So I hope you enjoyed that. It took a good cause to get me to get Scott to come talk ball with us here at the Dino Nation Blog. However he is a smart guy and has done this longer than anyone out there. Raptor Blog has been around longer than any blog out there. It is pretty much the first ever blog on the net covering the Raptors. I personally think that is something to be respected for. I have the chance to interact with Scott quite a lot and respect his opinions on basketball and the Raps. I may not always agree but I respect his views. So bottom line is this is something we will do again.
So anything people can do to help please do, it is for a good cause.
Draft two players that can play in the rotation
Bring in a coaching staff that can help change the culture of this team
Be it Draft, Free Agent...Back-up point guard now.
Sign a guy that can impact on the wing. Ariza, Artest at the top of my wish list
Have someone explain to me how this team is better without Chris Bosh or have Bosh call and tell me he is staying.
6 no 12 no 24 beers.
Have the Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors swap rosters?
The reality of things is I am getting cranky waiting for answers. Even though not a lot of people agree with me I still say that a move that brings Steve Nash to Toronto is the best one. Hardcore basketball folks can debate the merits of it works on the floor. But for the casual basketball fan this would make them take notice of the Raptors perhaps in a way like they never have before. Steve Nash I think still has a few basketball years left in him. If the Raptors drafted a Ty Lawson or a Jonny Flynn how good could they be made by a Steve Nash as a mentor? I would venture to say that the answer is very good. There is all of this talk that sports is a business and if that is true Steve Nash is a great business move for MLSE. Let's face facts if Steve Nash comes here the Raptors will sell jerseys. I don't have numbers in front of me but just in looking around you see Nash jerseys at almost any basketball event you would choose to go to in this country. Jose Calderon will never be the draw that a Steve Nash is in Canada. I just think it is a risk worth taking. I have expressed it many times and remain convinced this a move that would help the Raptors. No idea if Bryan Colangelo agrees but the one thing is clear he has a lot of people to convince this off-season.
Hope you enjoyed the Round Ball Review as much as I did in making it. Here is the latest of the Puppets as they are on the Sports Center set
But if you take this further, the Magic like the Raptors are often not given respect and they go under the radar for the majority of the time. Even in the Playoffs in the first round they get reduced to games on NBA-TV and do not land on the major networks in the states. Not to disrespect NBA-TV, I do like a lot of what they do. Magic may have turned a corner last night. The Magic were pushed to Overtime and they would outlast the Cavs and do it in impressive fashion. Dwight Howard played big down the stretch and I am sure that Chris Bosh who is one of his buddies was both happy for Dwight and a bit sad that he is out of the playoffs mix.
I have mentioned a couple times that I actually picked a Lakers and Magic final at the start of the season. I went back in the DIno Nation Blog archives on the old site and found it. You will notice as someone on Twitter did that I had a lot of stuff wrong. Heck I even picked the Raptors to beat the Cavs in the first round in a 4 vs 5 match-up. Greg Oden was my Rookie of the Year. There is lots of other fun stuff. Here is the link to see the proof that I did call Lakers and Magic.
From The Dino Archives
It is so hard to predict an NBA season before it happens. It takes a little dumb luck to get it right. But the reasons I went with the Magic was that I felt Dwight Howard off a less than impressive run with team U.S.A would be motivated. Jameer Nelson (Who rumours fly could be ready to play in the finals) was ready to take his game to a new level after he had a solid performance against T.J Ford and Jose Calderon in last year's playoffs. I like the supporting cast of Hedo Lewis and thought Pietrus was a good pick up. I had no clue how good Courtney Lee would become. He was a bonus. I know a Magic fan that use to tell me about this Gortat guy and that he was going to be pretty good. Well he has been a solid back-up for Dwight. In addition to all of that I am a huge fan of Stan Van Gundy as a coach. Magic fans should send the wife of Billy Donnovan the coach of the Gators a Christmas card saying thank you every season Van Gundy is coach. If not for her influence the Magic could have Billy as the coach and may never be on the verge of a return to the finals.
So maybe I am jealous and maybe I am just hopeless for the Raptors future. However for whatever reason I say Go Magic Go.
I want to make mention of something I added to the site yesterday afternoon. You will notice off to the right a banner that says... support Team Maxwell. Scott Carefoot who writes Raptor Blog is doing something to raise funds for Autism. His son Max deals with this as does Scott and his family. I am going to have Scott by to talk some basketball something that we have never done in the Dino Nation Blog but also to explain what he is doing to help find a cure for Autism. But you do not have to wait till than to support the cause. Go click on the link to show your support if you can afford to do so.
The Dino Nation Blog was really a last shot at a dream for me. I have always loved sports and basketball most of all. So there is no way I am letting go of that dream. The Raptors could go 0-82 and I would not give up on what I am doing. But all of that said these are real bad times. In being a fan of this team I am trying to think of a time that was worse. Coming off that 16 win season was not a lot of fun. Glen Grundwald would take to the floor and promise Raptor fans that better days were ahead. I am not sure if many of us believed him but the fact he had the guts and balls to go out their in front of the crowd and do that was something. It ended up becoming some kind of tradition in the Grundwald era. Bryan Colangelo has never said I am sorry for this past season. Perhaps he should have. But that just would not fit the whole Bryan Colangelo image. He now faces a challenge that is perhaps greater than the one he faced when he first arrived on the scene.
I say that for a number of reasons but at the top of that list is an NBA off season in which no one is quite sure what to expect. These tough times economically have lead to some teams being in some serious trouble money wise. You have a free agent market in which no one is quiet sure the value of players. How much do you pay an Iverson, Marion an Artest. Same goes for a younger guy in Trevor Ariza what does he get. All good questions but the biggest question is what happens to Chris Bosh and is he going to remain in Toronto and if not how long does he stay? How Colangelo manages his way through the whole Bosh situation is likely going to define him in the history books in a good or bad way.
