I don’t want to say I’m a profit, but I am.

Check it. I wrote this August 7th, 2013 originally for Dino Nation Blog. Enjoy.

The Pendulum Swing – Why this is an important year for the Raptors

 

Let’s say for the arguments sake that the current incarnation of the Raptors have enough firepower to squeak into the playoffs this season, OR, they decide instead to pull a DNP – MGMT decision and try and enter the Wiggins sweepstakes. Which side of the fence do you fall on?

If you chose the latter, you’d be wrong. I know what you’re going to ask next – ‘But what if it meant we landed Wiggins?’ That’s not even a trick question, or trick answer…you’re still wrong. Why? Well I’m glad you asked; let’s get into shall we?

Going into this season we are blessed to have a man running the show, who actually knows how to run a show (Tim Leiweke). His stance on things makes me swoon like a girl weak in the knees. I love the confidence and his firm grasp on what direction he believes MLSE needs to go in. Oh, I also love the ‘SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!’ attitude he displays, especially on the usually unrelenting Toronto media. Mark my words he will slap someone with a steak one day…if that hasn’t already happened.

Then you have Ujiri; I’m a lazy writer, so I’m not getting into it why this guy is good. If you don’t know this by now, then reading this isn’t going to help you.

So why is this year important? More succinctly why is this year more important than others?

Sometimes you have to look past a deep draft (2014) that is fast approaching, and what it ‘could’ mean for your franchise. The Raptors must do this, despite the amazing talent. I mean the Canadian talent. I mean the amazing Canadian talent (Wiggins) who is drawing LBJ comparisons and has stated he would like to play for the Raptors! Yes, (sigh) the franchise needs to ignore the siren call of the tank.

Why it’s paramount not to tank has a couple of vitals reasons, and here they are:

1)   The development of the current roster

 

The Raptors are young, like really young, but in that youth is a bastion of talent. The easiest piece to pick out is Jonas Valančiūnas. This is a pivotal year for the young center. It’s his team if he wants it. I’m never one to believe that summer league is any type of indicator, because if that were the case then Marco Belinelli and Anthony Morrow would be the greatest players in the NBA. However, he’s shown that he can bang, he’s more physical, and he can get to the line. In other words, progress. I still think he’s going to need to put more on the frame, but the game is there, the mechanics, and the mentality of tough play. I think Tyler Hansbrough is going to be great at showing him a little more of that toughness.

 

2)   Erasing any notion that we are a tanking team, Soft, or, the Northern Bobcats

 

Tanking hurts a franchise and its players and fans from a mental perspective, as well from a revenue standpoint. As a team mate or professional athlete, what inspires me to want to go to a team that is in a constant state of ‘rebuilding’ or ‘tanking’ other than money? Sure money can be a motivator, but does it motivate enough quality talent. After all who looks forward to the drudgery of constantly losing? If I’m a regular season seat ticket holder how am I supposed to be excited about a tank year? What if the tank fails? From a revenue perspective, why on earth do I want to support a team that tanks for talent? That means, I, as a payer of someone’s salary at MLSE has to endure an intentionally sub-par season for at best a %25 chance at a good draft pick…no thanks. Again, the Raptors and MLSE made their power play (I presume) in an effort to erase that stigma, and to signal to all the talent in the NBA that this is a franchise you’d want to play for.

3)   Losing needs to become a byproduct of simply a bad team

 

I don’t believe that this years Raptors are a bad team, ok, there’s a chance, but overall I feel a slight optimism. This year fans don’t expect much, so why not try and exceed those expectations. That’s exactly what the Raptors need from their fans. Tanking isn’t going to help the overall mindset, but a team that works hard, plays hard, leaves it all on the floor, is going to garner the respect from the fans and from other teams around the league, regardless of the record. Ujiri needs to show the city that he’s not going to rest on his laurels and that Leiweke has his back as well. That has to be a big part of what the new management is trying to instill in its day-to-day operations. I think Dwayne Casey has the potential to be a good coach, he’s still new as a head coach, and I’m willing to give him the chance as long as I don’t see more than one game decided by three or less points this season.

 

Basketball in Toronto is in a fragile state right now, with its fans, the perception of the Raptors around the NBA, and especially the organization. ‘Dialing it in’ or ‘tanking’ won’t accomplish lofty plans for the future(James touched on this earlier last week). It’s going to have to be a hard trudge, confronting the years hardened labels cast down on the Raptors head on, and creating a new identity that fans can support now, and down the road. That’s why tanking is not an option.

