Posts Tagged ‘DeMar DeRozan’

 

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.
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2000 – Tracy McGrady

When Tracy McGrady lost the 2000 slam-dunk contest to Vince Carter, he was not just another victim of Vinsanity. He was the first in what would become a long and proud line of Raptors to lose the NBA’s dunk competition.

McGrady’s dunks are now footnotes to the night that belonged to his cousin, but they were all solid. Had he been in the competition a year later, he may have won with dunks like this one:

2008 – Jamario Moon

As the decade continued, Raptor participation evaporated, despite Toronto’s roster being filled with human highlight reels such as Lamond Murray and Loren Woods. But then, in 2008, Jamario Moon appeared came out of nowhere and started dunking on everybody. The former Globetrotter had the difficult task of being the first dunker in the competition. (Interestingly, McGrady and DeRozan also had to break the ice in their respective years.) But in 2008, Moon broke the ice with a gorgeous dunk:


(Note: The 2008 contest also featured two familiar faces teaming up for this dunk.)

2010-2011 – DeMar DeRozan

Next up was DeMar DeRozan, who turned losing the dunk contest into an art form. He lost to sentimental favourite Nate Robinson in 2010, and returned the next year, only to lose again to the prop-heavy theatrics of Blake Griffin and JaVale McGee. In 2011, rumours circulated that the contest was rigged, and DeRozan swore he was done with the whole thing. Only a Raptor could put together such an impressive repertoire of dunks and come home empty-handed two years running:

2013 – Terrence Ross

After last year’s yawn-fest, the 2013 edition boasts an impressive field of former champions, young stars, and international dunking legends. And right in the middle of all this is Terrence Ross, the only person who will be attending All-Star weekend in a Raptors jersey. Here’s the official Holy Craptors prediction for this year’s contest:

  • Kenneth Faried will finish 6th. A good in-game dunker, I have a hard time seeing how Half-Man/Half-Hair will impress in this one, especially given the competition.
  • Eric Bledsoe will finish 5th. He’s short, but not Spud Webb short. And without Clippers announcer Ralph Lawler making the call, his dunks might not be as impressive.
  • Jeremy Evans will finish 4th. Won it last year, but his closest challenger was Chase Budinger. I’m pretty sure John Lucas could beat Chase Budinger in a dunk contest.
  • Terrence Ross will finish 3rd. But his dunks will be beautiful. Some players just look good dunking. Vince Carter was one; give him a run-of-the-mill dunk, and he’ll make it look good. Something about Ross’ dunking motion is smoother than most players, and not many people outside of Toronto are familiar with his athleticism.
  • James White will finish 2nd, Gerald Green 1st. All eyes will be on these two, who competed in the 2010 Russian league dunk contest, cited by many as the best competition ever to take place outside of the United States. White will be framed as the journeyman, the dunking specialist who, at age 30, is taking his last shot at the spotlight. Green will be framed as the former champ (2007) who has bounced around internationally, and fought his way back to the top.

Never mind that Ross’ dunks will probably be nicer than White’s or Green’s. He will bow out early to give someone else a chance to shine. Because that’s what Raptors do.

Go get ’em, Terrence.

“But ref, my coach MADE me wear this!” (Photo: meganannwilson.com)

Tonight being Canadian Forces Night at the ACC, we’re bound to see the Raptors in their beautiful camo uniforms. Intended to honour Canada’s brave men and women, they’re more likely to bring to mind vegetarian diarrhea than bravery. I could go on about how hideous the outfits are, but I’ve done that before. Instead, I’ll take the constructive criticism route, and suggest some other ways the team could pay tribute to Canada’s military.

Option 1: Night Vision
  • How it works: All fans and players are provided with night vision goggles. The game is played with the lights out.
  • The twist: If a player gets a technical foul, they must play 2 minutes without their goggles.
  • Drawbacks: Potential for injury is high.
  • Benefits: Potential for hilarity very high. Also, vision enhancement for the referees might encourage better refereeing than the Raptors have seen recently.

 

Option 2: Landmines
  • How it works: The court is randomly rigged at the start of each quarter with low-grade explosives. By low grade, I mean not enough to cause physical injury, just enough to scare the crap out of the player who steps on it.
  • The twist: One land mine is filled with pizza. If triggered, the fans get a facefull of what they so desperately cheer for every night.
  • Drawbacks: Could lead to lots of turnovers, which the Raptors can ill-afford.
  • Benefits: Aaron Gray would finally not be the only guy who looks scared while running down the court.

 

Option 3: Air Strike
  • How it works: At random moments, the ball opens up, dropping five smaller balls onto the court, which are in play for 24 seconds only. Score a basket with one of the smaller balls in those 24 seconds, and it’s worth 10 points.
  • The twist: Miss a shot with the smaller ball, and it explodes.
  • Drawbacks: Mechanically complex.
  • Benefits: With extra balls on the court, Alan Anderson might be able to break the 50-shot attempt mark.

 

Option 4: March Off!
  • How it works: If the score is tied at the end of regulation, overtime becomes a 5-minute drum corps competition.
  • The twist: The competition is judged by Paula Abdul.
  • Drawbacks: Practising routines would be time-consuming.
  • Benefits: Overtime isn’t the Raptors’ strong suit, so they’d be up for trying it.

 

HAPPY FORCES NIGHT!

(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+

Over the holidays, the ghost of failures past visited Demar DeRozan to teach him the true meaning of Christmas. (Photo: bleacherreport.com)

Record:  10-20 (6-4 over the past 10)

Low point: December 10th vs. Portland: 5th straight loss. 11th straight road loss.  Bargnani and Lowry get hurt. Amir Johnson gets ejected. Portland sets an NBA record by going 0-for-20 from three-point land, but still wins by 18. 

