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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Toronto gets Gay

Cmonman

AP Wire – Toronto,

The Toronto Raptors have acquired small forward Rudy Gay from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Jose Calderon, Ed Davis and a future 2nd round pick. Asked about his feelings on Toronto ‘getting Gay’ Mayor Rob Ford become quiet, mumbled for a minute, then explained that he had a prior obligation at his families summer cottage and had to be dismissed. Ford then walked into a closed door, mumbled some expletives and then did it again. Ultimately Ford left the office.

And our Winner is….

I don’t even know where to begin. In the last 48hrs. we’ve had over 2000 views with almost 1500 of you voting! That is tremendous. Our contestants have either incredible support, or they cheated wildly (I hope a bit of both!) Either way, we had to wait right until 12:01 to determine the winner because it was always so close between Mitch and Ryan. Clara gave it a good shot, but the boys went in beast mode on this one.

And our winner is…

Mitch 2nd attempt, That's how I remember Oakley...you?

MITCH!

Big ups to our man @MitchMatch24 for taking it just at the end there. People (or computers) showed there love and destiny decided that Mitch needs to be at the OKC game reciting Kevin Durant lines from Thunderstruck (Oscar Nominated…we hope). Also, he threw down 3 amazing entries that could not be ignored!! Well done man. Send us your info at i8theball@gmail.com and we will get those hot tix in your hands ASAP. We also want a pic from you at the game…seems only fair.

BUT THERE’S MORE!!

I didn’t anticipate the ferver and hype was going to be this ballistic, and although Clara gave it a valiant effort (and we hope she’s cool with us) it was our man Ryan who literally asked everyone on Twitter for support, hell he even got Shawn Marion to RT this shit. It would be crazy not to give him something for his efforts. So as a result I decided I’m going to send Ryan (and hopefully his son…not a some random on Twitter) to the Feb.20, 2013. game. RAPS V. MEMPHIS! At first I had some Hawks tickets, but the man deserves better. So congrats to Ryan as well. (hit us up at the same gmail account so we can send them to you as well.)

You both earned them!

Stay tuned ball fans, we got more contests on the way, and whack load of articles you may or may not want to read. Thanks y’all!!

 

 

Contest Update – We’re down to our finalists!

When we created the concept for this contest we really didn’t know how hard it would be to select a winner. There have been some excellent submissions, and we’re really happy people got involved, we thought it was a lot of fun. But, ultimately there needs to be a winner.

At this point we’ve narrowed down the field to 3 amazing contestants, and we want YOU the readers to vote (Click on the poll below to decide the winner). We’re not going to labor this out either, simple. Voting starts now, and by 12:01pm Friday Nov. 30th (lunch time for dumb dumbs) we’re going to announce the winner.

Here are our finalists:

Mitch

Mitch gave us 3 entries, all of them funny as hell! We really liked his style, the players he selected and that he was creative, great job Mitch!

Clara

She has to be considered the heavy weight here…in terms of actual talent (sorry Mitch and…well, all the rest haha). Clara dropped 2 entries, both showed skill and a real passion for the Dino’s, nice one Clara.

Ryan

Why do I feel like Ryan is the underdog in all this? He slammed 2 entries, each had their own flair. Creative, funny, and not as poorly drawn as Mitch, but not as nice as Clara either…tough….hence dark horse status. Ryan’s work definitely should make the competition sweat. Bam! Ryan everyone.

(*UPDATE – We’ve taken the poll since we now have a winner)

A special thanks to the other people who sent us entries, we thought they were great and we love the effort.

(*side note – we at i8theball are just one guy who likes writing funny and stupid NBA articles with pictures, we’re not paid in any way and we don’t have any affiliation to the Raptors or MLSE. No one clicks our banner ads (I wouldn’t), and we’re sitting on a revenue of $0.11 so far. If we could have afforded more seats and tickets we would do this all the time, but this is where we stand so far. Stick with us, we’re getting there.)

Update – The Contest!

We’re nearing the end of our most fun contest ever, but there is still time to enter. Remember this, it’s simple as hell! All you need to do is draw us pretty much anything Raptors related, must be handdrawn, and send it in before Friday Nov. 30th, 2012. for a chance to win tickets to Raptors v. OKC this January at the ACC in Toronto. you can send them to us on Twitter @i8theball or via email at i8theball@gmail.com

Here are the latest entries, the names may look familiar because they’ve submitted before…which is fine by us!

Clara 2nd attempt…..Wow factor is here people!

Mitch 2nd attempt, That’s how I remember Oakley…you?

Nice work people, Friday we unveil the winner. It’s going to be bloody tough too! People chime in! Tell us who you think should win (reply below!)