Raptors Stay Put While Hornets Create A Buzz

I think it was back in January that I grew frustrated with Tank Nation and said these now infamous words, "You just watch I will tell you right now the New Orleans Hornets are winning the draft lottery." I am happy to announce the start of the DNB physic hotline. But in reality I am no more Miss Cleo than Miss Cleo is. The fact that the Hornets at the time I said this, were owned by the league and now have a new soon to be owner in Tom Benson owner of the NFL Saints, makes the Hornets winning of the first overall pick reek of conspiracy. How must it feel for the folks in Charlotte who ended up with the 2nd pick to deal with the fact their former franchise landed the number one pick in what can only be deemed as "the dream" scenario. Just like the dream that saw Patrick Ewing go to the Knicks, Hometown hero at the time Lebron James and still one currently in Derrick Rose wind up in their hometowns with the Cavs and Bulls. Then when Lebron James bolts to take his talents to South Beach the Cavs are given (or win) the first pick the following year. More times than not the NBA Draft Lottery ends with a smell that is fishy to say the least and tonight was no exception.

It could have been worse for the Raptors who at least didn't see the Hornets other pick acquired via trade win the lottery, as a similar situation did for the Cavs last year. The Raptors came in number eight and they walk out of New York City still number eight. The question now turns to  if they will stay number eight. In his conference call after the draft lottery Bryan Colangelo gave no indication or obvious preference as to what will become of the 8th pick.

Colangelo: "We feel that a player at eight will add to our building process, or the value of the eight pick, will perhaps be something that packaged with something else, that will create, a trade asset if you will."

Colangelo would also talk about the amount of flexibility the team has thanks in part to the deal that sent Barbosa to the Pacers and stressed how the Raptors are one of only few teams with the ability to take on salary between now and July 1st. This would also of course mean before the NBA Draft to held on June 28th. Some of this idea of moving the pick is likely based on the fact they already have Jonas Valanciunas on the way. He officially as of a day or two ago has been bought out of the remainder of his contract in Europe. The 5th overall pick from last years draft is coming, if all the hype from that last month of the regular season didn't reminded you of that fact. Let's just say the Raptors are about as committed to picking at eight as Kim Kardashian was to former Raptor Kris Humphries. Don't think so? Well after this next quote from Bryan Colangelo see if you still doubt it?

Colangelo: "We have put ourselves in the position, as we have talked about, with the cap flexibility we have Pre-July one to acquire a player, if that right player is available in a trade scenario. Whether or not the eight pick is part of that process in packaging enough assets to acquire that right player, we'll have to consider all options." 

Still not convinced? There is more hear what he has to say about a potential pick at eight.

Colangelo: " Anyone you take at eight is going to be somewhat disadvantaged in that they will lack NBA experience. We are obviously looking for a team next year to compete at a higher level. We are looking to increase the level of competition. We are looking to increase the level of experience. Thinking that you are going to get all of that at eight is probably not going to happen."

If the Raptors were to remain at eight, Colangelo would not rule out the possibility of taking anyone even if it was a position of strength like the four spot as an example. He referenced it as "stacking" at that position, which he indicated they would be willing to do or at least consider it. When asked if he felt the Raptors would use all three of the Raptors picks including the two second rounders he showed a lot of interest in the Raptors 2nd round pick at 37. While the pick acquired from the Pacers, he seem less committed to and suggested if it was used it could be used to draft a European player that would not be coming over right away. Here is what he had to say on number 37.

Colangelo: " Thirty-seven however, is a pick that we feel might net us a player that could add something to this roster. We're looking at various players, a pool of players that might be available at thirty-seven."

That said, Bryan did not rule out a situation in which he would be willing to package the picks to move up in the draft or as part of a package to acquire a player on another teams roster. In short it was your typical Bryan Colangelo exchange with the media. He gave long and thoughtful answers that never really suggested specifically what he was planning to do. However, when you add it all up and read the tea leaves so to speak it sure seems like Colangelo is going to be exploring the trade market just as much, if not more than the draft prospects he could acquire. There was a under lying theme of wanting to take this team to the next level and the idea of having NBA experienced players to get to that goal. It is not to say that the 8th pick is as good as gone. Only that it is seen just as easily to be an asset in a trade as it would be to select a player.

To sum it up, Colangelo did not seem upset at all by the fact the Raptors did not move up in the lottery. He seemed like he expected as much and is ready to move forward now that it official where his team will be pegged to select on draft night. If anything you can be certain that Raptors will be very active working the phones between now and July 1st. It would be a surprise and maybe for some a disappointment if Colangelo does not come up with some move or moves prior to that date. Even if he does not, the Raptors still would have a significant amount of cap space to be a player in free agency. At the end of it all, the clock is ticking not just on the way to the Raptors draft pick at 8 but on Colangelo's overall master plans. One thing is certain you could almost sense the eagerness in his voice that he has his self imposed handcuffs off and is ready to make some deals. The only question that still remains is if they will be the right ones to take this team to that next level that he wants them to be at.

DNB Draft Lottery Chat Spectacular

Some people don't like when I reference wrestling in the DNB. Well to those people I apologize for this next few lines in advance. CM Punk (WWE Champion) claims " Luck is for Losers" and the NBA Lottery is the best example of this. The Raptors luck as you learned yesterday in the blog, is all bad for the most part. I am not going to tell you if you should believe in luck, fate or destiny. What I am going tell you is regardless of all that we at the DNB are hosting a Draft Lottery Chat for all of you. From those who believe that the NBA Lottery is fixed to those of you clutching you lucky Rabbit's foot (By the way the Rabbit wasn't that lucky was he) your all welcome to our Draft Lottery Chat tonight at 7:30 pm. If you can't make it feel free to chime in with your thoughts through out the day below. What is the potential prizes from winning this Lottery? We examined that earlier this week of who the Raptors could get with some "Luck". If you have good luck or bad luck or like CM Punk believe luck is for losers your all welcome to be part of our DNB Draft Lottery Chat.

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The FYI on The Raptors Draft Lottery History

Do you believe that lightning can strike twice in the same place? Well if you don't, the Raptors chances of getting the number one pick are done. Last year Cleveland won the NBA Draft Lottery, but it was not thanks to their worst record and their own pick. That pick would drop 3 spots and they would draft Canadian Tristan Thompson. The pick that landed them Kyrie Irving the eventual NBA Rookie of the Year was the 8th spot heading into the lottery. It was a pick they acquired in a trade with Clippers that saw them acquire Mo Williams and former Raptor Jamario Moon in exchange for Baron Davis and the pick. The Clippers with that typical luck the franchise has been famous for. That said, if the Clippers don't make that trade and draft Kyrie Irving they likely never land Chris Paul. The lottery has been a jumping off point for a lot of big trades based on the results directly or indirectly. Boston of course bombed out in the lottery and missed out on the number one pick and instead of drafting Greg Oden they made a trade to acquire Ray Allen from the Seattle Supersonics. This trade lead to another trade for Kevin Garnett and the Boston big three was born. It stopped the Celtics from losing Paul Pierce to complete the trio. So even if the Raptors don't win the lottery it might not be the end of the world.

The Raptors have been in the Lottery 11 times in franchise history. They have only moved up twice in those 11 trips to the Lottery:

1996: The Raptors entered the Lottery in the 3rd slot and ended up in 2nd. (They actually won the draft lottery but based on their agreement to enter the NBA were not allowed to select first) This pick would be used to draft Marcus Camby. It should or could have been used to select Allen Iverson at number one. That said, Isiah Thomas who was running the team at the time claims Camby would have been the pick at number one as well. The Raptors at the time were in desperate need of a big and with having Mighty Mouse Damon Stoudamire were not in need of a point guard so it is likely this was true. But still imagine how different the Raptors might have been with Allen Iverson?

2006: The Raptors entered the lottery in 5th spot and jumped all the way to number one. This is the draft that saw Andrea Bargnani become the first ever number one pick for the Toronto Raptors. It has been a long and bumpy road since than for Bargnani. This would turn out to be one of the worst draft classes in recent memory. The Raptors passed on guys like Lamarcus Aldridge and took the big Italian making him the first ever player from Europe to be selected number one overall.

So based on this the Raptors should be a lock for the first overall pick in 2016? Raptor fans sure hope not and would like to believe this team will be a fixture in the playoffs by that time. The Raptors have actually had some terrible luck in the Lottery. They have exited the lottery with a lower pick than what they came in with 5 times.

