Of Deke and Pops and Patrick. And a bunch of other stuff
This whole ‘stay up until 1:30 a.m. watching games and then get up at dawn to finish this’ is going to wear an old grunt down. But it was probably worth it because the Laker-Jazz game turned out not to be bad.
|VINCE TALOTTA/TORONTO STAR|
|Read on to see why Patrick O'Bryant might be back next year.|
But this in-game thing, which is turning into some kind of question and answer session as well as breaking down what’s going on in the games has been kind of fun, no? Attendance is a bit down, but I guess that’s to be expected but tell your friends and family we’ll be around just before 8 tonight to see what’s going on.
And who knows, if I get lucky in the several phone calls that’ll be made today, maybe there’ll be a nugget of Raptor news to digest.
How much does this bite for us schleps beholden to Rogers? The first TSN2 game of the playoffs is tonight’s Game 2 of Philly-Orlando, which might be a good one.
Seems the evil-doers stringing us along just want to keep doing their evil.
What I get a hoot out of is people talking about the Raptors needing to make “substantial” change over the summer.
Let’s see here
A new starting two-guard (BC made it clear if Parker comes back, it’s off the bench)
A new starting small forward (I fully expect Marion to go in a sign-and-trade).
A new backup point guard (if that wasn’t clear from Monday’s BC event, I don’t know what is)
A top-10 draft pick who will – unless the pick is absolutely blown – be a swingman who’s in the rotation.
A new, or different, backup swingman, other than the rookie, be it a free-agent or someone who comes in a Marion sign-and-trade.
I would think the days of Pops Mensah-Bonsu as the first big off the bench are over so there’ll be another new backup four or five.
So, let’s see how that falls out:
That’s six new players in a nine-man rotation.
That’d be, what, 66.7 per cent turnover of the guys who play a lot?
And let’s even downgrade that one, to say that AP’s one of those guys off the bench. That’s still five guys entirely new in a nine-man rotation and one playing a different role.
Okay, let’s even say by some miracle of modern financial shenanigans, Marion’s back, too. That’s half your rotation (okay, four out of nine) that’s new.
That’s not “substantial” change?
About Last Night
(And I recall taking a friend to see a movie by that name eons ago) …
- Did you notice a familiar face sitting behind the Portland bench? Dana Sinclair, the noted sports psychologist Bryan hired to be around the Raptors this season also works for the Blazers and there she was. She’ll be a familiar sight around Toronto in the next couple of months, though. A lot of her work will be use in pre-draft assessments of possible selections.
- How much would the Rockets benefit from having a veteran point guard? Watching Aaron Brooks turn the ball over and let teammates take crazy, crazy shots, all the while not getting Yao involved enough when every Portland big had five fouls was the difference in the game.
- How much does Philly miss Kyle Korver?
- How pissed were the Cavs that they couldn’t give LeBron and the other starters most of that fourth quarter off? The whole thing about the playoffs – for teams with legitimate chances at winning, that is – that is, is to lessen the number of games. Getting time off now saves bodies later and the Cavs needed to work far too hard in a game that should have been over. That said, they still win in four.
- I would really like to know what Jerry Sloan said at halftime last night after the Jazz got lit up for 66 points by the Lakers and looked dead in the water.
Make no mistake, they’re eventually going to be dead in the water but the solid comeback and taking the game to the final minute might just give them enough confidence to win one game back home.
Speaking of the Lakers, the night we were out there this year, I had a long chat with a former player still involved with the team who’s got more than a handful of rings to admire.
His biggest concern back then – and they looked like world-beaters at the time – was the collective mental toughness and inability to bury teams. Looks like he might have been right because they should have won that game going away and taken all hope away from the Jazz.
Pardon the digression
So, Super Son slays ‘em with a sax solo of In The Mood at the school spring recital (and there’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back) and all I can think is, man, if that doesn’t get him the chicks, I don’t know what will.
Saddest sight last night?
Dikembe Mutombo writhing in pain on the Rose Garden floor.
Quite aside from the fact he doesn’t think he’s ever committed a personal foul in his life, Mutombo was one of the all-time great players and arguably the most significant philanthropist in all of professional sports history.
I don’t think he was ever considering playing again next season so to suggest the injury ended his career is a stretch but if there was ever a guy who deserved a long and loud ovation as he left a court for the last time, it’s Deke.
That he won’t get it saddens me a bit.
Here’s why the Raptors, right now, look like they could have Patrick O’Bryant on the roster next year and not Pops Mensah-Bonsu.
(I’m not entirely sure I agree with it, I truly believe Pops has more potential than Patrick, but here goes).
They like the fact O’Bryant’s contract is so cheap -- $855,000 for the one season – and may wonder what kind of offers Pops would get as a restricted free agent they might have to match.
I think they see more potential in O’Bryant’s offensive game and, having seen Pops for a little while I guess you can’t argue with them.
There was a time when I thought they’d buy out O’Bryant (and they could still do it because his contract doesn’t become fully guaranteed until July 1) but that seems not to be Bryan’s thinking right now. But, really, aren’t we getting a bit worked up about two guys who’d be so far down the bench they’d be inconsequential on any team that’s any good?
Remember me ragging on Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro for blowing all his timeouts and not having any left at the end of either Game 1 or 2?
Speaking of O’Bryant, they’ve got a deal with him that means he’ll be taking part in the Vegas summer league this year and he’ll be joined by a few irregulars from this season. Nate’s got to play, Quincy Douby’s going to play and Roko will be back from Croatia to take part in the early-July session.
Toss in the first-round pick, who’s sure to play; maybe Pops (if he’s not playing for some other team) and even a second first-round pick or a section second-round selection and the roster is almost set.
And that’s why, sadly for us grunts, there will be no free agent camp here the weekend after the draft like there’s been the last two summers.
Why sadly, you ask?
Well, two years ago we eventually got a good story on the emergence of that Jamario Moon fellow (who we didn’t write about until he signed in July but who made his mark that weekend) and last year, sniffing around there for the weekend got the break on the impending Jermaine O’Neal trade.
On the upside, it might mean a weekend off.