Make Your Child A Smart Baller

The Dino Nation Blog is mostly about the Toronto Raptors. But it is also about building the sport of basketball in Canada. That starts with the kids. I am not sure if I have mentioned this before, but I coached youth basketball here in Hamilton. I coached kids age 6-13 in a local house league at Blessed Sacrament where I attended grade school and played in the program myself. I think a lot can be gained by kids playing basketball beyond just a love of the sport.

I became aware of a program called "Smart Baller" that is a camp for kids (in Toronto Area) that helps not just learn basketball but academics as well. It is all for a reasonable price @ 20 dollars per session. Here are some details:

Session 1- July 6th to 17th

On court skills- dribbling, passing and shooting

In classroom- reading, writing, public speaking and life skills

Session 2- July 27th-31st

On court skills- Shooting camp ( All Levels and All Positions

In classroom- Math, number puzzles

Session 3- August 4-14th

On court skills- 2-person, 3-person and 4- person offensive play.

In classroom- Literacy, sports writing, Blogging

Session 4- August 17th-21st

On court skills- Offensive and defensive team play

In classroom- Reading, puzzles and Nutrition

I had a chance to talk with Jon Steinberg who runs this program and talk with him about it. Have a listen to our interview.

The program is run out of Earl Grey Senior Public School 100 Strathcona Ave. Earl Grey is located in Toronto, easily accessible by TTC @ Pape subway station. Here is a map to help you find the location. I think this is a good idea and if you have kids and are interest in the program for your kids check out the Smart Baller Website. So as I joked with Jon at the end of the interview who knows maybe your kid will be a Raptor someday. But more realistically perhaps it will inspire your child to want to learn, and love basketball and that is a great thing.

I am doing this blog just based on my belief that it was something worthwhile to do. I personally am not making one red cent. Anything I can do to help grow the game I am willing to do. I have known Jon casually through a shared love of basketball and the Raptors. I felt what he is doing is worthwhile and worth letting people know about. I felt it was something that I should make people aware of. Also this is in no way connected to The Score and is something I am doing on behalf of the Dino Nation Blog.

I take pride in this blog being something that young people can read. I do not have any kids of my own but care deeply about children and this is something that can help kids learn. Anything any of us can do for kids from Chris Bosh to a blogger like myself is a great thing. I saw this as something that if I had a child it would be something I would consider for them. So hopeful if you have a child or are a youngster ( with your mom or dad )it is something you will consider as well. Thanks to Jon for taking the time to come talk about his program here in the Dino Nation Blog.

12:01 AM Preview

Off the top a big congratulations to Eric Smith who is now a Dad. He and his wife brought a new son into the world and all the best to the both of them. I have mentioned many times how helpful Eric has been to me. I have no doubt he will make a great father and I am very happy for him.

Turning to basketball now some news late yesterday that Raptors tendered a qualifying offer to Pops Mensah-Bonsu. Just to clear up any confusion all this means is they retain his rights as a restricted free agent. The Raptors have done the same with Carlos Delfino as well who they have made no secret about wanting to re-sign. As for Pops it may not be the same type of deal. I have no doubt the Raptors have a number in mind when it comes to Pops and they will not go over it to match an other offer. They also can later take back or rescind the qualifying offer at any point. Same goes in terms of Delfino. But it does at least show an interest on the part of the Raptors to bring him back.

The Milwaukee Bucks did not do the same for Charlie Villianueva. They did not offer him a qualifying offer and he will now become a free agent tomorrow. The Bucks decided to offer Ramon Sessions qualifying offer and not Charlie. It probably seems unlikely that Charlie could return to Toronto. However Raptor fans for the most part would welcome him back with open arms. I personally just wish him all the best as he is one of the better people in this league. He does a lot of great things for charity and kids. So all the best for him on what likely will be his 3rd NBA team.

Last year the blog title on this day was who will Bryan Colangelo be talking to at midnight tonight? If you dream big here are 3 options for you.

Ron Artest- There was a time that Ron seemed a lock to return to the Rockets. Does the recent news that Yao Ming will miss all of next season and his career is in some doubt change that? I would think it is worth a phone call to find out. Colangelo has talked about making this team tougher and Ron Artest would do more than his fair share in that regard. The idea of Artest as a Raptor has been kicked around by myself and others for a long time. This may be the final shot at making that a reality.

Trevor Ariza- If there is anyone that I would overpay for to get this is the guy. Ariza did nothing but up his value in the Lakers run to a championship. It is a real shot in the dark to think he would bolt north of the border. But there are only so many teams that have money to spend. So if the Raptors really wanted to make a strong pitch money wise to him it is possible. I think Ariza still has upside and can grow so that is why he appeals to me.

Lamar Odom- Also likely not very realistic. However the Lakers challenge is how do they re-sign both? It may be difficult for them to do. So that would open the door for other teams to make a run at the one the Lakers do not end up choosing. You can make the argument that Odom might be the one left out in the cold.

Some other Options for that first call:

Shawn Marion- Colangelo has made it pretty clear he would be more than happy to re-sign Shawn Marion. It will be a question of dollars for the Raptors. It will likely be for Shwan as well. Can the two get together on a number that makes both happy? The market may hold the answer to that. But it makes sense that Colangelo checks in first with Marion and his agent first to see where that is at before he goes shopping elsewhere.

Hedo Turkoglu- If this man gets the first call and says 5 years and 50 million do you hang up? Maybe not hang up but you sure don't say done deal see you in Toronto for the presser. I think if you over paid for Hedo it would be a mistake. One of the biggest blunders made by Glen Grundwald was over paying for Alvin William, Jeromoe Williams and Antonio Davis. At the time Grunwald was praised but as time rolled on it would be a big part of his demise as G.M of the Raptors. I think if Hedo was signed, at the terms I have listed, that is what is said to be asking price you have a similar result. Fans would cheer in the short term but end up booing long before the deal was done.

Who is not getting a call at all?

Joey Graham it seems pretty clear is done as a Raptor. There has been almost no talk at all about him. It is with good reason as well. In his time here there have been many chances for Joey to prove himself and he has failed to establish himself. Will be interesting to see who actually will pick up the phone and call Joey. I have always thought OKC is a nice fit but we will see.

Raptors might get a busy signal when they call Anthony Parker. Teams like Boston and Cavs seem to have some interest as having Parker as a bench player. Where would you rather come off the bench if you were him? Raptors have made it clear should he remain he will have a roll likely coming off the bench. For a pure competitive situation it is much more attractive to do that in Boston or Cleveland. Parker does love Toronto but I am not sure if it is enough to pass a chance at a title with the for mentioned teams.


Expectations Could Exceed What B.C Can Do?