1998: Entered 2nd and fell to 4th (They Drafted: Antwan Jamison who was traded for Vince Carter)
1999: Entered 6th and fell to 6th ( They Drafted: Johnathan Bender traded to Pacers for Antonio Davis)
2003: Entered 3rd and fell to 4th (They Drafted: Chris Bosh)
2004: Entered 7th and fell to 8th (They Drafted...Wait For It!!! Rafael Araujo)
2011: Entered 3rd fell to 5th (They Drafted: Jonas Valancuinas)

Shockingly enough it seems things go well with one large exception for the Raptors when they drop in the lottery. Not that I am suggesting they tank the NBA Lottery but it sure is a pretty nice list of players they have ended up with as a result. The lone exception is of course the Rob Babcock pick of Araujo that could have been Andre Iguodala or a host of other guys that are still playing in the league today.

In the 4 times the Raptors did not move based on the Lottery here is who they took and where:

1997: Tracy McGrady 9th Overall
2005: Charlie Villianueva 7th Overall
2009: Demar DeRozan  9th Overall
2010: Ed Davis 13th Overall

Now that I think about it the start of this blog is wrong. Lighting could strike in a different place as the NBA Lottery is no longer held in New Jersey and has moved across the Hudson River to Time Square and the ABC/ESPN Studios. Dwane Casey will be the one representing the Raptors on the stage for this event. In case you were wondering the odds on the 8th pick. It has only moved up twice in 2001 to 2nd for Clippers and as mentioned the pick that belonged to the Clippers landed number one for the Cavs  last season. This dates back to 1995. Raptors most likely outcome is to remain at 8th spot with a 70.38 % chance of that happening. The next most likely is they drop one spot to 9th with a 16.5% chance of that happening. The chance of landing the top pick is only 3.5% and to land in the Top 3 is less than 5%.

So that is all the facts and figures for NBA Lottery tomorrow. What is also fact is we will be having an NBA Lottery Chat as we have for the past few years. So come hang out with us and enjoy the NBA Lottery and some Raptor off-season chatter with Team DNB and you. I will be there hosting the chat and trying to keep you entertained. So make plans to join us for the Draft Lottery. 


Lottery Picks: If The Raptors Move Up

When the 2012 regular season ended, the Toronto Raptors' record was identical to the Golden State Warriors', and a coin flip was needed to determine which team would be entitled to the 7th slot in the upcoming draft and which team would be entitled to the 8th slot. The Raptors lost the coin flip, and have exactly a 10% chance to move up into the top 3 when the lottery balls fall on May 30.

While the odds are stacked against them, the Raptors do have a legitimate chance to move up. In their current position, they're looking at prospects like Kendall Marshall, Damian Lillard, Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones, and, if they're lucky, Harrison Barnes. However, if the team does move up, their approach to the off-season changes dramatically. Do they trade the pick for an up-and-coming youngster that fills a need? Do they take the best player available and figure out how to integrate the pick later? Maybe they draft for need. Bryan Colangelo is very unpredictable when it comes to the draft and as much as we can speculate what route the Raptors would take, chances are we'd be wrong.

But let's assume that the Raptors do move up, and they elect to use their pick while synthesizing choosing the best player available and filling a need. You know, what a smart team would do. Who would they choose at 1, 2, and 3?

The 2012 NBA draft is being touted as one of the greatest in recent memory, even garnering comparisons to the 2003 draft, heralded by Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and a number of other stars. It's deep. The general consensus is that the 2012 draft should produce a fair number of superstars comparable to the greatest drafts in history. And let's not forget solid role players. There are dozens. It's just a matter of finding gems and avoiding fool's gold. Unfortunately it's never quite that easy.

Year after year, there are certain players that look like locks. Bonafide superstars. Maybe they're raw, but they have "potential". Last year, the Utah Jazz selected a player that I wasn't high on at all, preemptively labelling him a bust: Enes Kanter. But executives and scouts were convinced that Kanter had all of the physical tools necessary to excel in the NBA. Unfortunately, he severely lacked experience and fundamentals, and is beginning to look like the bust I expected him to be. I like being right.

With these things in mind, let's take a look at the Raptors' options if they're fortunate enough to win a top-3 pick in the lottery.

Pick One: Anthony Davis, Anthony Davis, Anthony Davis, Anthony Davis

If the Raptors win the lottery, there's only one player that should be on their radar: Anthony Davis. Davis is a coach's wet dream. He's tall, incredibly long, athletic, has guard skills, possesses ridiculously high basketball IQ, and is very coachable. He's very difficult to project at the NBA level, with scouts comparing him to anything from Kevin Garnett to a cross between Chris Bosh and Javale McGee. But one thing is clear. He's going to being elite on the defensive end of the floor no matter what.

The Kentucky Wildcats dominated the NCAA this year, converting many NBA fans into casual college ball fans. Sure, their team was stacked. It looks like four of their players will be selected in the top 20, and three of them in the top 10. But Anthony Davis was the heart and soul of that team, the driving force behind the dominance they were able to achieve.

The NCAA hasn't been measuring PER for long, but Davis' PER is unbelievable nonetheless: 35.71, the highest PER ever seen at the college level.

Davis is such a great prospect that if the Raptors were able to draft him, I would not be surprised to see the rebuild take a step or two back to build around him and Jonas Valanciunas. That would mean that Ed Davis and Amir Johnson would be traded, and depending on the dynamics of the team in a year or two, maybe even Andrea Bargnani. Dwane Casey would love him. Davis is reminiscent of Tyson Chandler in that he rarely leaves his feet on defense, unless he's rushing over for a block from the weak side or grabbing a rebound over two opposing players.

There should be no other choice for the Raptors if they can secure the first pick in the draft. Anthony Davis is a game changing player, and one that is raw enough to be developed into anything an organization could want.

Pick Two: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal

Both of these players will be available at number two, as any team that passes on Anthony Davis deserves to be contracted.

Like Davis, MKG (Kidd-Gilchrist) is difficult to project. He's very strong, tenacious, versatile, and frankly, a blank slate. He's been compared to players like Gerald Wallace, Andre Iguodala, and Josh Smith. All three of those players have two things in common. They're relentless, defensive behemoths, and they're nearly unstoppable at the rim. And like them, MKG should be capable of playing multiple positions effectively. I would not be surprised to see him play some power forward or even shooting guard for a developing team.

Conversely, Beal is a polished scorer with a knack for distributing the ball and being patient. His intensity and drive have been questioned, but he's a deadly shooter that would fit terrifically with the Raptors. He's often compared to Eric Gordon, both for his physical profile and his game. This comparison is warranted. Beal is a very heady player, electing to let his team mates score before he needs to dominate and make big plays. He knows he warrants the occasional double team and attention of his defenders, and makes sound passes to slashers and spot-up shooters. He's more than capable of coexisting with DeMar DeRozan, and should flourish with bigs like Valanciunas and Bargnani.

Pick Three: Leftovers from pick two, Harrison Barnes

I doubt the Raptors are interested in developing another big in an already deep frontcourt, so let's ignore Thomas Robinson and Andre Drummond. Obviously, the Raptors should pick up Beal or MKG at three, however I'd suggest that they take a good, hard look at Harrison Barnes as well.

Barnes has been the subject of a lot of criticism since his freshman year at North Carolina, and deservedly so. He's probably the most polished player in the draft, but he's also an average athlete with little drive. His comparisons? Anything from a 6'8" Joe Johnson to Marvin Williams. His success at the NBA level will be dependent on who coaches him. If he's motivated and stimulated, he could very well be the best player in this draft (outside of Davis). However, if he's allowed to be nonchalant, he's just an overpaid spot-up shooter.

There are some who believe that Barnes is a "what you see is what you get" player, meaning that he has no upside. I disagree. Barnes has added new facets to his game every year and takes his craft very seriously. His skills just don't find their way into games the way you'd expect them to. He's a great ball handler for his size, a good shooter, and an underrated passer. However, there's rarely any cohesion for him, and he disappears for long stretches of time before emerging with one or two big shots late in the game.

High risk, high reward. That is Harrison Barnes.


It's unlikely that the Raptors move up in the draft, but if they do, their future becomes brighter quickly. They're already adding Jonas Valanciunas (whom scouts agree would be the number two pick in this year's draft), and a second top-5 pick with their current roster might allow them to secure a playoff spot next season.

Add that to their $12 million in cap room, and the Raptors should be surprise the rest of the NBA next season. Casey has done a phenomenal job with poor circumstances. I'm eager to see what they're capable of with the impending influx of new talent.

