Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Gray’

Watching the Raptors this week felt kind of...like this. (Photo: blutoro.ca)

Watching the Raptors this week felt kind of…like this. (Photo: blutoro.ca)

Record:    23-37 (5-5 over the past 10)

Low point: A 90-84 loss to the Wizards, in what may have been the ugliest, most boring game in the NBA this season.

High point: February 22nd vs. the Knicks: two-point win against a top team, Kyle Lowry bobblehead night, halftime performance by Young MC, and some crazy guy runs on court and gets tackled by security. Oh, and 100 points for free pizza. Who could ask for anything more?

Stuff I’ve Noticed:

  • When Aaron Gray shoots, he puts side-spin on the ball. Not making this up. Take a look next time he shoots a free throw.
  • Raptor fans move from “we’re making the playoffs” to “the end is near” faster than any fans in the NBA.
  • The average height of the Raptors’ point guards is about 4’9″.
Memorable Quote:
“I know the Raptors have been succeeding despite his problems, but it’s hard to see what he really adds to a team besides clanking mid-range jumpers.”
-Mike Prada of the Bullets Forever SB Nation Blog, analyzing Rudy Gay.
Crazed fan Devin Hicks is tackled by security. Meanwhile, Aaron Gray (background) wonders how this guy is getting more time on the court than he is. (Photo: deadspin.com)

Crazed fan Devin Hicks is tackled by security. Meanwhile, Aaron Gray (background) wonders how this guy is getting more time on the court than he is. (Photo: deadspin.com)

In recent Raptor games, incidents away from play have been just as interesting as the games themselves. A few days ago there was Matt Devlin’s bizarre encounter with rapper Wale.

And then last night, an unexpected, overweight, 15-minutes-of-famer appeared briefly on the hardwood at the ACC. But enough about Young MC’s halftime performance.

It was during the fourth quarter of a hard-fought, scrappy game that Devin Hicks burst onto the court during a time-out. But this wasn’t just some spur of the moment, alcohol-fuelled impulse. This was a pilgrimmage. This was a carefully-planned fulfillment of a bucket-list dream. Hicks spent several hours pre-Tweeting about how he was getting all excited about his upcoming exploits. His homemade t-shirt had “Let’s Go Raps” scrawled on the front, and “Bucket List” on the back.

Hicks apparently spent the night in jail, no doubt paid a hefty fine, and according to his Twitter feed, has been banned from the ACC for a year. His first tweet after leaving jail was hashtagged “#illbeback”, which leaves me wondering what Mr. Hicks has planned for an encore when he’s allowed back to the ACC in a year’s time.

Well, Mr. Hicks, if you’re out there, here are some tips for your next unscheduled appearance:

  • Outsource the t-shirt making.  Seriously. If you had been looking forward to your court invasion for weeks, you need to come with something better than sharpie on a white undershirt.
  • Learn some dance moves. Once you reached mid-court, I was excited to see what you had in store for us. Cartwheels? Harlem shake? Moonwalk? Maybe a bit of nudity? But no; you just ran around a bit, looking excited to be there, but a bit confused as to what to do. We get that every night with Aaron Gray. Give us something original!
  • Make a sign. If you’ve got 18,000 eyes looking your way, give them a message. Nobody past the front row could read your shirt. How about a sign? Maybe with some kind of inflammatory Colangelo-related catchphrase on it.
  • Play to the crowd. Give them some physical comedy. Maybe the ol’ slip on a banana peel. Or a one-knee proposal to a security guard. Or mime Terrence Ross’ winning dunk. Every great prank has a punchline, and you need to find yours.

Devin Hicks’ Twitter profile proclaims, “Live Fast, Die A Legend”. We can only speculate about this legend’s next act. (Photo: siextramustard.com)

If Colangelo is serious about saving his job, he’ll do two things: pull off a big deadline trade, and buy a suit like this one. (Photo: dustinscafe.blogspot.com)

At last year’s trade deadline, there wasn’t much happening in Raptorville. Sure, they traded Barbosa, but I’m pretty sure nobody noticed. Barbosa included.

This year’s a different story. The Raptors’ season has been a bit like watching “Titanic” in reverse; a god-awful beginning full of death and hopelessness, followed by some hot action and serious excitement.

And now, on the heels of the Rudy Gay trade, a modest but legit win streak, and the crowning of Terrence Ross as the new NBA Dunk Champion, word is that a big trade before this week’s deadline might set this team up for some real success next year. And in case Mr. Colangelo gets cold feet and can’t figure out what moves to make, here is my list of suggestions:

Trade Suggestion #1: Andrea Bargnani for the Pillsbury Doughboy

Strong work ethic, lots of experience, and a snappy dresser. What more could we want? (Photo:ramblings.fram.blogspot.com)

Both these guys are in need of a change of scenery. Bargnani has long since worn out his welcome in Toronto, while the Doughboy has been at it since 1965, and could use a new gig. Beyond that, they have lots of similarities:

  • Pasty white? Check.
  • Arms that lack muscle definition? Check
  • Experience as celebrity food endorsement guy? Check.
  • Notoriously soft? Check mate.

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Trade Suggestion #2: Aaron Gray for Rob Ford

Mayor Ford would be willing to sacrifice his body for the team. (Photo: imgur.com)

If you’re going to have a big lumbering oaf on your team, it might as well be somebody who’ll give you a few good soundbites in post-game interviews. Ford would be a force to reckon with up front. He’s determined, he’s got confidence, and as you can see above, he’s far more graceful than Aaron Gray.

And I think Gray would work out pretty well as mayor, too. He’s likeable, he’s got a great smile, and he just wants a chance to be a meaningful part of a team.