He only needs to look at the guy he replaced for proof. A bad trade for Vince Carter and drafting a Brazilian bust are what will we remember Rob Babcock for. Bryan Colangelo does have some good things that will not be forgotten though. He did but together the first ever Division Champs for the franchise. But in this what have you done for me lately world that seems like it was a 100 years ago.
It is a long off season but to be honest when it comes to the Raptors I almost feel like someone that is trying to stick it out in a relationship or marriage that isn't working. Those kind of situations never tend to work out well. Maybe Bryan Colangelo will try to fix things with a positive off season. Not unlike the typical I am sorry and things will be better you get in that kind of toxic relationship that I mentioned. 15 years in any relationship is a long time and I am growing grumpy and unsatisfied. For those of you that have been along for the ride for the entire way feel the same? What would it take for you to say enough is enough and file for divorce or a break up from the Toronto Raptors? I would love to see some comments on that.
That is all for today back to listening to the banging going on over my head. If you did no read yesterday I am not losing my mind just have people working on the roof on the building I call home.
Just look at Chris Bosh chilling in Miami and Vegas for proof. Normally I am a fan of Chris and his videos and having fun. However I am not so sure if advertising how great you life is when times are tough for most makes a ton of sense. Add in the fact his future is unclear and there already has been a backlash against him from some fans. I am not saying that Chris should not have fun and enjoy the money that he has earned. I am just saying that making videos that highlight that fact may not be a wise move in these tough economic times.
Aside from that how bout the Orlando Magic. I am pretty proud of the Magic. The Dino Blogger showed them a lot of love in the pre-season predictions and they are showing you why I did. Stan Van Gundy did not win the coach of the year as I predicted he would. Dwight Howard did not get his first M.V.P trophy. But the NBA finals vs the Lakers was my NBA Finals prediction and it is very much alive. I had tried to back away from the pick saying the the Cavs were likely going to get out of the East. I lost faith in Superman and fell in love with the idea of a King making it make to the finals. I am sorry Orlando Magic, it looks like my first impression way back in October may have been the right one.
Someone also pointed out to me the fact I nailed the Raptors Draft pick last year. Technically that is true as I thought the Raptors would take Roy Hibbert out of Georgetown. Well they did select him only to be part of the ill fated Jermanie O'Neal trade. So this person asked me who is my call for the pick this year. Well aside from the banging on the roof being distracting. The fact Bryan Colangelo is shopping for a second pick to me makes the choice a little more of a challenge this year. If I nail their pick 2 years in a row that would be pretty funny. It is not like Bryan Colangelo is doing Interviews in the Dino Nation Blog at this point. Not that he would not be welcome. I think he would be a great interview to do. In fact no on person suggested to be that Hibbert was going to be selected at all. They did have him up for a workout but that was public knowledge. Bottom line is the Raptors had no interest in my pick and if not for the Pacers I would have been wrong. Still no matter how you end up being right it still feels good to be right. So I am going to take a pass for now before I make my pick this year. I have a streak on the line after all.
What would a holiday be without some entertainment. So here is the latest Kobe and Lebron puppet show. It is an upgrade from #3 which was WEAK!!!
Matt Devlin chatted with the Dino Nation Blog on Friday. We had a great conversation going on some NBA topics but in having Matt visit we needed to talk some Raptor ball as well with him. His take on the new coach Jay Triano, Chris Bosh and the outlook for his Future, Jose and others playing internationally and we even have some fun trying to convince Matt to hop on Twitter with the rest of the world. Matt took some much time talking to us he had to bail at the end to pick up the kids as school. He always really generous with his time and I on behalf of Dino Nation Blog and thankful for that. So here is our talk on the Raps enjoy.
So Thanks again to Matt for his time and we will check in with him through the summer months as this Raptor roster begins to take shape for the 09/10 season.
Matt Devlin has been a busy guy since the end of the Raptors season just about a month ago. He has been working on TNT Broadcasting the Playoffs. I was able to catch up with Matt and we had a good conversation on the NBA and the Raptors. But in this first part we focus on the NBA and in Part 2 that I will be posting later we talk about the Raptors. But Matt had a chance to cover both the Magic who surprised the Cavs in game 1 along with the Nuggets who just tied up the Western Conference Finals heading back to Denver. We also chat about Shaq as a broadcaster and some thoughts on the top of the NBA Draft board with Blake Griffin and Ricky Rubio being discussed.
I will post part 2 on Monday or over the weekend in that we talk Triano, Bosh, Calderon and players that play internationally. Along with that we explore one of the most up in the air free agent periods in the history of the NBA. We even talk about Twitter and if Matt is going to jump in on the latest craze sweeping the Internet and the NBA.
Keeping with are Twitteriffic theme. The man who perhaps is the most famous tweeter, or at least one of the biggest in Shaq. The big man has been a movie star, he has been a Rapper but never a Raptor, Officer of the law and now coming soon....Sports Broadcaster. The big man has enrolled in a crash course on sports broadcasting for ex athletes and current ones that is done at Syracuse University. The Cuse has been a university that has produced a ton of broadcasting talent and there are to many to mention. So TNT or some network better find a really big chair for the big man to sit in once he decided to call it quits.
Chris Bosh of course did the broadcasting thing for NBA-TV and The Tonight Show. Could Bosh and O'Neal be battling some day off the court in a broadcasting booth? Maybe some day but Bosh still has a lot more years to go. Shaq also plans on playing ball for a few more years.
I mentioned yesterday the battle between the WWE and the Denver Nuggets. Well it is all over and you do not have to worry about any Nuggets getting hit with steel chairs prior to game 4. The WWE Monday Night Raw has been moved to the home of the Nuggets opponents in this series the Lakers. So Kobe and Melo are at the Pepsi Centre and John Cena and the rest of the WWE will be taking over Staples Centre. I would expect there will be lots of NBA references in that show. Vince McManon has never been known as a good loser about these kind of things. Maybe WWE can swing getting Blake Griffin to show up. He will be playing in that arena as well. Not as a Laker but as a Clipper. If you doubt the Clippers are going to take Griffin the ad campaign they have launched makes it seem pretty much a lock.