Bryan Colangelo has a nice life. A great job that pays well it is hard to feel sorry for him in a lot of ways. Still as I look to July 1st and everything getting rolling I kind of do feel sorry for him. All the big trades that happened out of the draft has only amped up the pressure on Bryan Colangelo. I think people expect him to make some kind of big splash that just is not possible. True the Raptors are only one of 5 teams with money to spend. The others being Memphis, Detroit, Atlanta and Oklahoma City.The one name that seems to get talked about the most, in terms of the Raptors is Hedo Turkoglu. It is said he wants 5 years @ 10 million a season. In an economy such as it is no way, no how, would I pay Hedo 10 million bucks and no chance in hell I am giving him 5 years. Both the years and the dollars are far to much for me.

The Orlando Magic where Hedo has come from have been able to over pay for both Lewis and Pietrus and make it work. But times are changing and with a new CBA on the horizon and an economy that suggests the cap number will drop not just this year but likely next as well. It says to me that teams need to think long and hard about the choices they make this year. There is also the 2010 free agent class to consider as well. The talent pool in that free agent class, promises to be one of the best ever. Bottom line if you sign Hedo to the deal he is looking for I think it is a mistake and one the team would benefit from in the short run but pay for in long run. Short term thinking is not going to fix this team.

Colangelo did say that based on all of his options he has 4 plans already in place for the offseason. I would imagine that 2 are tied to Shawn Marion. The plan if you are able to re-sign Shawn. Which Colangelo has seemed more confident about that than I would be. That being said B.C knows a lot more about what Marion might do than me. I still see it as doubtful in my mind. However Colangelo has said if he does not sign they can explore sign and trade options. That is something I do see as highly likely. Given the past relationship between Marion and Colangelo I could see Shawn being willing to help some what by being agreeable to a sign and trade.

I am sure there is a break in case of emergency Bosh trade plan. That being said my guess is it locked in a vault never to be seen unless absolutely necessary. I said on the radio in Montreal that I would be surprised if we do not see Bosh back for training camp in Toronto.

At the end of all of this Bryan Colangelo is trying to please his superstar and his fan base in the short term but he has to see the long term as well. Can Colangelo make the big splashes that everyone expects or hopes for? However more importantly can he do it in a responsible way that does not paint the Raptors into a corner that they will not be able to get out of. That is the real question that concerns me the most. As much as I want Chris Bosh to remain a Raptor. I do not want it to be done in a way that we make a ton of deals that make great sense in the short term and little to no sense in the long term.

Even though I am sure we have all had day dreams of wanting to be in Bryan Colangelo's shoes (nice as they would be ) and that we could fix all of this. Reality is that the answers are not simple and it is a tough job that Colangelo has with a lot of people with very different views and agendas looking at him for answers. I will just end this by wishing him luck cause I think he will need some to make everyone and happy. But more important position the Raptors to be better in both the short term and the long term.


Matt Devlin Post Draft In The Starting 5

It is just days away from Matt Devlin's 1st year with the Toronto Raptors. I have had the great pleasure to have him as a guest many times over that year. He is always willing to come on and talk with me here at the Dino Nation Blog and I am always happy to have him. I was hard at work on the Score.com and Matt was working just as hard at the ACC covering last night's NBA Draft. We talk about the newest Raptor Demar DeRozan selected at # 9 last night in NYC. We also talk about all the trades that went down in the last 48 hours or so. Along with some thoughts on Chris Bosh and Shawn Marion and their future with the Raptors. Matt Devlin was on route to the ACC for the Demar DeRozan press conference so he was on a cell so there is the odd issue audio wise. But it should not take away with your enjoyment of this interview hopefully. So with that said here is yours truly along with the T.V play by play voice of the Raptors Matt Devlin.

It is always great talking with Matt. I am not sure if I agree with him on the V.C Trade to Orlando. Here is my take on that over at The Hoop Doctors Website . Also as I am watching the press conference with Demar while posting this the talk of comparisons to Vince Carter were down played by both Colangelo and DeRozan. Demar also had much love to say about the city of Toronto really shooting down the stories that he may not have been happy coming here that surfaced in the build up to the draft. He also shot these down when he came to workout in Toronto. In closing I want to thank Matt once again and be probably the first to wish him a happy anniversary with the Raptors. He is always a welcome guest here at Dino Nation Blog.

Air Canada Flight 2 Now Boarding?

The man that became "Air Canada" Carter went home. Vince Carter was traded to Orlando hours prior to the draft in New York City. That was one of a number trades that would almost over shadow the draft. Shaq was traded to the Cavs in what amounts to a cash dump by the Suns. Crawford traded to the Hawks. It was an eventful day. The majority of Raptor fans were focused on the draft. Bryan Colangelo had given a list of 5 players that Raptors would likely pick at #9. By the time number 9 rolled around, there was only one of those players off the board(Jonny Flynn @6- To T-Wolves) which would leave James Johnson, Gearld Henderson, Jrue Holiday and Demar DeRozan. The Raptor fans had made it clear in large number who they wanted. Demar DeRozan of Compton, California and mad his way to USC.

There was talk on websites that DeRozan did not want to come to Canada. There was drama in if he was going to workout for the Raptors. When he finally did DeRozan told a much different story than what some had been reported. He compared Toronto to a mini NYC. Well in the real NYC David Stern would say the words "with the 9th pick the Toronto Raptors select Demar DeRozan". I was doing the live blog coverage of the draft for The Score and the place went NUTS!!! Toronto had got it's man. He has drawn comparison to Vince Carter. DeRozan would say he grew up watching Carter and is a fan. He would proclaim Via Twitter @Demar_DeRozan this tweet.

Toronto here I come. Air Canadas back."

So that was it welcome to Air Canada Flight 2. As much as people may still hate the old Vince that is heading back to Orlando. Vince in the early days was jaw dropping and amazing. DeRozan has a lot to live up to if he hopes to match what Vince did. But Toronto has a new 19 year old rock star and for now there is just happy feelings in Raptorland. Demar has the raw skills that maybe he can be V.C like. But even if he gets anywhere close it will be the closest thing to V.C we have seen since he left. However I am thinking that being a kid in Compton California and making it all the way to USC is a tough trip. To The NBA even tougher. So if you were to bet against him it likely would not be the first time it has happened I would imagine.

So get those #10 Jersey's because that is the number of Toronto's new hero Demar DeRozan. He is expected to be in town later today to meet with media and likely get to see more of his future new home. Here at Dino Nation Blog we will be talking to Matt Devlin and that should be up sometime today.


Last DNB Before The Draft

Things are going nuts as the draft keeps getting closer. I want to try to have some calm sanity as we get ready for draft night. There are people, myself including all making judgements on these players that make up this draft class. Examining what we like and don't like about players. pretty much putting them under a microscope. There is nothing wrong with that, it is what people are paid to do. However, I just want to stop and hit the pause button for this final moment before the draft. As much as we may like or dislike a given player, for all players that hear there name called it is a special moment. I think that gets lost in the shuffle some times. When in years past we have had Stephen A Smith losing his mind and ripping people at an alarming rate. Dick Vital is the same going off on NBA teams that draft any guy from Europe. It is fine to evaluate and have an opinion. However is it so much to give it 15 seconds to let a kid have his moment before you bury his career for dead?

