Who should be there and who should win (the game and the awards)
Join Doug Smith at 1 p.m. Wednesday for a live basketball Q&A, as the Raptors get ready to take on the New York Knicks.
Good morning Bobcats, er, I mean Raptors fans.
There’s really not a lot to say today that hasn’t already been said. So, I’ll say a lot.
What I will say is, as I did in the paper today, this is no one’s fault but the Raptors, whose freefall in the second half has been stunning.
I have no idea what’s going to transpire tonight (these two teams have defied logic too often for me to fall into that trap) but it’s going to fun, that’s for sure.
So, because there’s no need to be too serious until this all unfold however it does, why should we be? So …
I’m often asked whether it’s better for us Grunts to have them in the post-season rather than out and, on the whole of it, I’m not entirely sure which side I fall on.
Let’s see what happens if they don’t make it:
I have to care about the draft
And, trust me, a couple of weeks of covering kids coming in for pre-draft workouts is like a couple of weeks of a migraine.
Bosh is about 1,000 per cent sure to leave
Now, that may be the case anyway but the thought of five weeks or so of sign-and-trade questions is at some level quite horrifying.
Do we need to worry about a coach?
I don’t think so – the vibe I’m getting doesn’t suggest there’s any move afoot to replace Jay if they don’t get in – but it’s something that’ll be in discussion and, if it happens, that’s whole other layer of work.
Let’s see what happens if they make it:
I have to go to Cleveland (sorry, Cleveland)
Not to mention we’ll probably have to drive back and forth between Games 1 and 2 because they’ll practice back in Toronto most likely.
The whole “inevitably losing” thing
Finishing the season after a four-game sweep kinda takes the fun of covering the intensity of the post-season and, trust me, it’s kinda fun to cover a series.
Bosh is about 999 per cent sure to leave
And all the extra work of covering a series just leads into five weeks or so of sign-and-trade questions.
So, let’s call it a tie and I’ll comfortably sit back and watch tonight.
But if there’s one thing I really want to see tonight, it’s Bosh in the arena.
I don’t care if he speaks to us or waits until tomorrow morning to do it; I think he’s got to be there just for support. And appearances.
Now, I don’t know how he’s feeling physically, I don’t know how anyone would be feeling a week removed from nose surgery and I can never assume to know someone else’s pain threshold.
But this might be the last night he’s with this group and it might be the last night he’s with this organization and I think it’s important that he be there.
I’ll try my best.
But we have to back it up a bit today, to 1 p.m. from noon for some scheduling matters over here. But guess it’s okay, the game’s an hour later so it won’t screw things up too badly, I don’t think.
One easy, two hard.
At least that’s how I saw the three NBA awards ballots I got last week and which I will dutifully submit to the head office today.
The easy one’s easy to figure out, right.
There was a time mid-season when I figured it was Kobe and I said that a few times. But, as we know, times change. So, the five in order
LeBron James, Cleveland; Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City; Kobe Bryant, Lakers; Dwyane Wade, Miami; Steve Nash, Phoenix.
Yes, it’s hard to leave Carmelo and Howard off but someone had to do it.
Now the hard ones
Coach of the year
It’s hard because you could probably have six guys in consideration and they only let you do three. And they are:
Scott Brooks, Oklahoma City; Scott Skiles, Milwaukee; Jerry Sloan, Utah.
That’s leaving off the likes of Alvin Gentry in Phoenix, Nate McMillan in Portland, Eric Spoelstra in Miami and that wasn’t easy to do. I’m sure you could make a case for a couple of others, too, but I didn’t.
Rookie of the year
Man, this might have been the hardest one of them all. Lots of good candidates, most from very bad teams, mind you. But still, lots to choose from. And I chose:
Stephen Curry, Golden State; Tyreke Evans, Sacramento; Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee.
That leaves out Darren Collison, who probably will finish a strong fourth and I’m sure there are a couple of others.
Why Curry over Evans? I just think he does more; shoots it better from distance, handles an offence extremely well. He’s far more athletic than you’d think at first glance and I just think he’s had a better year.
And, please, don’t give me Evans’s 20-5-5 crap, either. You know me and stats to begin with (they don’t really mean a lot standing on their own) and read my friend Jonathan’s blog post about how they were achieve.
Besides, it makes my fingers twitch to have to write Tyreke Evans in the same sentence as Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James because, frankly, that’s a slight at Oscar, Michael and LeBron. Evans may one day be great, I can say with absolute certainty he will not be in the same class as those three.
And I’m also sure that if you parsed the numbers deep enough, you could find out that Curry, or Jennings, or Collison, or, heck, even DeMar DeRozan put some kind of statistical thing that few others in the game have ever done.
Never mind how my man KC wrote the game story last night (it’s full of “we’ve fought adversity all year” and “glad we control our own destiny” clichés) the story out of Chicago is an alleged physical confrontation between GM John Paxson and coach Vinny Del Negro.
Here’s the story and I’ll just say this, this makes that whole fabricated Vince Carter-Sam Mitchell piece of crap we had to deal with look like nothing.
I never thought Del Negro would be back as the head coach next year; now I’m 100 per cent certain of that and I would certainly hope Paxson gets run, too.
When I was watching Bulls-Celtics last night, one thing did catch my attention a bit more than anything else.
No, it was not Craig Sager’s sportscoat.
It was when he was doing one of his sideline hits and the topic was players taking nights off to rest down the stretch of the season.
He mentioned that he’d spoken to someone at the league office and was told that, yes, the league was quite aware of the impact sitting players for no reason other than rest has on other playoff races and the paying customers.
Stern apparently said in the statement the league’s board of governors would discuss the matter when it meets this week for its annual pre-playoff gabfest.
I have no idea what – if anything – the league might do except hammer home the need to respect the game and the integrity of races when deciding when to give guys nights off.
But I think it’s a good step that they’ll talk about it.
Let’s get the first request for mail out of the way, even though I imagine there’ll be all kinds of end-of-season or prepare-for-playoffs questions to come in the next couple of days.