Posts Tagged ‘Steve Nash’

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!

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“You weren’t seriously going to sign in Toronto, were you Steve?”

For a few dizzy weeks, it all made sense.

He’s Canadian. He just got that job as GM of Canada Basketball. He’s got the Colangelo connection. He’s not the type to put winning a championship ahead of helping to build a franchise.

And then, pesky old reality had to rear its ugly head. And if you know anything about reality, you know that it hits you hard. Nash has joined the storied LA Lakers, and suddenly, we feel a bit stupid for ever believing that Nash would come here.

The fact that the Raptors threw so much money at Nash just adds to the feeling that we’re the nerd who thought the cool kid would show up to his party:

    Nerd: Hey, so are you gonna come by this weekend?

    Cool Kid: Uh…yeah, sure, where is it again?

    Nerd: On Bay Street, right close to where you live. Jose and Andrea are bringing Settlers of Catan and some Bud Light Lime…It’s gonna be great! You should totally come!

    Cool Kid: Yeah, that sounds awesome…I’ve got this thing at Amare’s house that I have to swing by first, and I just got an email from Kobe that I should probably respond to…you know how it is, right?

    Nerd: Sounds like a yes to me! (*immediately calls friends and tweets excitedly that Steve is coming to his party*)

And so, the Nash-in-Toronto fairy tale ends before it even started, leaving us to ponder this quote by the Globe and Mail’s Jeff Blair: “If Canada’s top player doesn’t want to sign with Toronto, who would?”

Oh, and if you’re looking for a punchline, remember that the greatest Canadian basketball player in history turned down Canada’s only franchise to sign with an American team on…

…the 4th of July.

You’re welcome, Los Angeles.

Where Irony Happens

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

February 25th was “Basketball North Night” at the ACC in Toronto. During the game against the Phoenix Suns, several important figures in Canadian Basketball history were honoured on the big screen.

Meanwhile, on the court, Canadian Steve Nash became only the seventh player in NBA history to surpass 9000 assists, as the Suns cruised past the Raptors, 110-92. Nash was chosen 15th overall in the 1996 draft. The Raptors had the second pick that year, but rather than doing the patriotic thing and drafting a Canadian future MVP and Hall-of-Famer, they went with Marcus Camby. Nice.

Oh, and his first assist of the game? An alley-oop pass to…you guessed it…Vince Carter.