For most guys in this draft it has been a lifetime of playing and loving a sport that has lead to this moment. There is the odd exception like a Hasheem Thabeet that comes to the game late in life. But even those are special stories as well. Just the fact of 60 dreams being realized is entertaining in and of itself. We do not need the ranting idiots like Stephen A Smith to add fake drama do we? Well actually Stephen A Smith won't be there. He will not be snacking on cheese doodles. Can't say I will miss him. Now if we could some how eliminate Dick Vital we would be making progress. I love the guys passion for the NCAA but he has a clear bias that comes out every year. Love the his passion but leave him off the NBA draft.

Tell me more about these kids as people instead of taking the time to tell me why he is going to be a complete bust.There is still lots of time between picks to do that. But would it be so bad to use an extra 30-45 seconds of talking to these kids. After all this is the biggest moment in their lives to this point professionally.To often in this modern sports world it is all about breaking down people and not enough about building them up. I want to see fresh young faces that still have that star eyed look and may one day become a star. Do we not get enough of people talking about the draft prior to it?

I guess the point to all of this is to say, when you are watching the draft, even if it is for 5 seconds think how life changing a moment it is for every person you see. There are a lot of crappy reality shows on television. The draft is real and the people who lives change are as well. They will have entire careers to be evaluated and judged. But on this day I want to see a bit more of the magic of the moment and a bit less of the talking heads.

So whoever that newest Raptor will be. Understand that for him it is the greatest moment of his basketball life. Even if it is not the guy you want to be picked. Besides there have been times when picks were not loved by fans and worked out well. Damon Stoudamire was booed in Toronto and he went and won rookie of the year. He said on draft night he would turn those boos to cheers and he did that. ESPN just destroyed Charlie Villianuva and he ended up the second best player in his class according to ROY voting. There is always going to be the busts like the Hoffas. However still do you think he really lost? He got paid and made an amount of money that if he handles it right could set him up for a long time. That is what the great thing is of the draft that it can change people's lives for the better.So Bust or All Star is to be determined but the impact on lives is certain.

Just thought this was a good thing to write prior to the draft and perhaps add a bit of perspective to all of this. You are all welcome to come join us on The Score.com for are liveblog @ 7pm as I will be hosting with Scott Carefoot and we will have Holly MacKenzie at the draft tweet for us live from NYC. It should be a good part. I will add the direct link later but if you don't see that posted just go to www.thescore.com and click on liveblogs and you should find the blog listed and just click on it and it is as simple as that. I am going to be there to the end at midnight. Scott will be there for the first round. I guess he is the David Stern of our show. But it is going to be fun and I have been looking forward to this for awhile. So it would be great if you would like to share your draft night and be part of our draft party on the score.com

That is all for me till after the draft. I likely will still do the odd tweet. Because I am rapidly becoming a Twitter addict. You can follow me @dinonationblog on Twitter if you miss me in between blogs.

Direct Link To Live Blog of NBA Draft On The Score.com 7-12pm

Dino Blogger On Score.Com Draft Night

Just a short announcement. I told you that I was going to be somewhere on draft night online. Well I can now confirm that I will be doing NBA Draft Live Blog on The Score.com . Come Join myself, Scott Carefoot of Raptorblog and The Score along with Tweets from at the draft in NYC from Holly Mackenzie From The Score Court Surfing Blog and Slam. I can't think of 2 better people to hang out with on Draft night. That is aside from all of you the loyal readers of the Dino Nation Blog. We hope to give you all the info and fun you need for to make your draft night a fun one. Based on what has gone on the last few days the NBA teams are doing their part to make it exciting.

So the fun gets started @7pm est.

Go to http://liveblogs.thescore.com

I will have a direct link to the blog tomorrow and post it here and on my Twitter account @dinonationblog

So I am going to be busy getting prepared to be a good host. I am going to be there till the last pick is made. So feel free to come join me and make the Dino Blogger part of your draft night. Bring your opinions and excitement and let's have on heck of an online draft party.

If you have any draft comments or questions leave a comment here and as I am working on my draft prep I will chime in with an opinion or answer.


B.C Speaks, We Listen And Trades Happen

Why wait for tomorrow when you can do it tonight? Right? So 1,2 and 3 trades go down. But first this is the Dino Nation Blog and Bryan Colangelo was front and center for the media today. Colangelo has always been a pretty straight shooter and today was no exception. So what did we learn? From the mouth of B.C barring something totally unforeseen the next Raptor will be one of 5 guys.

Jrue Holiday (UCLA) - Expected back for a second look prior to Thursday. Just my take they are trying to convince themselves he is better than Jonny Flynn. But I am here to say no way. Size may matter but heart matters more. That being said Eric Smith in his chat today was high on him and thinks Raps are as well.

Demar DeRozan (USC)- Let's call him the people's choice. I remember another people's choice. Ed O'Bannon. Not saying Demar DeRozan is going to have that awful a career. Let's all hope so if the Raps to take him. But I am not digging this private workout against no one. I am just not digging when people say Vince Carter and this guy in the same sentence. They mean in potential talent not in attitude. I have been told and read he is a tremendous kid and I have no doubt of that. But 19 with upside is not making me get as excited as everyone else. But he could indeed be the top guy on the board for the Raps at 9.

Gearld Henderson (Duke)- Love the player hate the school. I have seen him play and I like what he can do. If I am endorsing anyone that played for Duke they have to be good. Henderson just seems to me a guy that I can trust is going to be good. I am more confident in what I am getting in him than I am convinced in what exactly I get in DeRozan. Here is something to chew on. Henderson is more ready now to play in NBA. Where have I heard that before? Brandon Roy was the most draft ready and some guy named Bargnani was drafted for his upside. Just something to think about when you compare DeRozan and Henderson. The gap in Mock drafts may make it look like these players are not close at all. But reality is that I think they are.

James Johnson (Wake Forest)- B .C likes this guy. At least he keeps saying his name. But I am not sold on this guy. He does have a black belt so please don't hurt me. He does seem like a guy that would help on defensive side of the ball. But I just don't see it even though draft express has replaced him as the Raptors pick instead of DeRozan. Seems I am not the only one not as high on DeRozan as he has be on a steady decline and now sits at #11 on their draft board going to play with the Nets and if he is V.C like he would get to see the real V.C or what is left of him.

