A whole bunch of little (but wildly interesting) items
I feel like poop still, took a day off practice yesterday, these fellows are 26-45 and few care greatly about the day-to-day nuances of games and the preparation for them so read this with caution.
But read it. Please.
|Your chance to see Russell Westbrook and friends tonight.|
We’re going to have all of the first two weeks of April to dissect the various awards races (and that’ll be fun because talking about Toronto games might not be) but before we do, pay particular attention tonight.
People whose opinions I respect greatly tell me that Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder deserves huge consideration for rookie of the year honours.
And with the young Thunder a relatively respectable 20-51 in the supremely-difficult Western Conference, he’s playing a huge role on one of the very good young teams in the league.
I haven’t seen him in person – I didn’t venture to Oklahoma City for Toronto’s only visit this season – which is one of the big reasons I’m even remotely interested in tonight’s affair.
The other? Well, if you’re a fan of the game, I think a good young team that includes Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Jeff Green would be quite intriguing.
I have no idea if they can keep all of them when it comes time to start spending real money on salaries (which I think will be the fatal flaw in Portland’s rise to prominence just as it derailed Chicago for a season or three) but for now, they have to be worth watching.
So, I couldn’t help but notice, what with my trained professional observation skills and all, that the Eastern Conference standings are quite muddled these days.
Chicago beats Miami which falls into sixth and that’s a death sentence ‘cause it’s Boston or Orlando in the first round. The win moves the Bulls into seventh, which is quite an accomplishment for that team this year so I don’t imagine they’ll be too crushed to get whacked in the first round.
Detroit loses to the Lakers and all of a sudden they’re not even a lock for the playoffs, let alone a good seed because they sit in eighth and should now be as worried about Charlotte catching them than with who they might catch.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be, you know, involved in stuff like that?
I don’t for one second that playing “spoiler” is anything but a contrived issue for bored beat grunts trying to knock off another easy off-day story to get you one item closer to the end of the season.
That said, I’m not sure we’re even going to get to use it here even if we were lazy enough to.
Fully half of the remaining games – two each with the Knicks and Wizards, one with the Thunder – are against teams that have nothing at all to play with and Atlanta’s locked into fourth so that one means nothing.
And by the time they get to Indy and Chicago in the last week, those will probably be inconsequential, too.
So there’s not even that for some to look forward to.
This exposes a fatal flaw in the logic of most:
Q: Doug, in (Wednesday’s) in game blog, you mentioned that you'd prefer to have Charlie V. as opposed to Marion. I agree 100%. Can you clear up a vague memory that we traded Charlie V. for TJ Ford, who we traded for O'Neil, who we then traded for Marion? Or am I recalling this all long? I know there were extra's here and there, and different needs at different times, but, if true, this doesn't depict a very good trail for BC.
Paul B, Toronto
A: That’s the way the line went, with other bits and pieces thrown in but it’s pointless, fruitless, ridiculous (I’m channeling my inner Jackie Chiles right there and it’s nothing personal) to follow it.
Nothing is linear in pro sports transactions, it’s one the most misused pieces of logic fans point to when they try to make their cases for either the firing, or the lionization, of a general manager.
Charlie Villanueva was traded for T.J. Ford because the Raptors weren’t sure whether Jose Calderon was capable of being full-time starting point guard and they also knew they had Andrea Bargnani, a presence that made Villanueva redundant.
T.J. Ford was traded for Jermaine O’Neal because (a) it was the best offer they got to clean up a backcourt glut and (b) it addressed one of two glaring needs on the roster.
O’Neal was traded for Marion because (a) O’Neal had missed about a third of the season with injury, (b) he wasn’t working well in tandem with Chris Bosh, which they had hoped would occur and (c) Bargnani needed to play.
Marion will likely be signed-and-traded or let go this summer (which is something, the GMs protestations the day of the deal notwithstanding) that has been in the minds of many since the transaction occurred. Then we can fully evaluate that singular transaction.
What you say is technically correct; it is also grossly misleading. But, fear not, you are not alone in mis-using it.
You think going 2-2 last night (‘Nova, UConn good; Xavier, Memphis, bad?) in Super Son’s pool was at all a good thing?
Nah, me neither.
That’s why it’s imperative we get a sweep of Louisville, Kansas, UNC and Oklahoma tonight.
Cheer wildly, please.
I was saving this piece of information for a really slow day and since this seems to be the slowest in a while, what the heck.
Whispers around the gym have us not going anywhere truly exotic for training camp next fall. No games in London, no visits to Rome, no – as was once hoped for – junket to Mumbai.
Looks like wherever we’re going, we’re driving or taking the train.
Nothing’s finalized yet – at least it wasn’t when I first heard this – but it seems Ottawa and St. Catharines are two most likely destinations for next October’s week-long camp.
Both are familiar – Ottawa was excellent last year except for the lack of a Starbucks on the Carleton campus – and Brock was pretty good, too – except for the fact the media room was a storage closet. It was, however, closer to home and we could commute.
Anyway, like I say, no firm decisions been made but it’s not going to be too far from here.
Speaking of Oklahoma, if you can get by all the college basketball stuff and college football stuff, you’ll eventually read this about the Thunder, which makes my glowing praise of Russell Westbrook ring hollow.
How could someone send this this morning?
Q: First of all I have to say thanks for the blog!
Question, what is the likelihood that you will be retracting your statement that the Phoenix Suns are dead (this season)? It looks like they are making a pretty good come back with a slightly easier schedule for the rest of the season with Dallas. Plus they also have a game with Dallas left. Did you say your son’s school team is call the Hawthorn Hawks? Is it a coincidence that there is an Australian Rules Football team called the same thing? (feel free to leave this out if you do post my question, especially if I’m wrong)
Christopher M, Toronto
A: Perhaps you were asleep when the Suns were drilled in Portland last night – the Blazers shot something stupid like 60 per cent from the field – and they are now four games behind Dallas in the loss column with 10 to play.
Dead. Plugged pulled. Season over. Start wondering what they’ll do to change it in the summer.
They are the mighty Hawthorn Hawks, indeed, and while I do know of that Aussie Rules Football team, the school seems to have, um, er, ah, borrowed their logo from the NBA Hawks.
Personally? They were the Stingers when first started caring and I have no idea why they changed. And I know a lass or two from a local establishment who wonder the same thing.