So that is all for now. The guest this afternoon to the best of my knowledge is not on Twitter. Maybe I can convince him to hope on board the Twitter Nation. I can not believe how big Twitter has gotten it is crazy. Is it here to stay or is it just a passing fad? Who knows time will tell. All the links in this article are to the Twitter accounts of the people mentioned. The Dino Nation Blog is on Twitter as well. Follow the DNB if you are not already.
Bosh Has Had Enough
At the heart of that is Chris Bosh. If you are part of Twitter and follow Bosh you may have noticed this tweet he posted yesterday.
Chris Bosh (Via Twitter) " Everyone, please stop asking me to come and play for the team in your city. I get that question everyday now. I just want to enjoy my summer"
I can understand the frustration of Bosh. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. U.S media on mass from writers on Yahoo to reporters on ESPN and everywhere in between all think that Bosh is going to leave Toronto and it is a question of when and not if. Should Bosh remain with the Raptors heading into next season this kind of speculation is only going to increase and go on and could grow to become a great distraction not just for Bosh but the Raptors as a whole. Bosh could end all of this by saying that I am staying in Toronto and that is that. He could say it on Twitter or Facebook, heck if he wants to come on the Dino Nation Blog and say it he would be welcome. However that is not going to happen because it makes no sense for Bosh to do that. Even if he plans to stay he is not going to sign and extension and he is going to wait it out and have the chance to be a free agent. He can make the most money by going this route. In the economy today I can not blame anyone for doing what is best for them.
So this becomes the problem for Bryan Colangelo. How can he move forward and build this franchise when the major piece of it sits in limbo. The trouble is with all the speculation and drama can Bryan get anything close to true value for Bosh? Well he could if he traded problem for problem. But if you traded for another guy that is part of that 2010 free agent class that is perhaps a step below Bosh you face the same problem. In the end if anyone thinks the Raptors can trade Bosh and get better in the short term as a result I think they are dreaming. It seems to be the cool thing to do to try to devalue Bosh but he is a talent and just because he didn't make the ALL NBA squads does not suggest to me he is any less a talent. He averaged 20 and 10 only 3 guys in the entire league did that. Blake Griffin or anyone in this draft class is not doing that. I am not sure what the answer is if you are Bryan Colangelo. I personally would take the risk and ride it out. The last thing this franchise needs is to make a bad deal for it's best player by a wide margin. I know this much about Bosh in that he will work with the Raptors to do a sign and trade should he eventual leave and never gets moved this year. It is also the best move for him money wise as well. Unless the perfect deal comes along it really makes little sense to move Bosh to me.
Rob Babcock made a complete mess of the Vince Carter situation and I do not expect that Bryan Colangelo will do the same. First of all he has a much more willing partner in Bosh to make a deal that will benefit both the Raptors and Bosh. I personally hold out hope that it never has to come to this. I have enjoyed watching Chris Bosh develop into the player and person he is. I would be very disappointed to see him go. I find it a shame that so many folks have decided to bash this guy and try to take away from all that he has accomplished as a player. Let's be honest about things. When he was drafted did anyone expect him to be as good as Lebron James or Carmelo Anthony. Heck even Dwyane Wade was thought to be a better talent. But Bosh has proven to be a top level player and been able to hold his own and be a player that is part of what was a great draft class. To compare Bosh to a Lebron, Melo or Wade is a bit unfair to a point. All of those players can handle the ball and as an individual and create their own scoring. For Bosh not unlike a Dwight Howard he has to depend on the team around him to get his points. That for me does not make him a bad player it is just the reality of being a post player.
Bottom line of all of this is that Chris Bosh is a very good player and the best the Raptors have and to my mind the Raptors can not get a player better them him with what they have. Bosh may not like it but this is only the start of the storm that will surround him until 2010. It is part of the price you will pay for getting those big dollars. But he should enjoy his summer because it is only going to get worse unless Bryan Colangelo were to pull a trigger on a deal. Even than where Bosh lands that team will wonder if he stays for the long term or ends up being a one year rental.
Vince McManon vs Denver Nuggets
I got a huge laugh out of the mess over game 4 of the Lakers and Denver series that kicked off last night. What a great game that was and full marks to the Lakers for pulling out the win. They may have a lot of big fans now. Guys like HHH, The Big Show, Batista and the rest of the WWE Roster. It seems the Denver Nuggets made a mistake. They happened to book the popular wrestling show Monday Night Raw which airs at 9pm EST on the same night as Game 4 scheduled to start at same time. McManon never one to back away from a spotlight, he came out full guns blazing. He challenged the owner of the Nuggets to a steel cage match. He suggested his lack of leadership would be why the Lakers would likely knock off the Nuggets. It was a pretty good wrestling promo on behalf of the Lakers. To make it even more strange the interview was conducted by Johnathan Coachman on ESPN. Coachman who before he was in the WWE was a sports reporter in Kansas City I believe. It made the whole interview all the more strange. Vince McManon claims the WWE trucks are heading for Denver and who knows what to expect. My guess is that Raw would be forced to be taped in the afternoon if McManon will not back down. The NBA has stated that the date can not be changed so it is a mess to be sorted out. So if Kobe gets hit with a steel chair in game 4 something has gone wrong.
These issues have happened before. I recall a time that Dora the Explorer hi-jacked an NHL Playoff game. Well Vince McManon is not any kind of warm fuzzy kid's show. Expect the WWE to make this an issue in the shows going forward. Do not be shocked if you see a few wrestlers rocking the Lakers gold and purple in the coming days. After all as Vince will tell you he beat the federal government in court. He fears no one and can always see a situation as a chance to promote his product of the WWE. The WWE is claiming to be the best value in entertainment in these tough economic times. Well given that the NBA does not have playoffs on PPV I will suggest that the WWE has a long way to go to live up to that slogan. But this was to funny not to talk about. I know in the past I have enjoyed wrestling and know some of the readers of the Dino Nation Blog have been or are fans. The 2 worlds came together if only for one day. Craig Sager better watch his back he could get a chair shot. Oh wait he is safe he is doing the Eastern Conference series. Sager the way he dresses could be considered the NBA's Mouth of the South.