Jonny Flynn (Syracuse)- I am putting my one year streak of being right on the Raptors draft choice on the line with Jonny Flynn. If you read this blog on a regular basis you know how much I think of the point guard position and it's importance. I also like small scrappy guys like T.J Ford, Rajon Rondo, D.J Augustine and my new fav Aaron Brooks. Jonny Flynn is an athletic freak of nature despite his lack of size. The only thing bigger might be this kid's heart. To but that type of player in a gym with Alvin Williams...OH I LIKE IT AND I LIKE IT A LOT. Jonny Flynn is going to be not just good but great. In a point guard heavy draft I am convinced that he will be in the debate for the best in this class at the point. I am more willing to bet on Jonny than Roko and after last season I am not willing to go into another season without a legit back-up. Jonny Flynn is more than legit and if Roko does turn out ok...can you say trade Jose? It could happen. But regardless of that Flynn is a guy I trust if Calderon goes down like last year. The kid flat out wants to win and he showed you that in the NCAA post season at the Big East Tournament and the NCAA Tournament. There was a tiny point guard named Damon Stoudamire that Raptors fans booed. He turned out to be rookie of the year. Don't make the mistake of booing Jonny Flynn. He will make you sorry for doing it. Trust me.

More on what Bryan had to say tomorrow. But on to the deals....

On To the Trades

To The Spurs- Richard Jefferson

Can't stand the guy and trust me this is not the answer to save the Spurs. Jefferson has done NOTHING since Jason Kidd left Jersey. I admit that I have never liked R.J even before he insulted Toronto fans in the playoff series with the Nets. I think he has been an under achiever for the majority of his career. Over hyped and not as good as everyone says he is.

To The Bucks- Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas and Fabricio Oberto (For a few hours)

Said to be a cap move for the Bucks. But they add some toughness and I actually like this deal for the Bucks. At least I did when they were keeping Oberto. But as you will see he was not a Buck for long.

To The Pistons- Fabricio Oberto

Minor move but I like it for Pistons.

To The Bucks- Amir Johnson

saving money seems to be a theme for the Bucks.

To The Wizards- Randy Foye and Mike Miller

Interesting not sure what to make of it but Miller could be a nice fit and add some 3 point shooting pop. Foye will never be Roy and a fresh start can only do him good.

To The T-Wolves- Etan Thomas, Oleksiy Pecherov and Darius Songaila and the fifth overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft

Why main question is why did the T-Wolves feel the need to move up. What does this mean for their other picks in the draft? All solid questions. On the players they take back minus the draft choice I don't like the trade but add the pick and we will see.

So it is almost Midnight do you know where your favourite NBA Star is? He might not be there in the morning. The moves and trades are starting to heat up getting ready for Thursday. So hope you enjoyed this special late edition of the blog.

NBA Draft Idol

I am not sure how many times Chris Bosh has been mentioned in the Dino Nation Blog. I am thinking it is a lot. That is why I was sad yesterday to learn Kelly Clarkson has likely never read the Dino Nation Blog. She was on Much Music yesterday after Bosh had appeared on the show earlier. Now the fact that both Clarkson and Bosh are from Texas I thought the two might have got to know each other the night before at the awards. Guess not, because when Clarkson came on the V.J dude who I have no idea who he is, was talking about Bosh. Clarkson interjects that she has no idea who Chris Bosh is. I guess that just proves that as famous as anyone thinks they might be it is all relative. So if Kelly wants to learn about Chris hopefully she reads the DNB. I just found this to be really funny and a cute way to kick things off today with nothing to do about the draft.

I am no American Idol, not a multi time NBA All Star either. But the growth of the Dino Nation Blog is always humbling to me. The fact I have more than 400 followers on Twitter( @dinonationblog ) is something. I work very hard at what I am doing and it is great that I get so many folks that take the time to say they enjoy the Dino Nation Blog. That is one of the reasons I am always working hard to make the Dino Nation Blog bigger and better each day. I have some big plans for this off-season for the DNB. I hope they all come together. When they become closer to reality I will share with you what to expect. So even thought Kelly Clarkson may not know who I am and lots of others. I am happy and humbled at just how many people do. It really is a thrill when I talk with anyone that knows the blog and enjoys it.

As for the draft on Thursday really is there anything left that I have not said or anyone else has not said at this point? If the Raptors do not draft Demar Derozan or Jonny Flynn at this point it would be a shock to me and to many I would imagine. But anything can happen on a draft night and changes can alter not just the Raptors plans but anyone in the draft. I have been convinced that if the Raptors do not walk away from this draft with 2 players it will be a failure. At least in my eyes.

The real problem in this draft is I don't think there is one franchise player in the draft. Not even Blake Griffin to me will end up being a franchise player. Not that he can not be the best player on a bad team. But that is not a franchise player is it? It makes me wonder just what people are thinking when they talk about trading Bosh right now. O.K so you do that. Who is your franchise player? You think you are getting one back in the trade give your head a shake. So who is it? Not Jose Calderon. He may be a solid player but he has yet to establish himself as a starter in some ways. He has never establish much in terms of success as a leader. If your answer is Andrea Bargnani. I will need to see it to believe it. I fear that the day Bosh is traded Andrea Bargnani will have attention shift to him and cave to that pressure. When Vince Carter was traded Bosh was not even fully ready to be the franchise player. If he wasn't how on earth can anyone think Andrea is?

But what this draft can offer the Raptors is 2 options to fill spots on a team that lacked talent on the bench and had a glaring lack of depth. Had someone leave a comment yesterday that is would be a mistake for the Raptors to draft Jonny Flynn. That is not true unless you believe that Roko Ukic or Marcus Banks can be your back up point guard. Anyone think that? I will but Jonny Flynn against either option and he will school both. Let's not forget that the draft is just a part of an overall puzzle. There is no reason to think that if Flynn is not drafted other moves would not follow.

Details still to come but I can guarantee you that I will be liveblogging for the NBA Draft. So plan to hang out with the Dino Blogger for your NBA Draft when I have the details to share I will post them in the blog and elsewhere. Just 2 more days to answers.


3 More Sleeps To Draft Night.

So much talk and speculation in the air. The NBA draft goes down this Thursday and all those Mock Drafts can be thrown out and the REAL DRAFT BOARD takes center stage. Shockingly last night no one on the MMVA's asked Bosh about his thoughts on the draft. O.K maybe it isn't so shocking. If George Stroumboulopoulos still worked for Much he would have asked. I could go on and on about how much that the MMVA's left me feeling old and less than entertained. I liked Kelly Clarkson and they should have cancelled the show American Idol once she won the first show. But this is a basketball blog not some gossip rag like Perez Hilton does. How does a guy like that get popular and tell others what is cool? If that is what determines if you are cool the Dino Blogger will pass on being cool. Although the NBA Draft process is not full of rumours and gossip. But if people expect Chris Bosh to have his name mentioned on draft night as part of a trade you will be sad and disappointed much like a little girl who did not get to touch her favourite Jonas Brother. Bosh is not getting traded on draft night. I will gladly but my streak of predicting things correct on the line.