Let's just pray that the lottery gods are kind.

Playoffs Give You Hope As A Raptor Fan?

As we sit on the verge of the start of the Eastern Conference Finals do you feel a little more optimistic about the Raptors future? We end up with a final that was not an expected one as Boston slogged their way to the Eastern Conference Final. Facing the Miami Heat who would not be stopped by Chris Bosh injury or Indiana Pacers. The team everyone expected to face the Heat was the Bulls who had a injury of their own to deal with. Derrick Rose the former M.V.P might not even be back in time for next season. In fact he likely won't be. The Bulls without him were not able to handle the Sixers who are not exactly a juggernaut in terms of an opponent. Boston limped there way through a seven game series to finally finish them off. Honestly though the Sixers are offensively challenged at best. The Hawks did their typical chocking in the first round. The New York Knicks had nothing for the Miami Heat and are in need of a good off-season to scare anyone. Problem in that is Amare and Carmello are making most of the money and have still yet to find a way to be good together. Orlando fired a good coach and lousy G.M and Superman still likely wants out of town.

The point of all of this is beyond the Miami Heat is there any team in the Eastern Conference that really scares you. The Bulls if Rose is back and playing at the same level would. After that it really is wide open for the most part. The Pacers are a good team but they are far from world beaters as the Heat at less than 100% proved. Boston will be a year older and not that much better. Although they will get Jeff Green back potentially who they acquired in the Kendrick Perkins trade last season. He say out the entire season with heart condition. If you are a non playoff team in the East you should feel like you have some hope unless you are the Charlotte Bobcats.

If you are the Raptors, with a lottery pick to come and your first round pick from last season making his debut in Jonas Valancuinas, also some cap space to play with to add some more pieces you have to feel even better right? While this past season was only marginally better in terms of record for the Raptors it was a success in terms of culture change. The Raptors actually can play some defense. Casey even refers to it as playoff style defense in terms of it's effort and intensity. That might be a stretch but it still does prepare the Raptors nicely for the grind it out painful to watch at times Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Bryan Colangelo still has to make the right moves and some luck of any kind in the draft lottery on Wednesday would be welcomed. Which by the way we encourage you to join us for our Lottery Chat on Wednesday Night here on the website. If Colangelo can make a few skillful trades and make a splash in free agency who is to say the Raptors can't be a playoff team. While the Raptors are a long way from ever getting out of the Eastern Conference to the NBA Finals. A quick rise to playoffs and even the second round which currently is the franchise best is not out of the question.

Nothing you have seen in the Eastern Conference Playoffs makes you think that the Raptors can not over take most of these teams given the assets they have to play with. It is just a matter of pressing the right buttons. The Division the Raptors call home can be classed as competitive, but the Atlantic is not exactly filled with a dominant contender anymore. Boston despite their appearance in Conference Finals isn't. The Knicks have issues and are on verge of hiring a coach that is good in the regular season and horrible in the playoffs in Mike Woodson. The Sixers do not have any truly scary weapons on offense and Nets be they in New Jersey or Brooklyn remain pretty much a joke and most likely will be losing Deron Williams to Dallas or someone else. It won't be easy but the opportunity is there for the Raptors to rise again as they did when Colangelo first arrived on the team.

It has been a dark couple years since Chris Bosh took his talents to South Beach. However the future or light at the end of the tunnel could be in sight.


Mock Draft Lottery

I decided to produce a fun little video and have the first ever DNB Mock Draft Lottery:

If you want to have your very own Mock Draft Lottery you can go on ESPN and try your luck. Prior to Wednesday Josh from are DNB staff will be looking at what the Raptors would do should they indeed be lucky and land in one of those top 3 spots on the draft board. I along with some of the Team DNB Staff will be hosting a chat the night of the Draft lottery so make your plans to cuddle up with your computer and t.v and hangout with us on the Dino Nation Blog and together experience the Raptors fate.

DNB Top 10 - Surprises of 2012 Playoffs!

10. Philadelphia 76ers The Philadelphia 76ers have been a surprise practically all season long, but the revival of former superstar Elton Brand and the up and coming all-star in Andre Iguodala. Jrue Holiday and Louis Williams have been doing a great job running the backcourt, and their mostly young team has done a great job pounding down on the old legs of the Boston Celtics. They also did a great job of knocking off the Bulls and taking advantage of the Derrick Rose injury early in the series.

9. JaVale McGee JaVale McGee has always been famous for one thing, being an idiot.  That reputation wasn’t really shed this year, but after being swung to the Denver Nuggets at the trade deadline, JaVale being dominating especially during the playoffs, grabbing rebounds and scoring consistently.  What does this do for the Nuggets next year?

8. Tim Duncan I cant seem to figure out whether its 2012 or 1997 because Tim Duncan seems 16 not 36.  He seems to have found some athleticism in the 7 foot frame of his, leading the Spurs to 23 out of 25 victories, 8-0 in the playoffs.

7. San Antonio Spurs and Kawhi Leonard This kind of relates to the number 7 Tim Duncan, but this revolves around how “veteran-esque” young man Kawhi Leonard is.  A rookie with hands larger then a basketball is playing the game as if he has been in the league for a decade.  This obviously has to do with the mature, veteran presence around him, but for someone at his age, it is a surprise that the excitement didn’t affect him.  The team and Leonard have proven to mesh perfectly.

6. Los Angeles Lakers The above points have all been relatively positive and complimenting age, whole the next couple with also relate to the age, but negatively.  The Lakers have a lot of young hope in Bynum and Sessions, but the last thing you’d expect is for veteran superstars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to bring the team down, which they did as they lost to the young and athletic Oklahoma City Thunder in 5 games.  Unlike the Spurs, this veteran squad proved to be lacking against this young team, and their veteran power only pulled them down rather then bringing them up.

5. Boston Celtics Yes, the core of the Boston Celtics is most likely done, but still powerful with a combo of sharp shooters and grizzly like big men, therefore you would expect them to breeze by a team that got lucky beating the Chicago Bulls, but its been the opposite as it has led to a seven game series.  Despite their age, the team should be led by Rajon Rondo, a point guard who I feel can lead any team through a powerful play-off push, but the young guard seems scared to lead the time, putting all the weight on the should of the Big 3 who’s knees clearly cannot handle it.

4. Derek Fisher Fish has got to be one of the oldest guys in the league, but definitely one of the most loyal and clutch players.  He clearly had a love for the Lakers and being traded away at the deadline must of killed, but he didn’t show it.  If it wasn’t for him the Thunder probably would not have put the Lakers away in 5, maybe 6, but not 5.  He didn’t seem to let his feelings get in the way of daggering some clutch shots throughout the series.

3. Indiana Pacers Everyone expected the Pacers do well, with Granger, Hibbert, West, Collison and Barbosa running the show, that a pretty talented line-up, but I saw a lot of unexpected bright spots in the 6-game Miami Heat series.  Although they only won two games, they battled a lot harder and pushed a lot harder then some believed could be possible. Next year, I expect them to be a force in the East.

2. Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith Straight up, I did not expect SVG to get fired, but Otis Smith I did.  Smith should have traded Dwight for something while he wanted out, instead the Magic are stuck with his contract for an extra year only to seem him cut out in 2013, Smith is out of a job and the Magic are out of a coach who I believe to be a potential Hall of Famer.  The one time championship caliber team is headed to the gutter with bad moves made by both Otis Smith and Front Office.  Thank goodness Shaquille O’Neal is no longer interested in the GM position or who knows what would happen.

1. Allen Iverson “The Answer” made an appearance in Game 6 of the 76ers versus Boston Celtics series, and despite all of the paparazzi, he didn’t care how “thug” his appearance was as long as he was loyal, sporting the 76ers hat, jersey and jacket.  It was really out of the blue for Iverson to appear at the game, but it sure gave a boost to the team and the crowd.  A bigger surprise would have been to jump on the court though.  

