Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NBA 2K The Life - Spotlight With Warriors Owner QJB




Only four days into the second season of The Life, and a front runner has already emerged. Boasting an enviable record of 16-3, QJB has his hot Warriors squad sitting on the top of the entire league.

Fresh off his thrilling victory over the Spurs, we sat down with the humble professional who holds the keys to what I like to call the "Showtime Warriors".

Q: You just wrapped up a close game against Emo's Spurs squad, what was going through your mind on the last possession?

QJB: There was 1.1 seconds left on the clock. I was expecting to go to overtime after he hit a clutch 3 pointer to tie the game. So I inbounded the ball to Eric Gordon, one of my best shooters, and he tossed it up and made it. My team was going crazy on the court after he made the game winner against such a great opponent

Q: You're Warriors team is leading the league in PPG, 2nd in assists, and 3rd in FG%, it's safe to say you have your team running like an offensive machine, is that an identity you pride yourself on?

QJB: Our team is doing our best to win games. It isn't a big deal what we are ranked among the league in those categories as long as we have wins. Everyday we strive to get better and even though John Wall is a rookie, he is playing like he has been in the NBA for years.

Q: This is basically your first season in The Life League, considering you arrived on the scene late into the last season. There was some controversy with your first round match-up, is that early exit/elimination something you think about still?

QJB: Yes, of course it's still in the back of my mind, but you have to push on and strive to get better to prevent something like that from happening again. Everyone in the league is competitive and good, and even though we get into it sometime, it's all in the love for the game.

Q: Describe your game in one word.

QJB: VeryveryveryFAST

Q: We know about John Wall, we know about Smoove, but who's been the unsung hero of the 1st place Warriors up to this point?

QJB: Everyone has contributed in their own way up to this point from Nick Young, to Gordon, Anderson, all of the big men and Jeremy Lin coming off of the bench to fill in for Wall and continue to run the offense at a high level.

Q: As of the 14th of December, you have the best record in the entire league, what's your message to every other baller in the league right now gunning for your spot?

QJB: It's a tough road to get to this point. Every game my team has played has been a test for my guys. Everyone brings their best on each night out there, especially if they know you are a good team. We will continue to accept every challenge and look every team straight in the eyes and dare them to play 110% on the court with us.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hoops N Hip-Hop Podcast #5



Hosted by Kris Cuaresma and DJ Johnson. For this show, we brought in special guest underground rapper Prince Black, CEO of Dynasty Bully Gang. We take a look into his life, career, and listen to some of his tracks. As well, we dive into the Toronto Raptors, and a lot of Miami Heat talk.

Make sure to check out Prince Black on Twitter. Also check out his MySpace and Youtube Channel

Digital Table of Contents

0:00 - Intro
1:04 - Fancy (Drake ft. Mary J and Swiss Beatz)
5:45 - Q&A With Prince Black
9:18 - Don't Act Surprised (Prince Black, Prod. By DJ Johnson)
12:50 Q&A With Prince Black Continued
17:01 I Love You (Chris Brown ft. Ester Dean)
20:16 - Raptors Basketball Talk
26:33 - Prince of the City (Prince Black)
29:39 - Miami Heat Discussion
31:51 - Hoops N Hip-Hop Throwdown Question
35:32 - I Shot A Warhol (Murs)
39:10 - Wrap up
41:01 - What The Bleep Of The Week
42:00 - Outro
43:15 - DJ DNYCE Mix

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hoops N Hip-Hop Podcast #4

What's up readers (and passerbyers) of the GamePointBlog.

To bring up what some have taken the time to email me about, I haven't been able to put in as much work into this blog due to the Hoops N Hip-Hop project. Combined with school and a new part time job, and you can see this kid is feeling the pressure. But no worries, the plan is to switch gears and get this going.

To assist with that, I'm going to include all blogs, podcasts, and videos associated with the Hoops N Hip-Hop show with the GamePointBlog.

A lot of really cool and big things planned. Thanks for sticking with me, and keep the emails coming!

Meanwhile, here's the official online upload to the 4th show of Hoops N Hip-Hop. It was our "Throwback Special" and was hosted by myself and DJ Johnson.

Digital Table of Contents:

0 - Intro
0:34 - This is Me (Common)
5:29 - Opening
7:20 - Raptors Basketball
12:23 - Do For Love (2Pac ft. Blackstreet)
16:56 - Top 10 Favourite Raptors Of All Time
22:21 - Respiration (Black Star)
26:15 - Woo Ha! (Busta Rhymes)
28:52 - All-Retired Team
32:08 - Greatest 3-Point Shooter Of All Time
34:00 - Mo Money Mo Problems (Notorious BIG ft. Mase, Puff Daddy)
38:09 - Back In The Day (Pharcyde)
41:32 - Greatest Player Of All Time?
44:39 - What The Bleep Of The Week
47:14 - Outro
47:56 - DJ DNYCE Mix

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hornets Give A Bit-O-Honey To The Raptors

Here's a post from guest writer Rose Arcana. If you guys don't remember, she was the first ever guest on the Raptors Rundown podcast. She's our resident American - or Texan as she prefers - and a loyal Rockets fans.

Here's her perspective on the recent 5-player trade between the Raptors and the Hornets:




There has been a deal struck between the Toronto Raptors and the New Orleans Hornets. It involves the trading of Jarret Jack, Marcus Banks, and Davis Andersen from the Raptors in return for Predraq Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless from the Hornets.

To some it may seem like New Orleans was ripped by the Raptors in the deal, but at the end of the day I believe the Hornets are just sharing a bit of the sweet stuff from the honey pot. The Hornets received a couple of serviceable players on cheap contracts. The added depth to their roster will come in handy as the season progresses and they make their play-off run. They are going for it all now, so there’s no need to keep an expiring contract the size of Stojakovic when he isn't helping their cause.

The Hornets are also getting Jack who will be a great back-up point guard for any contending team, he really never has been a great starter. Not to mention he is buddies with Chris Paul.... Jack has friends in high places, too bad he has to ride coat tails to be wanted.

Now for the Raps piece of the candy. They will get a large expiring contract in Stojakovic which will be a great trading chip, and yes I think they will trade him before the season is out. In my opinion it will be a joint trade to sweeten up a deal to get rid of Calderon. Plus they got a young guy to grow with the team and hopefully they can actually get some great chemistry, the kind of chemistry the Raps have been showing lately on this three game winning streak. Tossing Andersen in the deal frees up time for Ed Davis when he returns, which should be pretty soon right? One more thing that this trade does for the Raps is give them a legit line-up to tank with so they can get K. Irving in the next draft….. Then the year after next, 2012 - Atlantic champions…… 2014 - Eastern champions, and finally 2015 - NBA Champions!

Long term planning for sure, but all these young, long contracts give the Raptors a chance to have players grow with them and grow together not apart. Best thing about honey is that it makes everything stick together and tastes ohhhh so sweet in the end!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Ex-Girlfriend Tour


Orlando, Florida - November 12, 2010
Miami, Florida - November 13, 2010

If I could make a spiffy looking shirt with these tour dates on the back, I'm sure I could sell a few while waiting in line for the next Raptors game.

Vince was always criticized for smiling too often during games, especially those of the blowout variety. But now it all makes sense. Maybe he knew something we didn't.

With the Raptors making their first visit to Orlando this season, along with their first ever look at the Miami Heat, Raps fans will be treated with an interesting clash of the old and the new.

So what exactly have our former flames been up to lately?

Well Mr. "Air Canada" recently found himself grounded.



While CB4got to get involved last night...




Being realistic, the Raptors lose the next two games and fall to 1-9. To some fans, that's good news as it would bring us one step closer to a top 3 pick in next year's draft.

MEMO To Future Raptors Franchise Players:

It may be sunnier in Florida, but it's definitely not always greener. In fact, do yourself a favour and stay a couple more years than you'd prefer. If T-Mac had done so, he and Carter would have formed one of the most dynamic duos in the modern NBA. And if Carter had done the same, he and Bosh would formed an excellent wing-big combo that often works well.

Failure to adhere to this advice may lead into choking two pivotal free throws during the playoffs, or admitting you look lost on the big stage.

Just sayin...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What Kind of Raptors Fan Are You?




With the 2010-2011 NBA season already well underway, I ask every member of Raptors Nation this: What kind of Raptors fan are you?

Going into our first season without Chris Bosh, we can still REALISTICALLY go one of two ways.

