Welcome to 2010
How’s everyone feeling?
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed?
Ready to greet the brand new year?
Everyone have fun doing something last night?
Relatively quiet night in Grunt World, a small social gathering a couple of doors down, home and cooled out by 2. The spectre of a long day of travel ahead wasn’t pleasant and neither is the idea of travelling hungover.
(Man, am I’m getting old or what?)
Anyway, Happy New Year to you all.
Okay, so learned people – those way smarter than I and there are one or two out there in the world, believe it or not – are telling me it’s not exactly the end of the decade. Supposedly that comes a year from now.
Whatever. You know me and math, we have issues. So I’m going with the crowd and saying this brings the Decade of The Oughts to a finish.
(Mostly because I needed something to type for today).
So, forthwith, we give you some stuff:
Any dope with a computer and a memory can give you Alvin Williams, Vince Carter, Mo Pete, Chris Bosh and Antonio Davis as the Raptors Team of the Decade, right?
How about these gems then?
(Yes, some of them don’t have five guys on the team but what the heck, it’s New Years!)
The All 10-Day Guy Team
He’s a 10-Day Hall of Famer because not only did he parlay 10 games in 2007 into a small guaranteed deal the next fall, he got into three playoff games.
Linton Johnson III
Got into two games in 2008 but was so obscure, he was gone a day or two before some people even noticed.
A collective “who?” goes up from the readers, barely able to recall his three-game stint 2003.
Swears, despite urban myth-dom of the story, that he didn’t punch a horse while a collegian at Cincinnati. Had seven games in ’03 to make his case.
The injury-ravaged 2003 was fertile ground for 10 Dayers. He had five games that season. Seriously, he did. You could look it up.
Three You Loved. Some a bit too much.
They don’t get more loved than the all-time leader in games played. When he came back the first time and kissed the logo at midcourt (a borrowed move but still a sweet one) there wasn’t a dry eye in the place.
He was on-court crazy, leaping over tall spectators in a single bound to chase down loose balls he’d never get while his man was finishing a dunk at the other end but he was The Junkyard Dog and you loved him.
Got to be known as an NBA Legend in retirement, which might be a stretch but just adds to the lore.
Dude got in kerfuffle with Kevin Garnett, for goodness sakes. How could you not love him?
Oh, and he was drinking a can of Canadian in the San Antonio locker room after he won an NBA title.
Oh, and he wants to play Canada next year.
Oh, and he married a Toronto gal.
He might be the All-Beloved Team poster boy.
Honourable mentions go to Oak (if only he didn’t throw behind-the-back passes to people in the first row), Hump (on nights he wasn’t doing his Michael Jordan imitation) and Garbo (who’d be a dead bolt lock if he hadn’t gotten hurt).
The Damaged Goods Duo
Arrived in 2002 and guess he forgot to tell anyone about the chronic knee injury that pretty much ended his career before it began. And by career I mean seven games.
Guess the first clue should have come the first day when we walked into the locker room and saw that he was wearing what looked suspiciously like support hose.
(Momentary aside: Man, this team had some wild, wacky and very trivial players since 2000, didn’t it?)
Aren’t You The Same Guy?
At various times, Toronto employed P.J. Tucker, Fred Jones, Haywood Workman, Juan Dixon and Hassan Adams.
If you lined them up against a wall, you might be hard-pressed to figure out who was who.
And all had pretty much the same impact on the court. None.
The MVP Of The Grasping at Straws Group
Rod Strickland played 15 games in 2003-04 and spent most of his time here sitting in front of his locker eating.
They Were Big, But They Were Bad
Garth Joseph, two games in 2001-02, Mengke Bateer, seven games in 2003-04.
That’s about 14 1-2 feet of bad.
Oh, you want some regular stuff, too?
Well, in Boston, where there’s some hockey game or something this afternoon, this is what they’re reading as the Celtics stumble home from the road.
We now return you to our regularly-scheduled end-of-the-year drivel.
Drivel being stuff of high-level entertainment value, of course.
Team Of The Decade
You know, I really liked that 47-win team of a couple of years ago. A really good locker room full of good guys and a treat to watch play most nights.
But the 2000-01 team – Alvin, Oak, Vince, Dell, AD, JYD, Mo and the crowd – remains the best team of the 2000s.
Player Of The Decade
Yes, I know Chris Bosh is now a perennial all-star and could very well be the best power forward in the NBA today (although I’m thinking Pau might have the edge in a highly-debatable conversation) but …
Yes, he left under bad circumstances (although they’ve gotten a lot worse since he’s been gone and urban myths have sprouted) but you cannot deny his on-court brilliance.
Bosh may indeed supplant him as his career goes on, he may supplant him by the end of this season if he keeps at the level he’s been at until April, but Carter still gets the nod in this corner.
Jaw-dropping athleticism, a better-than-you’d-think shooting stroke and he created a buzz around the team that’s been unparalleled.
The only regret I’d have: For as good as he was, he could have been better and that lack of true drive kept him from being a serious MVP candidate.
All right, it’s like 7:45 a.m. here when I’m about to post this, I’ve got an 11:30 a.m. flight to Boston, a 15-minute drive to the airport and I figure I’ve got to get on the road now to make sure I get through security on time.
Isn’t life grand?
You want one last kick at the mail can? Go ahead. Drop me a line here.