So how do you top that? I don't think you can so that is all for today. Enjoy the playoffs they have been great.
Actually one last thing. The Clippers won the lottery do you need anymore proof that Blake Griffin is going to be a bust?
See you at 7:30pm. Draft Lotto starts at 8:30pm on The Score here in Canada.
All this being said the Raptors should be just hopeful that a team does not leap frog them and they end up falling back further in the draft. The odds of that happening is more likely than the Raptors winning. There is a 3.7% chance of the Raptors having at least one team leap frog them. So realistically the Raptors should just hope to stay locked in at #9.
The Dino Blogger rebounded nice in the second round. I picked all 4 series winners and that was much better from my round 1 performance. So I am not going to go into to much detail about it but I want to get my picks on the record so to speak.
Cavs and Magic- Eastern Conference Final
At the start of the year I actually did pick the Magic to win the East. I had them going against the L.A Lakers. So not bad that my pre-season picks have made it to the final 4. That being said I have said many times since that point that the Cavs and Lebron James have changed my mind. Magic just would need a truly magical performance to knock off the Cavs. I don't see it happening.
Cavs Win in 5
Lakers vs Nuggets- Western Conference Final
I bailed on the Magic but I am not bailing on the Lakers. Lots of people our though. But I think the Lakers will be ready for the Nuggets who have indeed been impressive. Lakers will get their act together this series and they will need to. Carmelo Anothony will need to step up for Nuggets and traditionally he has not done that very well against the Lakers. Just a few thoughts but on to the pick.
Lakers in 7
So I am keeping it short this morning because I am going to be doing a live blog right here on the Dino Nation Blog for the Draft Lottery. I had done one last year and it was a lot of fun. So join the Dino Nation Blog at 7:30 pm that is an hour before the Lotto hits the airwaves and you can watch that on The Score. So please come out and participate. We will talk Raps and NBA as we build up to the NBA Lottery.
See you tonight. Get your popcorn ready...Oh wait wrong sport....I am betting whoever the Raps select does not get a key to the city.
Jay Triano being hired as the coach is not a move for me that inspires confidence for the future as well. Given the record of Triano you would have to consider it a risk to bring him back. People talk about the fact that Triano never had a training camp and that he was in a difficult spot. Those are true but that being said no one can say for certain what Triano will be as a head coach. There is no real track record to look back on for Triano. He did do a great job with the National Team in Canada and is the last coach to get them to the Olympics. Steve Nash being on his roster was a major help in that. He has been with the organization for 7 years as an assistant but that is a very different role than being the head coach. I have no confidence to say that Triano will be successful or not. In the end I am left fearful that this was a mistake.
You than look to Chris Bosh and his future. When you read and listen to the U.S media it is not a question of if Chris Bosh will leave it is a question of when Chris Bosh will leave. The list of reports is growing by the day and many feel that Bosh in fact will be traded this offseason. It is clear that Bosh is the best player on this Raptor roster by a wide margin. I can not get excited about a future that does not include Chris Bosh. For as much as people wanted to get Vince Carter out of town, it took a long time for this team to get back on track without him. To be honest the Raptors never really have replaced Vince Carter since that trade. There was lots of talk about the wing spots this year. Vince really has never has a player replace him in the Raptor line-up. There is no question that if Colangelo deals Bosh he will make a better deal than Rob Babcock did for Carter. But it will be hard to imagine this team being made better without Bosh for me.
I was reading that Jose Calderon wants to play for Spain again. Where are the stories about him being selfish by doing this. I mean we here all of these things about Jose and being a team guy and all of this. Well which team Spain or Toronto? I mean it does the Raptors no good at all to have Jose Calderon playing for Spain. I am tired of all the praise of Calderon without people being equal about it. If he does in fact suit up for Spain than he is making a move that is not in the best interest of the Raptors. This guy is getting paid a ton of bucks to be the starting point guard of the Toronto Raptors. In that job he did not exactly perform that well last year. He was injured for large parts of the year. He did not take care of his body in the right way. In playing to much he made his body weak. It is the same to me as if a guy came into camp 20 pounds over weight. When you are getting paid money to play in the NBA you owe it to your team to have your body in great shape to do that. Jose Calderon and his inability to say no to Spain is not allowing him to do that. If he ever wants to be the NBA ALL-STAR that everyone hypes him to be, he needs to focus on the job he gets paid for.
I have no confidence that Shawn Marion will be back and what you would get in a sign and trade is not likely going to be that good you would think. Marion no doubt is going to take a pay cut this year. So it only makes sense the a guy entering his 30's if he is going to take a major hit in his pocket book why would you not take a little less and go to a contender for a title. The Raptors are not that. In fact if Chris Bosh is heading out the door the Raptors may be far from contenders.
There is just nothing going on with the Raptors that gives me any confidence that they can be a better team next season. Bryan Colangelo has a ton of work to do to make me a believer. In fact to be honest I am not really even liking this team that much these days. I was a huge T.J Ford fan and last summer he was shipped out of town. This summer if Chris Bosh ends up going away as well it will leave me with a team that really does not have any players that I feel that strongly about. There is always the draft and perhaps there is a guy out there that Raptors will select that will get me excited. The Raptors will learn their fate as far as the draft goes tomorrow. You can come hang out at the Dino Nation Blog an hour before the draft lotto gets rolling at 8:30. So 7:30 come hang out and take part in the draft lottery live blog. You can watch the Draft Lottery on The Score at 8:30 and follow along with us. I moved back the time from 7:00 but we still have an hour to kick around the Raptors and the playoffs.