1. Overachieve and scrape by with the 7th or 8th seed.
2. Meet expectations and finish at the bottom of the league.


Most casual fans would look at the standings, see a lowly "1-4" record next to the Raptors, and feel validated in their lack of confidence within the team. But for those who have actually watched the games this year, you know the Raptors have been been in every game they've played so far.

When it comes down to it, the Raptors have been within striking distance of a win in each of their first five games (yes, even against the Jazz and Lakers). One of the other encouraging signs revolves around the intensity and effort this team has shown night in and out. Regardless of how many points we may fall behind, this year's installment of the Toronto Raptors refuse to hang their head and give up.

So with that in mind, which route would you like the Raptors to go?

There's no question the players want to make the playoffs. You don't make it to the NBA without that insane obsession of winning. These are professional athletes, all they've been used to is success.

I'll go out and say this now. If the Raps continue to play like they've been playing on this road trip, they will be within reach of one of the last two playoff spots. It's a funny thing to say, but this team is better than last year's in some aspects.

But is that what's best for the franchise long term?

If expectations and predictions come to fruition, the Raps will likely come out of this with a top 3 pick in next year's draft. Don't worry Raptors Nation, I know, the draft has hurt us plenty of times in the past. But truth be told, it'll be hard to mess this one up. And if you take into account our last two drafts, we've come away with two very nice pieces in DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis.

Imagine pairing these two up with the likes of Kyrie Irving or Harrison Barnes?

Suddenly, the Raps would actually start to look more like the "Oklahoma East" DeRozan coined us to be earlier in the season.

Establishing a winning culture? Or roll the dice for the big payoff?

The Raps will go one of two paths. Which one are you holding the sign to?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Raptors Rundown Podcast - Episode 6

That's right folks! The Raptors Rundown Podcast is back! Introducing the most amateurish yet informative podcast dedicated to your favourite NBA franchise - the Toronto Raptors.

Guest James Borbath of the Dino Nation Blog stops by to review the Raptors' preseason and what's in the store for Canada's lone NBA team's future. He also gives us some of his Raptors predictions for the upcoming 2010/2011 season.

EDIT: One thing I forgot to mention on the show, a reminder that I will continue to be doing a mailbag, so I encourage listeners and readers to continue where we left off last season and keep them coming in.

Peace!


Friday, October 22, 2010

Marvel Comics: The Toronto Raptors Need Sasquatch and A Gay Superhero

Recently, the NBA teamed up with Marvel Comics to produce these playful novelty NBA-inspired comic covers. Every team got their own cover, and yes - you are looking at the Toronto Raptors cover.

If you don't know what exactly you're supposed to be looking at, allow me to break it down for you. Before you is the starting 5 for your Raptors - minus Linas Kleiza and Reggie Evans - or at least according to Marvel's adaptation.

Using our pathetic defensive performance last season as justification, Marvel has decided to generously go out of their way to help us out. At centre, we have an 8 feet tall monster (literally). Yup - that's the friggen Canadian Sasquatch. I can dig it. His freakishly 20 foot long wingspan will come in handy when providing the much needed help defense that Bargs lacks. I'm loving the headband look on him by the way, not to wipe the sweat though, but obviously to keep his ears warm from the deadly Canadian blizzards.

And to play the passing lanes, the speedy Marvel superhero Northstar - one of the first openly gay superheroes to appear in American comics. Aside from being known as one of the most controversial comic book characters to have come out of Marvel studios, Northstar is also known for his ability to travel superhuman speed. Seven seconds or less offense? Psshh. That's nothing. The fact that he somewhat resembles Kurt from Glee gives it bonus points.

As for the more famous comic book characters in the back? Well obviously, they have no clue who these guys are...But that makes sense. Peter Parker's never come off to me as a sports guy, The Thing is still trumped by the last time the Raptors bounced the Knicks from the playoffs, The Hulk is not sure what basketball even is, New York native The Human Torch is upset Lebron opted for a different kind of Heat, while Wolverine (though Canadian) is clearly one of those "Hockey Guys".

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hedo: From Toronto, With Love



The highlight of the yesterday's Raptors/Suns game (besides getting the W obviously) occurred late in the 2nd quarter with under a minute left. Even through my league pass stream, I was able to hear a very disgruntled fan voice his displeasure with the Pizza Man Hedo Turkoglu.

At first, it was kind of bugging me that the attendance was so weak - seeing an empty ACC during a Raptors game is something I find depressing - but then without such a small crowd, this beautiful moment wouldn't have been made possible.

The awkwardness of it all was enhanced by the complete silence of the moment. The only thing that would have made it any better is if a camera had been on Turk's face at the time, or if someone had thrown pizza at him.

To whoever you are dude, thanks for representing Raptors Nation. You made all of us proud. And to Mr. Turkoglu, this is only preseason, wait until the games actually mean something, we'll really bring it to the table then - unlike some people.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lace Em Up; Running With The Bulls

The problem? Our stagnant offensive sets.

The solution? Look at how Chicago did it.

If there was one thing you could count on the Bulls for last season, it was their struggles on the offensive end. Even with the dynamic Rose, Chicago often found it difficult to put points up on the board. Fortunately for them, they were always solid on the glass and on the defensive end.

So how did new coach Tom Thibodeau decide to work around it?

Well based off that one preseason game against our Raptors last night, it was through speed. The Bulls were relentless when it came to running the ball down our throats. Time after time again, our defense found themselves backpedaling and unable to get into a comfortable position to guard the basket. The Bulls coaching staff realized that fast break opportunities result in easy points; something Raptors fans are hoping Jay and Co. begin to clue on soon.

The current Raptors' offense is elementary. Pure and simple. The last two games have exposed that fact. We may have been able to get away with it against the Suns, but as soon as we ran into defensive squads like the Bulls and the Celtics, the Raps were unable to move the ball. It was like watching 90% of video gamers play NBA 2K11 for the first time.

This team has the tools to pick up the pace. DeMar and Weems more than excel in the open court. Amir, Bargs, Dorsey, and eventually Davis are all bigs fully capable of running the down the floor (Heck, Noah did it against us last night). The Raps easiest buckets last night came when Barbosa took the ball and flew like a jet down the court.

In my eyes, this has to be done. We don't have anyone on this team who can consistently create for themselves and others. On top of that, we don't have someone we can isolate or dump the ball into the post to. Ball movement is great and all, but that's usually most effective with teams who have been together for some time. Our easiest buckets will come in transition.

The next question now though is: What happens to our defensive philosophy?

The Raps have shown lately a dedication to putting pressure on the ball, even to the point where we'll apply full court pressure in the first and second quarters. If this team is going to run on the offensive end, asking them to also go full court on defense may be too much - for any team.

Monday, October 4, 2010

NBA 2K11: Where 30th Overall Happens



Take a good look at that folks. Let it soak in for a minute. We've finally accomplished something not many sport franchises get to do. We are the worst team in a basketball video game.

Remember all those unrealistic trades you pulled off? What about the even more unlikely trip to the NBA finals that took place in last year's installment of NBA 2K10 (but only because the online servers were down)? Well now you have the exciting privilege of taking the 30th overall Raptors and turning them into NBA champions. A true rags to riches story.

Ignoring the fact that a 29th defense and a 28th offense somehow equals a 30th overall, let's take a look at the entire Raptors lineup in what is expected to be one of the most bought sports games this year.

75 - Leandro Barbosa (SG)
74 - Andrea Bargnani (C)
72 - Jose Calderon (PG)
69 - Jarrett Jack (PG)
67 - Ed Davis (PF)
64 - Julian Wright (SF)
64 - DeMar DeRozan (SG)
63 - Joey Dorsey (PF)
63 - Reggie Evans (PF)
63 - Amir Johnson (PF)
62 - Marcus Banks (PG)
60 - Sonny Weems (SG)
57 - David Andersen (C)
55 - Linas Kleiza (SF)

I know. It's a bit underwhelming. And you know what? I usually don't care about ratings when it comes to sports game, because more often than not, they don't matter. DeMar DeRozan was one of the best players in NBA 2K10 because of his speed, dunk, and layup rating. Once you were able to learn how to shoot with him, he became one of the most unstoppable forces in the game.

But since you're here, allow me to point out a few things:

- Linas Kleiza - our most significant pickup this off-season - was given a rating of 55. Fifty-five? We're talking about one of the more prolific scorers at this year's FIBA World Championships. The Lithuanian averaged 19 points and 7 rebounds during the entire tournament, and was the focal point of an intense American defense in the semi finals game. Kleiza rates lower than Nuggets' Coby Karl (56), Sixers' Tony Battie (57), and is only 1 point higher than Lakers' mustache man Adam Morrison. Expect perhaps the biggest improvement out of any player in 2k history by the time the last roster update comes out. I'll predict a 76.

