At last a week with some Raptors news
(But not in time to see the Mighty Yankees tonight, sadly).
Big week ahead, folks, and I’m pretty sure over the course of Tuesday and Thursday I’ll be seeing whoever it is that emerges as the No. 13 pick in the June 24 draft.
Now, I offer this with the codicil that these things sometimes don’t work out, kids have a way of bailing at the last minute for whatever reason.
But right now, Thursday looks like the biggest day of the pre-draft period, big Patrick Patterson of Kentucky, wings Xavier Henry of Kansas and Paul George of Fresno State and guards Eric Bledsoe of Kentucky and Avery Bradley of Texas are due in. Bradley, however, has an ankle issue and might pull out; it’s interesting he’s the only guy they wanted to see twice in Toronto.
Tuesday, an equally interesting group of forwards Damion James of Texas and Quincy Pondexter of Washington and centres Hassan Whiteside of Marshall and Solomon Alabi of Florida State are supposed to be here.
I was having a little chat with Bryan on the weekend – we were both waiting for USA-England – and he was telling me that it’s “best available player” rather than any specific position when it comes to who’s going to be the pick.
Now, I think they need bigs more than anything given the uncertainty of Bosh and Amir Johnson but I’m hearing that if they think the best guy left is a wing, that’s who they’re taking.
With so many balls in the air – Bosh, Johnson, Turk, a point guard, Antoine Wright – they figure it’s too dicey to gamble on one position because so many might be open once camp comes around.
Now, out of that group, I certainly don’t have a favourite – I haven’t seen any of them in person except Bradley and we didn’t get enough of a chance to see him really work – and I don’t know that the braintrust has a favourite, either.
What they’re going to do is come up with some kind of list in their mind and if they guy at the top is there are No. 13, they’ll take him; if he’s gone, they move down to their second guy.
It’s going to take a little while to figure out who’s ranked where but that’s kind of what I’ve got this week to do.
Are vuvuzelas just thunderstix on steroids? Man, that incessant wasp-like buzz takes some of the joy away from watching the games, doesn’t it?
Speaking of games, though, how about those Black Stars! Huge win, good penalty call, excellent shot and I’m thinking they look pretty good for second spot in their group.
And my friend in Accra tells me they were dancing in the streets after the final whistle. Good on them.
Oh yeah, right.
Lakers in six.
Anyway, pretty good game in a muck-it-up-defence, oh-my-God-how-good-is-that-Kobe-Bryant-guy kind of way with one moment of high comedy.
You see it?
Ron Artest knocks down Kevin Garnett and here comes Rajon Rondo who puts his arm into Artest, who flails and falls like he’d been hit by a steel girder.
(I’d say he flopped like some yellow card-deserving football faker but that would do a disservice to all those in the beautiful game who tumble like they’ve on the cusp of heading to the great beyond)
Rondo on it:
“I’m not that strong. He sold it a little bit. He’s probably the strongest guy on the court in this series; I’ve been lifting a little bit but other than that, I didn’t push him that hard.”
More Raptors news?
Man, you folks are in the pink today.
End of week, I’m hearing they’re holding one of those big free agent thingies to find some bodies for summer league in Vegas.
The thing doesn’t have an official name so I believe we shall call it The Jamario Moon Memorial Camp For Hopefuls, seeing that’s where they found Moon so many years ago.
An interesting theory proposed to me over the weekend in a conversation with a highly-placed poobah is that the guy actually driving this whole free agent thing is not LeBron James but Dwayne Wade.
Makes sense, right? Wade is the only guy who can truly “recruit” someone to come join him, he doesn’t have to go somewhere to hook up with somebody, there doesn’t have to necessarily be some sign-and-trade to make it work. He sits back, extols the virtues of Miami and gets his guy without having to go anywhere.
LeBron can’t do it with the Cavs, Bosh can’t do it with Toronto, Joe Johnson can’t do it, neither can Amare, nor can Dirk if they want to join forces with one of the others.
Now, I’m sure we’ve all heard about the breaking of bread out in L.A. with Wade, Bosh and Johnson and it’s nice that buddies got together for dinner; I’m sure there was all kind of talk about what it’s like to play in Miami and for the Heat and that’s just natural.
But it’s interesting to me that with all this talk about who “fits with LeBron” and where they might go, it’s one of the other guys some big shots are thinking is driving the agenda.
I’m pretty sure some of you might have missed this but Bosh got this really big honour on Sunday night.
Yes, we of the Professional Basketball Writers Association – an august group of more than 150 that has somehow found fit to make me the president – voted him the winner of the Magic Johnson Award, which goes to the player who “combines on-court performance with steady co-operation with the media.”
Not bad, eh?
We administer three awards, the Magic Johnson, the J. Walter Kennedy Award for community service (won this year by Sam Dalembert for his efforts with Haiti relief) and the Brian McIntyre Media Relations Award for meritorious service of our industry which this time around went to the Golden State Warriors.
All right, need to knock off an NBA finals off-day story and get out to the airport to begin the Lewis and Clark journey home. Oh, and maybe find a couple of hours to check out Italy-Paraguay.