Poor Toronto. They went to the 2012 Steve Nash sweepstakes,
and all they got were these
two lousy t-shirts.
At this point, whenever “O, Canada!” plays before NBA games,
it should be sung (“O, Canada…”) the same way you’d say it if you were talking
about your pothead cousin named Canada who keeps losing his job because he
doesn’t show up to work on time.
At least Toronto is trying though, unlike this year’s crop of fellow bottom-feeders like Charlotte and Orlando. They have a young roster full of average to above-average NBA players (some with potential for good-ness), many of whom would make great 4th or 5th options on good NBA teams. If they could just find or develop a reliable first, second, and third option, then watch out NBA!
Last year’s Raptor’s team led the league in fouls, which
could indicate a little bit of spunk. It
could also mean they were completely overmatched and had to rely on grabbing
and hacking to slow the game down. The hack-a-everybody strategy seemed to work
though, as defense was the team’s (relative) strength last year, a blatant
middle-finger in the face of all those stereotypes about Toronto’s offense-only
The fact that the Raptor’s offense was one of the three worst
in the league was the second middle-finger to those stereotypes.
Hey guys! I’m here
the save the franchise. Who’s my homeroom teacher again?
There are plenty of issues we could talk about with this
team. We could highlight the fact that
the two players who took the most shot attempts last year (DeRozan and
Bargnani) shot below 43.6%. We could
talk about Bargnani’s injury-riddled inconsistency and Antoine Walker-esque
three point shooting percentage. We
could lament over Jonas Valanciunas’ 11.6-minutes-a-game Olympic performance,
which prompted articles
that included the words
“tamp down expectations” and “operating without
There’s also the fact that the team leader in steals AND
blocks from last year (James Johnson) is gone, and that the team added a new co-point
guard (Lowry) who is notoriously foul-tempered about sharing time at point
guard (to be fair, though, Calderon’s expiring contract will likely be dealt at
some point in the year).
We could discuss all of that, but I think that Toronto’s
been through enough. For God’s sake, it’s
only been a couple years since they lost the face of the franchise (by which I
mean, of course, that Chris Bosh literally looks like a raptor). So instead, here’s a pick-me-up for Toronto
fans, a little bit of sunshine to illuminate your otherwise gloomy prospects
for this year.
Lowry’s latest business venture, in partnership with an old AAU coach (those
guys are never shady, right?) is a new brand of drinks designed to meet the
need for “a high quality, flavorful, reasonably priced beverage.” No doubt Kyle Lowry is giddy over the chance
to expand his juice line into the international market. Perhaps Toronto can be on the forefront of
the juice revolution…the only question is, as the FamJuice marketing campaign
asks, “Are you a gulper or a sipper?”
2) Quincy Acy. That’s the answer. The question is, “What do
you call the child of Rick Ross and Kimbo Slice, if that child recently went on
‘Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition'?”
3) Ok, fine, here’s a legitimate reason for hope. The team is young, has a couple of
intriguing-potential guys (Bargnani, Valanciunas), and is in good shape as far
as cap flexibility is concerned. Other
than Bargnani, no Raptors player is scheduled to make more than $10 million
after this season.
And who knows? Maybe Lowry’s FamJuice is actually Michael
Jordan’s special drink from Space Jam.
If that’s true, the sky’s the limit on the 2012-13 Raptors. If it’s not, then winning 30 games is
probably the limit.