And away we go
Well, here we go.
This’ll be 14 of these media day things for yours truly – missed 2007 because we were in Italy waiting for the gang to arrive – and, yes, it does get old.
But it also is a bit like the first day of school and we all recall how much fun that was, right?
What, my friends ask, is Media Day really like?
Well, it’s busy but with a lot of standing around and waiting; everybody gets what they need – eventually.
It’s relatively informal, which is good, but it’s also crowded so getting one-on-one time isn’t going to happen.
It’s kind of a mishmash.
But the drill, if the methods of 14 previous years holds, is:
The player saunter in, get their pictures taken at half a dozen or so “stations” before running a gauntlet of media outlets where they do those “I’m So And So And You’re Watching Raptors Basketball On Whichever Of The Hundred Networks We’re On Tonight” promos.
They’re herded around the room (this year we’re in the fancy-schmancy new atrium instead of the practice gym/sweatbox) by a member of the staff and then we get ‘em, usually in rather unmanageable scrums wherever they break up.
But it’s after those scrums, when we’re standing around awkwardly wondering what to do, that you get to actually stop and say hello to a player or a coach or a member of the staff.
That’s the good part. You can get a bit more work done and catch up on the comings and goings of the summer and have a normal conversation.
Then we all head back to our little places to write, some of us hop a train to Ottawa and things get started in earnest tomorrow at Carleton.
And, finally …
Well, nba.com is a bit slow off the mark, they seem to have missed a couple the Rasho and Belinelli transactions here but it’s the best I’ve got.
These guys, you know
Lots of stuff in our paper (like this from this morning) and on the site about the Raptors so we’ll leave them pretty much alone.
Suffice it to say that this is, on paper, as deep a team as they’ve ever had.
Look at the second five: Jack, Belinelli, Wright, Evans, Nesterovic. All starters at times last season.
Yes, it’s only on paper and rebounding and defence are an issue going in. But, still …
Wait ‘til next year.
So the Knicks are still planning to be big players in the 2010 free agency derby. Guess that’s good because I only see them being bit players in the NBA this season.
Lucky ticket buyers.
The knee’s the thing
Sure, Rasheed Wallace probably helps Boston a lot but I’m holding off on the Celtics until I see Kevin Garnett run. Yes, they are still good but Ray Allen’s not getting any younger, if you recall there were issues that arose about Rajon Rondo’s “coachability” in the summer and if Garnett’s not normal, neither are the Celtics.
Who’s the boss?
Philly was a feel-good story last year but I’m wondering how they’ll do without Andre Miller and no experienced replacement? Not well, I fear.
They’ll score and run and be quick. Will they win? Not enough.
Let the Nyet jokes begin
Yes, they still have Devin Harris and I really like Lopez but, seriously, in This Man’s East, you have to think the Nets are life and death for the post-season, don’t you? Somewhere, Kidd-Carter-Jefferson are collectively smiling. They got out when the getting was good.
You still here?
This could, now that I think of it, be the Under-the-Radar signing of the division, but yes, that’s Darko Milicic, third team in six years, with the Knicks. If he can’t play for Mike D’Antoni, he can’t play.
Which is probably what we’ll find out.
What will happen
Anyone’s guess after the Celtics – and that’s only if the Celtics don’t run into a rash of injuries. There’s no reason to think the Raptors don’t start the season as the second-best team in the division.
Okay, this may not be earth-shattering news, but when I was hanging out at the golf tournament, talk got around to the scrimmages that had been going on at the Air Canada Centre
And here’s unsolicited Bryan on Reggie Evans:
“I have to say, he’s going to be a difference-maker for this team.
“He looks like he’s in mid-season form … he had an impact immediately, he’s around the ball all the time, he came up with multiple rebounds that in the past we wouldn’t have had.
“He challenged Andrea when he was defending him to the extent that Andrea came back the second day much more prepared to go a little bit harder, to fight against that defensive pressure, that little inside force.
“If it’s any indication, he’s going to have a big impact both in practice and in game situations and we’ve got someone to turn to.”
Now, it would have been big news if Bryan ripped him or something but still …
Hey, this is pretty cool.
I’m sure you’ve all heard and read about the Canadian women making it to the world championships (if you missed it, go here to get all the details).
Am working on a story now for tomorrow that says this has been the greatest summer for Canada Basketball in, well, in ever, I’d suggest.
And I know a lot of you don’t know coach Allison McNeill or any of the women on the team but, trust me, this is a good thing happening to good people.
These folks go through a tough summer of travel – they’ve played in China, Cuba and B.C. before Brazil – with little or no fanfare and truly for the love of the game and their country.
No one’s out to assure themselves of a big bucks contract for the summer, there’s no media and no glamour.
They play for all the right reasons and it’s nice to see them rewarded.
(Remember that?) Anyway, it being Training Camp Nostalgia time, I was trying to figure out how they’d rank – in order -- over the decade and a half I’ve been going.
This is totally subjective and has as much to do with how we were treated as anything but what the heck.
The no-brainer of no-brainers. Great hotel (the front yard was a vineyard), excellent conditions (Il Ghirada’s gorgeous) and a half hour train ride from Venice.
Seriously. Good city, excellent gym, coffee place just down the hall. Only drawback? We worked behind a curtain in a hallway.
Lattes in the building, good ante room to set up in; minus for being stuck way out of town and having to commute.
Hotel, when we stayed, was attached to arena. And it was all new so everyone was excited. And, although I’m not sure this is good, Brendan Malone let us watch every minute of every practice.
Close to Niagara Falls, which was a big plus, but the work room was a storage closet.
One year was enough. Guess it was a nod to The New VR or something but facilities were so-so and it’s hardly the garden spot of North America.
You ever spent time in downtown Buffalo in early October? Ugh.
Training camp at home? Heresy.
Do yourself a favour if you’ve got time this week. I’m pretty sure RaptorsTV is going to pick up the WNBA Final – starts Tuesday in Phoenix – and I bet you’re surprised by the level of play if you tune in.
So tune in.
And, of course, watch local Tammy Sutton-Brown with the Fever, she was huge in a big Game 3 win over Detroit that got Indy to the final.
Let’s see: Men’s world championships in Turkey, about 10 days off and then the women’s world championships in Czech Republic?
Guess I’m going to have a busy summer next year, right boss?
Boss? You there? You reading this?