They've done the worlds draw and it's not a pretty one
Join Doug Smith for a live Q&A at 1 p.m. Tuesday, as the Raptors prepare to take on the Miami Heat.
This is pretty cool. We don’t do a lot of breaking news around here but today we do.
And we also fill you in with all kinds of other little tidbits to make your morning go a little quicker.
So, here you go …
The draw for the 2010 men’s world championships is done and, at first blush, Canada is in tough.
In the opening round-robin they get Lithuania, France, Spain, New Zealand and Lebanon and while not the Group of Death, it’s at least the Group of Critical Condition
It’s Group D for anyone who cares and see how four of the six will advance, Canada is going to probably have to come up with a couple of victories at least and that’s no easy task.
Spain is, well, Spain; France is loaded, New Zealand’s always under-rated, Lithuania’s very, very good and you have to think only Lebanon would be considered a group minnow with Canada.
We’ll delve into this a little more as the day progresses – there’s a conference call with Leo, Maurizio and other Canada Basketball types later this morning and I imagine that might be a somber group.
But wanted to get the news up now because, you know, it all can’t be fun and games around here.
The rest of the draw:
Group A: Serbia, Argentina, Australia, Jordan, Germany, Angola.
Group B: Croatia, Brazil, Tunisia, Slovenia, Iran, United States.
Group C: China, Turkey, Russia, Puerto Rico, Ivory Coast, Greece.
Group D: Lithuania, Lebanon, France, Spain, Canada, New Zealand.
We’ll talk about this a little later. Don’t forget the usual game-day chat’s going at 1 p.m. today, after we get off the call with the Canadas.
Funny, but I’m not hearing from the huge faction of Raptor fans who were utterly disgusted by the mere existence of Marcus Banks on the roster earlier this year.
You know who you are: Waste of money, why not just waive him, what’s he bring to the team, he’ll kill them in the locker room, why doesn’t Bryan just buy him out.
Well, over the last few games, Banks hasn’t been spectacular but he’s been solid, and a solid pro.
It can’t be easy coming to the arena every night knowing you’re going to be either inactive or sitting on the end of the bench for every game with little or no hope of ever getting on the court.
But say this about Marcus: He’s kept himself in tremendous shape and when he got a chance to fill-in when Jose got hurt, he didn’t let anyone down. With just a couple of blips – bad shots and bad offensive decisions – he’s done what a backup is supposed to do: Maintain things while he’s on the court.
He didn’t sulk, he didn’t try to do too much, he didn’t go all crazy freelance when he got some minutes.
He played and gave them what he could, and what they needed.
For that, he should be lauded because we all know how easy it would have been to go the other way.
While I was loafing at home, Ira was working give lucky readers this on what’s up with the Heat.
I guess Miami held one of those soul-cleansing team meetings after being whacked at home by Memphis the other day. Wonder if they had “communication” problems?
You know me and fashion, right?
Well, while flipping the dial last night, I came across a few minutes of Dallas-New Orleans and all I can say is that Dirk Nowitzki in a white headband is not a particularly good look.
I will mention he had a season-low 10 points in that game and not mention the reason.
Speaking of flipping, I spent a few minutes trolling the Houston Chronicle site checking to see if the Ariza suspension had come down and saw this little item where coach Rick Adelman killed the NBA for he figures is a ridiculous schedule.
This might be the year I’ve heard the most complaints I ever have about the schedule and not just from Toronto, which had a brutal opening month or so.
Too many games jammed in. Too many back-to-backs, too much zany travel. Adelman’s miffed at Houston’s Christmas schedule and I’m sure if you looked at all 30 teams, there’d be legitimate beefs from about 20.
What to do?
Well, how about this?
Cut the never-ending pre-season by two weeks and add that to the regular season.
Arenas are already booked for the meaningless exhibition games so their availability isn’t going to be an issue; most national TV broadcasters pick up at least a game or two in the final two weeks and the players are more than ready to pay for real.
Makes entire sense to me. Which is why it’ll never happen.
I heard the Winter Olympics are coming soon or something like that?
And so is the flame.
A few weeks ago, when I mentioned that Steve Nash is going to carry it on the Thursday night before the Games open in Vancouver, I also mentioned they needed to find a time for Jay to carry it, given his Olympic past and stature in Canadian sports history.
Well, he will.
Thursday here in Toronto.
Makes entire sense. Which is why I’m surprised it ever happened.
I am told by people in the know that just because any free agent who signed a new contract on the first day the NBA moratorium was lifted last July can be dealt again tonight there is nothing cooking for this afternoon in Toronto.
It’s not like they’re going to trade Hedo, Jack and Rasho – the three free agents they could move – but they’re not looking to acquire anyone imminently, either.
So the trade watching lives some of you might be living can be put back on hold.