A so-so Raptor debut and wondering what lies ahead today
Happy Trade Deadline Day!
Everyone all nervous and a’twitter?
|TONY BOCK/TORONTO STAR|
|Strange, new, wonderful things happened at small forward for the Raptors last night.|
No idea what’s going to happen, I remember sitting around one day waiting for an expected flurry of activity here and league wide and the whole sum of the day’s action was Anthony Johnson going to Orlando from Atlanta in 2000 for a conditional second round draft pick. Yawn. But I also remember standing in a crowded waiting area outside the Raptors offices and getting a call from a guy inside telling me Toronto had done not one, but two substantial deals involving Jerome Williams, Eric Montross and Chris Childs. That was sort of a busy day.
What do I expect today? Far busier than not. I think economics will drive most deals, I think you’ll see at least one significant move by a team with legitimate playoff hopes (Boston with Tony Allen out eight weeks and Orlando with a question mark over Jameer Nelson might be prodded to do something) and it might be a fun day.
Here? Well, it’s really hard to say. Bryan’s got a few things going (“three or four, but nothing close to getting done,” I was told late last night) but watching the energy-free final three quarters of a game in which his team shot a miserable 37 per cent from the field darkened his mood enough to send him right to the phones, I’d imagine.
So keep checking here for updates and news, we’ve got a team of editors (well, one, actually) ready to post ‘em, I’m ready to dissect ‘em the best I can and we’ll do one of those live chats starting about 2 p.m. so we can all be together for the final countdown. Won’t that be sweet?
On to the fun and frivolity:
Action: Marion’s debut
Reaction: Not a bad one. Not great, either.
There were flashes, especially in the first seven or eight minutes, when it looked like this deal was going to be a big win.
One play in particular: About three minutes in, Marion grabs a rebound, leads a break and hits Parker with a lob pass for a dunk. Haven’t seen a Raptor small forward do that in years and years.
But another one later underscored the issue on the night: A play across from the Raptor bench, not sure what quarter, and Marion goes across the top to set a screen for Jose, I believe it was. Just before he gets to set it, he slips it, cuts to the basket with pretty much an unimpeded pass but Jose, if it was him, didn’t see the slip coming and didn’t deliver the ball.
Quite understandable since Jamario or Jason or Joey or whoever’s been playing the three slips more on the ice than they ever did on screens but precisely the kind of play teammates with familiarity with each other make.
We witnessed history and can be thankful for that.
By tipping a miss and keeping the ball alive, Nate Jawai got his first NBA rebound (an offensive one at that) and then a basket. Two points, one board, 5 1-2 minutes and something to write home about. Priceless.
As one of us beat grunts said, it was the world’s most significant double-single.
That being said, we did witness a game in which Jake Voskuhl and Nate Jawai played in the first half of a relatively close game for a team purporting to make a playoff run.
Action: Integrating Marion into the flow
Reaction: Another job lies ahead.
Sure, it’s going to take a while for Marion to learn all the intricacies of his new teammates but, conversely, how long is it going to take for Bosh, whenever he comes back, to get used to playing with Marion.
I know Bosh is hurt and I know I’m no doctor and I don’t know his pain threshold but every game that he doesn’t play is one giant step backwards in what has to be a rapid development.
What’s Ira up to? Was a pretty big night on his beat, too.
This will get the masses chattering, I bet.
Is there a chance the Raptors could make a pitch for Steve Nash this summer? Oh yeah.
According to a nice little NBA salary thing I found in this computer, there is a chance Nash could become a free agent this July. The final year of his deal is not fully guaranteed – if the Suns waive him before July 1 this year they only owe him $7 million – and if money’s so tight and things continue to deteriorate on the court, maybe that’s a way for zany owner Robert Sarver to save some cash.
Now, I’m not suggesting that is going to happen, nor am I suggesting the Raptors would go out and pursue him vigorously if it did, I’m just saying I’m tired of reading about how bad the Raptors are and how dopey I am and this maybe is an alternative “talking point.”
Action: Bulls-Kings trade
If you go by the theory the team that "wins" the trade is the one that gets the best player (and I’m not sure you always can), tell me with 100 per cent certainty who is the best player in the trade that sent John Salmons and Brad Miller to Chicago and Drew Gooden, Andres Nocioni and Cedric Simmons to Sacramento (pardon me for leaving out Ike Diogu and Michael Ruffin but they’re Ike Diogu and Michael Ruffin).
Salmons? High volume shooter now has to share shots and minutes with Hinrich, Rose and Gordon
Miller? Aging but okay and doesn't address Chicago's needs for a post scorer
Gooden? What's he done, really?
Nocioni? I wouldn’t ever say he’s a high impact player, a good one in the Garbo kind of way but high impact? Not so much.
I guess you could say Bulls won on talent, Kings won on money.
And in this day and age, money probably counts more.
Know what I want? A Tyson Chandler replica Oklahoma City Thunder jersey.
Wasn’t that an odd one. We got a news release from the Hornets about 11 last night saying they were welcoming him back “with open arms.”
Imagine how that little dynamic’s gonna play out. Team makes obvious salary dump, gets rid of the one player with the best on-court relationship with the superstar point guard and now has to “welcome him back with open arms” because he was deemed unfit to play for the Thunder?
Glad I’m not Byron Scott having to deal with that mess.
And it’s different from the one time it happened here, too. That was back in February, 2000, when the Celtics said Alvin Williams flunked a physical after they tried to make a deal for
Gary Trent. Danny Fortson (how could I have been that stupid).
Of course, that rang a wee bit hollow when Williams went on to play 82 games a year for the next two seasons and 78 the year after that. The thought then, and the thought now, is that Rick Pitino was getting hammered so badly in the media for what everyone thought was a horrible deal for the Celts that they made the physical virtually unpassable.
Now, my bias towards Alvin is very well known but you ask me, who had a better career: Alvin Williams or
Gary Trent. Danny Fortson?
You’ve got to take the good with the bad, I guess.
The (not so for a day) Mighty Hawthorn Hawks went down to ignominious defeat, I’d sad to report. Whacked 38-15 by the Queenstons yesterday in a game I’m sure was much, much, much than the score would indicate. Or maybe not, I was in the bowels of the Air Canada Centre when it began and no enterprising seventh grader was live-blogging it.
Super Son missed his only field goal attempt with I chalk up to the fact the rims in the road gym were too tight.
But, in the wacky world of elementary school sports, not only do the Hawks make the post-season with a 2-2 record, they host a game against the fourth-place team in a battle for third.
Oh, and then there’s the junior team’s day-long tourney the next day. Guess I do have some good hoops to watch coming up.