By: Aaron Rabinovits


Raptors Are The Raptors Live With It

I woke up today to the news that my old high school is being closed down by 2015. I am not going to bore you with tales of my high school days and misty memories of the past. I did win a high school football championship there which was cool. A member of the Hill Park Rams football team, wearing number 77, but number one in your hearts was me. It is not like Rams are roaming the mountains of Hamilton last I checked, anymore than Raptors are roaming downtown Toronto. On and off for the last few years there has been the suggestion that Toronto should do away with it's Raptors nickname and start over with something new. Aside from the obvious and it making the name of this blog make about as much sense as Rams roaming the mountains in Hamilton or Raptors roaming Bay St, it is just wrong. At the end of  it all no new name and colours is going to wash away the history of the Toronto Raptors. It is what it is at the end of the day. Ultimately why on earth should a franchise that has failed be rewarded with the opportunity to reach into their fans pockets and take more of their money? Ultimately that is the only thing a name change is doing, it is forcing loyal fans to go out and purchase new merchandise. MLSE has already done a fine job of that with new third uniforms on what seems to be a yearly basis now.

Face it the NBA basically doesn't do this. There are no Lakes in L.A, No Jazz in Utah, Rarely a hornet in New Orleans, The Grizzly Bear population in Memphis is slim to none. The point is the NBA has long protected it's teams names and it is only in rare circumstances that we have seen a change be allowed. The most recent being the Thunder who were the Supersonics in Seattle. I am not certain but I think the league decided to save the name for if and when a franchise could return to Seattle. In any case this is a rare event. It is going to happen again the sale of the New Orleans Hornets as well. It shows just how desperate the league was to sell that team and keep it in New Orleans if possible. 

It seems that people would rather just wash away the last 17 years and get the bad taste out of their mouths. It won't change anything you do realize this? Vince Carter still did leave, T-Mac, Damon and Chris Bosh too. The main problem that has dogged this franchise will still be here, in how they are going to be able to keep and attract American superstars here to play in this far off land that is Canada. You can call this team the Huskies, Hogs or Hillbillies it is not going to change the fact that they play their games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. If changing your name truly helped wouldn't the Clippers have done it years ago? They actually did change their name from Braves when they once called Buffalo home. How has that worked out in San Diego and now L.A?

Not to mention about the best thing going the the Raptors is "The Raptor" who is one of the best mascots in sports today. If you change the name he goes away and transforms into a husky dog or worse. He might even end up with one of those stupid mascot names like Ace or Stripes. I am fine with B.J Birdy and T.C thanks all the same. Those were the names of the original mascots for the Blue Jays and Tiger Cats. We live in a world that seems to be obsessed with the idea that change is good. Sometimes it isn't good and sometimes it is just change for the sake of change. Repackaging the Toronto Raptors into some new form is only going to give you reason to spend your hard earned dollars. That is all it will do at the end of the day. Given the track record of this franchise and how they already come up with new and creative ways to take your money as it is, do you really want to given them a license to take more of it? Go win an NBA Championship or hell just make the playoffs and you can change your name. If the Raptors had done that more would there be all this drama about changing their name. Probably not because there would be no reason to change it in the first place. So good bad or indifferent the Raptors are the Raptors so just live with it. Worry more about the stuff that matters which is making this franchise better and actually able to win games regardless of what it says on the jerseys.


A History To Forget In Round 2 For The Raptors

There has been lots of talk about who the Raptors would like to take with their first round pick. You may almost forget that they have two 2nd round picks as well. That would be understandable given that Raptors awful history in drafting in the the second round. It started so positively on the surface. The Raptors drafted a member of the Michigan Fab 5 in 1995. Jimmy King only played 64 games in that first Raptor season and averaged 4.5 points. He would be traded that summer and only played two more games in the NBA for the Denver Nuggets. That said at least he played for the Raptors. DeeAndre Hulett (2000 46th pick), Remon Van de Hare (2003 52nd Pick), Albert Miralles (2004 39th pick), Edin Bavcic (2006 56th pick) all never suited up for the Raptors for an NBA Game. Tyson Wheeler drafted in 1998 picked 47th overall played 1 game and made the only 3 pointer he ever took as a Raptor or in the NBA for that matter.

It truly is a house of horrors looking at the Raptors lack of production out of the second round. This is not even including guys they traded for like Nathan Jawai and more recently Solomon Alabi. You can make a strong case that Matt Bonner might be the most significant Raptors 2nd round pick of all time. Well technically he was traded for too as Bonner was actually drafted by the Bulls 45th overall. We all love Matt Bonner for the most part, but seriously that is the best we have done? Not to mention you could argue that Bonner is a much better player now playing with the Spurs than he was as a Raptor.

The most games played by a Raptor home grown 2nd round pick is 85 games by Roko Ukic. If you want to throw Matt Bonner in  the mix he played here for just two seasons and played in 160 games in those 2 seasons. While the first round boom and busts get all the attention not just with the Raptors but all teams, this is truly a history of epic failure is it not? In these many years of being a franchise you would think the Raptors could have found a couple gems in rough? Just by dumb luck even. Many might have hoped P.J Tucker could have been that guy but all he got was a cute Chuck Swirsky nickname in the "Baby Mule". Not even the smile of Uros Slokar can make me feel better about this.

So as you prepare to get all your lucky charms ready for the draft lottery and hope the Raptors will hit the Anthony Davis jackpot don't forget the Raptors still have their 2nd round pick and the 2nd round pick of the Indiana Pacers that they got in the Barbosa trade. In a draft that most people would class as a deep draft maybe this will be the year the Raptors will find a player in the 2nd round? After reading this it is hard to feel optimistic about the chances of that happening isn't it? Chances are the Raptors will draft some European player that never sees the light of day in the NBA. There have been lots of those in the Raptors history.

You might say why is this important. The answer beyond the fact it shows a lack of scouting ability in the organization. It also helps you out in terms of your cap if you can find a couple guys in the second round that can play in terms of the teams overall cap situation. I mean we all have fun cheering for a Solo dunk, but isn't it about time the Raptors found an actual legit player in the 2nd round rather than a player who is just slightly ahead of the mascot in terms of importance to the franchise? In fact I am insulting The Raptor by saying that. After all he has lasted longer than any Raptors 2nd round pick.

You might want to remember this the next time you get into a heated debate over the Raptors getting or giving away a second round pick.Given the Raptors awful history in actually using their second round picks trading them might be the best move they can make at the end of the day. That or maybe it is time to overhaul the scouting department. The Raptors success rate in the first round is better but is not exactly filled with greatness either. This might be as big a part as any as to why the Raptors have only seen the 2nd round of the playoffs just once.


Vinsanity, Linsanity and Insanity

Today starts a new era for the Dino Nation Blog. I am excited to get Team DNB rolling. I hope you will enjoy the contributions of the team I have put together. The hope is at the end of the day we end up with more content and better content for you the readers, listeners and viewers of the Dino Nation Blog. Having people that I can count on will allow me to focus on doing more audio and video content moving forward. It will also give me a chance to work on other things like attempting to get more guests for the Starting 5, planning some events to involve you more in the Dino Nation Blog and focus on building a big and better Dino Nation Blog in general. That in a nutshell explains why #Team DNB was created. I am still looking for more people to potentially be part of our team. The goal is to have a strong well oiled machine by the time the Raptors get ready to start next season in the fall. So I hope you will enjoy this and will enjoy the new people and content and fun this will hopefully create for you as a DNB reader. That all said, I still will be writing here and haven't done that in about a week, as I took some time off to take a break and get these new folks all set up to be part of DNB. So in the famous words of Reggie Evans LET'S GET IT!!

While I was away if you had told me we would be talking about Vince Carter on the first day I was back that probably would have made me chuckle. He did an interview with the guys from Raptorblog on The Score. While the interview was well done and interesting, it in the end was typical Vince Carter. The one thing that seemed to get everyone talking was the fact that Vince said he would be willing to consider returning to Toronto. This seemed to shock people and it was almost like the Raptors were actually considering that. I don't think an older version of Vinsanity is what the Raptors have in mind for solving their issues at small forward. Carter has never been the greatest defender in the world either. I am all for Vince having his day in the sun returning to Toronto to have his number retired some day. I just don't care to see him back for a second run with the Raptors. Antonio Davis did that once for a little while and it only showed that he was a shadow of his former self. Ultimately Vince Carter has reached the point in his NBA career that if he wants to keep playing can he really rule out any team to play for at this point? It is not like people were knocking down his door last year before he eventually signed in Dallas. It is not like how he performed with the Mavs has made his value increase at all. So while it would be interesting for writing and create lots of interest, both positive and negative, the idea of Vince Carter coming back to the Raptors is kind of far fetched and doesn't make any sense.

