The first day of school. A time for jubilation for some and chaos for others. It made me wonder seeing all the floating and rolling backpacks this morning how our NBA freshman will fare when school's in for them. Learning the ins and outs of a new league and playing with new teammates are nerve racking on their own, never mind living up to the hype and the contracts. This is not to say 'let's feel sorry for the potential multi-millionaires'. I am just trying to see the forest through the trees and look at things from a human perspective. There will be a lot of kids struggling to make it in the NBA aside from the LeBrons, Wades, Boshs or Shaqs. I stress the word kids since some of these guys have not been responsible for their own well-being and now are being thrust into the sometimes very scary but very real world of big money and limelight. Some handle it with maturity and poise and others? Not so much. So to all the John Walls, Evan Turners and Ed Davis': good luck this year. We will all be watching. Let's touch more on some new faces, a 'Raptors for Sale' website and Hedo Turkoglu making it big in Turkey.
A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?
If I told you a current member of the Phoenix Suns roster scored 20 points at the Worlds, in front of a near capacity crowd of 15, 000, who comes to mind first? Well, if you said Hedo Turkoglu you must either be a fan of Turkey or a dream weaver. After all he has said about and done to the Raptors, the fact that Hedo is putting up some great numbers for Turkey make sme wonder if the NBA is just not the place for him to shine. Sure, you'll tell me to flash back to his time in Orlando and his flashes of brilliance with the Raptors. But who would have thought we would see this kind of play from him as we've seen from the Worlds so far. "Turkoglu drives around the defense.." Drive? Having some drive period is a real accomplishment for him. Think to your own workplace. Is there someone who is cranky and constantly complaining? Chances are they are not happy in there surroundings. So with this being said, we should take whatever they say with a grain of salt. In Hedo's case, he's experiencing some success so maybe this taste of winning some basketball games will cool the jets a little. He and his teammates play next on Wednesday when Turkey takes on Slovenia in the Quarter Finals.
Another game to keep an eye on is Russia versus U.S.A. on Thursday. Just giving you some options considering Team Canada's fate. They had five chances to win a game - a single game - and still came up short leaving the tournament with a 0-5 record. Some feel with Leo Rautins as Head Coach, they won't have a chance of making the cut at the next World Championships let alone another win. Just looking at the stats alone, some players who didn't really produce much were given a good chunk of playing time but I think there was more than really meets the eye in this department. In the week leading up to the tournament, Team Canada wasn't even at full strength yet dealing with illnesses and injuries. So Head Coach Leo Rautins was playing the players he had who were healthy and hoped for the best. So really, the fact that Canada was not successful at the 2010 World Basketball Championships cannot rest soley upon the shoulders of Coach Rautins. Incidentally, I have even heard some calls for Jack Armstrong to coach our national basketball squad. Very interesting.
"Canada Raptors for Sale"
Before you get all excited, the Toronto Raptors are not being relocated. In an attempt to jump on a few sites to see whose face is the franchise stamp for the upcoming season, I came across this website selling Raptors - as in the bird. Look at this description from one owner: "Flies free but hasn't killed...Feather Perfect. I don't need him anymore. $1,000 within Canada, 1200 to US. Includes shipping". Think about it. The Toronto Raptors are flying free without Bosh - free to make a fresh start. They haven't"killed" as a club yet...I know, I know. It's a stretch but it made me laugh thinking about shipping the club for $1200 US - in a really bad Looney Tunes episode, maybe.
I checked out the websites of the top four teams I'll be keeping an eye on this season: The Toronto Raptors, The Boston Celtics, The Miami Heat and of course, The Los Angeles Lakers. This is not to say I am ignoring all the others but in the interest of time and space and our current discussion, I'm sticking to these four.
For the Toronto Raptors, their slogan is: "Raptors + You = The perfect equation with DeMar DeRozan at the end of it. Maybe a play on the whole back to school thing but he's buried under a story on what the Raptors Dance Pak have been up to. DeMar and the Dance Pak are cool but the only thing this says is there's not much going on..yet.
For the Boston Celtics, they have Rajon Rondo tagged on the end of "The Boston Celtics - The official site of the 17-time World Champions". Good choice for the face of a franchise. Shaquille O'Neil is more recognizable but he's only going to be there for 2 years, if that and then it's retiresville for Mr. Shaq vs. I think it's funny how they are bragging about the 17 Championships and the Lakers are on number 16. As far as success, the Boston Celtics have accomplished more than any other club in the NBA and in professional sports for that matter. It will be a while before the Lakers or any other NBA team rack up 8 consecutive Championship titles.
For the Miami Heat, they have no real slogan but a photo of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh with their backs turned to the website viewer. You can only see #6 and James on one jersey and the other two are clearly Wade and Bosh. So all the Heat have to do is show these three and they're done promoting? Not even having them facing forward and only acknowledging LeBron name and number. Not too cool in my books.
For the Los Angeles Lakers, they have a simply stated "The Official site of the Los Angeles Lakers" and a scrolling through of photos from various members of their roster, not just Kobe Bryant. It's not until you click on one of their articles do they brag about winning the 2010 NBA Championship in a title banner. The Celtics site is more up to date because they had the signing of Delonte West to talk about but the Los Angeles Lakers take the prize for having the best site in my books. Course, this may change as I visit every site. I just wanted to know how some clubs are putting they best face forward this season.
Basketball Beyond the Floor
I am very excited about this Thursday's edition of "Basketball Beyond the Floor". You need to be in on this one. Red and Me is clearly the best book of the season, for me anyway. See you Thursday and until then, happy reading.