Of tanking and 10-days and the top power forwards
Since I didn’t do practice yesterday -- my man Perk capably handled the distinct lack of news in his own inimitable fashion – there’s not a lot I can offer about the specifics of the big game tonight.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t stuff I can’t rile you up with.
How about an anti-tanking screed?
How about mentioning that is far more important for teams to play playoff games rather than watch them because the intensity cannot be matched and it’s far better to have experience than not?
How about suggesting you try to win each game because that’s at the very heart of competition, and all this talk about losing to set up the future means nothing because the future, for one, is not guaranteed, and losing begets losing. Tank jobs teach teams how to tank.
How about simply remembering that stuff happens. I guarantee you a year ago today, when the Atlanta Hawks were 11 games below .500 and had no chance, there were fans there who wanted them to tank the rest of the season, and I guarantee you a lot of those same fans were crazed watching Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs. And I also guarantee you a lot of those same fans are today think the experience that young team gained last year has been invaluable in their rise to No. 4 in the East this year.
Now, none of this means I think these guys can make some miraculous run to the playoffs because I don’t believe they can, they’ve shown me nothing over the course of the season to suggest something will all of a sudden click. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.
I tell kids I coach in Little League all the time that the greatest thing they can do is respect the game. It was here long before them and will be around long after they’re gone and tanking is the ultimate sign of disrespect to a great sport.
You know what I wish I could check?
Of the number of people who are absolutely convinced that the Raptors should lose every game the rest of the way to ensure a better draft pick, how many of them have mercilessly ripped the team’s scouting staff and drafting decisions over the past few years?
But then again, there’s not much accountability around these parts.
|TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO|
|Art Long and Vince Carter, possibly discussing the pros and cons of horse punching, in this 2003 file photo.|
Pops is here and it’s 10-day contract time and I know he’s not here on a 10-day but work with me here, there’s not a lot going on with the lads.
(As a quick aside, I hear it's Independence Day in Ghana today so congratulations are in order)
So I will present to you the most obscure 10-day guys, in one man’s opinion, ever to appear in a game for the Raptors.
Now, they’ve had some obscure dudes through here but two factors before you could make this list: You had arrive on a 10-day and appear in at least one game: Ta-da!
One game, 1998.
Four games, 1996
Five games, 1997
Seven games, 2003
Seven games, 2000.
I know there were others (Sweet Pea Daniels comes quickly to mind, as does Jimmy Oliver) and I’m sure I’ve done this list before but it’s a new year.
Couple of stories, though.
Art Long spent his first day here denying the story that he’d punched a Cincinnati police horse four times during a traffic stop that also involved his college teammate Danny Fortson. Some program, that Bearcat program was under Bob Huggins.
Antonio Lang, who I remember being a very fine young man and quite a good player, who probably should have made the team out of training camp. But they decided they couldn’t keep either of the invitees who stuck around ‘til that day.
That would been Lang, who could play, and Percy Miller, who was a novelty act.
And, finally, let’s do all-time great power forwards to finish off our week. If you’re looking for all Raptor stuff, go to the little scroll button down there on your right.
Another tough one, very tough as a matter of fact. How much does the present influence the thinking? How much does the distant past? Well, a lot, I think.
I’m sure there are going to be a few names left off this list that’ll irk some, or make some eyebrows raise but that’s what we’re supposed to do, right? Encourage dialogue. Nice, clean, well thought out dialogue, that is.
He’s got it all in every facet of the game. Boring? Only if you’re bored by true greatness.
Mind-boggling career numbers (26 and 16), oldtimers swear to his greatness. ‘Nuff for me.
Yes, Stockton’s a factor but the guy was seemingly indestructible. And very good.
Can you make the argument he was Malone before Malone was Malone?
He’s not covering himself with glory with his Boston antics but no denying the talent.
Yes, I know. I left off Charles Barkley, who would win The Best 6-5 Power Player Of All-time Award and that was tough. But it was no tougher than not having Kevin McHale on this list, or Dave DeBusschere. It was easy, though, to leave off Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Webber, two modern-era names that came to mind. For about a second, that is.
Oh yeah, here’s another reason you don’t give up.
Let’s say Bill, a devout fan who doesn’t have a lot of disposable income, saves and saves and saves because he wants to see one game from a great seat. He looks at the schedule and decides he and his son should see Indiana on a Sunday afternoon to start the March break.
He buys his tickets, buys his over-priced beer and expensive yet cheap souvenirs and when he gets there, he sees Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon, both healthy enough to play, in suits on the bench instead of in uniform on the court.
The team has decided that it’s not going to play its best players even for 20 minutes because “losing is good.”
Think Bill ever comes back? I wouldn’t.
Because it wasn’t on Evil TNS2 and that meant no interference from Uber-Evil Rogers, I was able to catch the Mavs-Hornets last night.
And there’s Sean Marks, first big off the New Orleans bench, running and dunking and looking great. Which is good to see because he’s a guy and if he wasn’t playing well, it’d cause some angst back home.
How do I know? Back in the day he was here, the NBA still have its archaic “injured list” where you had to stash excess bodies for a minimum of five games. I don’t know how many games were lost to “upper respiratory ailments” or “left knee tendinitis” or “left arm contusions” which was NBA speak for “we need to stash these guys so let’s make up something plausible.”
Well, this kind of knowledge wasn’t as commonplace in New Zealand as it was in North America so every time they’d put Marks on the list with some trumped up illness, the media relations department would get all kinds of calls from New Zealand wondering how bad things were with their favourite son.
It actually happened with every foreign-born player until the league came to its senses and changed the injured list to the inactive list.