- Most Raptors fans are looking forward to the growth of the Young Gunz and the excitement they'll bring. Unfortunately, 2K either felt differently, didn't care, or were blind to it. DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems clocked in at a low 64 and 60 respectively. During this year's Summer League, both Raptors swingmen tore it up. By the end of their schedule, the consensus from the media was that the duo were two of the most impressive players amongst their peers. I did some digging, and here are the 2k11 ratings of the top 10 guards and swingmen in terms of scoring averages from the 2010 summer league. Yes, it's just summer league. But what else could they possibly base these stats on when you can argue this entire group are unproven in the NBA?

John Wall - 24 pts, 32 min, 38%FG (81 ovr)
Reggie Williams - 23 pts, 32 min, 41%FG (67 ovr)
DeMar DeRozan - 21 pts, 26 min, 58%FG (64 ovr)
Sam Young - 19 pts, 28 min, 54%FG (65 ovr)
Marcus Thornton - 19 pts, 32 min, 44%FG (69 ovr)
Jermaine Taylor - 18 pts, 29 min, 47%FG (62 ovr)
Nick Young - 18 pts, 28 min, 55%FG (66 ovr)
Sonny Weems - 18 pts, 27 min, 44%FG (60 ovr)
Dominque Jones - 17 pts, 32 min, 42%FG (66 ovr)
Jordan Crawford - 16 pts, 31 min, 42%FG (64 ovr)

And as for Amir Johnson - the athletic Young Gun 4 man fresh off his contract extension? A pathetic 63 overall. That's lower than Josh Powell (64) and the overweight Eddy Curry (64). On top of that, they have Amir listed with a 67 dunk...A 67? Clearly they haven't seen this:



BTW - Reggie Evans has a 68 dunk. And no offense whatsoever to Reggie, but all of Raptors Nation knows that Reggie doesn't dunk.

And what about our prized draft pick Mr. Ed Davis? A 67 isn't that bad at all, but let's compare him to the rest of his draft class.

John Wall - 81
Evan Turner - 76
Derrick Favors - 73
Wesley Johnson - 73
DeMarcus Cousins - 70
Ekpe Udoh - 68
Greg Monroe - 67
Al Farouq-Aminu - 68
Gordon Hayward - 64
Paul George - 71
Cole Aldrich - 64
Ed Davis - 67
Pattrick Patterson - 72

As you can see, the one thing Raps fans can be pleased with the most is 2K's assessment of Ed Davis. Rookies are always overrated in the game, but at least 2K had the presence of mind of clocking Ed in at where many draft experts expected him to go in the draft (7-10)

Lastly, note how the Raps' best player comes in at 75 overall - Leandro Barbosa. Toronto is one of 5 teams (along with Cleveland, LA, Detroit, Minnesota) to not have a player rated over 80. The only player with a legit shot at cracking that by the end of the year is Andrea Bargnani. I'd throw in Kleiza in there as well, but I don't see 2K Sports allowing a 26 point rating increase to happen.

And in case you guys were interested, here are the ratings of a few Ex-Raptors:

Antoine Wright - 64
Marco Belinelli - 66 (Apparently we traded away our two best swings)
Kris Humphries - 62
Chris Bosh - 87

To wrap it up, let's take a quick glimpse (courtesy of Youtube) at how the worst team in the game will play on consoles all over the world.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Format of The Future




If there's anything that yesterday's practice indicated, it's that the Raptors plan on a culture change. Defence. Defence. Defence. No seriously. For real this time. Yes, we've heard this before over the last few years, but I think this may be the first time I've actually believed it.

Why?

It starts with the departure of Chris Bosh. Don't get it twisted. Bosh wasn't known for his defensive prowess, but that's because we asked him to carry the load on offense. That's not to say he wasn't capable, evident with his time on the American Olympic team. The fact that we paired him up with Bargnani to form our paint presence also magnified our defensive problems.

But now with Bosh gone, the Raptors can finally scrap their experiment and put a defensive minded and rebounding big next to Bargnani. Amir Johnson's extension, the selection of Ed Davis and Solomon Alabi, the pickup of Joey Dorsey, the attempted acquisition of Tyson Chandler, and the now rumoured interest in Eric Dampier also suggest this is in fact the plan.

No matter how the frontcourt ends up looking, I think we can all expect better rebounding and interior defense than last year - though that's not saying much.

Now what about the first line of defense?

On the wings, we have what may be the most athletic group Raptors Nation has seen in awhile. The speed, energy, and youthful enthusiasm that DeMar DeRozan, Sonny Weems, and Julian Wright bring to the table will interesting to watch. Roaming the court also will be who many NBA fans refer to as the Brazilian Blur - Leandro Barbosa. The former Suns combo guard has averaged at least 1 steal per game throughout his career; a team high on the Raps.

Will we able to lock teams down? Probably not. This year's installment of the Raptors will go through its growing pains. But the change in culture is what matters the most here. Gone are the days we place Turkoglu or Kapono out there to defend the perimeter.

Defence will be key this year. As Triano put it: "Our transition buckets will be an indication of our defense this year". Without key stops or rebounding, our biggest strength in running the floor will be negated.

Other than a steady big to further bolster our injured and inexperienced group of big men, what do the Raptors need next moving forward? Assuming the coaching staff continues to teach DeMar Kobe's pet moves and show support for Bargnani, then Colangelo needs to find himself a young and athletic point guard. There's a fad going around in the NBA that revolves around the dynamic and super athletic point guard. Think John Wall, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, Brandon Jennings, Stephen Curry, Tyreke Evans, and of course Derrick Rose. I was hoping we'd be able to snatch up Avery Bradley, but to no avail. Whether it be through the draft or a trade, the Raps need to match up better at the 1 spot.

Defense wins championships. So if we're really intent on starting over, let's do it the right way.

With A Side of Red - Sept.28/10



One of these things is not like the others...

Goodbye Mr. Bosh (who still owes me a signed jersey). And hello to what Sonny Weems so elegantly describes as the "After-Bosh" Era. But before we put the second foot through the door, let's stop by Ira Winderman's twitter. The man has the exciting job of getting to cover the Miami Heat this year. Here some of his tweets regarding Chris Bosh and their practice today.

"Chris Bosh on getting to work with Wade, LeBron: "Having the opportunity to work with those guys I think is a very special thing."

You think? I still think you're the best PF in the NBA, but you've been regulated to clean up duties.

Chris Bosh on the value of these drills: "Getting back in shape isn't easy."

Especially after an ankle, knee, or face injury. But don't worry, according to The Sun's article on you, just hit up Dr. Anthony Galea on speed dial.

Chris Bosh tries to attack lane off the dribble. Turnover.

Ah. There's the Chris I remember last seeing.

Alright. There. Out of my system. No more Bosh posts for the rest of the season; unless it involves a game against the Heat of course.

In other more relevant news, FAN 590 Raptors play-by-play man Paul Jones had a rather interesting tweet regarding today's practice.

Unfortunately, this is going to happen with a young group, especially during this time of training camp. The eagerness may be there, but the consistent focus understandably won't. However, I do like the fact that Triano is setting the tone early. He told us during the end of season presser that he had learned a lot. So far, he's putting that acquired knowledge to work.

Next up, the big question that comes with every Raptors training camp - at least with BC in charge. "Who will start?"

Well according to this article, it looks like we have two players locked in.

And to top it off, just in case you haven't caught the onslaught of new videos Raptors.com have posted, you can check out some of them below.

I'm looking to get big things done with the GamePointBlog this year. More posts, new staff, more podcasts, more interviews, and a video section. Thank you to the readers for giving this blog a chance, this is only the beginning. Whatever it is you're doing, I hope you enjoyed it "With A Side of Red".

Raptors Media Day and Day 1 of Camp

Day 2 of Camp

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A New Raptors Season Just Around The Corner




So like with many of you, the new Raptors season doesn't begin for me until draft night. Regardless if we have a pick or not, the NBA really doesn't seem all that real to me until we get the commissioner up on that stage and announcing names left and right.

Draft Night. There's nothing like it.

It only seemed like yesterday that Raptors Nation was caught up in a buzz of hysteria, wondering and/or debating as to who the Raps would pick up at the 9th slot. As we all now know, we ended up taking DeMar DeRozan. Though we still may not know how that pick will turn out, it was the build up to that pick that made last year's draft night so memorable.