Speaking of not making sense that brings us to Jeremy Lin and the Raptors supposed interest in him. Keep in mind I was the guy and this was the blog that suggested the Raptors get Jeremy Lin last off-season before there was a Linsanity and a ton of hype attached to him. This was as an economically friendly flyer on a kid that might have some talent. The truth is the Raptors getting into a game of chicken with the New York Knicks for Jeremy Lin only benefits them if they lose. Jeremy Lin is going to get paid too much money by some team based on two things. Potential and buzz, will drive the price for Lin beyond what he truly deserves to make. If the Raptors are in this just to force up the price on Lin and make their division rivals the Knicks spend more money than they want too,  that is a smart move on their part. If not and they bring him in to be the starter that would be a big mistake and a massive change from Jose Calderon. While Calderon has never been liked by me, I am happy to admit he is very efficient and rarely turns over the ball. Even at the height of Linsanity people who questioned if it would last, brought up his high turnover numbers. On a young and developing team looking to take the next step, I am not convinced that you want a starting point guard that is turnover prone. Ideally you would love the idea of Lin as a back up, playing behind a Jose Calderon or perhaps a Steve Nash. That said he is going to demand to many dollars for that to be a realistic situation. At the end of the day the Knicks will likely have the bird rights to Lin and will no doubt use them to keep him. So if you have dreams of Linasinty invading the ACC on a nightly basis they are best left as dreams. I like Lin and still think he could be a player at some point but not willing to gamble on it with a big money contract. This is why it made sense to grab him last season when the cost was next to nothing.

The Raptors getting Steve Nash makes more sense in the short team for them. If they can do that and find a developing young point guard to play behind him, that is the ultimate best case scenario for the Raptors. The Knicks are also interested in him. If you can only have one of two guys between Lin and Nash, the answer should be obvious. The danger for the Raptors is that the Knicks could have a way to have both if Nash is willing to take less money to play in New York. Nash will have many options depending on what his price tag will be and what his intentions are in terms of wanting to win a championship. It is a longer and much more unclear journey here in Toronto. That said when Nash was in this position before it fair to say that the Suns were not exactly a contender in for anyone after a horrible season missing the playoffs. Steve Nash was younger than though and had a long future to look forward too. Now his future is not nearly as long and his window to win a ring is small. The fact he is coming to the end of his career could be a benefit to the Raptors or a curse depending on what Nash is truly thinking.In the past Nash has expressed a desire to end his career playing in Canada and the Raptors are the only game in town to make that happen. However to convince Steve Nash that Raptors can reach an NBA Finals in the East before his time in the NBA is done is a tough job to sell. Bryan Colangelo sold Steve Nash once before but this time around will be much tougher. If it is a case of Nash or Lin the buzz created by Nash will play much better in Canada for Nash while bringing in Lin would open eyes south of the border. The risks with Steve Nash are all about health and age. No one will question his talent as two time MVP and a future hall of famer.

The one thing not being talked about in all of this is what becomes of Jose Calderon. If the Raptors truly are targeting both Lin and Nash this makes you wonder what that means for Calderon. It would seem unlikely the Raptors keep him especially if Nash ends up being the guy. So what would the Raptors be getting if they tried to move Calderon. That is a part of this whole equation that might be interesting. Could the Raptors deal Jose and add some more pieces to make this a better more attractive landing spot for Steve Nash? They just might be able too. One thing is clear based on the off-season buzz that has already started before the playoffs have even ended, it is suggesting the Raptors are going to be active and be a part of a lot of stories. Most of which are based in speculation and not fact. At the end of the day Bryan Colangelo's reality whatever it ends up being needs to be very good. His job could ultimately depend on it.


We are On Vacation

See you all Tuesday May 22nd when the #Team DNB Era Begins.


Before I Go, Picks For Round 2.

I am off to have my semi-vacation. I will be getting everyone set up for the start of #TeamDNB and playing lots of X-box 360. I am not going anywhere just taking a break for a week. Before I go should give you all my picks for the 2nd round even though we still don't have an opponent for OKC yet or the Spurs. 

Pacers vs Heat: This might be the biggest test for Miami before they go to their second straight NBA Finals. So I guess we know who I am taking in this series. I think the Pacers can take a game maybe even two. But I will have faith the Heat do not mess around in this series and try to send a message.

Heat in 5 games.

Boston vs Philly: This series is a old traditionally rivalry from when I was a kid. The Celtics are banged up and the Sixers really are only here because Derrick Rose and others got hurt. So this series lacks the drama and excitement of Dr.J vs Larry Bird. Celtics will limp there way through and take this series.

Boston in 6 games.

OKC vs Lakers or Denver:

If it is OKC against the Lakers it will be a rematch from a couple years ago. It was a great 6 game first round series that the Lakers won. Since that time OKC is much improved and the Lakers are not. So that makes me think you can flip and reverse it from history.

OKC in 6

If it is against Denver. I think OKC can win here too. They might even be able to do it quicker as Denver used a lot of gas to get the Lakers to seven games. They would need to use a lot more to actually win a seventh game vs Lakers. So this all says to me OKC will take this one fairly quickly.

OKC in 5

Spurs vs Clippers or Grizzlies

If it is the Spurs vs the Clippers I think you will have a very fun series to watch assuming Chris Paul is healthy. If he isn't than the Clippers probably don't get to this series in the first place. A rested Spurs team should be hard to stop.

Spurs in 5

Grizzlies of course knocked out the Spurs last year. The Spurs are old but not old enough to forget that. So if they get a chance to play the Grizzlies again they won't lose a second time in a 7 game series. But it will not be easy.

Spurs in 6.

So that is that. I am officially on Vacation from this blog for the next 9 days. See you on May 21st as we start a new era for the DNB the #TEAMDNB Era.


The Steve Nash Project

From the day Bryan Colangelo set foot in Toronto as G.M, the idea or dream that he could bring Steve Nash home to Canada was alive and well. Just when you probably thought the idea was dead there is one last chance to bring Steve Nash home. If Canada Basketball can do it, why not Bryan Colangelo too? You have to figure where Steve Nash decides to go will be the end of the line for him in terms of his career. The problem starts when you understand why Steve is leaving Phoenix in the whole first place. It is to have one final run at a championship right? That isn't exactly the Raptors future in the next three years is it? Can Bryan Colangelo convince Steve Nash otherwise? He did convince him to leave Dallas and comeback to the team that originally drafted him in the Suns. It was not like the Suns were looking like a playoff contender at the time. In case you forget the Suns were 29-53 and looked nothing like a team that would turn into 62-20 team the next year with Steve Nash as part of the mix. Mike D'Antoni who took over during the season before Nash arrived was only 21-40. That all said Steve Nash had time to wait if things had not made such a dramatic turnaround.

It is also not like Steve Nash thinks like everyone else does in many ways. It seems hard to imagine that Nash would take the easy route to a title and take his talents to South Beach. Although he did say he would consider it in an interview late in the season. He said at his press conference where he was named G.M of Canada Basketball that he would consider all situations that were presented to him. Does the idea of coming back home to Canada appeal to Steve Nash? He has said in the past it does. Also former Raptor, Nash team mate with the Suns and soon to be fellow free-agent Leandro Barbosa said that Nash has said to him he would like to end his career as a Raptor. Colangelo said even when trading Barbosa to the Pacers the Raptors would consider bringing him back. As we learned earlier this year the Raptors had a chance to bring Nash to Toronto long before Bryan Colangelo ever appeared in Toronto.

Still Steve Nash is starting to show signs of his age and this whole idea seemed much more appealing a few years ago than it might today. You would also want to have a point guard of the future for Nash to mentor behind him. Although with Nash's injury issues and not being able to play the same amount of minutes he has in the past a raw rookie back-up might not be great. Jose Calderon if he was willing would be an excellent and perhaps over qualified number two behind him if he were to remain. Calderon in a contract year despite being the team guy that he has always been labeled may not embrace this idea to much. If he did stay the Raptors point guard play would rank among the best in the league. You could also move Calderon and find that point guard of the future. Still the Raptors would be wasting an opportunity not having a point guard of the future as part of the mix if Nash was here.

If Colangelo is going to bring in Nash you would need to address some things with this roster beyond that in order for Nash to really be successful. Which makes the idea of Jose as his back-up seem unlike at best given he is set to make over 10 million next season. Nash is going to get paid a rather larger amount one would figure even at his advanced age. What the Raptors truly lack for Steve Nash to be successful here is three point shooting. You could likely bring back Barbosa and that would give you one shooter but you would likely need another. That likely has to come at the small forward position. If your starting line-up is going to be Nash, DeRozan, Bargnani and Jonas you need a second option to shoot the three beyond Bargnani you would think. Whatever the case, the Raptors would need more than just Nash to make a dramatic turn around. That team that Nash joined in Phoenix already had a lot of talent in place with guys like Stoudamire, Marion, Joe Johnson and Barbosa. Does a group of Bargnani, DeRozan, and Jonas along with a draft pick to come offer enough? It is up for debate and Steve Nash is not that same guy that walked into Phoenix and ended up winning two MVP awards.