Also, when you consider all the promotional work Bosh has being doing lately in Toronto. Can anyone seriously say that Bosh hates the city? He could stay home in Texas and not come back to Toronto until training camp for the most part. In fact lots of NBA players really do like the city. Playing for the Raptors and how folks feel about the city are not as connected as people like to believe. Demar DeRozan has been the latest who had been tagged with this anti Toronto and anti Canada label. DeRozan when he did finally workout for the Raptors said he loved the city. What concerns me far more from his thoughts on Toronto is the fact he worked out solo. I would much rather have seen him do a traditional workout against others. Unfortunately that did not happen. That likely has more to do with DeRozan's agent and not the kid himself. Agents have a lot to gain or lose on draft night just as much as the players they represent. In the way that NBA is set up the lower the player goes the less money they make. So some agents go out of their way to protect their clients from being exposed. But just in trying to avoid that sometimes that costs them just the same.

Jonny Flynn on the other hand is on the rise with most people as DeRozan and his stock for some is dropping. It is hard to find anything bad to say about Jonny Flynn. He is a small point guard that can jump out of a gym. He is a much better defender than he is given credit for. You can blame the school he played college ball for that. Syracuse using the zone as the primary defense has left many an NBA scout wonder what kind of defenders players from Syracuse can be on the next level. Joey Graham was thought to be a good defender coming out of college but playing in mostly zone at Oklahoma State perhaps helped that reputation live. The obvious issue for Flynn would be his size. However there have been a number of smaller guards to hit the league that have made that risk seem a lot less.

There has also been talk that Flynn could end up replacing what the Raptors traded away last year in T.J Ford. In terms of defense Jack Armstrong said Flynn in his opinion will be better defender than Ford. I think it is pretty common knowledge that I am a T.J Ford fan. However I agree that T.J could be a much better defender than he shows. I would also agree that Flynn is going to be more Rajon Rondo like in terms on defense. If both Flynn and DeRozan are on the board I am taking Jonny Flynn. But would Bryan Colangelo is the real question.

The worst case for the Raptors would be if both Flynn and DeRozan were gone. What happens if that is the case? Well if it is that may mean that a couple of guys have fallen down the draft board. Who are they? Could be Tyreke Evans and Stephen Curry. Long before a lot of Raptor fans knew who Demar DeRozan was, Curry was the people's choice. His dad Dell a former Raptor and it seemed like a logical fit. To the best of my knowledge Curry has not worked out for the Raptors and I would expect at this late hour is not going to be. I think the major concern for Curry is defense. The two most likely teams that could hide that weakness would be the Warriors and the Knicks. Now take it for what it is worth because believe it or not people tend to lie as the draft gets closer. I know that is shocking isn't it. However the talk is the Knicks have not been in love with Curry as much as they once were. Evans has been the name I would hear tied to Derozan. Some were for Evans and others were for DeRozan. Evans is a combo guard out of Memphis and if the Raptors drafted him he most likely plays the 2. This may not be fair but when you consider all the questions the surround the Memphis program you might have some concerns about Evans. Draft Express also lists in terms of weak points his decision making and 3 point shooting.

Aside from those two player you have Jrue Holiday out of UCLA. Another combo guard that the Raptors would likely be looking to play at the 2. I personally watched a few UCLA games this year and to be honest was not blown away by him. He is said to have good defensive skills. However when I read not ready to contribute right away and limited upside that scares the heck out of me. The Pac-10 had a pretty down year overall. Which is something to consider not just with Holiday but DeRozan as well.

If you want to throw a complete wild card into the mix how about DeJaun Blair from Pitt. He much like Glen "Big Baby" Davis has lost a ton of weight since we last saw him on the floor. Davis when I first saw him in summer league for the Celtics I was truly shocked. Same reaction will be when some people see Blair. However being so undersized in terms of height I do not know if he can be effective on the next level. I can not see him ever playing at 3 and he is to small to play 4. In today's NBA I think you would need to be the second coming of Charles Barkley to be effective at the size. I don't see Blair as that. He does have a good sense of humour like Barkley though.

There is also the whole idea of teams trading up and down. That will make some Mock drafts not worth the page they are printed on. Oh the fun of it all. Bottom line is no matter how much you read or study you still will have to show up on Thursday night to know what truly is going to happen. That is what makes the draft so great. About the only thing we think he know is that Blake Griffin will be picked first by the Clippers. But maybe that is not even a lock. So as the title says 3 more sleeps to answers.


Change Is Not Easy

First off Happy Father's Day. To be honest, I lost my father and for folks in my position, this day has mixed emotions. I have mentioned my father a few times in this blog. He was not much of a basketball fan. But he did have a passion and love for sports. If he was alive today he would be glued to his T.V watching Mike Wier try to win a U.S Open. The lesson that I have always taken with me from my father is to be grateful for all that comes my way. I get to interview people and have had a chance to take my love of sports and try to make a career out of it. So it has always made me grateful for anything that comes from that. He living in Hamilton and working at Dafasco was a big Ti-Cat fan. I had the chance to cover some Cat games and go in the press box. Covering the CFL may for some not seem like a huge deal. But being in that press box at Ivor Wynne was a place I am sure my dad would have loved to have been. So I consider all that I do a privilege. It takes a lot of ego to work in the media on any level. But the lesson in that story I just told is what will always keeps me humble and grounded. So for anyone that is in my spot on this day, I hope you can have memories and remembrances that you can keep with you like that. Also, if you still are lucky enough to have your father be grateful for that everyday and not just today. Trust me in saying there are lots of folks that would trade to be in your shoes and have a father to talk with and enjoy. I am not sure what my dad would think about what I do. I would hope, that he would be proud and happy about all that I have done. I know this much the Dino Nation Blog would have a few more hits each day because my dad would likely tell everyone he knew to come on the site.

You always hear the expression that these are not you father's (Insert Team Name). Like everything in life sports teams change. Sometimes for the better and sometimes not so much. Raptors made a major change last year that would rank in the not so much category. So here we sit on the verge of change again. Some has already happened in moving Jason Kapono for Reggie Evans. Change is something that is easy to sell in hard times. Obama became President on a message of change and hope. Those two words just go naturally together. The reasons you make change is to provide a new and better outlook on things.