Little did we know, but it turns out this year's draft will far eclipse the excitement and importance of last year's version. Raptors Nation realizes we're at a crossroads here. With Chris Bosh likely hitting free agency, a new era in Raptors basketball is likely to occur. What we end up doing with our 13th pick will have a huge impact on what kind of team we'll be looking at for the next 3-5 years.

So with everyone having their own opinions on who we should take, I'll hit you with the three players I feel like would be awesome additions to the Raptors.

With the 13th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors select...

Cole Aldrich


.
Okay, I'll just get it out of the way since I know some of you are thinking it. But no, he's not comparable to Hoffa. Whether it's on the message boards or during discussions with my friends, Rafael Araujo's name always comes up when Aldrich is being discussed. But truth be told, they're nothing alike.

This guy is a legit NBA center. Listed at 6'11, Cole has all the tools needed to survive in the league. He proved to the entire nation during his time at Kansas that he can be that guy that holds the paint down. He plays with a high motor, is an excellent rebounder, and blocking shots is a specialty of his - something we Raps fans aren't accustomed to hearing.

On top of that, he's a smart kid. He was named the Academic All-American of the year, which shows that he puts in the work needed to be successful both on the court, and in the classroom. I get it - he's not the sexy pick. He's not overly athletic. He has one of the ugliest looking shots I've ever seen. Nor will he ever probably be a 20 point scorer. But you can guarantee that he'll be a very solid rotational player who will put up 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks throughout his career. Think of a Kendrick Perkins or a Sammy D. These are the kind of players you need to be successful in the NBA.


Paul George



Check it. This guy doesn't even have his own Wiki page yet. But you can bet by now, every single team in the lottery knows who Paul George is. He's got the height (6'8) and length of a SF, and the shooting ability of a SG. Combined with the ability to jump out of the gym with the simplest of ease, and you've got a very intriguing prospect. Just imagine him running down the court with the Young Gunz?

The best part is that he's actually already quite familiar with one of the members - DeMar DeRozan. Having been quoted from his twitter feed of loving the idea of playing with DeMar, a duo of DeRozan and Geroge would be the closest we could get to duplicating the Vince/Tracy duo next season.

The only drawback is that he did play for Fresno State, and no offense to them, but the competition Paul played against was obviously inferior to that of Division 1 teams. With that said, I do like his height, length, and the ability to shoot the long ball; especially if he's going to be playing with DeMar and Sonny. Hopefully he improves his handles, because we still lack that wing who can create.

Avery Bradley



Let's put it this way.

Worst Case Scenario: Juan Dixon

Best Case Scenario: Russel Westbrook

Avery Bradley represents the current NBA fad - the lightning quick and super athletic scoring combo guard. Think Derrick Rose, Russel Westbrook, Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings. The NBA is starting to see an influx of players who are too undersized to truly play the 2 spot, so are placed at the 1 to reek havoc. They're basically point guards who are given the green light to shoot the ball, and can take over at any point of the game. A pass first point guard? Pssh. Who needs that anymore? That's why John Wall is going #1. Teams want their PG to be amazingly athletic and have the ability to score the ball.

This is what Bradley thrives in doing. He can score the ball from anywhere on the court, has the quickness to break his man off the dribble, and the athleticism to finish at the rim. On top of that, he's been noted as perhaps the best perimeter defender in this year's draft.

So why could he potentially be at the 13th pick? Well like Aldrich (low ceiling) and George (played against weaker competition), Bradley too has his shortcomings. For one, Bradley had a very rough year while he played for the University of Texas. Being heralded as one of the top recruits in the country only a year ago, Bradley's stock has plummeted partly due to how the Longhorns put up a stinker of a season. On top of that, he was one of the worst finishers at the basket last year. You can imagine why that scares off some teams. Think of a Westbrook or Rose without the finishing ability..Yikes.

So with that all said, who do I want the most? Well I rank them like this:

1. Paul George
2. Cole Aldrich
3. Avery Bradley

With Turkoglu surely on his way out, I would love to bring in another wing who doesn't only happen to be taller than DeMar and Sonny, but also has better range. A future wing core of DeRozan-George-Weems is a nice thing to have moving forward. I also took into consideration that we could find a center through free agency or trade (Bosh for Bynum, Turk for Dalembert, etc.)

Of course, I should note that I also think out of the 3 players listed here, I think George is also the least likely to still be on the board come the 13th pick. If that happens, I hope we can take Aldrich at 13, and somehow obtain another pick in the first round, thus snagging Bradley. Picking up two players who pride themselves on the defensive end would be absolutely huge for this Raptors team.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Solving The Bosh Puzzle: The Detroit Pistons Piece



So one day in late April, I checked in on my blog and noticed a lack of something. Sifting through them, I found pieces on Hedo, the Young Gunz, the Amazing Race, video games, the Olympics, etc. But the one thing that was truly missing was a piece about the franchise - CB4. And yeah, sure, maybe I did that because every other media outlet was beating the whole "Chris Bosh" topic to death; but still.

Like many others, I don't want to take Bosh for granted. And so with the realization that he may be gone very soon, I wanted to dedicate the next 30 days or so to him with my writing and this very blog. After all, this may be my last chance to discuss him on here.

The mission - should you choose to read it - is simple. Everyday, I'll breakdown a different team's outlook in regards to acquiring our franchise player. We'll take a look at how a potential transaction will affect both sides of the spectrum, and whether or not such a move could potentially go down.

Disclaimer: Let's please keep in mind that I'm not majoring in the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement; so if there's a few errors here and there in that regards, please let me know. Thanks!

Previous Piece: The Denver Nuggets

Today's Piece: The Detroit Pistons



Players Of Interests
Richard Hamilton
Tayshaun Prince
Ben Gordon
Jason Maxiell
Rodney Stuckey
Austin Daye
Jonas Jerebko

Ladies and gentlemen, to your left, you'll see a prime example of what happens when you mess around with a formula that works: The Detroit Pistons! Having been built recently through players with high basketball IQ both on the offensive and defensive end, the Pistons went a different route last summer. Their off-season blockbuster acquisitions included the likes of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. And not to anyone's surprise, they were teased for picking up two dudes only known for their offensive arsenal but with no interest whatsoever in playing defense.

As expected by many, this experiment turned out to be a failure. Both Charlie and Ben were hampered by injuries, and neither player was able to tap into what made them so successful in their contract year.

But through it all, I fully expect this team to bounce back next season. Why? This franchise is just too proud to have another horrid year. Keeping in mind they stay healthy, this very same team would challenge for a late playoff spot. But I don't think that's good enough, so let's say they take a shot at Bosh.

The problem with Detroit is that they're kind of like us. There's a lot of serviceable players on long expensive contracts, but no stars, future stars, or players on bargain deals. With that in mind, we are pretty poor potential Bosh partners.

One thing I can see Detroit wanting to do and BC probably not minding is taking on Piston players with long term deals. I'm talking about Rip Hamilton and Ben Gordon. If a Bosh deal went down, one of these guys would definitely be sent our way. We take the contract off their hands, while we provide a change of scenery to a player still capable of lighting it up.

I think obviously their most attractive piece is Tayshaun Prince. Again, he doesn't do anything special, but he knows how to win and more importantly, he's got a 11 million dollar expiring contract attached to his name. There's nothing ever wrong with adding more length.

Three other players that wouldn't be bad pickups are Maxiell, Jerebko, and Stuckey. If for some reason we can't retain Amir Johnson, Maxiell wouldn't be a bad pickup to replace him if we were to deal with Detroit. Jerebko is another big in that mold who would probably be just as effective as Maxiell but at a much cheaper price. And lastly, Stuckey would be a fairly decent option as a scoring point guard next to Hedo Turkoglu.

My Preferred Scenario:

Raptors Trade Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon,
Pistons Trade Tayshaun Prince (expiring), Austin Daye, Rip Hamilton

It was tough to come up with a trade that both made sense for the Raptors and the Pistons/Bosh. I'm not exactly sure Bosh would be amped up to play with Stuckey/Gordon/Villaneuva. But if you're asking me what I would prefer back from Detroit, this package would be it. Prince provides us with salary cap, Daye gives us that length and a young piece moving forward, while Rip Hamilton becomes the perfect player to pair up with Turk. For the Pistons...umm...well, I dunno. I guess if you could find a decent rebounding and shot-blocking big, as well as a defensive stopper at the 3 spot, you could have pretty well rounded team there....