Nash has never been known as a defender in his time in the NBA. Dwane Casey is all about playing defense. That said in his later years with the Suns the focus had changed to a more defensively responsible team. In addition if Casey found a way to hide Jose Calderon on defense in his scheme, he can find a way to hide Steve Nash.

There is a part of you as a Canadian that can't help but want to believe this is possible. Unlike the Raptors signing of Jaamal Magloire, this is a Canadian that would fill seats at the ACC. Steve Nash instantly makes the Raptors more relevant just by showing up and putting on a Raptors number 13 jersey. The same things that make him viable to run Team Canada, are the same things that would work in terms of marketing side of the Raptors. There is no question that MLSE in it's new form with both TSN/Bell and Sportsnet/Rogers would love to have Canada's greatest basketball player in their organization. It will mean a huge jump in ratings for the Raptors potentially and it should establish them truly as this national brand that they have tried to be since the Grizzlies left for Memphis. In terms of non-basketball related things this is a slam dunk in terms or marketing, merchandising and ratings.

There is also the fact that Colangelo's job is on the line. That plays a factor in this for him obviously. If there is one thing we have learned about Bryan Colangelo in his time here, it is that if he likes a player that seldom changes. We have seen many former Suns end up Raptors and his extreme loyalty to his number on pick in Andrea Bargnani. Once Colangelo likes a player, it seems to stick in his mind. The irony in all of this is the last time this happened in Phoenix it was Mark Cuban that questioned how much Steve Nash ultimately had left. Two MVP trophies later the answer was clear he had a lot left. These days it would be more than Mark Cuban that would question how much Nash has left. Deron Williams is the guy that the big name teams will be chasing with Cuban at the front of that line.

The major concern is when things go away for a point guard it tends to be a fast and painful process. Still is the chance to create something truly special to hard for everyone to pass on including Nash? I guess will find out eventually. The one thing that is true be it a good move or a bad one, if Steve Nash is coming to Toronto, the Raptors will have more attention than they have had since the days of Vince Carter. I fight with if this is a good idea or not basketball wise. It is hard to be objective about Steve Nash. It is also hard to go down this road again on if he will come here or not. The one thing that is good is this is last time we will regardless of how it turns out. While I believe Steve Nash can truly save Canada Basketball in many ways. I have a harder time with him as a player saving the Raptors as well. Colangelo has made worse gambles in his time here than betting on Steve Nash. I just wonder if this was a move that would have worked better when Jay Triano was coaching and Chris Bosh was still around than it does now.


DNB Top 10: First Round Of The Playoffs

True the first round of the playoffs is not over, but will do this list anyways. What has been of note from round one of the playoffs?

10. Ron Artest: Wait a second he is suspended and can't play how can he be on this list? If you watch Conan you know the answer. Ron Artest appearing on late night T.V while suspended has to rank up their with Dennis Rodman on Nitro (Wrestling) during a Bulls playoff run. It also might be because with out him the Lakers still have not finished off the Nuggets. If the Lakers win game 6 by 15 or more I am accusing them of playoff tanking. If not and Denver some how win Ron will be back for game 7.

9. Injures: Most of which have happened to the Bulls with the odd self inflicted one to the Knicks. The Bulls are still alive but given how they have been life and death to beat the Sixers it is not like they are going far. Chuck Swirsky was appalled that Philly fans cheered at an announcement that Noah was out for a game. These are the same people that cheered as Micheal Irvin was laid out motionless during a football game ending his career and booed Santa Claus are we surprised? I would enjoy the Sixers more if we had A.I still around to talk about practice. A sad end to the season for a Bulls team that fought so hard to keep their star healthy during the season. Sometimes stuff happens and you just have to go out and play the game and let the chips fall where they may.

8. Watch The Last 2 minutes: These NBA Playoffs have further added service to the fact if you watch the last two minutes of a NBA game you have seen it all. That isn't the truth but you will feel like it with how long and drawn out the last two minutes can be in a playoff game.

7. SVG Is Over In Orlando: The Magic actually won a game vs the Pacers which was surprising. Now the future begins for what will happen to that mess. Will Dwight Howard who is now recovering from surgery get his way and push out Stan Van Gundy? If he does can Otis Smith survive and actually get him to sign an extension in Orlando? One thing that is true and SVG and Dwight can both put the blame on is Otis Smith who destroyed this team with stupid trades to begin with. If Dwight leaves the Bobcats and Magic Rivalry for top pick in the draft just heated up. As for SVG he will land on his feet and live to coach again. In the meantime could someone at ESPN make a call and have him and Jeff working broadcasts together? That would be great.

6. OKC and Spurs: One Team is old and the other is young. They will face each other in the Western Conference finals when all is said and done.

5. James Harden: Ron Artest tried to kill him with an elbow and maybe it is he is happy he is alive, but whatever it is James Harden was just outstanding for the Thunder in round one. He is now a legit number three for them and on some nights can play like the number one guy.

4. No Drama Really: Let's face it there have been close games sure but aside from the Bulls being hit with a plague of injures and might not make it out of the first round the rest has pretty much gone as expected. The one surprise might be the Clippers having an easier time of it with Grizzlies than expected. But at the end of the day the teams we thought would win will.

3. Take Your Kids To Press Conference: I am not sure who started this trend. I think it was Kobe trying to show he was a family man after all his drama in Denver years back. But now it is common place to see kids at the press conferences. Chris Paul's kid's Blake Griffin Face might be the highlight of round one for me. In fact who needs the players let's have their kids do the press conference and ask them how they thought dad played? You will get more honest answers at least.

2. Plan Parenthood: It always amazes me when Athletes have babies coming during a key part to the season. I mean did Chris Bosh not think the Miami Heat would be in the playoffs now? Sure accidents happen but these things can be planned out so you can have you kids in July-Sept, you know when no games are being played. It makes for an awkward situation when you don't, that we are forced to remember that family is more important than sports. Seriously is this really that hard? That might have been a wrong choice of words.

1. Knicks: Where Failure Happens: The Knicks did win a game in this series. The first win since one over Toronto in 2001. This win after a star player trying to knock out a fire extinguisher and losing. There is talk the Knicks are looking to make Mike Woodson the full time for real head coach. Hold on their Knicks. This is a the same guy that struggled to win in Atlanta in the post season for years. It isn't that I like you it is more that I care for Spike Lee's well being in why I say this. If you hire Woodson you will lose in the playoffs. But at least you'll be better than the Nets.


Steve Nash In Charge Of Canada's Basketball Future

In the past Canada Basketball has done a lot of things wrong it probably started with the firing of Jay Triano. This also led to the end of Steve Nash playing for Canada. He is now back not on the floor, but he is now back in the roll of G.M or basketball Czar whatever title you like to put on it. People have made the comparison to Wayne Gretzky running Team Canada in Hockey. This is different though as Nash has no plan to retire from the NBA anytime soon. He will have Rowan Barrett acting as the Assistant G.M while he continues his NBA Career. That said a phone call from Steve Nash to come play for Canada Basketball would carry a lot of weight with young stars that are coming up in Canada. That perhaps begins with Tristan Thompson and does not stop there.

Steve Nash coming back to the program would obviously open up the door for Jay Triano to return in some roll. It isn't clear if it would be in his same roll he once had at head coach. This is the first time in a long time that Canada Basketball has done something that is universally applauded. Canada Basketball has always had issues with money adding the face of Basketball in Canada should only help in bringing money into the fold.

In case you were wondering someone did ask the question Raptor fans might be interested in. Will Steve Nash consider coming to Toronto to play for the Raptors? He didn't say no. He said he has not even begun to consider his options in terms of the NBA. However, he said he would consider every situation presented to him. This press conference was held at the ACC and I am sure Steve would have talked to his old  friend Bryan Colangelo right? The idea of Nash playing for the Raptors does seem a long shot given the amount of time he has left in his career and his desire to still win a championship.