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Trade Suggestion #3: Linas Kleiza for An Old Boot (or best offer).

Adding an old boot to the roster would really free up some bench space for the Raptors. (Photo: 16xx8.com)

Anyone? Please?
You can even keep the laces.
Anyone?

 

The dunk is beautiful of course, but watch it a few times to appreciate the following:

  1. Alan Anderson (top of the screen) dances back on defence.
  2. Coach Casey is obviously upset that no foul was called.
  3. Quincy Acy gives the old “scuze me while I hump the sky”.
  4. Aaron Gray stays seated for a second, before realizing what just happened.
  5. Bargnani (bottom of the screen) just looks lonely throughout the whole play.

If Aaron Gray leads your team in points, it’s probably a safe assumption that you’re not going to win the game.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I was happy for good old “50 Shades” tonight; it was great to see him pull down 10 boards and grab a couple of steals to go along with his 22 points. But in the final minutes of the game, as another Raptors loss was winding down, Gray lost himself a bit.

Golden State’s Harrison Barnes, who’s been on a bit of a dunking spree lately, took an open lane for a monstrous dunk. Gray, with insane visions of somehow blocking Barnes, ran right into his path, like a clueless fat kid running into traffic to catch the ice cream truck. The whole thing happened in slow motion, and I was sure that one or both players would be leaving on a stretcher. Take a look:


Thankfully, all that was hurt was Gray’s pride, and instead of ending up in an emergency room, Harrison Barnes got himself on the highlight reel at the Raptors’ expense.

You’re welcome, Harrison.

(cartoonstock.com)

(cartoonstock.com)

Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the midway point of the season. A variety of publications have released their “mid-term report cards” on the Raptors, which kind of made me feel bad for the Raps. A lot of them weren’t exactly the type of reports you’d want to put up on the fridge.

I know, I know, I spend a lot of time making fun of the Raptors. But like that parent who just can’t see how ugly and stupid their kid is, I’m an eternal optimist with this team. They’re all…special…in their own way.

So below is a summary of the grades dished out by the teachers at TSN and The National Post, with a special bonus from me. Because everyone’s good at something. Right?

Player TSN says… The National Post says… Yeah, but…
Quincy Acy C-
“Has to cut down on blown defensive assignments.”
C
“Has been a willing learner.”
Beard-growing: A+
Alan Anderson B+
“Game-altering performances.”
B
“It is difficult to get past Anderson’s accuracy from the field.”
Alliteration: A+
Andrea Bargnani D-
“His laconic play has finally soured the front office on him.”
F
“Ineffective offensively and regressed defensively.”
Looking slick in a suit: A+
Jose Calderon A
“His leadership has been invaluable.”
B-
“Struggled badly in his 15 games as Kyle Lowry’s backup.”
Ability to grow 5-o’clock shadow before noon: A+
Ed Davis A
“A revelation.”
B+
“A revelation.”
Being a revelation: A+
DeMar DeRozan C+
“His play has fallen off dramatically.”
C+
“His defense remains a mystifying negative.”
Having capital letters in his name: A+
Landry Fields C
“His jumpshot has remained horrendous.”
C-
“Still digging out of an early-season hole.”
Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Drake: A+
Aaron Gray C-
“Rebounding, his one great strength, has been missing all year.”
D+
“Has not been of much use.”
Looking confused: A+
Amir Johnson A-
“Still struggles to guard his position one-on-one.”
B+
“Johnson’s ceiling is limited, but he has maximized his ability.”
Hairstyle choices: A+
Linas Kleiza D
“Cannot replicate (or even approximate) his international effectiveness.”
D
“Has been totally ineffective.”
Being one of two Lithuanians I can name: A+
Kyle Lowry C
“Biggest disappointment of the season so far.”
C
“Lowry’s play has varied wildly.”
Making me nervous in close games: A+
John Lucas III C-
“Doesn’t offer enough elsewhere to offset his lack of scoring.”
C-
“Started off the year on a tremendous cold streak.”
Being more famous than John Lucas I or II: A+
Mickael Pietrus D+
“Doesn’t have it in him to contribute to an NBA team like he used to.”
C-
“Terrible offensively.”
Keeping knee doctors in business: A+
Terrence Ross C+
“He needs to shoot much better and learn to pass more often.”
C
“Flashes of brilliance to go along with complete no-shows.”
Potential to be the third Raptor to lose a dunk contest: A+
Jonas Valanciunas C+
“Fouls far too much.”
C
“Perhaps the Raptors’ worst defensive player.”
Looking absolutely nothing like his bobble-head doll: A+
Dwayne Casey N/A C
“Has relied a little too much on his veterans.”
Having gone from coaching a championship team to the Raptors without killing himself: A+

Terrence Ross, seen here emerging Alien-style from Amir Johnson’s chest, had a crazy putback dunk against Brooklyn last week. (Photo: hoopsfix.com)

Record:   14-26 (4-6 over the past 10)

Low point: A brutal bench performance agains the Bucks on January 13: Milwaukee’s bench outscore’s Toronto’s 43-7. A 20-point Raptor lead turns into an 11-point loss.

High point: Being on the happy end of back-to-back blowouts of the 76ers and Bobcats.

Stuff I’ve Noticed:

  • Overtime makes me nervous.
  • Quincy Acy might be James Harden’s long-lost (and less talented) twin.
  • I heard someone say that Aaron Gray looks like he doesn’t know what he’s doing when he plays, but I disagree. Sometimes he looks like he knows what he’s supposed to be doing. It’s doing it that’s the problem.
Memorable Quote:
“Those guys are really happy over there. Or they’re just drying their towels.”
-My wife, after watching the Raptors bench celebrate a Terrence Ross 3-pointer against Portland.