But not all change is good change. Chris Bosh being traded would rank in that for me. Some people may think so but it has been said in this blog many times how much I disagree with that. In fact if Bosh is traded I think it will be a loss of hope for the near future for a great deal of Raptor fans. Trading Bosh is never going to result in a deal that will match the level of player he is. People are always so quick to focus on what is wrong with Chris Bosh and they forget far to fast all the things that are right. If you are expecting to Bosh to be a Kobe, Lebron or D-Wade you will never be happy with the guy. However he has shown that at his own position on the floor he can be ranked up with the very best at his position. He is a 4 time all star and you could even make the argument that early in his career he deserved another. The constant number of Bosh rumours will continue and it does not mean much of anything. Lots of times these rumours that pop up are nothing more than test balloons to see what the reaction might be. Like say Golden State has interest in Bosh as that was the latest rumour I can remember off the top of my head. Why not put a story out that suggests a trade and see what happens. Have the Raptors and Warriors talked? I am sure they have but just as sure as I am that Raptors have talked to many teams. There is no way to truly know what gets talked about unless someone tells us. That does not happen much if NBA G.M's want to have a solid relationship with other teams. So you get these stories leaked from sources with in the organization. Every once in awhile one of these stories will be proven to be true. But just because you read something on the internet, in a newspaper or even on T.V or Radio you hear it. That does not mean anything beyond speculation 95% of the time. So as this summer rolls along keep that in mind. My speculation is that Chris Bosh will remain a Raptor and be in training camp this year. I have no sources to confirm this, it is just a general sense that I get.

Change in life can be a painful process. Wayne and Garth in Wayne's World said that they fear change. I am with them on that. Change is always a scary thing. That is why you need to have that hope to go along with it. Because without hope and faith that the change will make things better you have nothing. However to just state you want change is not enough. It takes a ton of work to make that change happen. Be it changing a country like Obama or just changing ourselves it is never easy. It takes intelligence, dedication, drive and the odd lucky break never hurts. Bryan Colangelo I think has all of those qualities to do the job. What he will turn this Raptor team into over the summer is going to be very interesting. The next part of putting that puzzle together happens this Thursday with the draft. I fully expect and yes hope that the Raptors are going to walk away from the draft with 2 first round picks.

I am not sure if this is the debate in the Raptors war room but it seems in the fan base and media it is down to two guys. Demar DeRozan or Jonny Flynn. Derozan is the favourite of most. The Raptors desperate need for a wing player and DeRozan have the athletic finishing ability that Raptors have not had since flight 15 headed to New Jersey. Flynn is a tough guy that would also fill a glaring need in back up point guard. Jose Calderon has proven that even though he is a starter worthy player that playing extended is not something his body can handle. Flynn is more or less a T.J Ford like replacement. Not in terms of personality but in terms of offering a dramatic change of pace. But be it DeRozan or Flynn the Raptors have more than one need to get back on track. That is why the 3 million or so dollars they acquired in cash considerations will be vital and will allow them to buy a 2nd 1st round pick. Honestly this MUST happen in my view. So I am planning based on it happening. There are 2 combos that I like a lot for the Raptors based on picking DeRozan or Flynn.

The DeRozan Option:

Raptors select at 9- Demar DeRozan (USC)
They acquire a pick in range of 25-30 and draft Pat Mills ( St. Mary's)

This gets the Raptors the best option they can hope for at the wing staying a 9. It also gets you a point guard in Pat Mills that in other drafts would be at the top of the class in terms of point guards. This draft has depth at the point guard position and it would be a crime if the Raptors did not take advantage of that. Mills is an Aussie like Nathan Jawai. In fact they are good friends. So in addition to getting a point guard that scouts loved at the Olympics and got praise from Chris Paul in playing against him twice. They also bring in someone that may add a level of comfort for Jawai and help in his development from a mental point of view. In the past Raptors had Jose and Garbo from Spain. Why not have a couple young Aussies to team up on the roster.

The Flynn Option:

Raptors Select at 9- Jonny Flynn ( Syracuse )
They acquire a pick in the 18-23 range and select Sam Young (Pitt)

Bryan Colangelo stated this team needs to get tougher. If you thought he was joking the trade for Reggie Evans should make you a believer he was not. Flynn despite is small size is a warrior in the way a guy like an Allen Iverson is. Not to say he plays anything like Iverson in terms of game. But in terms of heart and desire. Just look to the game the eliminated Syracuse from the NCAA Tournament for your proof. Young is part of a very tough team out of Pitt and he would offer a different answer to the wing problem than Derozan. But that does not mean it would not be a good one. If Colangelo pulled off this 2 some he again makes another statement to how this Raptor team is getting tougher and meaner. The idea of an Alvin Williams working with a talent like Jonny Flynn is something to be excited about.

At the end of the day, if Raptors can pull off one or the other it will address 2 big needs for this team. I have mentioned in talking with folks about this draft what Miami was able to do last year. They added Beasley and Chalmers and they became rotation players right away. I think that if you can do the same if you are the Raptors this year you can be very happy with things.

So once again Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Also for those without a father on this day my thoughts and prayers go out to you. But be it Mother's Day, Father's Day or Flag Day. Do not just leave it to the holidays on a calender to show the people you care about that you love them and they matter to you. We never know how long any of us will be here. Do not forget to do it or you may live with regret for the rest of your days. We all share a love of basketball but as human beings we all share some other things as well. The ability to love and be loved. Love in and of itself is the biggest risk of all. So if you love someone be it your Dad, Mom, Wife, Kids or anyone else. Always let them know it every chance you get.


NBA Consensus Mock Draft

This is not going to be a long post. But I noticed on NBA.Com they came out with the Consensus Picks from 12 of the Major Mock Drafts. So here they are the most common picks at the various positions. Also note this is as of June 17th.

1.LACBlake Griffin (12)

2.MEMHasheem Thabeet (6)

3.OKCHasheem Thabeet, Ricky Rubio (5)

4.SACRicky Rubio (3)

5.WASJames Harden (6)

6.MINTyreke Evans (3)

7.GSWTyreke Evans (4)

8.NYKStephen Curry (4)
9.TORDemar DeRozan (8)
10.MILJonny Flynn (5)
11.NJNDeJuan Blair (5)
12.CHAGerald Henderson (4)
13.INDJonny Flynn (3)
14.PHXEarl Clark (3)

The number in (-) is the number of Mock Drafts that had him in that position. You will note that Demar DeRozan other than Blake Griffin has toe most drafts having him head to Toronto( 8 out 12 ). Here is the Consensus picks based on a point system with the number pick getting 14 points and the 14th pick getting 1.
1- Blake Griffin (Oaklahoma)

2- Ricky Rubio (Spain)

3- Hasheem Thabeet (UConn)

4- James Harden (Arizona St)

5- Jordan Hill ( Arizona )

6- Tyreke Evans (Memphis)

7- Demar DeRozan (USC)

8- Stephen Curry (Davidson)

9- Jrue Holiday (UCLA)

10- Brandon Jennings (Roma-Italy)

11- Jonny Flynn (Syracuse)

12- DeJaun Blair (Pitt)

13- Gerald Henderson (Duke)

14- Earl Clark (Louisville)

Also I wanted to include the Mock Draft from the guys as The Hoops Doctors.