So hope to see you there tomorrow night for some fun and we can all find out where the Raptors and all of the rest of the non-playoff teams will be picking in the draft.
But you want to talk about UNEXPECTED...The Houston Rockets. No T-Mac, No Yao and no problem? Well it was in game 5 and was not in game 4. Game 6 no issues as well. Aaron Brooks is the best point guard that until this series you may never heard of. Many wondered what exactly the Rockets were doing when they traded Rafer Alston. Brooks has proven that is more than able to be a starter for the Rockets in fan he could start on a lot of teams in this league. Brooks has been able to do what he wants as the Lakers can not match-up with him at all. Jose Calderon's defense has nothing on Derek Fisher's D. But the Rockets have had more than just that. Great efforts from Battier,Artest and Scola. Lakers I still think will survive but it has been a heck of a ride for the Rockets.
It all makes you as a Raptor fan so jealous. I admit that I am one of those people that wants the team I cheer for is out I have a hard time watching the games. But this season thanks to work and just a bit more interest on my part I have been watching and enjoying the NBA Playoffs. Would I enjoy watching the Raptors be part of that a heck of a lot more. Absolutely. However the road back to the playoffs for the Raptors seems like an awful long one as I sit hear a month after the season ended. Bryan Colangelo still has a few more months to change my mind and all of yours. He has a very tough task in front of him and that is the truth. So maybe a weekend of reflection will help me see the light. Actually it is a holiday weekend so enjoy that and be safe. I will be back on Monday and you can have something to read when you get back from where ever you are off to this weekend. Helpful hint for those of you that plan on some adult beverages. Which if you do, make sure you are not driving we get enough of that in this world and should not. Anyway if you are returning from the weekend and are feeling not so good. Gatorade is a great cure for those times when you over do it on the adult drinks. You never see that in a Gatorade ad but it is true. Anyway I am going no where and will be happy to enjoy 2 game 7's that I honestly never saw coming. Have a happy and safe holiday weekend folks.
If the Raptors won the draft lottery that would offer a different issue as it would be hard to pass on a talent like Hassem Thabeet who would make a quality option at the 5 coming off the bench behind Bosh and and Bargnani. There is also Ricky Rubio who Jose Calderon knows well. But the odds of the Raptors winning the lottery are very long and it would seem highly unlikely they get lucky. That being said the odds of the Chicago Bulls were long as well last year. Magically they won the lotto and low and behold the hometown kid Derrick Rose was there for the taking. This is good news for Thunder fans if you believe that the lottery is not on the up and up. The fact that Blake Griffin went to Oklahoma is playing in your favour. It would be good news for Griffin as well does anyone really want to have to go play for the Sacramento Kings who have fallen back to the level of The Clippers after a short run at the top of the west the Kings are back to being the joke they use to be.
So dealing in reality it is likely the Raptors will look to stay at 9 and look for a second pick later in the draft. Most years in the draft I would not be that optimistic about that strategy. But this year I like the plan. There is a lot of question marks in the draft. I would say that a guy picked from those later picks might have just as good a shot as some of the late picks in the lottery. The last time the Raptors had 2 first round picks it landed them Charlie V and Joey G. In the case of both they have had mixed result. Charlie clearly is the guy that may turn out to be a very good player when all is said and done. Joey is well frustrating and a guy that has lived on that potential word for a long time.
Bryan Colangelo said he wants to get tougher. Well that is why I mentioned the two players I did in Lawson and Flynn. Both in the NCAA Tournament showed a great deal of toughness. Sam Young has that kind of tough swagger too. Playing out of the Big East makes anyone a little tougher in the case of Flynn and Young. Lawson played the entire tournament with turf toe. How you get that playing on hardwood is another story. But the injury sounds like not a big deal but it is very painful. I played football in my high school years and can remember a few folks having this type of injury it is painful and what makes what Lawson did in the NCAA tournament that much more amazing.
A couple other names that I feel deserve mention are Brandon Jennings and Stephen Curry. Jennings is the kid that bucked the system. He took his skills to europe rather than being forced to the NCAA. He wanted to enter the draft right out of high school but the new rules that David Stern brought in just a few years ago. Jennings at one point was a legit option for the Raptors at 9. But he is climbing up the draft boards and will likely not be there for the Raptors. Curry is the pick of some including Draft Express for the Raptors at 9. There is some common sense in all of this. Curry did after all start hitting jumpers on the floor at the ACC. Not the conference but the Raptors home arena. His father Dell played for several years with the Raptors. It makes sense that Stephen would not have any issues with coming to Toronto. He is undersized and a lights out shooter. Many question if he can do that on the next level. I think he can but I am not sold he makes a solid fit for the Raptors. How can he guard his position on the next level would be my major concern. I watched him go head to head with Pat Mills in the NIT and he did light up the scoreboard but so did Mills who he was guarding most of the time. Mills is a smaller point guard that is lightning quick. But if Curry can't stop him how does he stop bigger and stronger folks on the next level. The answer to be says that he does not. He has a roll in the NBA but on a team looking to improve on the defensive end it does not seem like a good selection.
Put hey we have lots of time to talk about it all. The draft is still over a month away and we have yet to even find out where the Raptors will be selecting. To find that out come join me as I host a live Blog on NBA Lotto night that is set to start @ 7pm on May 19th.
So hope you enjoyed this episode of the show and you can join me for the NBA Lottery 7 days from today on May 19th at 7pm.
Bryan Colangelo admitted that this team was to nice and needed to get tougher. I agree with that. So if that is the case this team needs to change it's culture and attitude in order to change that. So how is that accomplished by hiring a head coach that has been with the organization for 7 years. In those 7 years the Raptors have been labelled as a "soft" team. Triano has been a part of all those years. So is he not part of that? In the press conference yesterday that to be honest for me felt like an infomerical to sell Triano to the fans, there was lots of talking of having to work harder and push this team harder. There was also mention that Jay had the endorsement of the team in exit interviews. I don't put much stock in that. I have been told by many guests that Raptors respect Triano and have supported him being the coach. I am not saying that is not the truth. I am sure it is. However do they truly believe that in their heart? Jay as he pointed out has been here longer than ant player or even the G.M for that matter. Jay is a likeable person and I think to a man people are pulling for him to succeed. Does that wanting him to succeed and him having good solid relationships get turned into respect? Is that true respect? I am not sure.
