Last Stop Chicago

I have a kind of strange feeling today. To be honest since about December or January I knew this day was coming. Still the fact that the Raptors season is coming to an end tonight is a bit of a shock. It is not like it was not something that was obvious. When you don't make the playoffs the season ends when the schedule ends. So there is 48 minutes left in a Raptors Season that may have been the most forgettable and disappointing of all time. It would almost be fitting if this game was on TSN 2. However it is on The Score. As shocking as the Raptors season has been the fact that the Bulls are heading to the playoffs is perhaps just as much a shock to me. Derrick Rose has been as good as advertised and the Bulls after a season last year much like the Raptors season this year have turned it around. The Bulls were the team with all the expectations a couple seasons ago. Rumours of a Kobe Bryant trade and a bunch of players under performing players would lead to a free fall of the Bulls that no one saw coming. They were thought to be a contender in the East and had a bright future. This sounding familiar to anyone?

The Bulls season of misfortune would be rewarded with a draft lottery win. It was not like the Bulls were a favourite in that by any means. People tend to question the integrity of the NBA Draft Lottery. The ping pong balls tend to dance the way the NBA would like them to go. Patrick Ewing to the Knicks, Lebron James to the Cavs and Rose a kid from Chicago goes home last season. It may be a legit thing but the way the balls bounce make you wonder. This year with Blake Griffin as the top prize it would make sense for Oklahoma City to win the lotto if you believe the fix is in. The Thunder would not have the best odds to win but there odds would be much higher than The Bulls last year. The Raptors in case you were wondering Raptors sit 9th in the lottery standings. The wins down the stretch may have made the players feel good about themselves but it did little good for the Raptors Lottery spot. The Raptors odds would be less than 3%.

I would not expect Bryan Colangelo to pull a Bryan Burke and go out of his way to trade up and get the first pick. That being said if the Wizards win the lotto there has been some talk they may trade the first pick if they got it. Blake Griffin may be all world in college but on the NBA level he is not going to be able to do a lot of things he did in college. He in the assumed to be number 1 pick. Colangelo could perhaps move up in the draft I am just not thinking it would be to the top position. I think all options are on the table for the Raptors. They also have the right to in a sense buy a pick up to a worth a 3 million dollars, I think that was the number. It was part of one of the deals Colangelo made this year. So he could choose to draft not just one player but a couple. This is a draft that most consider weak and has lots of question marks. That for some may be bad news. However consider it as an opportunity. I say this because there are so many questions that some players may fall and you could easily find a diamond in the rough. The Raptors first key to turning this thing around will be to get the draft right. No mistakes can be made. Depending on the future of Bosh may influence the draft as well. Not just on the position the team might draft but on the type of player they draft as well. If Bosh stays the Raptors likely will be looking for the most NBA ready. Colangelo can not afford to draft a player like Bargnani that will take time to develop you would figure. But lots of time to talk about that as we move a long but that is a taste of the draft.

Speaking of which it hard to imagine this could be the last time we will see Bosh in a Raptors Jersey tonight. What is clear is that for some it will definitely be the end for some. At the top of that list for me would be Joey Graham. Graham has had an up and down time in Toronto and the downs have out numbered the ups and I see it as unlikely that he returns. Joey did have a decent year and honestly gave himself a shot at getting a contract after this season. The way he was going he may have been on the outside of the league looking in. So in that sense I am happy for Joey. It is not like I hate the guy. He is a good person it is just as a basketball player he frustrates me and I just have seen enough to say so long. That would mark the last piece of the Vince Carter trade to be gone from the Raptor roster. Graham was selected with a pick from that awful Carter trade made by Rob Babcock. You can guarantee that if Colangelo moves Bosh the deal he makes will be much better than that. Also you have Parker, Marion and Pops Mensah-Bonsu among a list of others that could stay or go.

So despite all of it. I will watch tonight and be a bit sad in the knowledge that this will be the last Raptor game I can watch till late October. Well there is summer league and pre-season. However the next one that means something will happen sometime around Halloween. Tonight's game may not mean a whole lot but if you have enjoyed any of these players in their time with the Raptors you owe it to yourself to watch. I think beyond Andrea Bargnani there is no locks to be on this roster next season. That is how bad this season went. Calderon and Bosh are not certain to be back. Bosh based on his contract is the more likely of those two players to move. However even Claderon could be in play for the right deal I think.

The long off-season begins tomorrow. But remember the Dino Nation Blog is a 12 month venture and it keeps going talking Raps, NBA and basketball in general. So if you need you B-Ball fix the Dino Nation Blog has you covered all year around.

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