More Likely Scenario:

We just stay away from each other.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Solving The Bosh Puzzle: The Denver Nuggets Piece



So one day in late April, I checked in on my blog and noticed a lack of something. Sifting through them, I found pieces on Hedo, the Young Gunz, the Amazing Race, video games, the Olympics, etc. But the one thing that was truly missing was a piece about the franchise - CB4. And yeah, sure, maybe I did that because every other media outlet was beating the whole "Chris Bosh" topic to death; but still.

Like many others, I don't want to take Bosh for granted. And so with the realization that he may be gone very soon, I wanted to dedicate the next 30 days or so to him with my writing and this very blog. After all, this may be my last chance to discuss him on here.

The mission - should you choose to read it - is simple. Everyday, I'll breakdown a different team's outlook in regards to acquiring our franchise player. We'll take a look at how a potential transaction will affect both sides of the spectrum, and whether or not such a move could potentially go down.

Disclaimer: Let's please keep in mind that I'm not majoring in the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement; so if there's a few errors here and there in that regards, please let me know. Thanks!

Previous Piece: The Dallas Mavericks

Today's Piece: The Denver Nuggets



Players of Interests:
Kenyon Martin
J.R. Smith
Chris Andersen
Ty Lawson
Aaron Affalo

If there's one team who can top off the previous team we discussed in regards to disappointments, it would definitely be the Denver Nuggets. Not your typical 4th seed (only 1 game back of 3rd, 2 games back of 2nd, and 4 from the 1st seed), heavy expectations were placed heading into the post-season. They had everything you could want in a team destined to make a strong push for a title. The leadership and ability to hit the clutch shot at point guard with Billups. Length, athleticism, and paint intimidation at the 4 and 5 spots. 3 point shooters and instant offense off the bench. And lastly, a swingman with the ability to take over the game.

So what happened?

Well, they ran into an equally tough and well coached Utah Jazz team. Perhaps the absence of George Karl played a role in it. Or maybe the right fit wasn't there. Personally, I put a lot of blame in their lack of a post presence on the offensive side of the ball.

Here are the scoring averages Denver's bigs put up in the post-season:

Nene: 11.4 pts
Martin: 10.0 pts
Andersen: 4.5 pts

If you compare that to the teams are left in the playoffs, Denver really doesn't have that one big that they can rely on to score when things get really gritty in the playoffs. Phoenix has it with Amare (20.5 pts), the Lakers have it with Gasol (20.2), Boston has it in KG with one leg (17.1), while Cleveland uses a combo of Jamison (16.5) and Shaq (10.5). And then of course there's Orlando who still has Dwight averaging 15 points a game in the playoffs, but also can rely on the biggest army of 3 point shooters in the NBA.

So why not add Chris Bosh to you team folks!

First and foremost, Ty Lawson has to be included in whatever deal could potentially be made. If I'm Bryan Colangelo, I don't make a deal with them unless Lawson is included. This is just my opinion, but if there's one point guard who could have shared the glory and spotlight with Jennings, Evans, and Curry if he had been given a chance, it would be Ty. Playing behind Billups unfortunately means you won't be getting heavy minutes, but every time Chauncey went down, Lawson filled in beautifully. And imagine grouping our Young Gunz with an athletic speedster like this:



Next, one player that has to absolutely be involved is Kenyon Martin. Even though he's as injury prone as you can possibly get these days, it's his expiring contract that will be attractive to the Raptors. Most likely picking up his player option, Martin will turn into a 16.5 million dollar expiring. Even if he doesn't play a single game for the Raps, my mind is racing with what we can do with that amount of money in possible trades.

Other players that come to mind are JR Smith, the Birdman, and Aaron Affalo. Of the 3, Smith and Affalo would probably interest the Raps more. Chris "The Birdman" Andersen would be a decent big off the bench for us, but I don't think the Raps are looking to lock themselves up in expensive long term deals at the moment. Besides, I would rather give the money I'd be spending on Andersen to Amir Johnson.

My Preferred Scenario:
Raptors Trade Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon
Nuggets Trade Kenyon Martin (expiring), Ty Lawson, JR Smith (expiring)

I'm actually really liking this. I'm not sure if it'd be agreed on by both sides or if the trade works financially (should be close though). But it really is perfect for us. We get to dump Jose Calderon's contract on them (which expires only 1 year after Billups and Melo). At the same time, we acquire a gigantic expiring contract, our possible point guard of the future, and an explosive wingman who might flourish with a change of scenery. Meanwhile, Denver heads into the Western Conference War with a Big 3 of Billups/Melo/Bosh.


More Likely Scenario:

Raptors Trade Chris Bosh
Nuggets Trade Kenyon Martin (expiring), Ty Lawson

Still a pretty good return in my eyes. And pretty self explanatory if you read what I wrote above. Yeah, I'd still prefer to dump Jose and pick up JR, but beggars can't be choosers.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Solving The Bosh Puzzle: The Dallas Mavericks Piece



So one day in late April, I checked in on my blog and noticed a lack of something. Sifting through them, I found pieces on Hedo, the Young Gunz, the Amazing Race, video games, the Olympics, etc. But the one thing that was truly missing was a piece about the franchise - CB4. And yeah, sure, maybe I did that because every other media outlet was beating the whole "Chris Bosh" topic to death; but still.

Like many others, I don't want to take Bosh for granted. And so with the realization that he may be gone very soon, I wanted to dedicate the next 30 days or so to him with my writing and this very blog. After all, this may be my last chance to discuss him on here.

The mission - should you choose to read it - is simple. Everyday, I'll breakdown a different team's outlook in regards to acquiring our franchise player. We'll take a look at how a potential transaction will affect both sides of the spectrum, and whether or not such a move could potentially go down.

Disclaimer: Let's please keep in mind that I'm not majoring in the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement; so if there's a few errors here and there in that regards, please let me know. Thanks!

Previous Piece: The Cleveland Cavaliers

Today's Piece: The Dallas Mavericks



Players of Interests:
Dirk Nowitzki
Erick Dampier
Caron Butler
DeShawn Stevenson
Rodrigue Beaubois
Brendan Haywood

If there's one city that had the most craziest basketball year, it would have to be Dallas - HANDS DOWN. Obviously, there was All-Star weekend. The world's best basketball talent all converged onto the Texas city only to be greeted by a snowstorm? Yup. On top of that - because everything has to be bigger in Texas - the actual All-Star game was played at the new Cowboys Stadium that clearly was built with the U.S. stimulus money. In regards to the basketball side of things, Dallas had another very successful year. Already one of the best teams coming into the trade deadline, the Mavs made a splash by acquiring Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson from the Wizards. And after tearing up the NBA soon after, many were convinced that Dallas was the most equipped to make a title run this year.

However - it all came crashing down in the first round of the playoffs.

See, if there's one thing that Dallas has taught me, it's that spending money doesn't guarantee you anything in the NBA. Going into tax territory may increase your chances of playoff success, but at the end of the day, you still have to play the game. So, the question for me now is: Has owner Mark Cuban learned that lesson as well? Depending on the answer to that, the Mavs could go many different directions this off-season; especially with the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki opting for free agency.

But let's say Cuban does whatever it takes to bring in Dallas-native Chris Bosh. What could be sent back our way in a Sign and Trade? Like I said, it really depends on Cuban's willingness to continue spending money. If he has no problem with being locked into a ton of long term deals with no cap relief, then they have a few things we could ask.

For instance, Caron Butler, Erick Dampier, and DeShawn Stevenson all hold very large expiring contracts. Combined with the our expirings of Marcus Banks and Reggie Evans, we could use these contracts to speed up the rebuilding process.

Of course, we have to take into consideration the unlikeliness that Cuban parts with all three contracts, but if there's one I'd love to have the most of the 3, it would have to be Caron Butler. Not only would he give us close to 11 million dollars in expiring money, but he'd also be the perfect mentor to someone like DeMar DeRozan. I see a lot of similarities between the two. When Caron first came into the league, he didn't have the greatest of handles (he still doesn't for a wing player) and he was a horrible 3 point shooter (still is - 31% career 3 pt. percentage). But if there's one thing Caron could be applauded on, it was his ability to capitalize on what he did do best, and that's make that mid range jumper, slash to the bucket, and get to the free throw line. Those are all the things DeMar relied on in his rookie season. So if we could get Caron to help out DeMar even for just one year, I think it would pay dividends down the road.

