Some post, post-mortem items to think about
Quite the day yesterday.
Bryan gives us all kinds of fodder – not huge news but lots to digest – and then the Bulls and Celtics give us one for the ages.
Long day, but quite the day.
Things have to slow down a bit now, don’t they? Next up is for Bryan and Jay to chat – that could happen as early as today – and we’ll see where we go from there news-wise.
Other than that, guess it’s hanging out here for the live in-game blogs (we’re going to do Houston-Portland tonight at 10 for the night owls) and waiting to see if we can unearth some news.
We’ll be trying. But until then, have at it:
Okay, what did we really learn yesterday in what was quite the BC session. It went longer than usual, he was a bit more combative than he’s been in a while, more revealing his personal thoughts and quite interesting in many regards.
There was nothing new on Bosh (will talk extension, doesn’t think it’ll happen, won’t trade him just because).
There was nothing new on Jay (I figure middle of next week we get the call to the news conference; hopefully you read about it here first).
There was nothing new on Shawn (it’ll be about money and Marion wants lots of it).
So, what was new?
Well, the one thing that caught my ear was an obvious desire to get a second first-round pick in this draft, odd given the general perception that this isn’t a particularly good draft but understandable that it’ll give them another young player with “contract certainty” going into very uncertain economic times. He sounds like he’ll be rather, um, raptorial in his pursuit of a second pick.
And, the other thing was that he’s obviously taken a shot across the bow at Our Friend Roko with repeatedly pointed remarks about the failings behind Jose. I honestly think Roko comes back far better than when he left and he’ll turn into a good NBA point guard but I’m not entirely sure Bryan shares that opinion.
This was as good a non-statement statement as maybe I’ve ever heard.
Because of the agreement between FIBA and the NBA, Bryan can’t say publicly that he doesn’t want Jose to play for Spain this year and he can’t – and won’t divulge much of the substance of their conversation about it.
Except that maybe he did:
“I'm advising him as an individual who has many years of pro basketball to play, with two years to go here and maybe beyond what's here, maybe he needs to approach it a little bit differently. Maybe he's at that age, he'll be 28 in September (where) that's something he's got to think about, but I can't make that decision for him.”
And then it was brought up that Jose said he wouldn’t play if the Raptors asked him not to, which was when Bryan turned defendant.
“And I'm going to have to plead the fifth.”
End result: No way Jose plays in the European championships, I don’t think.
I’m trying to think of a three-day period in recent NBA history that’s had more great games by more point guards in one short time frame.
Rajon Rondo’s triple-double last night was a gem; Tony Parker’s night may have salvaged the series for the Spurs and, while I didn’t see it all, Chauncey’s Game 1 was an absolute gem. And we haven’t even started talking about Derrick Rose and how good that kid’s looked in his first two playoff games. And Chris Paul’s not in the discussion because his team got drilled so badly.
But if this is isn’t the greatest point guard era in NBA history, I’m not sure what was.
Did you hear one of the names that popped up during the session? Rasho.
And since Bryan brought him up – as an example of the kind of good locker room guy teams need – I can see them having some interest in him this summer. But I also heard Bryan suggest Patrick O’Bryant will be back (there’s some misinformation that his contract for next year is fully guaranteed, which it won’t be until July 1; the Raps can waive him before then and save $300,000, although that seems unlikely.
So, you’ll have Bosh, Bargnani, Hump, O’Bryant, Jawai with contracts and if they bring Rasho back, guess who’s the odd man out?
Yep, if I’m Pops Mensah-Bonsu, I’m not sure I’d be signing any long-term leases around these parts.
|TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO|
|When the toughness issue comes up we usually run this photo.|
Perhaps the most interesting thing Bryan admitted was the distinct lack of toughness on the roster, as I alluded to in this morning’s paper.
And that got a guy thinking, just who has ever been “tough” around these parts.
Hence, a list:
By far the toughest Raptor ever, he just didn’t give a crap. And was like Bryan said, a nice guy off the court, a wee bit maniacal on it.
Not sure how many remember, but here’s a guy who got in people’s faces on the boards every single night.
The dude just had “it.”
Guy was really about 6-5 but he’d battle anyone.
He's a late add because he had moments where he wasn't as tough as he needed to be but he should be on the list.
And you know what? I’m not sure I can think of more to round out the list much further. Pretty damning indictment, no?
I’m turning K.C. Johnson into one of the best-read grunts in Toronto, even though he works in Chicago. But you’ve got to admit, his stuff off the Bulls-Celtics has been consistently good. Like this one from last night’s gem. And in the pursuit of fairness, check out what Frank wrote in today's Boston Globe.
Speaking of gems, it’s generally considered that the better teams are out west, right? So why is is that the best games so far – by a wide, wide, wide margin – have been in the East?
A quick run through the dozen games so far and I absolutely cannot think of a really memorable moment from a Western Conference game.
Sure, there’ve been some great performances (Chauncey, Tony Parker last night, Yao in Game 1 for Houston) but for games? Nothing comes even close to either of the Celtics-Bulls games or the Orlando-Philly opener.
And there’s no reason to think that’s not going to continue.
Speaking of the West, having watched Puerto Rico play about a zillion international games, at no time did I ever think J.J. Barea would be this good in the NBA. Funny how a kid can get a chance and make the most of it for a week or two. And funny how all that time he played alongside Carlos Arroyo, he was going to be as good or better. Not many saw that coming.