Of bad luck and good old days in Chicago
All kinds of wild and wonderful stuff here today, have a lovely time going through it all.
Of all the permutations that could have come out Tuesday night’s lottery, I cannot think of many that would be worse for Toronto than the one that transpired.
Washington at No. 1, Philly at No. 2 and Jersey at No. 3? Ugh.
That’s three East rivals who figure to get better rather quickly, and we all know the Raptors could use all the help they can get keeping conference rivals dead and buried.
You have to figure Washington takes the John Wall kid, and if the Sixers don’t take Evan Turner of Ohio State (although I presume now they will), they could grab a big to help them out and then the Nets take Turner to go along with Harris and Lopez.
Ugly for Toronto, no?
And, what it also does is make Gilbert Arenas far more expendable in Washington and I am sure there are teams out there who might have interest in him and would be willing to give up something substantial to get him, maybe a good scoring big to compliment Wall?
Could that be Toronto? I doubt it since the thing the Raptors have to offer in a significant trade, really, is one of their point guards. And now the Wizards don’t need one of those.
There’s all kinds of time between now and the draft to see what shakes out and what trades or talks may transpire so it’s probably not getting too worked up about at the moment.
But the quick assessment? Toronto lost the lottery, significantly.
When they go over the decaying carcass of the 2010 NBA playoffs in Orlando, the death blow will be the final 30 seconds or so last night.
First, the guy we don’t name (or the guy we do name by the name of Vince Carter – gotta appease both factions around here today) – makes the right play with a horrible result, driving the ball down three, getting fouled but missing both free throws, and quite badly.
Now, I know how happy that made many of you and it was a telling moment in the game but it wasn’t the one that really killed the Magic – and down 0-2 going into Boston may not be fatal but they are indeed on life support.
No, the big gaffe came on the next possession when Orlando did what it had to do, defend a possession well and force a miss.
For some inexplicable reason, when JJ Redick grabbed the rebound with a shade over seven seconds left, he didn’t call an immediate timeout. The bench was up yelling, Carter was standing there with his hands in the air but Redick dribbled a couple of times towards midcourt before finally calling timeout with less than four seconds left.
That meant the Magic couldn’t advance the ball to the frontcourt hash mark, they lost three valuable seconds and they had to hope a Jameer Nelson three-point halfcourt prayer went it.
Two mistakes: One physical, one mental and, poof!, the season may be over.
Oh, I read from Jersey the other day that Rod Thorn’s on the verge of signing a new, two-year to remain as Grand Poobah of the Nets.
Wise move, Rod’s a good man and all those folks out there who were dead certain that either Maurizio or Bryan would be going to work for The Oligarch are sure to be writing in today to say they were wrong, right? Seems there was much ado about nothing, as there often is.
Couple of housecleaning matters. Yes, we will be here tonight at 9 to do the Lakers-Suns (hey, the crowd swelled to four figures last night, thanks for that) and since I’ve got some plans in the works for Saturday, let’s start an early mail call this week.
Click here, type ‘em up, send ‘em in and we’ll see what we can do.
So what’s next for the Raptors hierarchy?
Well, Bryan and the Henchmen are traipsing off to Chicago today for the NBA’s annual pre-draft camp, where kids get weighed and measured and go through some basic basketball drills.
There are no games – heaven forbid an agent would let one of his meal tickets play against another guy’s meal ticket lest their weaknesses be exposed and their draft status (and salary) diminish – but there is a chance for GMs and the like to meet with prospects and least try to get a handle on what they’re like.
But it’s all basketball people for Toronto this time around.
While Super Son and I were standing in line waiting for the grappling to begin the other night, a Henchman wandered past after finishing his day’s work.
Casual conversation ensued – no, he didn’t tell me what Chris was going to do – and it included with something like this.
“So, off to Chicago?”
“Yeah, we’re all going.”
“Taking a psychologist with you?”
“We’re the psychologists, let’s find out who can play.”
So much for mind games.
Anyway, it used to be, this was a pretty big thing for the media. It used to be held at Moody Bible College in Chicago and almost all the top prospects used to play in games.
There was a balcony that ran around the gym and all the GMs and personnel guys and writers would hang out there, giving us easy access to the guys who were going to be making the decisions on draft night.
It was relatively informal – you wouldn’t bother a GM when he was concentrating but lots of casual conversations would ensue during down times – and it really was a place to be seen.
Now? Not so much. None of the players play in actual games, the workouts have been moved to a private gym with no access for media and they do a mass availability with players in a hotel ballroom.
GMs? Forget it. They aren’t at all and unless you can catch ‘em in a lobby or can get ‘em on the phone, best of luck.
And I wonder why we don’t go any more?
Favourite moment of that compelling TV broadcast of the lottery?
(And by “compelling” I mean mind-numbingly boring).
Watching Jrue Holiday try to stifle a smile when he found out the Sixers were choosing second and there was less likelihood they’d draft John Wall over Holiday’s head.
One more Moody Bible College pre-draft camp story.
It had to be 1996 and we’re all there because the Bulls are in the final and we’re in Chicago anyway and I run into Darrell Walker in the lobby of the gym after a game had just finished.
We’re chewing the fat about this and that and which of the unknown kids playing the games was making some noise.
Darrell, bless his talent-judging soul, swears up and down that the relatively unknown point guard on this one team – I think it was the blue team – was good. Never mind that few knew his name, the kid was going to be a very good player for a very long time. I was kind of dubious but, what the heck, Darrell’s must have known what he was talking about, right?
Kid’s name was Derek Fisher.
One quick question before I get out of here to write what I hope is a very nice little story for this evening.
When did Kevin O’Neill start coaching offence for the Habs?