I’ve been telling people for an awful long time that in the eons I’ve been around this basketball team that it’s almost always been a better story than a team.
And here we go again.
We all knew what was going to happen yesterday, the story had been out and reported for about 24 hours but, still, it was an odd, odd day.
Kind of in keeping with the way the Raptors have operated consistently for years, a group that’s far more entertaining to talk about most seasons than to watch.
The president stays but doesn’t have total basketball control, there is no general manager and no one’s quite sure who’s coming, the coach is basically in limbo, the rest of the front office is trying to do basic summer tasks not knowing if they’ll be employed in a month and the assistant coaches should probably be polishing resumes because there’s no guarantee any of them will be back.
Fans are, I presume, alternating between scratching their heads and throwing their arms up in despair as the off-season unfolds. I’m seeing about a 70-30 split between “what the hell are they doing” to “this had to be done” and that’s not surprising either.
Can it work?
Who knows? It’s so unique that it just might. I honestly cannot think of a similar situation anywhere in sports – I presume there is one but my mind can’t recall it – and maybe because it’s so off-the-wall odd it might work.
Maybe the new GM – and Masai Ujiri remains far and away the No. 1 choice but that’s not nearly a done deal yet – can operate with total autonomy and not feel at all threatened.
Maybe the new CEO – who certainly talks tough about what might happen – can massage personalities and balance this thing and give the support that’s needed so that it works.
But here’s a point someone connected with the franchise made the other day that’s quite valid:
Most of the heavy lifting as already been done. They were as far down as they could get two seasons ago, the building process is well on the path and there just needs to be some tinkering done rather than major reconstructive surgery.
And maybe because they’re at that point, it’s not as hard as it would appear.
Give ‘em credit, though. This might be the only organization in all of professional sports that can turn the possibility of management change into a head-scratching process that no one’s ever heard of before.
Yep, better story than a team.
This works today, right?
I have no idea why this happened but one day recently I’m sitting on a stool somewhere in front of a bank of televisions (Hello, Jack Astor’s at Square One!) and was trying to see what was on that could have been marginally interesting.
(Obviously there wasn’t a pucks fixture to catch my attention)
And I’ve got to tell you, this Cash Cab thing looks pretty wacky.
Now, I tend to hate reality TV with, as they say, the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns because as real as they try to make it, it’s edited and contrived and I’d rather watch some Criminal Minds or NCIS episode I’ve seen a few times.
But here are two shows that could be recommended in that genre:
Dude gives out money in some kind of rolling trivia game that covers the streets of New York. (Now I learn it's in countries all over the world. Cool!) I have no idea why it caught the eye and what makes it intriguing but it does.
You ever see that one?
Highly recommended by people who know what they’re talking about, it’s a classic.
The crazy hillbilly-esque clan with the beards?
No idea why but once I heard about it, it was sort of fascinating, and hugely entertaining.
Now, there was time when the Amazing Race and – as we all recall – DWTS – would have been right at the top of the list but they’ve been supplanted; reality TV is still not destination viewing at even the slightest level but if I’m prone on the couch and clicking through the dial, I at least have a couple of choices that aren’t off-putting.
You folks are beating me to the punch.
Checked the mail this morning and there are probably half a dozen questions there.
Not enough, mind you, so let’s start the weekly plea. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org in case you’ve forgotten.
Now, no one really expected the Raptors to move up to one of the top three spots in the lottery, did they?
Things like that just don’t happen to this franchise so when they stayed at No. 12 and gave the pick up to Oklahoma City.
That in itself is no real big deal, as we’ve said repeatedly this draft is rather weak, they don’t need another young player with a three-year contract and I don’t imagine there’s a GM in the league who’d turn down today a chance to get Kyle Lowry and his now-expiring contract for No. 12 in this draft.
But still, things probably couldn’t have turned out much worse for the lads.
Seeing Cleveland get the No. 1 pick, Orlando fall to No. 2 and Washington jump all way to No. 3 from No. 8 had to put a sick feeling in the stomach of everyone involved.
No, it’s not a great draft and the presumptive top pick, Nerlens Noel, is coming off ACL surgery and who knows when he’ll be ready but three Eastern Conference teams picking one, two, three?
Yeah, that has to kind of suck given where the Raptors are and where they want to go.
Even if you operate under the premise that the draft is not the be all and end all of building a franchise – and it’s not – having three playoff rivals pick up significant assets at the lottery was like kicking sand in the face of the Raptors.
If you give up two in the bottom of the last inning – the first on a bases-loaded, two-out, full-count walk and the second on a two-strike wild pitch – it truly is a kick in the gut.
But as we’ve told the Mighty Navy Tigers since the first practice, baseball is as much about managing failure as anything (best hitters in the game make outs six of 10 times, everyone makes errors, every pitcher gets lit up), we see it as a character builder.
That’s the right thing to say, right?