Hoops Doctors Mock Draft

Here is a link to the NBA.Com Mock Draft article where this info came from. Just some more info and opinions to consider prior to Thursday.


Make it 7 Day- Basketball Editon

Today in Hamilton they are having a huge rally about this whole hockey team mess. I was on Fan 590 this week on Game Plan and suggested I'd rather of a NBDL franchise than an NHL one. Not that I am against my home town getting a hockey team. Just that living here all of my life I have come to doubt it would ever happen. I also have grown to be sick of the media and it's attempt to make Hockey the be all and end all in sports. If there ever is a make it 2 day in Vancouver I would be more likely to hop a plane and go to Vancouver for that than to hope in a car and drive to downtown Hamilton today. Also beyond it being make it 7 day it is The Score's Cabrel Richards aka Cabbie's Birthday. No idea how old he is but he has a child like nature that makes him who he is. So Happy Birthday to him. So in honour of Make it 7 day I have a bunch of lists of 7 for your pleasure today. We had a blog earlier this week brought to you by the letter D. Well today it is lucky 7's.

NBA Draft 7

1. L.A Clippers will select Blake Griffin
2. Memphis will select James Harden
3. OKC will select Haseem Thabeet
4. Scaramento will select Ricky Rubio
5. Washington will select Jordan Hill
6. Minnesota will select Tyreke Evans
7. Golden State will select Demar DeRozan ( OH NO Raptors Fans)

and a bonus pick at 9 your Toronto Raptors select...

Jonny Flynn

It is Friday as well. People who are on Twitter know that as Follow Friday. So I will give a little Follow Friday love here at the Dino Nation Blog with my 7 favourite twitter folks. I can not include myself but if you want to follow me it is @dinonationblog. Now on to my list.

7. @chrisbosh- CB4
6. @Rapsfan- One of the crew from Raptors Republic
5. @ JustinRWalsh- Recent guest in Dino Nation Blog
4- @NBATVAndre- Andre Aldridge of NBA T.V
3- @ Eric__Smith- Raptors own Eric Smith from @fan590
2- @jeskeets & @Tasmelas- Put these two together as they are together on The Basketball Jones
1-@stackmack- The lovely and Talented Holly Mackenzie of The Score Court Surfing and Slam

Honourable Mention to- @Nat77- Heels on Hardwood, @raps_fan- girl who loves basketball, @scottcarefoot- Raptor Blog and A guy I owe a ton too, @tj_ford- My Fav PG no matter what, and lots more should be on this list. But that will have to do.

To close out this list of 7's, Draft Express had a ton of interviews up on there site and You Tube. I watched a ton of them yesterday and here are 7 that stood out. They are in no particular order. Most come for the combine held in Chicago in late May.

DeJaun Blair (Projected 13th pick on Draft Express)

Pat Mills ( Projected 31st pick on Draft Express )

Stephen Curry ( Projected 7th pick on Draft Express )

Gerald Henderson ( Projected 12th pick on Draft Express )

Hassem Thabeet ( Projected 3rd pick on Draft Express )

Demar Derozan ( Projected 9th pick on Draft Express )

Jonny Flynn ( Projected 10th pick on Draft Express )

So that does it for me today. If the mood hits I may write something on the weekend but if not see you all Monday and enjoy your weekend. If you want to see more of these interviews head over to Draft Express I consider it the best draft site out there.


7 Days to NBA Draft

So the draft is a week from today and this promises to be one of the most interesting in recent memory. It is a draft class that offers on surface no franchise players. In fact it may even offer few starters when you get down to it. In the back drop of a bad economy some teams may just be searching for a way out of this first round at all cost. When you consider, you are forced to offer a guaranteed contract and a cap that is heading down and not up, you may not want to offer that. To have a rookie that is a bust in this time in the history of the league may cost more than ever. Not just the fact that you may miss on a good player but the fact that your stuck paying the bad one. The higher the pick the more the risk with a higher contract number.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I think the whole concept of cap space and what it will mean for teams is changing. If you believe in that concept and the fact that cap room and cap management are going to become vital over the next few years, than the draft and how you spend cap on rookie contracts becomes important. Those mistakes made by teams picking in lottery positions are the most costly. Just like individuals in this tough economy can not afford to waste money. Same applies for your favourite NBA team.

This makes those people teams have in the area of scouting all the more important as well. Someone(on Twitter) brought up the point of Jim Kelly and his being with the Raptors for a long time. Kelly has remained through a number of changes in management and still been part of the scouting department. You can make the case that the Raptors success in the draft has been limited at best. So for Kelly and people around the league in similar positions it is white knuckle time. I am not convinced that teams can afford to make mistakes and not make changes if they are not getting results. Especially with those first round picks. Raptors have never had a great deal of success in round 2. Roko Ukic and Nathan Jawai are second round picks that are on the roster that still have yet to determine if they can change that poor track record. Teams that can find diamonds in the rough in that 2nd round will be even more important as well in terms cap management. Picking in the draft is not a science and it is hard to project what anyone will be in 5 years. I mean we have all heard that job interview question where do you see your self in 5 years or 10 years. Well imagine if it was your job to answer that question for others that you do not know to any great degree. Sure you can do research and homework but still. That is in some respect what scouts and teams are asked to do. It is there job to be right on these projections. Not an easy way to make a living.

It will be all of those people like Jim Kelly, huddled in that draft war room trying to advise their G.M's what his best move is. As hard as this process may be some teams do it very well. The San Antonio Spurs have had some major success with late picks in the first round. They also had some fantastic luck at the right time winning the draft lottery to draft Tim Ducan a can't miss first pick. Do the Clippers feel that Blake Griffin is that? A week from now we will find out if they do. The one thing that you can almost be certain if a team has a bad history like the Clippers you can trace that lack of success back to the draft. When you look at the Raptors draft history it is pretty ugly. Despite having 2 rookie of the year winners and a 4 time all-star in Bosh beyond that there has not been many success stories. Marcus Camby was a decent pick but did his best work was done once leaving the Raptors. Tracy McGrady was an excellent pick he just never stuck around in the organization. In fact for all of the bashing that Isiah Thomas has taken he had a pretty solid draft record and even after leaving the Raptors did o.k in that regard. Andrea Bargnani the team's only ever number 1 pick is still to be determined. But he has a long road to ever be considered better than Brandon Roy and others in that draft class. The only other good pick for the Raptors was Morris Peterson. He was never a star in the league but has always been a productive pro. But the ones people will always remember is Haffa and the other misses like Micheal Bradley and others.

As speculation hits an overload heading into this last week all questions or statements will have answers in 7 days.It promises to be one of the more interesting drafts in front of what should be one of the most interesting off-seasons in NBA history. I have 7 days to make my pick. Last year I was pushing Roy Hibbert to be the pick and he was. O.K technically he was Larry Bird's pick but I did get it right. This year I am thinking about 2 guys at this point Jonny Flynn or Demar DeRozan. A dark horse at this point for me would be Gearld Henderson. I will decide eventually. You can vote in our poll and have your say.