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Super Original Story Concept – 2013-2014 Season predictions – Tada

Who the hell doesn’t love a good bit of predicting. I do! You don’t? Then never come back to this website again! Let’s not waste time; after all you’re doing that by reading this, so why draw it out any longer.

 

Team that is absolutely set up to crack under pressure

Denver Nuggets, all the same players…AND THAT ARE IT!

Team that is a quiet threat and shouldn’t be underestimated

Denver Nuggets, all the same players, sure new coach, soooo shut up?

Best head to head match for pure offense and f*ck all for defense

Golden State V. Orlando…weird right?! I think a lot of people would have thought I was going with Washington or Miami, but nah got to go with the Magic here. Oladipo and Harris alone should provide some fun shoot-at-will entertainment, then GSW has Curry and Thompson with Barnes and Iggy is going to be pandemonium!

Best head to head match for pure defense, ah the low score_ist!

Detroit v. Memphis I hate defense, unless it’s really really good defense and these teams look to show off the D. Memphis is a benchmark for defense with Gasol, Prince, and yes Ed Davis but Detroit (broke city) is ready to resume it’s bad boy stance with Monroe/Drummond/Smith…I’d be scarred sh!tless going trying to go in the paint on either of these teams…I really would.

Rookie set to kick Anderson Varejao’s ass in an awful hair contest

Kelly Olynyk. Nuff said.

Team who had the least impressive offseason

Tough one, Spurs are always pretty drab, but the Bucks really tried hard by losing Monta and trading Jennings…so it’s a tie? I guess? Never mind just remembered that Phoenix was still in the league. Phoenix.

First coach to get fired

Mike D’antoni, goodbye Pringles man. As far as ruining historic franchises I’m pretty sure your reign of terror is over.

2013-2014 flattest top

Nerlens Noel, sorry Shump

First player to do something stupid

It’s really hard not to pick J.R. Smith, however, I’m pretty sure DeMarcus Cousins just hired Isaiah Ryder as a life coach so I’m going with Cousins. Nice max signing Sacto…(bits thumb)

Will Kevin Love ask for a trade this year?

Yes, and it’s ok Wolves…you’ll actually get better.

Best job making it look like they’re not tanking for Wiggins

Lakers. At first I thought ok seems a little strange that they’re adding Jordan Farmar…then Wesley Johnson, then I full on knew they were tanking when they added Nick Young. Nice try Kupchak I’m on to you!

Playoff finals no one wants to see

Miami v. Miami Sure it’s not possible, or is it? Cause if it is I’m out.

I’m out

 

 

Why I’m better than you at Fantasy Basketball – I’m a thrifty garbage picker edition

Here at the i8theball Super Metrics Space Center for Advance Numbers Past 11 and Stategories Beyond Hawkins Genius Shakes (or S.M.S.C.A.N.P.11.S.B.H.G.S) we pride ourselves on knowing how to run a fantasy clinic on our invisible online frenemies during the regular (and playoff) fantasy basketball season so that you don’t have to.

So, cool, you picked Dame Lillard because you know he’s going to be the next D.Rose. Who the hell you picking in the 6th round? How about the 9th (if there is one)? Ya, that’s what I thought, whoever is around, or plays on the team you really like. Let me help my fantasy challenged friend. Shhhhhh, just let the expert tell you how to do this.

The garbage round is so vital; it often makes or breaks a team. This is where you can pick up a lesser-known player if you know how to choose. Last year I managed to get my greasy hands on Greivis Vasquez and as a result I BEAT THE PISS OUT OF MY LEAGUE…BEAT THE YELLOWISH, SLIGHTLY ASPARAGUSY PISS RIGHT OUT OF THEM! (I’m competitive).  So now, let’s play a game I like to call ‘who you’d pick in the late rounds (wrong) versus who I’d pick (piss beating awesomeness!) Shall we?

Your Center

Andrea Bargnani – Old Italy pants does not shoot a good 3, you’re wrong, has a decent FT%, and has noodly pasta hands that couldn’t grab a rebound if he tried. Did I mention his health is on the decline, and has virtually no chance of playing more 70+ games

My Center

Byron Mullens – Let’s get this out of the way…he’s absolutely horrible to look at. There I said it. Now let’s move on. Mullens also shoots the 3, just better, he’s so ugly people will literally not pick him so he’ll be available. He rebounds more than Bargnani, shoots an ok FT% and will be whipped off court and berated by Doc Rivers if he tries to play defense lightly.  Also he played more games last year than Bargnani…just saying.

