It's travel time for the Raptors talent evaluators
Lewis and Clark time for Bryan and The Henchman.
While we’ve been waiting – impatiently, in many cases – for the May 30 lottery to find out how easy it’s going to be for them to trade the pick for a three who can help now, the lads have been out scouring the continent watching kids work out and doing some of their pre-draft due diligence.
Florida. L.A. Vegas. Chicago. Jersey. Minnesota. And who knows where else.
It’s mostly unofficial individual workouts set up by agents, a guy or two in a gym working on their own skills, because all the top picks are waiting for the lottery results before they decide which teams they’ll grace with their presence in private workouts leading up to the draft.
But it is part of the process and it drones on.
As I recall, it was in one of these road visits that the Raptors brass fell in love with DeMar DeRozan, seems to me that he wowed them out in L.A. and they had pretty much made up their minds on his selection long before the draft actually rolled around.
I’m not saying that’ll happen again – and the folks who I talked to yesterday didn’t even provide specific names – but the more information you can glean, the better off you should be when it comes time to make the pick, if indeed they make it.
Now, these workouts are indeed informal and since the teams have little or no control over what happens, it’s not like they are seeing all the warts on the potential picks.
If a kid can’t go left, he’s not going to go left an awful lot in a workout run by his agents for specific teams. If the kid can’t make a 22-footer to save his soul, he’s not going to be standing out beyond the arc firing up jumpers with abandon.
Those kinds of workout specifics happen when teams gets guys in their own gyms in the period between the lottery and the draft. That’s when all the stuff GMs and Henchmen and scouts have seen over the course of the college season can be explored and, perhaps, unearthed.
For now, it’s getting more information and keeping busy until it really gets time to be busy.
Hardly a good mix most of the time. But, I tell ya, I may not know anything but I do know that whoever decided it’s cool for guys to wear black-rimmed glasses without, you know, glass in them really might want to find another line of work.
Silly to the Nth degree, methinks.
I would say we in the PBWA got our awards right this year, wouldn’t you agree?
Steve Nash as the Magic Johnson winner for combining on-court excellence with gold standard co-operation with media, Doc Rivers as the Rudy Tomjanovich winner for doing the same thing among coaches and, believe me, the Milwaukee Bucks media relations staff does an historically great job the led to it being awarded the Brian McIntyre award.
Well earned awards all around.
Nash and Rivers are indeed outstanding in dealing with us, they provide great insight and good quotes; they take the time to answer repeated questions with patience and good humour and if you need them, they’re there.
Sounds simple, right? Well, you’d think so but there are far too many players who simply don’t get it, or won’t do and it’s ridiculous to some degree. It’s not a hard part of the job, I do think it’s part of the responsibility that goes with being an athlete and if they put half the effort into answering questions with insight and respect as they do either hiding from us or telling others to tell us they “aren’t talking” it’d be to the benefit of all.
But that’s just me.
And Nash’s post-award quote to the one and only Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic kind of sums up what he’s all about:
“It’s a privilege and honour to be recognized by the pro basketball writers, whose passion and skillfulness present the frontline of how our game is understood and perceived by our fans. Their role in our sport can’t be underestimated and it’s an honour to be recognized by them along with the past recipients.”
The past five?
Kevin Durant, Chris Bosh, Brandon Roy, Grant Hill and Luol Deng.
Do me a favour?
On behalf of all the Buggy Boys at all the gin joints supermarkets in all the world after you dump your stuff in the car, take the buggy back to its little pen there in the middle of the parking lot if you won’t take it back into the store. That way, when Super Son gets fetched from a hard day (well, four hours) of work, the first words out of his mouth might not be:
“People are annoying.”
Some, yes; not all, but some.
All I know is that when Kevin Garnett was called for setting an illegal screen on an out-of-bounds play that cost Boston a chance to tie or ultimately win its game with Philadelphia last night there were 29 NBA coaches scattered around the league who said, in unison, “it’s about freaking time.”
I’m not saying the Cs are the lone offenders in sticking out hips or elbows when they set screens but they have perfected it and I’m kind of glad it bit them in the bum.
Sure, it was a ballsy call but it was the right one, one of the few times officials don’t ref the situation but ref the call.
Flopping is one of the biggest scourges on the game right now, on that we can all agree, but illegal screens – more like football blocks, actually – might be a close second and maybe having a call all but decide a playoff game will give officials the confidence to call them more often and let players know they can’t get away with it.
Yeah, right. A guy can hope, I guess.
I officially decree Birth Week to be upon us.
Figure it should end the day of the actual event so let the hilarity and hijinks commence.