High point: Bargnani and Lowry getting injured, allowing the rest of the guys to play like a team and win 5 games in a row for the first time since 1844.

Stuff I’ve Noticed:

  • Valanciunas has got hustle. He’s more energetic in warm-ups than most players are in the actual game.
  • Calderon’s bald spot is now visible from the upper bowl.
  • Once he’s no longer needed as Jonas’ translator, Linas Kleiza has got to go.
Memorable Quote:
“There’s been some slippage, clearly.”
-GM Bryan Colangelo exhibits interesting word choice while analyzing Toronto’s defensive focus.

Things were going great, until the 4th quarter hit the Raptors like…well, like this.

 

It was a promising start.

The new faces were contributing, Calderon was playing great off the bench, and the Dance Pack did a passable rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” before distributing candy to the impressively large opening-night crowd at the ACC.

Then came the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, and the 10-point lead the Raptors had built just moments earlier began to collapse like a home-made robot costume in the rain.

As I watched Bargnani’s last-second shot fall 30 feet short, and the buzzer sounded on a 90-88 Indiana victory, my mind started to wander. I started to imagine what the players on the 2012-2013 Raptor squad might have dressed up as for Halloween. Here are my conclusions.

Suggested Halloween Costumes for the 2012-2013 Raptors:
Player Costume Reason
 Kyle Lowry  Damon Stoudamire, circa 1996  Small, feisty, exciting. Made the Raptors backcourt fun to watch.
 DeMar Derozan  Hurricane Sandy  Expected to be a big deal for Toronto, ends up being extremely underwhelming.
 Jonas Valanciunas  A Tim Horton’s coffee  Double-double. Quickly beloved in Canada.
 Landry Fields  A Tim Horton’s donut  Matches his number of points.
 Amir Johnson  Rambo  Shoots far too much.
 Aaron Gray  The James Bond villain ‘Jaws’  He just kinda looks like him.
 Andrea Bargnani  Roberto Alomar  A tribute to the 1992 Blue Jays. And I really want to hear him say “catch the taste”.

 

In the end, it was fitting that this game was played on Halloween. No matter how much the organization has been hyping the improvements to the team, dressing them up as playoff contenders, it’s nice to know that underneath the disguise, they’re still our lovable Raptors, able to throw a game away in the dying minutes, and send the visiting team home with a nice Halloween treat.

You’re welcome, Indiana.

A new NBA season is almost upon us.

And in a tradition as charmingly Torontonian as bidding for (and losing) the Olympics, sports writers here are bursting with optimism at the prospect of a new campaign of Raptors basketball.

Well, maybe not bursting. But for the Raptor faithful, there are some good reasons to be hopeful this fall. Don’t laugh. It’s true.

Reason for optimism #1: Jonas is coming.

Skill? Check. Height? Check. Fashion sense? Hm…

In a headline straight outta 2006, the Raptors are hoping that a big man from Europe with loads of talent will have a positive effect on the team in the coming years. The anticipation around Valanca…Valcan……Valanaci…big V has grown all the larger since he missed what would have been his rookie season last year in Europe. The anticipation bubble will probably deflate quickly as he adjusts to the NBA game, but the consensus seems to be that this guy is (will be) good.

Reason for optimism #2: A legit point guard.

One of these guards was signed by the Raptors in the off-season. Can you guess which one?

Okay, so we didn’t manage to bribe Nash into playing here. But Kyle Lowry is solid, and after the parade of clowns we saw at PG last season, he might as well be Chris Paul. His perimeter defense, his scoring, his the-fact-that-he’s-not-Gary-Forbes-ness will all help.

Reason for optimism #3: We like Coach Casey.

Coach Casey, seen here giving a slow-clap after another ill-advised shot from Amir Johnson, was the main reason the Raptors won any games at all last year.

 A year of coaching the Raptors, and he hasn’t slit his wrists. That’s a plus. And let’s face it: he turned the team around last year. Well, maybe not all the way around, but he woke them up on defense and planted the seeds of success.

Reason for optimism #4: We’re not the worst franchise in North America.

“Remember”, Mom said, “there’s always someone who’s worse off than you.”

 A recent ESPN ranking of 122 sports teams on the continent places the Raptors at number 103, sandwiched firmly between the perennially mediocre Blue Jays (#79), and the belovedly horrible Maple Leafs (dead last at 122). It should be noted that the list does not include MLS, the continent’s soccer league, in which Toronto FC currently sits dead last.

In conclusion…?
Well, who’s to say what will happen over the next six months? The league is our oyster. This guy thinks the Raptors might make the playoffs this year. This guy puts them in the 7th seed.

Me? Well, I tend to stay conservative with my predictions. With that in mind, I’m forecasting the following:

  • The Raptors will finish 62-20, first place in the east. Bosh will be begging to come back, but Colangelo won’t return his phone calls.
  • Valanciunas will be the unanimous Rookie of the Year. He will pull down 18 rebounds per night and will be the toast of Toronto. He will get all the ladies, Bargnani will be jealous, and the two will come to fisticuffs in the middle of a game, prompting Bargnani’s trade to the Timberwolves.
  • Derozan will have a breakout season and put up 34.1 ppg through the all-star break, before a surprise marriage to a Kardashian and a subsequent messy divorce and downward spiral that will see him balloon to 270 pounds and disappear for a week-long bender in Niagara Falls.
  • Jose Calderon will win the dunk contest with a spectacular throw-down in which he does a backflip, followed by a barrel roll, followed by a mid-air high-five from Jerome Williams, who showed up because he thought he was still playing for the Raptors.

Go optimism! Go Raptors!