Nash said in this press conference that greatest accomplishment in basketball was playing for Team Canada. That might seem strange for a two time NBA MVP to say. That said, it likely does not surprise anyone that he said it. This will be a positive move for Canada Basketball and will or should get this ship that has been drifting along heading no where. Now Canada Basketball has a captain to guide the ship and it has a huge amount of talent that all grew up watching Steve Nash that he should be able to bring into the fold.

Finally Canada should have it's full amount of basketball talent at it's disposal to try and go out and compete with the rest of the world. Canada failed to qualify under Leo Rautins for the London Olympics and now the goal and challenge belongs to Steve Nash to get Canada to the World Championships in 2014 and the Olympics in Brazil in 2016. The roster for that team should be the best that Canada has every put together with the amount of talent out there and Steve Nash being the guy responsible for bringing it together.


Demar DeRozan Gets A Call From Uncle Jerry

Demar DeRozan's summer plans will include team USA according to Jerry Colangelo the father of Raptors GM and head of USA Basketball in an interview on the Fan 590. Now DeRozan will be part of the select team which is not in contention for a spot on team USA for the upcoming Olympics in London this summer but as part of the select team. That said it was the first step for many players to be part of the USA program in the future including Kevin Durant as the best example. This was also the part of the program that was run by former Raptors Head Coach Jay Triano. It is designed to prepare the main team as a sort of scout team for them to face. That said it gives the members of that team the chance to be around some of the NBA's elite talent and learn from that experience. This should be nothing but a positive experience for DeRozan.

The fact that Colangelo's father runs team USA might raise some eyebrows as to if DeRozan would be there on his own merit. That said he is there and that is the important part. Raptors have had many players play internationally but only two that have played for Team USA. Vince Carter and Chris Bosh who both had key roles for Team USA in their time with the program. Carter of course shocked the world in Sydney as he jumped over french man with the greatest of ease. While Chris Bosh was a key contribute to the redeem team that won gold in China. DeRozan may not be heading to London for this Olyimpics but this makes the chances he could be part of the World Championships in 2014 and or 2016 in Brazil.

While on the topic of DeRozan check out the handy work of Andy from Game Entertainment. This is an amazing production looking back on DeRozan's 3rd year as Raptor in the NBA:

Check out more of his work on Youtube the guy is pretty friggin amazing at what he does.

Monday Full Of Bits And Bites

We have reached that point of the year where not a lot is going on Raptor wise. The Raptors are in wait and see mode in terms of the draft pick and the NBA Lottery. They can only make trades with teams eliminated from playoff contention which now after the weekend includes the defending champion Mavericks who were swept aside by the OKC Thunder. It is really the dead time of the off-season for the most part. Perhaps the calm before the storm of what should be a very active one for Bryan Colangelo.

It will be an active one for us here in the Dino Nation Blog as I will be adding some people to the staff shortly. Still may add more but the Team DNB Era is about ready to get rolling. I am excited about and hope you will enjoy the new folks that will be adding their talents to the Dino Nation Blog trying to make it better for everyone. I will be taking next week off and then will start down this new exciting path. I am still willing to consider more people for #TeamDNB as you can work with us over the summer as we prepare for next season and a bigger and better Dino Nation Blog for all. At least that is the hope and the plan.

Speaking of hope it was Jonas Valancuinas 20th birthday over the weekend as he will have a lot of hope attached to him coming in to join the Raptors next season. As for the expected number one pick in the upcoming draft Anthony Davis he spent his weekend with his Kentucky team at the Kentucky Derby. Which gives me an idea let's get rid of the NBA Lottery altogether and replace it with a horse race. That would be fun right? Speaking of the NBA Lottery it will no longer be held in New Jersey as it is going to be taking place in New York this time around at the studios of ABC/ESPN in Time Square. Just another thing that is moving out of New Jersey along with the Nets.

Keeping in New York the Knicks stayed alive with Stoudamire in the line-up and now speculation on if Jeremy Lin could make a return for game 5 in Miami. Regardless of the Heat should take this series without problem as no team has ever come back from 3-0 down to win a series in the NBA. It does also erase the Knicks record longest playoff losing streak that had their last win of a playoff game vs the Toronto Raptors back in 2001 a series they would eventually lose in a 5th and deciding game. It is a reminder of how long ago the Raptors glory days were. Also a reminder that the Raptors have never won a 7 game playoff series in their history. They have only had 3 chances to win one facing Philly later in that same 2001 playoff run and then first round exits to both the Nets and Magic in more recent times under Bryan Colangelo.

There is a long off-season to go and lots of time to talk about everything. There has been lots of positive feedback from are recent interview with Jack Armstrong the thing that seemed to interest most folks was Jack suggesting the Raptors should they lose in the lottery could consider moving their pick in the draft. It is not that crazy an idea. Even if the Raptors moved back and acquired another asset as a part of that it might be a good idea. If the Raptors pick at 8th or worse the likelihood of a top small forward being on the board seems bleak. It also seems to high to pick a point guard in this draft class. So why not trade back or trade out of the draft. In the interview Jack references the Johnathan Bender for Antonio Davis trade and calls it the best in the history of this franchise. A move like that in which the Raptors added a wing player or a point guard might be more appealing than anything they could find in the draft at that point. Eventually you can find yourself with to many young pieces and not enough actual proven players. The Boston Celtics had a ton of youth and turned that youth into the Big 3 that won them a title. The key is figuring out what young pieces you want to keep for the long term. That generally will be dictated by what you are bringing in via the trade. The Celtics got it right by keeping a young Rajon Rondo who at the time was far from what he is today. The Raptors also have two second round picks and what they do with them will be interesting as well. The Raptors record of finding players in the second round is one of the worst in the NBA.

That is about all I have for you on a Monday. Just a reminder during these off-season months barring big news items we will be running Monday to Friday and taking the weekends off. But we will be running all off-season long. There maybe a week or so vacation here and there but for the most part will be here all off-season long.


Round Ball Review: Season Ending Not So Spectacular Show

The guys do their season wrap up. To be honest I am not sure they really have much to say about the Raptors season but really do they ever? Still they do find a way to make it an entertaining show or at least we hope they do. So, with that all said the latest episode of the Round Ball Review.


Jack Armstrong Is Here For The Starting 5

If we were to have a #TeamDNB for guests, this man would be our first round pick without question. Jack Armstrong stops by to chat about the Raptors season and the off-season that lies ahead. We don't touch on the draft to much as the ping pong balls have yet to give us the answer as to where the Raptors will ultimately select. That said Jack has agreed to come back and get us all set for the draft. What we do talk about is a number of topics of interest. Does there need to be a change to the lottery system to improve it and try to prevent the whole concept of tanking from impacting on the game. Reflecting on the first season for Dwane Casey as Raptors head coach. Can Andrea Bargnani be the guy that opened eyes at the beginning of the season. What do Demar DeRozan and Ed Davis need to do in the coming off-season? Will James Johnson ultimately fit in a role as a back up for the Raptors should they likely upgrade at his position. How Bryan Colangelo will approach this upcoming off-season with his future in Toronto on the line. Also get Jack's thoughts on the Nets move to Brooklyn as he is a native of that area. In addition something I never knew about what NBA Team tried to steal Jack from us in Toronto. It is a lengthy but enjoyable conversation with Jack as it always tends to be when he takes time to join us.

As I mentioned Jack will be back to talk about the draft once the Lottery Balls have fallen. He obviously gave you a hint on his feelings on Anthony Davis but safe to say almost everyone shares that opinion that he is the consensus number one pick heading into the draft. We will be reaching out to others getting their thoughts on the season and off-season to come in the next few weeks. So stay tuned and be on the look out for more guests as we get prepared for the off-season. Jack is an honorary member of #TeamDNB for me. He has become our most popular guest over the years and it is mainly because of two things. The first is Jack and his no nonsense approach mixed with good humour that Raptor fans have come to love. Second his willingness to be a guest on a regular basis and show faith in me to do a good interview. Those two things are what has made him are most frequent and most popular guest in The Starting 5 and we are thrilled as always to have him on with us.


DNB Top 10 Off-Season Edition

So it is another off-season for Raptors Fans, far sooner than they would like. What can you do between now and next season. Here are 10 suggestions of what you could do with your time.

#10- Think Of Alternate Names You Could Have- Ron Artest became Metta World Peace last off-season. Maybe you can change your name to something cool too. How about change your name to a Raptor legend like say Yogi Stewart? Maybe you could go with a Raptor theme and be Rock Pound? The ideas are really endless.