Your Power Forward

Amir Johnson – Good pick, not going to argue too much on this one….hahahaha, yes I am you idiot! It’s a trap, grab an axe! I really do like Amir, but he is so inconsistent it’s infuriating. He has the tools, shoots a good FG, and FT% gets you the boards, and absolutely dials it in whenever there is a back-to-back game. It’s like he can only pay attention to one game a week.

My Power Forward

Ed Davis – Solid, and so quiet he could be forgotten in the draft. I say could, but those assholes at ESPN pointed him out on there top 500 players at #156 The former Raptor turned pro bench warmer in Memphis is bound to get his chance this year. I just figure there is no way that Z-Bo can keep eating like he’s pregnant and play 40+ minutes, fuck man, just give him some playing time! Even in limited production he puts up good numbers, great percentages, and doesn’t over do it. If he slips to like the 8th round, GO GO GO!

Your Small Forward

Evan Turner – You got conned sucker, your wife is also probably cheating on you and your kids have your wallet. Another streaky player that has shown so much potential. I remember having enough attention span once at a pre-season game to watch this kid and be sincerely impressed, so what happened? The siren call of Turner is great, especially on a tanking 76’ers team, but heed my warning friend, you’ll find nothing but sadness at the end of that trail.

My Small Forward

Tobias Harris – I have a basketboner just thinking about this guy.  See below.

 

W/L

MIN

FGM

FGA

FG%

3FGM

3FGA

3FG%

FTM

FTA

FT%

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

+/-

APR 10, 2013 – ORL vs. MIL

W

45

13

20

65.0%

3

4

75.0%

1

3

33.3%

7

12

19

5

0

0

2

4

30

12

 

Sure that’s one game against a craptacular Bucks team, just go on his stats page for April, then brag to your friends how you picked him instead of Evan Turner and how your dick grew three inches by eating kale.

Your Shooting Guard

Ben McLemore – Sure pick a rookie, why the hell not? And when he hits the wall (which always happens!) and everyone else’s reserve SG is putting a client on your rook, then what…pfft…have I taught you nothing!?!

My Shooting Guard

Marco Belinelli – I kind of hate this guy, he’s all over the place, he’s shown glimpses of great ability, he probably gets laid all the time, has money, has a weird Italian smugness, ack. So why did I pick him? Pop. Straight up Greg Popovich will destroy his soul if he doesn’t play according to Pop. I think if he ropes in his game a little, he’s the perfect reserve SG.

Your Point Guard

Reggie Jackson – This is another trick. Sure Westbrook is out, and probably will have a streaky season ahead of him. So in theory this is a good place for Jackson to be right? Wrong! Ok, not wrong, but I just doubt that he’s going to pick up his game to even a reserve PG level on any fantasy team, so don’t waste the pick. It’s like saving your last condom for…nevermind.

My Point Guard

Dwight Buycks – Who? Sorry, who?! I know right! Is your mind blown? Do you even know what team this guy plays for? Well, he’s a Toronto Raptor, he was pretty good over in Europe, he’s fast as hell, and…oh yeah Masai Ujiri picked him up. The same Ujiri who saw potential in Ty Lawson. I will admit, this is a deep hunch pick, so go for it, call me a homer. Or pick the fucking guy, watch him run circles around your competitions pick like there was no tomorrow. My only disclaimer on this one is that you can only pick him if he is your absolute last pick…OR, you picked a shitty player and need to drop one and add one.

So there you have it, stow your contrived and obvious picks, study mine, don’t play against me (because I will bite your dick off if you select any of my picks and we’re in the same league) and let’s review this guidance session in the late spring of 2014 while we’re hoisting virtual trophies over our avatars getting all that sweet cyber booty…ok I’ll stop now. Clink!

Finally, this guy!

Meat

So when I was like 16 I was pretty sure I was saving up the cash to get my first tattoo. My first tattoo of darkwing duck. Then I read a couple of books. Real game changer.

P.S. – If you look hard enough on the ‘writing?!’ on his arm you can morph the letters to read ‘Encino Man’. I like to think he was a big fan.