Lastly, the other player that I hope we could squeeze out of Dallas is someone they're pretty high on: Rodrigue Beaubois. This guy just oozes talent on the court, and could very well burst out once Jason Kidd leaves. But does Cuban let him go knowing it may have been a mistake to let Devin Harris go?

Mr Preferred Scenario:
Raptors Trade Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon
Mavericks Trade Caron Butler (expiring), DeShawn Stevenson (expiring), Rodrigue Beaubois, TPE

Ignoring the semantics, the premise of this transaction is pretty simple. Dallas brings Chris Bosh back home to team up with Dirk, Kidd, Marion, get to put Terry back at the 2 spot, possibly re-sign Haywood, and get to keep Dampiers' awesome expiring contract. At the same time, they get Jose Calderon to platoon that point guard spot with Kidd, something Jose is quite familiar with doing already. Meanwhile, the Raptors get roughly around 15 million in expiring money in Butler and Stevenson. Butler will be advertised as DeMar's mentor and the wing scorer we need to stay competitive this year, while Stevenson will probably be advertised by BC and MLSE as a stopper who has a competitive swagger (lol). I laugh because it'll probably happen that way too. We also get to dump Jose's contract for a wicked young point guard prospect in Beaubois. Just imagine him running the fast break with the Young Gunz...

More Likely Scenario:
Raptors Trade Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon
Mavericks Trade Erick Dampier (expiring), DeShawn Stevenson (expiring), Brendan Haywood (re-signed), Draft Pick/TPE of some sort.

In this trade, I go with the assumption that Cuban keeps both the present and future in mind. He keeps Caron Butler who prove to be that wing scorer for next season in a championship run, but also expires for cap relief. He also gets to keep Beaubois, not wanting to have the feeling of letting two young point guards go with nothing to show for it. I'm just not sure how a Dirk and Bosh front court works though, but that's not our problem. Preferably, I'd love to get Beaubois, but if not, I definitely want a re-signed Haywood coming our way to play next to Bargnani.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Solving The Bosh Puzzle: The Cleveland Cavaliers Piece



So one day in late April, I checked in on my blog and noticed a lack of something. Sifting through them, I found pieces on Hedo, the Young Gunz, the Amazing Race, video games, the Olympics, etc. But the one thing that was truly missing was a piece about the franchise - CB4. And yeah, sure, maybe I did that because every other media outlet was beating the whole "Chris Bosh" topic to death; but still.

Like many others, I don't want to take Bosh for granted. And so with the realization that he may be gone very soon, I wanted to dedicate the next 30 days or so to him with my writing and this very blog. After all, this may be my last chance to discuss him on here.

The mission - should you choose to read it - is simple. Everyday, I'll breakdown a different team's outlook in regards to acquiring our franchise player. We'll take a look at how a potential transaction will affect both sides of the spectrum, and whether or not such a move could potentially go down.

Disclaimer: Let's please keep in mind that I'm not majoring in the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement; so if there's a few errors here and there in that regards, please let me know. Thanks!

Previous Piece: The Chicago Bulls

Today's Piece: The Cleveland Cavaliers



Players of Interests:
Anderson Varejao
Delonte West
Antawn Jamison
Anthony Parker
J.J. Hickson

Fresh off a stinker in game 2 against the Celtics, the Cavs now must step back for a quick second and look themselves in the mirror. While doing so, they've got to ask themselves one simple question: "Are we good enough?"

My answer: "I'm not even sure anymore."

See - to be honest - I'm not the biggest LeBron fan out there. Am I a hater? No way, I recognize obvious talent when it's there, and it's hard to hate on talent. But for some reason, the dude just rubs me the wrong way.

So what's got me interested in whether this year's Cavs team is good enough? Easy, this link: LeBron Won't Stop Until He Brings Championship To Cleveland.

To me, it's like this. If LeBron wins a title this year, he'll be more likely to leave Cleveland for the bright lights of New York. That brings forth two ugly problems to the table. One being we'd have LeBron in our division, meaning 4 dates a year. And two, another max free agent (maybe CB4) would be more enticed to join LBJ in New York as well. That doesn't sound very appealing to me.

So Raptors Nation, let's all hope that our best friends the Boston Celtics take care of business! Assuming that happens, and the crazy Danny Ferry (see Varejao's contract) decides to up the ante by luring Chris Bosh to Cleveland, what could we possibly want in return?

Sideshow Bob would have been pretty nice if he wasn't locked in to such a disturbingly long contract. His lack of scoring prowess is made up with his hustle and ability to guard a respectable amount of 4s and 5s. He would be yet another big that would look ideal next to Bargnani.

A more realistic (and almost guaranteed to be included if a deal were to go down) option would come in the form of J.J. Hickson. The 6'9 North Carolina State product - who's currently on his cheap rookie deal - would give us a young forward prospect to move forward with. Most fans who can see the bigger picture realize that if we let Bosh go, the best thing to do next would be to rebuild with young players on cheap contracts. Hickson meets that criteria. Let's call him a poor man's Jeff Green without as good of a jumper.

But while on the topic of the Cavs, we can't forget that we have Bryan Colangelo as our GM. And if there's one thing I've learned during his tenure here, it's that he hates to lose. He hates it so much that he never starts from scratch. If a mistake is made, he would rather get a quick fix than press the reset button. In some ways, that's an awesome trait from a GM, you can't fault always wanting to stay competitive. But would it be the best idea this off-season? Let's say BC sticks to his guns, I could totally see him trying to pry Antawn Jamison away from the Cavs. It would be torn to shreds by the fanbase and media, but somewhere in the back of your mind, you know it could happen. All the Cavs would need to do is re-sign Shaq for a much smaller deal (word is will happen if the Cavs don't win the title) and re-sign Big Z for the minimum, and they can afford to do this.

My Preferred Scenario:
Raptors Trade Chris Bosh,
Cavaliers Trade J.J. Hickson, Delonte West (expiring), Anthony Parker (expiring), Sebastian Telfair (expiring), TPE

Assuming Telfair picks up his 3 million dollar player option, which he'd be stupid not to, the Raptors would acquire roughly 11 million in expiring money in this trade plus a decent TPE. It's isn't the prettiest looking of returns for Bosh, but it would probably be the best in regards to short term and long term impact if Chris wanted to go to Cleveland. And who wouldn't love Anthony Parker back raining 3s from the corner? As for Cleveland, Shaq gets to team up with who he calls RuPaul.

More Likely Scenario:

Like with Boston, we just stay away from each other. Or we show Chris Bosh this:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Solving The Bosh Puzzle: The Chicago Bulls Piece




So one day in late April, I checked in on my blog and noticed a lack of something. Sifting through them, I found pieces on Hedo, the Young Gunz, the Amazing Race, video games, the Olympics, etc. But the one thing that was truly missing was a piece about the franchise - CB4. And yeah, sure, maybe I did that because every other media outlet was beating the whole "Chris Bosh" topic to death; but still.

Like many others, I don't want to take Bosh for granted. And so with the realization that he may be gone very soon, I wanted to dedicate the next 30 days or so to him with my writing and this very blog. After all, this may be my last chance to discuss him on here.

The mission - should you choose to read it - is simple. Everyday, I'll breakdown a different team's outlook in regards to acquiring our franchise player. We'll take a look at how a potential transaction will affect both sides of the spectrum, and whether or not such a move could potentially go down.

Disclaimer: Let's please keep in mind that I'm not majoring in the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement; so if there's a few errors here and there in that regards, please let me know. Thanks!

Previous Piece: The Charlotte Bobcats

Today's Piece: The Chicago Bulls



Players of Interests:
Luol Deng
Joakim Noah
Kirk Hinrich
Taj Gibson

Raptors Nation is quite familiar with the most recent incarnation of the Chicago Bulls. After all, they were the ones who successfully snatched a first round date with the Cleveland Cavaliers away from us. Down the stretch, they clearly wanted that 8th seed more than us - most evident by the spanking they gave us on April 11 at the ACC. Well after a decent showing against the Cavs, where does it all go from here?

According to Chris Bosh in his end of season press conference, he feels that this year's Raptors squad was just as good if not better than the Bulls at full strength.

Meanwhile, back at the bat-cave in Chicago, Bulls fans are more than confident in Bosh benefiting more from their core than the one in Toronto. And who can really blame them for that? A trio of Rose, Bosh, and Noah seem like a pretty solid foundation to build upon.

