Finally, the big day is upon us
It’s Opening Day!
No, it doesn’t quite resonate like baseball – we all know that time begins on Opening Day, at least that’s what the book title says – but there’s still a large measure of anticipation, is there not?
I will tell you this: Every team in every city thinks this morning that if they catch some breaks and play their best, this could turn out to be a magical season.
It won’t, of course, and that kind of unbridled enthusiasm and confidence is actually quite unrelated to reality, but who are we to dash the dreams of so many players.
That’s the one great thing about sports: You really don’t know until they play the games who’s going to win. Every night, in every sport, there’s a result that makes you go “holy crap, did the Leaves actually win a game!”
Toss it up, let ‘em play, sit back and enjoy. You never know for sure what will transpire. And that’s the fun of it.
Let’s address this tired old storyline now instead of waiting until tomorrow.
Yes, Shaq killed the Raptors out in Phoenix last year and, yes, he ran his mouth about Bosh after the game.
(Shaq running is mouth is akin to the sun coming up, to tell you the truth).
Yes, it made for one mildly interesting day of copy; it is not an issue today, nor will it be tomorrow.
Frankly, Shaq’s killed Kobe, Stan Van Gundy, and Dwight Howard in the past, I think Bosh should be honoured to be in such company.
Anyway, the seamheads have Manny Being Manny; we’ve got Shaq Being Shaq.
As I said, mildly interesting months ago, snore-inducing at the moment, as Bosh said.
“I don’t care. I don’t care … You just play basketball. Everybody can talk back and forth all day, I can sit up here and say stuff but I mean at the end of the day, it’s what happens on the court.”
While I’ll be at Casa Doug dispensing some kind of Halloween loot to urchins who will drive Super Dog batty on Saturday night, I presume more than a few thousand young hipsters will be at the Air Canada Centre taking in the Jay-Z concert.
Hmm, let me get this straight.
Jay-Z, big hoops fan, who has an investment in a team, plays concert.
Members of Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic unquestionably will be in attendance.
Early Sunday afternoon game the next day.
Oh yeah, I bet we're in for some delightfully un-intense play in that one.
I’m sure you all read with great anticipation the big NBA preview package we had in the newspaper today, right?
You’ve probably also noticed there wasn’t the goofy predictions package that usually goes with such things?
Well, that’s at least a little because we needed to save a little bit of something for here, and for Grunt TV.
So, for now, let’s do this, in part because Eric Smith asked me to do it for his blog over at Raptors.com and I said I would.
(I think you’ll see a bunch of stuff from him today and tomorrow, you should check it out)
Kobe, LeBron, LeBron, Kobe?
Seems like a two-horse race again, doesn’t it?
I gotta go with LeBron.
Rookie of the year
This seems to be quite an underwhelming class at the moment and the best player, Blake Griffin, may not start opening night because he’s hurt.
I guess you have to go with him, kind of by default.
But don’t sleep on Tyreke Evans, okay?
(Oops, just saw a story that says Griffin’s on the shelf for six weeks with a stress fracture; let’s go with Evans, all right?)
Rasheed Wallace might be the sexy pick at the moment but it’d be wrong.
I’m going back to my man Manu.
(And I don’t imagine Allen Iverson will be in the running).
Coach of the Year
Ah, never mind.
Because I’m all about the Spurs this year, I’d love to say Gregg Popovich.
But you know who might sneak in? Scott Brooks in Oklahoma City.
Let’s go with him.
Now, Eric wants some other stuff, too, so we’ll expand this a little bit.
Most Improved Player
A total, absolute guess says folks will like Greg Oden. Me? I kind of like Jeff Green.
Defensive player of the year
Voters are silly, they’ll see shots blocked and rebounds and give it to Dwight Howard again. And who am I to argue with silly.
Okay, that’s it for here.
For the conference winners and NBA champs, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
And for Raptor-specific stuff, you’ll have to wait a day.
Hey, remember last week when Chris Bosh was going all Norma Desmond on us with the TV shoot that looked like a movie production post-practice that one day?
Well, Jose Calderon and DeMar DeRozan were at it yesterday.
The production values seemed a bit lower but they were filming some kind of commercial or public service announcement or something involving tossing an empty Coke can back and forth and then shooting it at a basket.
(Someone said they thought the bit had to do with recycling, which makes sense to me).
I remember when basketball practice used to be about basketball.
Ah, the good old days.
Not sure how many of you were breathlessly reading the news release out by the team yesterday that said Sonny Weems, Quincy Douby and Reggie Evans were on the inactive list for opening night.
Well, that’s not exactly true.
While I expect that’s what will end up happening – Weems went to see a specialist yesterday after suffering a foot injury on Sunday – no team had to declare its inactive list until an hour before game time.
Why the league insists teams do it at 6 p.m. on the Monday before the season starts is a mystery to some.
All right, a little scheduling note to let you know what we’ve got planned here for game days this season to satisfy what seems to be an insatiable thirst for Raptors news and NBA news and what we in the biz like to call “content” these days.
Starting tomorrow, if all things go according to Hoyle (google that phrase, kiddies), we’ll start each game day with the usual blog, do a GruntTV spot just after shootaround to set up that night’s action, then we’ll have a quick 45-minute chat at 4 p.m. Eastern time to answer questions about that night’s game, and maybe whatever else is cooking around the league. The usual in-game blog follows and then it’s off to write for the newspaper.
I tell ya, you’re gonna be sick of me by American Thanksgiving.
Have a lovely day.