Good feelings for some as an era comes to an end
How easy is it going to be for the lucky souls who get to cover Seattle-Vancouver this round?
Oops. Never mind.
Well, that was a helluva run, wasn’t it?
Four championships, no controversy, playing the game the right way, a model franchise that drafted brilliantly and spent wisely, the magic of Manu, The Big Fundamental and a teenage French point guard who grew into one of the best in the game.
Sorry it had to end.
But that’s what happened on Friday night in Memphis, we saw the end of the San Antonio Spurs dynasty – and it was awful close to being exactly that, even if that word gets tossed around too easily – when they bowed to the younger, bigger, quicker Grizzlies.
Was sad, in some ways.
The Spurs, to me, were the benchmark for what an NBA team should be and in this age of over-hyped individual stars who really haven’t done anything, it was a calming thought in a lot of ways.
All the Spurs did was play hard and play smart and win.
But that old team, weak on the wings, not a whole lot of depth, unable to keep up with younger legs, was exposed.
Can Pop and RC Buford fix it? Can they find a way to ease Tim Duncan into even more of the supporting role he’s now best suited for?
Can they work some draft magic to rebuild a team better able to compete?
But, to me, instead of wondering what the future holds, today is a day to remember what the past was like.
It was glorious.
I covered a lot the Spurs championships runs – the win over New Jersey, the dramatic seventh game win over Detroit, a bit of the decimation of Cleveland – and it was always a treat to watch them play.
They probably won’t play that way again, and not too many teams will, but it was fun while it lasted; just glad it lasted more than a decade.
I’m not exactly sure who these 5 Guys are but, I tell you, they make a mean burger.
Got one last night while Super Family deserted me at the new joint by Casa Doug and it was other-worldly. Well done.
There was one guy I felt really good for, and another I thought an awful lot about as that game unfolded last night.
Not sure if you saw him, and probably didn’t recognize or know him if you did, but sitting behind the Grizzlies bench, taking copious notes, was Gary Schmidt.
He’s Memphis’s advance scout – and a former Canadian national team assistant to Jay back a decade or so ago – and has been with the franchise since the days in Vancouver.
Gary’s spent a lot of long years with that team, we’d commiserate often when he got to Toronto or I’d see him on the road, and I bet he felt a pretty big sense of accomplishment, too.
Advance scouts are a dying breed, I’d say about half the teams in the league actually employ one because most use freelancers as a way to cut costs, and that the organization stuck with him all these years is a good thing.
Of course, it might be the only good thing that carpet-bagging meany Michael Heisley has done but …
The other guy I was thinking of?
Not sure how many of you remember him but he was for years and years the TV voice of the Grizzlies. He died in 2005 of a heart attack in Denver on a road trip and it would have been one of the highlights of his career had he had the chance to call the team’s first playoff win.
Those are the kinds of guys I think about at moments like Friday night.
I remember way back in the day, I’m talking mid-90s, and I was chatting around NBA draft time with a guy who worked closely with Isiah and had an idea of how he was thinking.
Talk, as it does, came around to who the Raptors might pick depending on how the draft unfolded and the guy says to me:
“They really like that McDyess kid in Alabama. They think he could be special.”
Guess he was right and with McDyess saying last nigh that he’s definitely done, one of the classiest guys in the league is calling it a career.
I got to know him a little bit during the Vince heyday when they were teammates on the American Olympic team and I have to tell you, he’s a considerate, soft-spoken, first-rate kind of guy and the NBA will be a bit worse off when he leaves.
What he went through – the horrible knee injuries that robbed him of jaw-dropping athleticism – would have sent a lesser man into retirement; McDyess stuck it out through months of rehab, remade his game and never once complained about what had happened.
So, I couldn’t escape watching some of the Royal Wedding highlights last night and yesterday during the day and, I have to tell you, the hats on some of those people were amazing.
Guess one of the reasons I couldn’t go is that the monarchists probably wouldn’t have appreciated my ball hat with the two beer cans attached to the side with the straws coming out.
A bit of an interesting one out of the mail.
Oh, and it’s really dead over there in the inbox, can some of you folks kindly help me out? Much appreciated if you were to click right about here, tell me a story, ask me a question and keep me entertained as you so often do.
Q: Hi Doug, before I got to the blog this morning I was already thinking that Orlando would have to consider some big changes this summer, especially with the "Summer of Dwight and Chris Paul" coming
With the Raptors rebuilding, would Bryan be focusing any more on other teams that need to make big changes? Is it possible that we might see Hedo back in a Raptor uniform? (I keed) Thanks,
With the Raptors rebuilding, would Bryan be focusing any more on other teams that need to make big changes? Is it possible that we might see Hedo back in a Raptor uniform? (I keed)
Greg M, Halifax
A: I’ll leave that whole Hedo thing alone lest we start some craziness here.
The wise old man Butch Carter (who really wasn’t that old but who was certainly wise) was a big proponent of trying to pluck guys off teams that feel they’ve under-achieved and teams that might want to make change just to shake things up.
I’m not going to suggest there’s anything afoot with the Magic but I’m sure Bryan will look around the league for teams whose seasons ended in disappointment – and I guess you’d put the likes of Portland, Utah, Detroit, Phoenix, Houston in that group – as a short list of teams he might want to do business with.
I don’t think he’d ignore the other teams but you have to be realistic when you’re testing the waters and the reality is there are teams that need to make moves more than others do and they should probably be the first point of attack.
No games today?
What’s a fella to do.
“Super Dad? Can you put in the laundry and then start cleaning up the carnage that is the deck and back yard?”
Okay, see ya later folks.