There is no questioning that Triano is a highly knowledgeable basketball mind. In another circumstance for another team Jay Triano could make a great head coach. However for this team I am not sure if that is the case. This team to me is or I guess was in need of an outside voice that would challenge them to do more and be more. I had made it no secret that Eddie Jordan was my front runner on my list of who should coach this team. Jordan for years was able to keep a team that had major injuries and issues together and in the playoffs. I think the job he did with the Wizards was outstanding given the circumstances.
There is also the money issue. Sam Mitchell is still getting paid and some suggest that impacted on the situation and improves Triano's odds as he would not be paid a large amount as a first time head coach. However if that is the case that is pathetic. MLSE claims it is not. I am tired of hearing excuses about cash from an organization that owns 2 hockey teams ( Leafs, Marlies ) a soccer team ( Toronto FC) the Raptors and not to mention all those nice condos that are being build around the ACC. Fact is they have money and if they every use the excuse that it is not possible to do something because of money it is B.S. If Phil Jackson whacked his head and decided he wanted to live in Canada and coach the Raptors they would have the money. They are the ones that said they are committed to win an NBA Title. If that is the goal of the organization money should not be a factor. However the truth is MLSE wants to make money first and if they can win a title as well great. I am confident in saying that Jay Triano would want and deserve to be the best man for the job not the most economical. Bryan Colangelo says he is. He also said that the board has to vote on any coaching change. It makes you wonder who was truly available for Bryan to consider. He says he did look through other candidates. Although he never really met with anyone about the job beyond Triano that we are aware of.
But this is the way it is. Triano is the coach and has a deal the guarantees the next 2 years and an option for a 3rd. So perhaps Triano in building his staff can bring in those new voices that are needed to correct the things this team lacks. Mark Ivaroni has been rumoured to be the name that is at the top of the list. Triano says he looks to bring in coaches that will make him better. Ivaroni is close to Bryan Colangelo and understands the way he does things. If we did not hear it once yesterday we heard it a thousand times that Jay and Bryan share the same basketball philosophy. Well Ivaroni does as well given working with Colangelo with the Suns. It is clear things have to change and if it has to be assistant coaches that will have to be good enough as far as it goes for me. Can assistants make that big an impact? If you look around the league you will find lots of good examples where they do. I will say this I think Triano is not afraid to line up a staff of folks that if things did not go well for him you could find his replacement on his bench.
I hope that Triano can make it work. Bryan Colangelo did all he could to take the blame for the 20-45 record that Triano racked up last season. But it was what his record was. There are lots of excuses that have been given. I will not bore you all with listing them again, we know what they are by now. They are legit in some cases but this is the highest level of basketball in the world and it is about getting results. The fact the Raptors beat up on a lot of teams down the stretch is not impressive to me. I also find it hypocritical of folks to say not to blame Jay for the record but than in the next sentence point to how this team finished the season. You can not have it both ways. If you are not going to blame him for the record of the team that is fine. However you can not use the record at the end of the year to prove your point. People can take numbers and make magic out of them. In fact in listening to all of that stuff yesterday I almost forget that this team was a bad as it was.
So even though I do not support this move. I still wish Jay Triano the best of luck. He may truly need some. He also needs his G.M Bryan Colangelo to make some magic happen with this roster. I always am happy to be proven wrong if it means the Raptors will be better for it. Hopefully Jay learned one thing from Sam Mitchell. What is that? Not to read stuff that is written about him. I really respect Jay Triano and honestly hope that I am wrong but I just don't see this as a good move. I really want to drink the kool aid but just can't. So go out there and prove me wrong Jay Triano. Nothing would make me happier.
I have always had very mixed emotions about this but for good or bad Jay Triano is now the man. The first of many big things that need to be decided for the Raptors in this upcoming off-season. No word on the fate of the rest of the coaching staff I am sure that news will be coming as well. Mark Ivaroni is a guy that has also been rumoured to come in as the lead assistant to Triano but as far as I know that has yet to be confirmed.
Raptors will now look to the ping pong balls to decide the fate of their draft pick on May 19th. That is just 8 days away.
There is also news that the first set of draft eligible players could be coming in for workouts with the Raptors this week. So we could hear about Triano this week and than the focus will quickly change to the lottery. Those ping pong balls get drawn on May 19th which is only 8 days away. The odds of winning are very long for the Raptors and it would be a huge surprise if the Raptors got into the top 3. There is also all the folks that think the NBA Lottery is not exactly on the level. No one has any proof of that. However you have to admit there is a lot of indirect evidence to at least make the argument carry weight. From the first lottery when the Knicks won Patrick Ewing to recent times with hometown kids like Lebron James and Derrick Rose ending up playing for the hometown teams. It can be fishy at best at times. If they lotto goes that hometown route the people in OKC should be excited cause they would be the likely winner of the lottery. Blake Griffin having played at Oklahoma would be a logical fit with the Thunder given that.
Whatever the case of where the Raptors end up post lottery. Bryan Colangelo has stated he is shopping for another pick in the first round. I think the Raptors could use 2 picks in this draft and give fans some hope and a couple young players to get behind. Bargnani is still young so is Bosh if you want to talk age. But you get the feeling the Raptors lack that future star guy. Most think Bargnani will be very good but not a star. Maybe some have that goal for him. But when you look at this year's NBA playoffs you have seen a lot of rookies contribute to their teams in major ways. Derrick Rose, Courtney Lee, Chalmers, Beasley and others have all had instant impact on their teams. Raptors need to find 1 or 2 guys that can do that for them. In a draft class with far more questions than answers that could be very tough. Pretty much like walking through a mine field. But Colangelo can not afford to be wrong or his next move will be to blow up this team.