So let's say Bosh wants to end up in Chicago - which is a very real possibility by the way. What can happen?

Well for starters, Chicago can outright sign him because they are one of the teams under the cap. If Bosh chose to, he could sign with the Bulls for a maximum of 5 years, with about 8% yearly increases. This kind of contract typically clocks in at about 100 million over 5 years. The next question now though is: Will Bosh take that deal over what the Raptors can give him?

If he chooses to re-sign with Toronto, he can sign for a maximum of 6 years, with about 10.5% yearly increases; which adds up to be around 130 million dollars over 6 years. That extra 30 million and security is hard to pass up on. So if Chicago wants CB4 that bad, it'll probably have to be through a sign and trade.

Assuming D-Rose is untouchable, the next player that the Raps would covet is Joakim Noah. Can you imagine our Raptors team putting a player who plays with that much intensity, hustle, and heart on the court every night? He'd be a perfect fit next to Bargnani. But unfortunately, he'd also be perfect next to Bosh.

Two players the Bulls might be willing to throw at us instead are Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich. Both have contracts that are arguably overpriced, and Chicago could easily use us as a dumping grounds. On the flipside, both Deng and Hinrich would help us out on the offensive and defensive ends. The only thing that bugs me is Deng is owed around 50 million over the next 4 years. Having to deal with that as well as Turk's ugly contract is something difficult to stomach.

It should be noted that because Chicago is under the cap, they hold more leverage over us than a team over the cap would (like Houston). In a potential Sign N Trade, Chicago could absorb more of Bosh's contract, while a team like Houston would have to give us assets in return that match within a certain range of Bosh's outgoing contract. In a nutshell, Chicago doesn't have to give us much to make the deal work. And so, this is where the mind games and chess-work start. How much are the two teams willing to compromise, and does BC take garbage if garbage is what's throw at him? If he doesn't, how does that affect what the fan base thinks of him?

Sigh.

My Preferred Scenario:
Raptors Trade Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon
Bulls Trade Joakim Noah, Krik Hinrich and/or TPE

Yeah. I realize this is a pretty lofty request, but still. This trade probably would be more complicated than what's listed above, but you get the premise. We dump Jose Calderon's contract on Chicago in return for Kirk Hinrich; who has a somewhat similar contract but ends one year earlier. We also manage to get our centre of the future in Noah, who would look absolutely awesome next to Bargs. As for Chicago, they get to pair up the best future PF in the league with one of the best young PGs of the league. At the same time, they get a point guard in Calderon who is familiar with Bosh's play style and will strengthen one of the Bulls' biggest weaknesses last season - 3 pt. shooting.

More Likely Scenario:
Raptors Trade Chris Bosh
Bulls Trade Taj Gibson, James Johnson, Draft Pick or TPE (If the Bulls are nice about it), Luol Deng (If the Raps can get rid of Turk first or soon after)

This trade scenario has a lot of "IFs" in it, but you can pretty much guarantee that when dealing with a team under the cap. Because the Bulls are considerably under the cap, they can pretty much absorb a good portion of Bosh's max deal while giving us young players on rookie contracts. With Bosh there, they have no room for Taj Gibson, and we'd be able to reunite Taj with his USC teammate DeMar DeRozan. We'd also get James Johnson, a young wing prospect that Colangelo was very high on in last year's draft. If the Bulls would like some breathing room to make other moves, they could try to throw us a TPE or Luol Deng's ridiculously bad contract. But I only see us taking that if we can get rid of Turk first. Meanwhile, the Bulls can move forward with a Big 3 of Bosh-Rose-Noah.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Solving The Bosh Puzzle: The Charlotte Bobcats Piece



So one day in late April, I checked in on my blog and noticed a lack of something. Sifting through them, I found pieces on Hedo, the Young Gunz, the Amazing Race, video games, the Olympics, etc. But the one thing that was truly missing was a piece about the franchise - CB4. And yeah, sure, maybe I did that because every other media outlet was beating the whole "Chris Bosh" topic to death; but still.

Like many others, I don't want to take Bosh for granted. And so with the realization that he may be gone very soon, I wanted to dedicate the next 30 days or so to him with my writing and this very blog. After all, this may be my last chance to discuss him on here.

The mission - should you choose to read it - is simple. Everyday, I'll breakdown a different team's outlook in regards to acquiring our franchise player. We'll take a look at how a potential transaction will affect both sides of the spectrum, and whether or not such a move could potentially go down.

Disclaimer: Let's please keep in mind that I'm not majoring in the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement; so if there's a few errors here and there in that regards, please let me know. Thanks!

Previous Piece: The Boston Celtics

Today's Piece: The Charlotte Bobcats



Players of Interests:
Tyson Chandler
Nazr Mohammed
D.J. Augustin
Tyrus Thomas
Gerald Henderson

After what was one of their best seasons in franchise history, the Bobcats went out with the smallest of bangs. Being manhandled by the Magic, the Bobcats newest majority owner (Michael Jordan) must now consider what is best for his team moving forward. It was mentioned many times this year on numerous broadcasts - the Bobcats made moves to win this year. That's why they traded away Okafor and agreed to take on Stephen Jackson's ugly looking long term deal.

But even while boasting one of the best defenses in the entire association, the Bobcats' struggle to score is what led to their demise. To be more specific, the fault really lies in their inability to score from the 4 and 5 positions. We all know Felton and Jackson can light it up from anywhere on the court, while Wallace attacks the rim relentlessly; but the Bobcats had no one that could attract a double from the block or the paint. This surely played a role in their horrendous 3 point shooting as well.

So enter Chris Bosh.

As Raptors fans, we would love an acquisition of Gerald Wallace or Stephen Jackson, but Bosh would not agree to play in Charlotte if that happened.

So looking elsewhere, the next thing that pops out is Tyson Chandler. Though his injuries have been well documented, it's his post presence and lane intimidation that's attractive to this Raps team. With a 13 million player option that he'll almost certainly pick up, it also turns into a rather large expiring for the Raps to play with. The question now is: Will Charlotte be willing to give up Chandler knowing he'd be perfect next to Bosh?

The two other players that I wouldn't mind seeing shipped off to the T-Dot are D.J. Augustin and Tyrus Thomas. Even though Felton didn't have the greatest of playoff performances, word is that the Bobcats were impressed enough with his season play to seriously consider re-signing him. So that once again leaves Augustin out of the equation. With Tyrus Thomas, we have a 6 million expiring that plays above the rim and would bring that defensive mentality this Raptors team sorely lacks.

My Preferred Scenario:
Raptors Trade Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon
Bobcats Trade Tyson Chandler (expiring), D.J. Augustin, Tyrus Thomas (expiring)

I'm actually liking this scenario better than I thought I would. Breaking it down, you'll notice that we could easily use Charlotte as a dumping grounds for Jose Calderon's contract (something the Raps are considering trying to get out of). At the same time, we pick up two players in Thomas and Chandler who will bolster our team defense to a respectable position. We could finally play Bargnani at his real position - PF - while having insurance in Thomas just in case we can't re-sign Amir. On top of all that, we get our hands on some really nice expiring money. Meanwhile, if Jordan chooses to re-sign Felton, Charlotte gets to throw out a line up on the court that includes Bosh/Wallace/Jackson/Felton. Combined with a filler centre, that's a guaranteed playoff team that could possibly win a round or two.

More Likely Scenario:
Raptors Trade Chris Bosh
Bobcats Trade Nazr Mohammed (expiring), Gerald Henderson, Tyrus Thomas (expiring), Future Draft Pick

Though this scenario isn't as enticing as the one above, it's still respectable in regards to the amount of expiring money we get back. Remember, in combination with Marcus Banks' and Reggie Evans' expiring deals, we could easily flip that to one of the many teams struggling financially for very good players in return. We also manage to get a nice wing prospect in Gerald Henderson. He's got basketball in his blood, was a lottery pick, a Duke product, and someone who could easily make something out of himself once he gets the playing time (only averaged about 8 minutes as a rookie last year). As for Charlotte, well, they get to boast a formidable starting 5 of Felton or Augustin/Jackson/Wallace/Bosh/Chandler. That's a nice combination of offense and defense if you ask me.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Solving The Bosh Puzzle: The Boston Celtics Piece




So one day in late April, I checked in on my blog and noticed a lack of something. Sifting through them, I found pieces on Hedo, the Young Gunz, the Amazing Race, video games, the Olympics, etc. But the one thing that was truly missing was a piece about the franchise - CB4. And yeah, sure, maybe I did that because every other media outlet was beating the whole "Chris Bosh" topic to death; but still.