Today's Blog Brought To You By Letter D

No this blog is not about the latest puppet ad by Nike. But if you have not checked it out here it is:

The blog is brought to you by the letter D as in Delfino. Bryan Colangelo dating back to February of this season has dropped hints that Carlos Delfino would be returning to the Raptors. He pointed out that the Raptors do indeed hold his rights as a restricted free agent. Yesterday the Raptors made a qualifying offer to make sure that they keep those rights. It is the first step to be taken in what should be the return to the Raptors if all goes well. Delfino is a big fan of Jay Triano and a joke he made back at the Olympics has become the reality. Many of you have likely heard this, but for those who have not I will repeat it. Delfino was said to have joked with Triano that he would return to the Raptors when he was the head coach. No one could have imagined at the time that (A) Sam Mitchell would be fired and (B) Triano would end up as his replacement.

I never disliked Delfino and think he was decent in his time with the Raptors as short as it was. I have thought in being away for a year people have tended to over blow exactly what he was. I will fully admit that I did not keep up with his progress playing in Russia. Delfino at least the one who left was a streaky shooter and a better than average defender. He can also play some point guard in a pinch and with all due respect to Anthony Parker do it better than him. Delfino would get to play some point when he suits up for Argentina so it is a much more regular occurrence for him. So at the end of the day if Delfino is back I have no problem with it. However I do not know how much of an impact he will have but it can't hurt.

D is also for Demar DeRozan. The day that just a few days ago some fans wondered if it would happen at all is now here or at least expected to be. Derozan is scheduled to work out for the Raptors today. There has been a firestorm of opinion about why Demar was holding out on working out for the Raptors. Some go to the old standard that he has no desire to play in Canada. Others have said that it was nothing to do with Canada and everything to do with where the Raptors we picking. DeRozan has a belief like many mock drafts that he will not be there when the Raptors select at #9.

If he does in fact workout today maybe the record can be set straight. Derozan prior to all of this had been the choice of the people when it comes to Raptor fans and who they want to select. You can vote in our new poll on the right by the way. But we will see come draft night what happens in regards to DeRozan. It is clear he has lost some juice in terms of being fan favourite to Jonny Flynn who when he rolled through and since as said he would be very happy to wind up a Raptor at the end of draft night. The Niagara Falls, New York native said he lives so close to Canada that it would be just fine with him to end up in Canada as it is familiar to him living in a town on the border. USC is a long way a long way from Toronto and bet they don't see much snow.

One of the most famous stories in Raptor history is when JYD traded from the Pistons to the Raptors jumped in his truck and drove through a snow storm to get to Toronto. It made him an instant fan favourite. Speaking of which the newest Raptor Reggie Evans who is expected to bring some "D" to the Raptors was in town. I heard his interview on the fan 590 on the Game Plan and if you follow my Twitter (@dinonationblog) you already know that I am jacked up. Reggie said all the right things and finally we have a guy to fill that long lost role of Charles Oakley. In a blog I wrote just after the trade I still believe. Toughness has returned to T-Dot. No longer will the Raptors just sit back and turn the other cheek. Al Horford, Anthony Johnson and anyone else that wants to take cheap shots at Raptors beware.

Oh and last but not least a reminder that the "D"raft is coming up fast on June 25th. So I hope you all enjoyed today's blog brought to you by the letter D. You know like "D"ino Blogger or "D"ino Nation Blog.

Update 3:25pm- Demar DeRozan work out in T.O

The very talented Holly MacKenzie was at the draft workout that feature the much talked about Demar DeRozan. It seems Demar has a much different view of Toronto than some have been suggesting. Check it out through the talented and skilled words by Holly on Court Surfing Blog

Update 2 3:58- DeRozan 1 on 1 Raps.com

Video of 1 on 1 with Demar DeRozan


Good News For Some Folks I Know

I think it was Thursday last week when I first heard about this. When I heard it I was very excited because it involved someone who I know a little bit and has been a guest in the Dino Nation Blog. Adnan Virk is coming to Raps-TV. He will be replacing Paul Johnson who's contract was not renewed. I worked with Adnan in his time at TSN, long before he was "the baller" and before he was working in front of a camera, so I am thrilled for him and for all Raptors fans. Adnan is a very good broadcaster and has great knowledge and a tremendous sense of humour to go along with it. I contacted Adnan last week when I first heard this news to confirm it. He did confirm this was happening and said that it would be announced yesterday as it was. He also said that once he is done his vacation and begins his new role with Raps-TV. Which should be at the start of July. This would mark the 3rd time Adnan has been a guest in the Dino Nation Blog and given his new role it will definitely not be the last.

Also just yesterday I heard some great news for someone I know from Slam and Court Surfing on the web. Holly MacKenzie who is truly a great writer in my humble opinion is going to be going to cover the NBA Draft in NYC. She is a rising star at what she is doing and I am happy to know her. I had planned to finally bring her knowledge her to the Dino Nation Blog for an interview but given this latest news we both agreed it probably makes more sense to have her visit after she heads to NYC for the Draft. But till that time Holly did give her opinion on who the Raptors might select at #9 on the website Ridiculous Upside.

As for yours truly I hope to have an announcement on where I will be on draft night and how you can join me. Things are getting worked out and finalized but you can expect that I will be busy here online in some shape or form on draft night and you can join me. I also have wrote my latest view from the North that should be posted on Hoops Doctors sometime today. As well my article in the Industry Magazine for the June/July issue is out in magazine form in Toronto area and should be on the web soon if it is not already.

Also courtesy of Eric Smith in his blog "The Rap" a couple of news items. First here is a list of who is in town working out for the Raptors for the upcoming draft:

Toney Douglas - Guard - 6′1 - Florida State

Greg Gamble - Guard - 6′3 - Buffalo
Gerald Henderson - Forward - 6′4 - Duke
Jerel McNeal - Forward - 6′3 - Marquette
B.J. Mullen - Centre - 7′0 - Ohio State
Aron Baynes - Centre - 6′10 - Washington State

Second, the newest Raptor Reggie Evans is in town to meet with the media and Eric is hopeful that Evans can be a guest on Game Plan between 2-4 on the Fan 590. Eric is hosting with Jack Armstrong today as he fills in for Doug Maclean.

So even though it is the off-season there is still lots on the go as things quickly shift to the draft. If you want to submit a question or comment for my weekly view from the North for Hoops doctors drop me an dinonationblog@sourcecable.net

One late edition to the blog for you. Justin Walsh who just recently was a guest talked with Demar DeRozan when he declared for the draft. Given that he has been a big topic and the debate of if he will or won't workout for the Raps continues on felt people might want to check out this interview Justin did for Slam back in April.