Lots of fun on the weekend in the playoffs. Glen Davis made a huge shot for the Celtics and he was a second round pick out of LSU. Raptors need to start finding some folks like that in the 2nd round as well. When was the last time the Raptors had a successful second round pick? Even from the very start in selecting Jimmy King of the Michigan "Fab 5" the Raps have not had much success in round 2. Roko Ukic was a second round pick and so was Nathan Jawai. Maybe they can change the trend. However there is lots of work to be done on both fronts before anyone is ready to call ether a success.
So the off-season in Raptorland is starting to take shape. It is the most important in franchise history. No pressure. But honestly it is hard to think of a more important off-season for the Raptors.
Thanks to Tas for taking the time to talk ball with me for the Dino Nation Blog. I hope to have him back in future as I enjoyed doing this interview. You can both Tas and myself live blogging later today. Tas is doing the Rockets and Lakers at 3:30 pm and I have the Magic and Celtics at 8pm. Live Blogs continue on The Score throughout the NBA Playoffs.
Most who read the Dino Nation Blog know, I liveblog basketball games for The Score as well as write the Dino Nation Blog. One of the people I have got to know based on that is Tas Melas who also live blogs games along with myself. He is part of The Basketball Jones which is something that has become part of my daily routine on a Monday to Friday. If not for working with him I may not have discovered it. They have done well over 400 episodes of the show. It is worth watching everyday if you are a basketball junkie in need of your fix. So being new to it I decided to ask Tas for some background on Basketball Jones and we also talk some NBA Playoffs. We did get into some Raptors as well but it was such a long and hopefully interesting conversation I have made that into a separate parts. I will get that out on the weekend. Let's face it not much is going to change in Raptorland in the next day or two so it all should still be relevant. So for now enjoy Tas and I talking Jones and NBA Playoffs.
It was great having Tas drop by and in Part 2 we talk Raps about CB4 and his future along with Jay Triano and some other things Raptors. You can catch Both Tas and myself live blogging games throughout the playoffs for The Score. I am doing Game 3 of that Rockets and Lakers Series Tas and I talked about. To join in on the fun click on this link at gametime. Follow the Score on Twitter to see what games are being live blogged and when. Dino Nation Blog is also a member of the rapidly growing Twitter Nation where you can follow the Dino Nation Blog. In addition go check out The Basketball Jones and watch it and you will likely like me make it part of your basketball required viewing for the day. The great thing about the Dino Nation Blog has been for me is getting to know so many folks that love talking basketball and are fans of the sport. In Canada we can never find enough people to chat hoops with. That is why I do my best to bring in all the folks that love basketball and have passion for it for you folks. Tas is among those people. So Part 2 is on the Weekend so make sure to check that out.
If you truly are a basketball fan first you need to be afraid of this second NHL team if it comes to Southern Ontario. This season with all the Raptor Games shoved to TSN2 and now NBA Playoff Games. It is only going to become worse if you get another NHL team in the market be it in Hamilton or a second team in Toronto. There was a time when I would watch a hockey game. There was a time when I was a true fan of the Buffalo Sabres. However having seen the way Hockey has become this beast in the sports media it has turned me off the game and I am never coming back. I will watch the odd highlight and be force feed hockey info because it is can't be avoided living here. But I am not ever going to change until the media does. However I have seen the weather reports for Hell and it is not expecting to freeze over anytime soon.
I am starting to almost feel like a soccer fan or a UFC fan in the sense that I almost feel that I have to fight to have my sport get it's fair share of coverage. I guess that is why it is good we have so many quality folks covering the game online. The Raptors and the great blogs like Raptor Blog, Raptors Republic, Hoop Head North and many others are all out there for you to enjoy. Dino Nation Blog as well. We may be heading to a world where the internet becomes more important than T.V and Radio. However we are not there yet and it is easy to see that all forms of media are going to use the Internet as a tool to promote those forms of media. That is why you see everyone and their brother cashing in on things like Twitter and Facebook.
It is a changing world and many things will change as we move forward. However what will not change anytime soon is the love of hockey in Canada. Along with that the media trying to cash in on that love through the way they cover sports. I get that fighting Hockey in this country is like going into battle with a fork and looking across at someone with a grenade launcher. However all I have ever wanted or expected is the sport I love getting it's fair share. Along with that not have it disrespected both directly and indirectly. Which happens far to often in this country. Much like hockey does in the United States. In the U.S they are able to find balance to provide a lot of solid coverage of many sports. NBA, NFL and MLB all get there fair share of a sportscast. It will very in different areas but you get a solid look at all 3.
It seems odd that I end up on the wrong side of things and end up supporting MLSE and Gary Bettman. However that is where I may be forced to be. Hamilton could really use an NHL team though. It would do a lot of good for the place I call home. It is what else it would do that concerns me. I love where I live and I enjoy Toronto as well. That is not something you hear a lot of. But I think both places offer different things that are good. But no matter how I feel about all of this I just can not bring myself to say Go Gary Go. He has not exactly been kind or respectful to people in this country in my view. That is a view that most Hockey fans in this country would agree with me on. It is probably the only thing or one of very few. But what it will all mean for the future is any one's guess. The Phoenix Coyotes coming to Canada is not a good thing for basketball fans. Steve Nash gets to come with Coyotes them I am on board.
Sorry for not getting a blog out yesterday. I had a rare morning of sleeping in and never was able to get caught up all day. Sometimes it happens. If you have some thoughts on this or just the coverage of Hockey in comparison to basketball please feel free to drop off a comment. I love hearing from readers and getting your takes on things.
