've been working at the Honda plant in Alliston as a student so my days have been long and boring, but your blog certainly helps get me through them. Now, on to my question:
Me and a buddy at work were talking about my favorite player of all-time, Dennis Rodman. Aside from his crazy antics of the court there’s no denying Rodman could play. So my question to you is, do you think Rodman should be in the HOF? And do you think he ever will be?....Obviously I think he should be a first ballot HOFer but unfortunately I think some conservative voters might prevent that from happening, Your opinion oh wise one?
Marc D, Barrie
A: Anything I can help get through a boring day I’ll do. But I hope the bosses don’t read this, too.
Sorry to disappoint but Dennis Rodman is NOT getting into the Hall of Fame. Forget the antics off the court, or even some of the crap he pulled on the floor, he was a one-trick pony. He rebounded like few we’ve ever seen in this era, brilliant for his size, but when you think Hall of Fame, you think of guys who do way more than one thing better than others.