The draft, the naturals, the Finals: A huge week looms
Have at it.
Draft time is starting to heat up considerably, this is a rather big week with individual workouts and interviews in Toronto and, frankly, things are as clear as mud at the moment.
If I had to come up with a list of guys the Raptors like an awful lot – and this is fluid and will be likely until June 28 – it’d be Dion Waiters, Damian Lillard, Austin Rivers, Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger.
It’s obvious than Bryan and the Henchmen are doing just what he said he’d do immediately after the season and after the lottery:
Finding what they consider the best player, regardless of position and acquiring assets.
I don’t think anyone should read anything into the names vis-à-vis guys already on the roster because the Raptors need players and if the player they like best plays a position they think could be already filled well, that’s tough. Take a guy you think can help and either let the coach figure out who plays or let the GM figure out if other moves have to be made.
(By the way, I still think the right thing to do is try to package the pick with a player, maybe two, and find some veteran three but that’s just me).
Of course, they might not have a shot at many of those people on the list because no one knows who might go before them.
Coming out of Chicago, the only thing anyone can say with certainty is the Anthony Davis goes No. 1 and then who knows?
Does Charlotte take Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Thomas Robinson? Can Washington ignore Brad Beal? Is Barnes a natural in Cleveland with Irving or do they take Kidd-Gilchrist if he’s still there? Where’s that leave the likes Andre Drummond?
It’s going to be an interesting time, indeed.
Now, I’m not going to be around the workouts in person but I don’t think that’s a very big thing.
We don’t get to see much (maybe some shooting drills, maybe an agility drill at the end of the workout) and the clichés you’ll hear start with “I think I’m a good fit, I just want to come in and do whatever the coach wants me to do” before moving to “I’m just blessed and will be happy to go wherever I go” and finishing with “this is a good young team, I’d love to come and grow with it.”
But that time in Chicago last week was pretty important, it provided a look at these kids in a different environment and we’ll parcel some more of that out (we’ve already heard from Nicholson and a bit of Lillard and Rivers) as the week unfolds.
And, no, we don’t know yet exactly who’s coming what day and history should tell us these things change daily and we might not know for sure who’s in what day until the morning they’re supposed to work out.
Did you know that on the drive in from the OKC airport to our less-than-ritzy accommodation downtown (it’s nice but far from posh) you see not only oil derricks but haystacks?
As I mentioned in this story a little while ago, this city has entirely given itself over to the Thunder in every imaginable way.
You’ve got business with Thunder signs in their windows and Thunder flags on the poles.
I was talking to a comely lass who works in one of the Bricktown establishments last night and she was telling that every seat in every gin joint in the area will likely be filled four hours before tipoff Tuesday and Thursday and they’ll stay filled until long after the game is over.
It’s not going to be like that in Miami; it wouldn’t be like that in too many cities. Perhaps it’s the geographical size of the area – for you Torontonians Bricktown wouldn’t be barely as big as Liberty Village; for you others, it’s about a three square block of converted factories and warehouses that now house bars and restaurants – but it also has to do with the relative nothingness of this city and a desire to get behind something, anything.
Trust me, there isn’t a lot of There There in OKC (oldsters might get that) and having a good young team to rally around provides something a purpose and something common to adapt.
It’ll be a lot of fun, even more fun than seeing a working oil derrick pumping stuff in the 15 minutes it takes to get from Will Rogers World Airport (yep, that’s the name) to downtown.
Hobbs vs. Hobbs V2.0 at the ballyard this week?
Man, if there was one TOD series I’d like to watch closely this would be it and here I am in OKC.
Hobbs V2.0, of course, is Washington’s Bryce Harper (you can get to know him pretty well in Griff’s rather detailed contribution here) and it’d be nice to see the kid n person.
And is it a measuring stick for the Jays, who just can’t get a handle on how to dominate – or even hang on often – in inter-league play?
Yeah, might be.
The Nationals are kind of like the Jays, a good young team trying to figure it all out and it’ll be interesting to see who does what this week. It’s not very often an early June baseball series is a big one, I think we can say this one is.
So, who wins the NBA Finals?
Luckily, they don’t want my copy until this afternoon because I don’t think I can even take a guess right now.
But I will say this:
This is as highly-anticipated a championship series as there’s been in quite some time and I would imagine even casual fans will be paying rapt attention to it as it unfolds.
Yes, it’s probably more anticipated than Celtics-Lakers of a few years ago, which was the biggest in an awful lot of years when it began.
You’ve got Durant and James, Wade and Westbrook; young against relatively old and any number of intriguing story lines to explore and watch.
Might even be an easy one to write about and I’m all for that.
We’ll talk more about who wins and why later on but I think you’d all agree the excitement level is close to off the charts.
Everywhere except Seattle and Cleveland, that is.
Oh yeah, that Netherlands pick in the Euro2012 sure looks good, doesn’t it?
Oh, one other thing:
Late nights here and it’s the central time zone; I’m thinking the goal of having this up by 7 a.m. Eastern time each day might not be reachable.
Maybe you’ll give me until 8? Thanks.