So it is a good thing I am not a gambler. My first round picks were not exactly great. The only series I hit the nail on the head was Lakers and Jazz. I was right in saying Lakers in 5. Beyond that all my picks were a mess. I did get Orlando, Boston and Cleveland right. Actually I did call the Cavs sweep as well maybe I am being to hard on myself. However Hornets in 7, Portland in 7, Miami in 6 and Spurs in 5 all were far from right. Some more glaring mistakes than others. The Hornets would top that list with a lose of 50+ points in the playoffs. You thought the Raptors had problems think how they are feeling in New Orleans. Spurs are also a team that may need a major overhaul. Portland and Miami were young teams and they will learn and grow from the experience. 4-4 is not that good but hey it happens. I will try to make up for it going perfect in round 2. So away we go with round 2 picks.
Cavs vs Hawks
Lebron James is going to be named the MVP according to the associated press. He has had a season for the ages. It makes his comments on his 60 minutes interview all the more scary when he says he is at about 85% of his max potential. The rest of the league should be afraid. The Hawks were able to destroy Miami in game 7. It was a shock to me as I almost guaranteed a Miami win in my radio appearance on the weekend in Montreal. I may be the last person on earth that will give the Hawks credit. But even if I am bias against the Hawks. Even if I hope Lebron James does a between the legs dunk in this series. No matter what bias I may have, I am confident that everyone believes the Cavs will take this series in short order. I am saying this one will not last long and it is not hard to see why. Joe Johnson and Josh Smith are not even in the same conversation with a Lebron James. Mike Bibby is not playing at the same level Mo Williams has this year although that is a closer debate. Zsa Zsa is not as good as Big Z and we could go on and on. But let's bottom line this baby.
Dino Blogger Says Cavs in 4
Celtics vs Magic
All year long I have stuck behind the Orlando Magic. They never get respect and they never are given a chance in big games by the main stream media. While the Celtics and Bulls were taking part in what some are calling the greatest series ever. The Magic with no Dwight Howard who was suspended and no Courtney Lee who was taken out by Howard, the Magic rolled over Sixers in game 6. Celtics meanwhile have been lead by Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo and had to battle tooth and nail to beat the Bulls. It may not have been the greatest series in history. I mean the fact people are saying that makes me kinda chuckle a bit. Don't get me wrong it was very entertaining but the best ever? That to me is an insult to the history of this game. As for this series it will be interesting. K.G is not expected to play and despite rumours of possible comebacks that is all they are. No Leon Powe as well it is a weak front court, no offence intended to Perkins and Big Baby. However D-12 is a tough cover for a front court at full strength. Magic also have a ton of shooters that can get hot. If the Celtics are going to win they need great performances from Pierce, Rondo and Allen. One thing may be that could be key is that Rafer Alston does not get caught up in a battle with Rajon Rondo. Alston has matured a lot since his days in Toronto. I think he can do it and keep his composure. Rondo will out play him but that is ok. Also Dwight Howard is well rested as the Magic may have taken 6 to beat the Sixers but Superman only played 5. Prior to the season I actually picked the Magic to make it to the finals to play against the Lakers. I Believe in Orlando.
Dino Blogger says Orlando in 6.
Lakers and Rockets
That is from the Basketball Jones and their funny take on Ron Artest and Kobe incident from earlier in the year. Since than you might have heard Ron Artest has said Brandon Roy, Some guy He knows in NYC and a guy he meet at IHop this morning are all better than Kobe Bryant. But what is nice to see is after being total pissed about the Rockets signing Ron Artest in the summer. Yao Ming is now a fan of the insanity that is Ron Ron. When Artest was making jokes about going into the stands saying he had been in the stands before, Yao was laughing harder than I have ever seen him laugh. But seriously has Ron Ron lost his mind finally? Calling out Kobe Bryant? That does not seem like a wise thing to do. However their may be method to the Madness that is Ron Artest. He would like nothing better than to see Kobe forget about his team and turn this into a 1 on 1 battle. However Kobe is smarter than to get drawn into that kind of thing right? There is a bigger goal and more important goal for Kobe. If he can shut up Artest along the way great but it is not about that. Beyond the Kobe and Ron Ron show it will be about stopping Yao and having Andrew Bynum back this year will be helpful in that. Brooks could have a bit of an advantage over Fisher. But the Rockets will need more than that and even if Houston plays a perfect series the still could lose. That is how deep and good the Lakers are.
Dino Blogger says sorry Ron Ron, Lakers in 5.
Denver vs Dallas
This series has already started yesterday with a Denver win. I never believed in Denver or Dallas. Yeah dumb I was. But we all make mistakes and move on. Chris " The Birdman" Anderson has done that. Gerry one of the hosts on the Radio Show "Off The Bench", that I appear on weekly on Saturday mornings, He made a good point comparing the Birdman to Rodzilla. He is very Rodman like. He is a key contributor for the Nuggets. But the guy that makes it all happen is Chancey Biullups. He has taken this team to a whole new level. The Mavericks have Dirk and Jason Kidd along with their own cast around them. But I think Denver is far to deep for the Mavs. Spurs with a health Manu likely get by the Mavs. But I have been wrong about the Mavs before. But this time I am confident they are out matched. Nuggets can really score the basketball and Mavs eventually ran out of steam in game 1 and Denver went to town. I swear it had nothing to do with my pick. Just wanted to have a weekend off so I was not going to rush and get this done on a lazy Sunday.
Dino Blogger Says Denver in 5
Crown For The King In Reality and On The Net
Lebron James it has been leaked the the Associated Press that Lebron James is the M.V.P. It is not often that the main stream media and the Internet and bloggers are on the same page. But everyone agrees that Lebron James is a Super Freak of Nature and was the best player in the sport of basketball on the planet Earth in this least year. I participated in a Blogger M.V.P and R.O.Y poll all year long and here are the final results.
M.V.P Final Voting
R.O.Y Final Voting
So down the stretch they come King James and Kobster are neck and neck they are heading for the line and it is a photo finish. That is where with is heading folks, Lakers and Cavs and Kobe and Lebron. But enjoy the ride to get there it should be fun.