Well, it ain’t Rome.
Nice enough, though, and I can highly recommend Ottawa's The Honest Lawyer (no cheap shots about the name, I have friends who are lawyers) as a neighbourhood place to hang your hat, gobble a wing and gulp a cold drink while getting the lay of the land from the ever-helpful staff. Am sure we’ll strike out to other necks of the woods during the journey on our never-ending quest to spread good cheer to the people. All recommendations gladly accepted.
Anyway, on to, you know, basketball.
Sucks about Jawai, no?
No one saw it coming (we got word of it about Kingston on the train ride up) and no one really knows what’s going on except he won’t practice this week as he undergoes more cardiac tests.
The trouble with things like this is very little information will be made available because of privacy laws and that’s going to leave a few of us in the dark. We’ll try to get more information, maybe he’ll let us know what’s going on after practice today, but for now, all we know is something showed up in the tests that gave cause for concern to the doctors.
Now, I’m no doctor, and I don’t even play one on TV, but it strikes me that any time anything’s remotely wrong in the cardiac area, you take extreme caution.
But isn’t it funny, or coincidental, that not only are the Raptors holding Jawai out for more tests, they wouldn’t let Nicolas Batum work out in the weeks leading up the draft?
What’s Jawai’s absence mean?
Nothing, really, until we know how long he’s going to be out. As Bryan Colangelo has made it abundantly clear, he’s loath to add anyone to the roster for tax concerns and I don’t imagine anyone gets anything close to a guaranteed deal to replace the big Aussie for the time being.
So, it’s a Dirty Dozen that’ll take the court at Carleton this week to work out the kinks.
|TONY BOCK/TORONTO STAR|
|Sam easing into the pre-season.|
Dreamy, aren’t they? (I keed, SERIOUSLY, I keed!)
Actually, the deal has to do with some Lasik surgery he had a few weeks ago that he’s still getting used to. Bright lights bug him still, yesterday was a particularly bad day so he had those cool shades on.
Good look, though, wasn’t it?
Oh, right, the intro music.
We don’t know yet. The dastardly game ops people didn’t do it yesterday at media day; a guy sidled up to me and said it’s not going to be taped until the middle or end of last week. Sorry. So I guess that means it’ll be the old one, or none at all, or something generic, next Wednesday for the Knicks game.
It’s almost getting tiring hearing these guys sing the praises of Toronto. The latest? Will Solomon.
"Toronto really gives me the atmosphere of a European city, so living here, there’s not too much of an adjustment. It’s a great city.”
I’ve got Solomon as the big surprise of camp. Listening to players and coaches talk, I’m getting the sense he goes into camp as the favourite to cop that No. 2 point guard spot and it’ll take a big effort from Roko Ukic to beat him out. It’s not cast in stone, that’s for sure, but there’s a healthy competition going on there.
Speaking of Solomon, a couple of websites – including the team’s own – have him as Willie Solomon. Asked him about that and he prefers Will. So Will it shall be, here at least.
Q: I just finished watching the clips from Media Day and must say you looked extremely enthused during the interviews! However, Bargnani takes the cake - talk about abrupt answers to questions - it was hilarious as it appeared that beat grunts were scrambling to keep the questions coming! Which left me wondering...
As you attend media day, year-in and year-out is there any preparation on the part of reporters with respect to the questions directed towards the players, coaches, etc? Do certain media types come prepared with specific questions or themed questions, or is it more likely to be on the fly, 'go with the flow'?
A X, Scarborough
A: Enthused? Not grumpy and cranky and tired? Why, thank you!
I think almost everyone who shows up has some idea of what he or she is going to write or talk about and they go and gather specific information for that story.
In fact, that’s what you have to do because of the sheer volume of stuff that’s available on a day like yesterday. Between coaches and GMs and players, there are more scrums than you can shake a stick at and if you don’t have an idea of what you want to do, you can get bogged down in a surplus of information and angles.
In fact, even knowing the two things I wanted to write, I had about 3,000 extra words of transcribed quotes to wade through and it really put a crimp in the relaxation time on the train ride up here.
Now, sometimes during the season, when you’re at like the third practice between games and there’s no news and nothing really to write, you might show up and just “go with the flow:” and piggyback on someone else’s idea and questions but, generally, you arrive at a workout with an idea and pursue it.
This is by no means a definitive statement on the style of play we’ll see this year but here’s Sam yesterday on offence:
"We’re going to a run a lot of the same stuff we’ve been doing. Yeah, we’re going to add some stuff because of Jermaine, to make sure he gets the ball.
“The thing I’m telling our guys is, your first look is going to be inside, your second look is going to be inside and if they throw it back out, your third look is going to be inside.
"Then if they throw it out, then you shoot the basketball.
"We obviously have to make teams pay.”
Action: Minnesota signs Rafael Araujo to a training camp contract.
Reaction: Rob Babcock does not give up easily.
Hope you all saw Bryan's contention that this is the best Raptor team “on paper” since he got here. I don’t think you can really dispute that, even the team that won the Atlantic Division was a surprise and probably not as overall talented as this one.
That team over-achieved, no question about it; it was a nice ride but there were no expectations. There are expectations this year and it’s going to be very interesting to see how this group holds together.
But best team in history? Even on paper? I don’t think that’s the case. The 2001 team, the one that actually won a playoff series, was probably more talented 1-12 than this one and had just as good chemistry.
Suitably chastised, I offer this with the comment that the writer is correct:
Love the blog and read it daily. I'm also fond of the occasional lessons you dish out beyond basketball. Guess that's why I was a little disappointed by this:
"and then we all pile into trains, planes and automobiles and head off to Ottawa. Where, I must tell you, I’m pretty sure we will all be able to avoid the debates that are going on this week."
There's enough voter apathy out there, especially among young people, and the fact is, the right to decide who runs a democratic nation is a little more important than hoops. Hope you'll not be so dismissive in the future of real problem in what are supposed to be democracies both here and stateside.
Hope to see a little less jaded an attitude as events unfold in the Canadian and US federal elections. While perhaps not as awe inspiring sometimes, like sports, at least they're competitive, and you don't know the final outcome till the last whistle blows.
Look forward to seeing you and the Raps back in full swing.
JP M, Dubai (via Toronto)