Like many others, I don't want to take Bosh for granted. And so with the realization that he may be gone very soon, I wanted to dedicate the next 30 days or so to him with my writing and this very blog. After all, this may be my last chance to discuss him on here.

The mission - should you choose to read it - is simple. Everyday, I'll breakdown a different team's outlook in regards to acquiring our franchise player. We'll take a look at how a potential transaction will affect both sides of the spectrum, and whether or not such a move could potentially go down.

Disclaimer: Let's please keep in mind that I'm not majoring in the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement; so if there's a few errors here and there in that regards, please let me know. Thanks!

Yesterday's Piece: The Atlanta Hawks

Today's Piece: The Boston Celtics



Players of Interests
- Rajon Rondo
- Kendrick Perkins
- Glen Davis
- Their fans to admit what the TD in "TD Garden" really stands for?

Breakdown:
We all realized that the Celtics sold their soul to the devil when they signed on to bring the Big 3 to Boston. To summarize: Mortgage your future for a few years of legitimately contending for a championship. As well worth the ride was, it's now time to finally break it all up.

Everyone but Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis, Rajon Rondo, and Kendrick Perkins are expected to hit free agency this year - yeah I know, not exactly the most threatening of teams. Right now, the biggest variable (and what has most Celtics fans concerned with) is whether or not they choose to re-sign Paul Pierce. He has a player option for next year worth around 22 million. But as lofty as a payday that may sound, he's better off opting for free agency and trying to snatch what will probably be the last big long term deal of his career.

So then it comes down to this: Do you give Pierce a big contract out of loyalty to one of the greatest Celtics of all time? Or do you finally part ways and realize it's best to rebuild while you wait out the remaining years on KG's and Wallace's disgusting contracts. I'm not sure what management is thinking, but I do know a lot of Celtics fans are either leaning or at least expecting what they call "A Return to the Dark Age".

Toronto and Boston really aren't the best of trading partners when it comes to Bosh; actually they're quite awful. The Raps don't want to trade Bosh to a divisional rival, and Bosh doesn't want to play on a rebuilding team. On top of that, I'm pretty sure Boston can just outright sign Chris if they wanted to depending on the cap amount next year. Of course, you also have to take into account the unlikeliness of that happenings considering Bosh really would like that extra 6th year only Toronto can give him in a Sign And Trade. Precedent in the NBA shows that no one can turn down an extra 30 million dollars.

I know Raptors fans would love Rondo, but that's certainly not happening. Ray Allen would be nice, but he won't be on the team next year. So what the heck do they have? Draft picks perhaps? But certainly, they would hold onto those right? If Bosh MUST go to Boston, I'm expecting whatever expirings they have in return, a fat TPE, as well as whatever draft picks they have for the next year or two.

The Preferred Scenario:
Raptors Trades Chris Bosh
Boston Trades Kendrick Perkins (expiring), Glen Davis (expiring), TPE, future draft picks

In this ugly looking trade, the Raps get the best of what Boston is willing to give up. I would prefer Rajon Rondo coming back, but obviously we'll try to keep this as realistic as possible. With this, Boston transitions from one of the best PFs of the last decade in Garnett to one of the best future PFs in Bosh. Paired up with Rondo, they could become one of the best big-small duos in the league. But with a rapidly aging team around them, the Celtics need to get young and athletic quick before they can start thinking championships again (hard to do with Garnett and Wallace' contracts). On the other hand, the Raptors get two small expiring contracts and serviceable big-men that will bring much needed swagger to this team. With the possibility of Boston struggling, those draft picks may turn out to be lottery picks as well.

More Likely Scenario:
We Just Stay Away From Each Other

I can pretty much guarantee this happens.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Solving The Bosh Puzzle: The Atlanta Hawks Piece




So one day in late April, I checked in on my blog and noticed a lack of something. Sifting through them, I found pieces on Hedo, the Young Gunz, the Amazing Race, video games, the Olympics, etc. But the one thing that was truly missing was a piece about the franchise - CB4. And yeah, sure, maybe I did that because every other media outlet was beating the whole "Chris Bosh" topic to death; but still.

Like many others, I don't want to take Bosh for granted. And so with the realization that he may be gone very soon, I wanted to dedicate the next 30 days or so to him with my writing and this very blog. After all, this may be my last chance to discuss him on here.

The mission - should you choose to read it - is simple. Everyday, I'll breakdown a different team's outlook in regards to acquiring our franchise player. We'll take a look at how a potential transaction will affect both sides of the spectrum, and whether or not such a move could potentially go down.

Disclaimer: Let's please keep in mind that I'm not majoring in the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement; so if there's a few errors here and there in that regards, please let me know. Thanks!

Today's Piece: The Atlanta Hawks



Players of Interests:
- Joe Johnson
- Josh Smith
- Jamal Crawford
- Marvin Williams
- Al Horford
- Jeff Teague

Breakdown:
Atlanta's an odd case - probably so odd that it may not have been the best of teams to start off with this month long project. On one hand, the Hawks boast a plethora of talent that Toronto could find intriguing, yet at the same time Atlanta's future outlook isn't exactly as clear cut as some may think. The organization has always struggled to put fans into seats, and their owners have always been picky in regards to the financial side of things.

Right now, the word on the street is that they would like to sell their draft pick this year, and do whatever it takes to get Joe Johnson to re-sign. And so it really hinges on that alone - the value of the Hawks as trading partners varies depending on whether they retain Johnson or not. I feel with Johnson, Atlanta ownership will be more inclined to go way over the tax with two max players.

So let's say they do re-sign Joe Johnson for the max and then attempt to grab a 2nd max player in Bosh. What can they give the Raps?

Well obviously we can cross Johnson out. Because ATL doesn't want Bosh if JJ isn't their to pair them up, and Bosh doesn't want anything to do with ATL if he can't play with Joe.

They really don't have any expiring contracts of note - other than Jamal Crawford - and I don't think they send him off to us. As the reigning 6th man of the year, Jamal played too big of a role for the Hawks. On that note, I think he's just as important to the Hawks as Johnson is.

What does catch the eye right away however is their 4 and 5 position. With Bosh incoming, the Hawks present themselves with an interesting scenario. Right now, they have Josh Smith and Horford manning the inside. In my opinion, there's not enough room for a trio that includes Bosh. So possibly - we could end up with either Josh Smith or Al Hordford, both of whom would significantly help our pathetic defense.

And then of course there's the other "scenario". Atlanta could simply play Smith at the 3 spot - something he's well capable of - and have a nasty front-court of Horford/Bosh/Smith. With Bibby, Johnson, and Crawford providing the threats from the perimeter, that's a championship kind of team.

In this case, a Sign and Trade would most certainly revolve around Marvin Williams. Though not exactly the best of returns in regards to our defensive needs in the paint, Marvin provides us with that scoring wing who is capable of defending the perimeter as well. Fairly young at 24 year old, the North Carolina product has proven he can be efficient and score in bunches when given the touches. He hasn't quite become what the Hawks expected him to be when they picked him with the 2nd pick in the 2005 NBA draft. But perhaps a new scenery - and getting away from the shot heavy duo of Johnson and Crawford - will inspire him to breakout. Throw in a couple fillers as well as a TPE, and we're as set as we could possibly be in a trade that involves Atlanta.

My Preferred Scenario:
Raptors Trade Chris Bosh
Hawks Trade Josh Smith, and Maurice Evans (3 mil expiring)

Perhaps the details need to be worked out in that trade to match everything up, but an ideal return if the Hawks were to be our partners would involve Josh Smith. He'd provide us with one of the best help defenders in the league, as well as some much needed athleticism. For Atlanta, they get Bosh to return to the place where he played college basketball and gives Joe Johnson another max player to roll with. Immediately, they have one of the best inside-outside combos with Bosh and Johnson/Crawford.

More Likely Scenario:
Raptors Trade Chris Bosh
Hawks Trade Marvin Williams, Maurice Evans, Jeff Teague and/or Future 1st round draft pick, small TPE perhaps?

In this scenario, Atlanta goes all-in kind of like how Boston did a couple of years ago. They throw away their future for a chance at genuinely contending. The only difference is their talent isn't in the twilight of their careers. This would bring a ton of excitement to Atlanta, and would send us back into rebuilding mode with assets we could develop or flip in a future trade. It doesn't look like much, but it would probably be what we'd end up getting if Bosh was dead-set on going to Atlanta.