This is becoming a rather good story, isn't it?
Time to bulk up
There is no doubt in my mind that Jonas Valanciunas is going to a fine, fine basketball player and he had moments last night – the first quarter especially – where he showed that.
But he’s also 20 years old, he’s tall but relatively slight and job No. 1 this coming summer will be to hit the weight room and try to get stronger, a lot stronger.
He got pushed around too much by the likes of Greg Monroe last night and it hit home just what he has to do.
I don’t think his game is ever going to be based on finesse so it’s time to find some power and strength for that 7-foot frame.
If he is to become anything of a low post presence – defensively and offensively – he’s got to be able to better hold is ground in the wrestling matches that take place in the paint.
We saw some power against the Pistons, a couple of nice dunks; and we saw some of his speed, finishing on the break and rolling to the rim.
He’s got the disposition to be tougher, no question, and once he gets that, the sky truly is the limit.
Mr. Fourth Quarter?
Alan Anderson is really turning into the find of the season, isn’t he?
He’s one of those guys who just knows how to play, seldom out of position, a far better shooter than many had anticipating, and the kind of leader teams need.
I think it was on that dreadful trip that I mentioned how he’d make sure to be up in someone’s ear during every timeout and even during play. Now that he’s back on the court, his contribution has increased exponentially.
I’d say he’s being used perfectly, toughness off the bench defensively, a closer who can make shots and plays down the stretch of close games.
He is precisely the kind of unheralded player that just helps a team in so many different ways, it’s hard to quantify his value.
This is how Dwane put it:
“He’s our voice of reason right now, a veteran guy. He’s hungry, the young man’s been to China, Europe, got cut, his back’s been against the wall. That’s why I like him, he’s an underdog and he plays like an underdog, he’s hungry and I think that’s way you have to play in league, like nobody owes you anything. You have to play hungry, you have to play desperate … be the first one to hit.”
An apt comparison?
It’s awfully early and we have no idea how the season will unfold but you know who Jose Calderon has reminded me of this week?
No, not because he’s strong and tough or anything like that. Because when things were their darkest he simply got determined to turn things around, just like AD did way back in 2002 when he put an injury-ravaged team on his back and led it to 10 wins in the final 12 games and a playoff berth.
I don’t know where this season will ultimately end up but if it gets good, you’re going to look back at this week and marvel at what he did to help turn things around.
What’s up for the rest of today?
Hey, notice anything about these three wins at home?
No confetti at the final buzzer!
Good call by whoever made it.
Yes, please. Kind of dry over there, need an entertaining missive or two; figure I’ll be sitting somewhere this afternoon waiting for a friend to celebrate the holidays with he’s been known to be tardy so I’ll need to kill time.
Okay, nothing may say Christmas like Twisted Sister.
And nothing really says Christmas like The Ramones.
But nothing really, really says Christmas like The Kinks.
It would appear from this story that it’s going to be tough year – and a devastating penalty – for Toronto’s Myck Kabongo of the University of Texas.
He’s apparently going to be suspended for the entire season for receiving “illegal benefits” during a summer trip to Cleveland to work out.
It’s murky and it gets to the heart of all that’s wrong with the NCAA, in my opinion.
It’s a rather high-handed organization, that seems to be to be quite selective in its investigations and penalties and now it may have taken away the most significant year of Kabongo’s life since he was seen in some circles as a possible first-round NBA draft pick.
I don’t presume to know all the details, just what I read; if an agent – who actually isn’t an agent but a recruiter of some sort – was involved in the paying for a training trip for Kabongo, I wonder what the repercussions are for the agent, or the agency?
Likely nothing and that sucks.
I don’t know what recourse Kabongo has – should he leave school and try to hook up in the D League or Europe, should he stick it out and take his chances on the draft without playing a game for a year? – but this could be a devastating blow.
Again, I don’t know who was right or who was wrong or which rules were contravened, I just know this seems awful harsh to me and I wonder if the NCAA would devote other reasons to other cases that are sure to be out there?
So the Buffalo Bills centre slags Toronto, the ‘dome, the fact his team has to come up here to play once a year and …
Everything he says is right; compared to Ralph Wilson Stadium the Rogers Centre is a mausoleum, no player wants to play a “home” game a long bus ride away from home and there really is no benefit to anyone in uniform to having come to Toronto to play once a year.
But, and this is where the conflict comes in, it’s a business opportunity for ownership and players actually have no say in the matter; nor should they, really.
So even if everything he said on some radio show as true, it’s tough noogies, he’s got to suck it up and play.
Of course, it’d be way easier for people here to at least have marginal interest if the Bills weren’t putting on butt-ugly demonstrations up here and maybe concentrating on that rather than whining might help.
Okay, the lads are off, gives me most of today to do Nothin’ But Net and I presume I should start thinking about some Christmas shopping, no?