Now the work really begins
Here we go.
The pre-draft workouts start in earnest Tuesday for the Raptors, who’ll probably run 35 or 40 kids through the Air Canada Centre between now and the June 26 draft.
|The pre-draft workout, um -- Rush -- is on!|
What’s it all mean? What do they do?
The biggest thing the Raptor brass – and they are all here, coaches, scouts, everybody – will be looking for is overall talent. They have had guys out scouting these kids in games all winter but it’s hard to really get a handle on how quick they are or their shooting form and ball-handling skills when you’re sitting in the stands watching. Maybe they go see a college kid and he gets two fouls in the first four minutes and has to sit down for the rest of the half. Maybe they’re in Europe when a guy has a horrible game.
You really can’t get a good look scouting like that, or from tape.
So they’ll run them through myriad drills, defensive and offensive, and just watch.
Then, unfortunately, they will tell us nothing.
This is now the age of draft disinformation, teams don’t like to let on who they like or what they’ll do lest some other team make a pre-emptive strike. You’ll hear this guy was okay and that guy has to work on this or that; you’re not going to hear full honesty any time between now and draft night.
The kids will say they see themselves as a good fit in Toronto; they’ll say they’re a good fit in any city they’re in, actually.
The work we do comes well after the actual workout when maybe a scout will offer off-the-record assessments that are close to the truth.
Wednesday, it’s bigs Kosta Koufos of Ohio State, Stanford’s Robin Lopez and Drew Neitzel of Michigan State and guard Jeremy Pargo of Gonzaga. Guess since they had brother Jannero on the roster, they may as well take a look at the sibling.
Thursday’s the big day with Alexis Ajinca of France, Chris Douglas-Roberts of Memphis, Kansas State’s Bill Walker and Brandon Rush of Kansas.
Oh, and I’m told the Malik Hairston of Oregon who’s coming in tomorrow is not related to Happy. Too bad. Would have been a nice Laker angle to explore.
Hands up how many of you watched at least a little bit of the LA-Washington WNBA game when you were clicking through the channels.
I’m sure there were more than a few – I know I watched a large chunk of the game – and that can only be because of the presence of Candace Parker.
And I’m sure that if you watched you were impressed. I caught a bit of the fourth quarter when she was playing point guard and chasing what I’m told would have been the first triple-double in WNBA history.
Imagine, then, what she’s doing for the game in the States if she’s making the WNBA at least semi-relevant up here. I know people tuned in because she’s AP’s sister but you’ll watch again because she’s such a great player.
I don’t know whether there are any grand – or formative – plans over at Maple Leaf Sports to think about a WNBA team but it might not be a bad idea.
Do you think they could draw 5,000 fans – on average – to a women’s team in the summer at, say, Ricoh Coliseum? Is there enough familiarity with players who aren’t Candace Parker to sustain interest? Can they price the tickets low enough so that families with young girls who play basketball could go and maybe find a role model or two?
I think it would work.
Here’s one from the mail with a common theme:
Q: 9 p.m. starts for the games in Boston? Madness. I suppose they wanted to have a uniform tip-off time for the series but this strikes me as crazy.
Has it been like this for a few years now and I've just forgotten?
Graeme F, Toronto
A: Yes, unfortunately, it has been that way for a while and will remain that way for the future, too.
Funny thing is, the TV types will tell you viewership grows in the time after 11 p.m., which I guess is a good thing for the network and not so much for kids who might want to watch.
I bet, though, that this series will have higher ratings than maybe any since the Jordan era. It’s pretty compelling.
So, as I’m watching that WNBA game Saturday, it’s Tree Rollins coaching against Michal Cooper?
That’s pretty cool in a throw-back kind of way.
To all who’ve asked: The only guy on the Detroit roster Toronto should be interested in – if Joe Dumars is going to undergo a big makeover – would be Antonio McDyess.
Rasheed’s too expensive for one year, I don’t see Dumars moving Prince or Hamilton, Billups isn’t a good fit at his age right now and none of the good backups (and that’s limited to Jason Maxiell and Rodney Stuckey in my book) are going to be available.
I know Bryan tried to obtain McDyess in the middle of the 2006-07 season for a package centred around Mo Pete; maybe he makes the same offer with AP as the guy?
Yes, Giorgos Printezis had a team-best 21 points as Olympiakos beat Panathinaikos to tie the best-of-five Greek league final 2-2.
No, this does not mean the former second-round pick can help the Raptors. It means he had a big game in the Greek league playoffs.
Last time I talked to a scout who had seen him, the word was he wasn’t close to NBA-ready. I don’t imagine that’s changed.
Hey, Ghana Black Stars 3, Libya 0 in World Cup qualifying.
They may still be celebrating in Accra.
Big win. Impressive home triumph.