#9- Mini Golf- It is a great time and involves far less frustration than actual golf. You don't need to buy clubs, you get to experience life and meet people. If you get good who knows maybe you could be the Tiger Woods of professional Mini-Golf (There is such a thing)

#8- Watch The WNBA- No it hasn't folded. They actually still have a league. That is why we have that Shooting Stars thing on All-Star Weekend to remind you the league has not folded. Watch the game in it's purest form without all those dunks and stuff. Learn the names of the teams and amaze your friends with your knowledge of useless information. Start a petition for MLSE to get a WNBA Franchise that might actually win something.

#7- CFL Football- The Argos would like to endorse this. After all not many people seem to bother going to watch them. You have the Hamilton Ti-Cats down the road if you are looking for a winning team to root for. The CFL Draft is on tomorrow it lacks the gilts and glamor of the 3 days of the NFL Draft but it is still fun. It is nice to watch a draft where the players do not instantly earning more money than you.

#6 Start Hitch Hiking To Las Vegas- If you left today you would make it their in lots of time for the return of the Las Vegas Summer League that is back after being a causality of the NBA Lockout. After some of the games you watched in the NBA Regular Season this year who knows it might make Vegas Summer League look better than it has in the past. Ed Davis will be there too, and is said to be the focus of the Raptors team. When are you going to get to see that EVER?

#5 Go Jays Go- Hey the Blue Jays are suppose to be good? They are above 500 at least when is the last time a Toronto Sports Team could say that. I know Leaf Fans, the Leafs were in first in the NHL. I wasn't going to bring it up to spare your feelings. But these Jays are going to be the example for the NEW MLSE as Rogers is set to assume their stake officially in MLSE this summer. Given how the Jays didn't spend money to get Prince Fielder or Yu Darvish, don't expect the money to be getting tossed around in the NEW and IMPROVED MLSE. So watch the Jays and see the Raptors future. Ok Maybe not, but they too have a lot of empty seats to fill.

#4 Canada's Wonderland- You watch the Raptors all year so what better way to prepare for next season than to ride roller coasters. The Raptors have always felt like you were watching a roller coaster at times. So why not get prepared and ride roller coasters all summer.

#3 Study Up On Lithuania- If Linas Klezia could not inspire you to learn about the country maybe Jonas Valanciunas can? In fact maybe learn the language you have lots of time. Cheer for them in basketball in Olympics after all Canada isn't there (Thanks Leo) so go buy a flag and get ready to cheer. 

#2 Hunt for Demar DeRozan- Demar says he is going to be in Toronto more this summer. Spend the day trying to find him and hunt him down. Get a look and see if he really has been hitting the weights and getting bigger. In fact invite him to go to the gym with you and lift weights with him. Do your part to make your Raptor Star Player better.

#1 The Olympics- There is the obvious in watching the Basketball Tournament But why not get into it and cheer for sports you never knew existed. See if you can actually master the triple jump? Cheer for Canadians to set personal bests because it is not about winning medals. Oh wait, no we actually try and win now after Vancouver.


7 Dayz Of NBAz Is Back

First before we get to the NBA News that has caught my attention, we have a rare birthday greeting here in the DNB. Amir Johnson has his Birthday today as he turns 20 something which is a lot younger than me so we really don't need to be specific and depress me. Still he is one of my go to guys in the locker room so I felt the need to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMIR. Now on to our regularly scheduled blog. Only thing of note Raptor wise is after much twitter hype the Raptors did in fact lose a coin toss to Warriors and will enter the NBA Lottery in the 8th position. But most of you already know that and some are even upset about it. Colangelo should have went tails obviously. We are pleased to say that Jack Armstrong will be visiting us on Thursday so that will be fun as always. Now on to your NBA talk.

As you maybe aware we have been searching for folks to add to the staff in what we are calling #TeamDNB so this will be my first and likely last time doing this feature. Someone else will be writing this in a few weeks and every week from that point forward. We have already lined up some people to be part of #TeamDNB and are still looking for people so check out the post and feel free to join our team.

 Brooklyn Nets Are Here

 Before we get to the playoffs the Brooklyn Nets are here. Brooklyn is in the NBA house as it were. I have to say that I am greatly disappointed once again in the re-design of an NBA Team. I love the OKC Thunder as a basketball team, who we will get to later, but what I have never loved is there logo and uniforms. Once again I am disappointed at how basic and plain the Brooklyn Nets logo and likely uniforms to follow will look. I read that Jay-Z actually had something to do with the design. If I was him I would not want to let that get out there. I get the fact that they went with something plain and obvious as this will be the first professional sports franchise in Brooklyn since the Brooklyn Dodgers left for L.A in 1957. But still since 1957 the world invented colour and this black and white scheme is boring and dull kind of like the Nets will be with no Deron Williams and little hope as they move to Brooklyn in terms of basketball success.

Rose Gone Means Nothing Will Stop The Heat In East

When Derrick Rose went down late in game one vs the Sixers it was pretty much the end of Eastern Conference Playoffs having any really interest level in terms of who will win. The Miami Heat now have a clear path to the NBA Finals with little chance of being stopped. In terms of Rose it is just another in a string of injures that have plagued him this season. His future is a bit cloudy now after coming off last season winning the NBA MVP and leading the Bulls back to contention for the first time since Jordan really. Miami has been toying with the Knicks and slapping them around. You have Chris Bosh so worried he is doing cameos in Lebron James post game interviews(See Below). While Stoudamire fought a fire extinguisher and lost much as Chris Jericho was a victim of one in the WWE PPV on the weekend. The difference was CM Punk the WWE Champion was using the fire extinguisher as a weapon. Stoudamire was just frustrated and took it out on one. In reality it was the glass that did the damage as Stoudamire suffered a gash that required stitches and to his none shooting hand. His Status for game 3 is uncertain but seems doubtful. This also is a classic example of why Mike Woodson should not be the coach of the Knicks moving forward. In Atlanta he was terrible in the playoffs and great in the regular season. This is not going to change in New York as this is another example of a Woodson led team that has no discipline and focus when it matters most.

So after the Heat knock off the Knicks in 4 games it would likely appear up next for them should be the Indiana Pacers if they can handle their business with the D-12 less Magic. They did come out and roll in Game 2 and looked impressive but the fact they dropped  Game one only shows the lack of playoff experience this team has and should make the easy prey for the Heat. If the Bulls can survive without Rose and get past the Sixers which I expect they will they will face the winner of Atlanta and Boston. That was suppose to be a series that Boston would dominate and take out the always underachieving Hawks in round one. The Hawks surprised Boston in Game One and the fact Rondo got ejected and now has been suspended for Game Two making the Hawks a safe bet to go up 2-0 assuming they don't blow this golden opportunity. The Celtics have screwed me many times in the playoffs in terms of predictions but if they fall behind 2-0 I find it hard to imagine they can win 4 out of 5 games from the Hawks. It is possible but unlikely in my eyes. So at the end of it all the Heat would face a Bulls team without Rose or a Boston team that will be pushed to the limit most likely. I guess you could throw the Hawks in the mix as well but I don't see them being able to knock off the Bulls even without Rose. It is not really a case of if Miami will make the NBA Finals it is a case of do they even lose a game on the road to get there. It is possible that they don't. Which will make the task for whoever comes out of the West a even more daunting challenge to defeat them in the Finals.

OKC Has Experience Despite It's Youth

The OKC Thunder for such a young team have quite the playoff resume already. It all started with perhaps one of the best six game series in recent memory vs the Lakers. They really pushed the Lakers and made it a challenge to get past them despite having next to no playoff experience. This was followed by last season in which the Thunder made an impressive march to the Conference Finals only to lose to their first round opponent this year the Mavericks in 6 games. Despite being pushed to the limit in both the first two games by the Mavericks, the Thunder are still standing up 2-0 to the defending champions. That said things are different this season in comparison to last season. Dallas really misses Tyson Chandler in this series they are getting very little from that position he once patrolled. Also Vince Carter playing a significant roll for the them was not part of the mix either.The days of Carter scoring 50 points in the playoffs as a Raptor are well in the past. All of that and you don't see the same dominant performance we saw from Dirk last season. In addition we do see a much more mature and better version of Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka . Those three guys have made up for a less than MVP like performance from Durant.

Now it will not be the easy March to the finals that the Heat should have. Still I don't think the Thunder will ever walk into a series and feel they can't win it. They would almost welcome a re-match with Lakers especially given the events at the end of the season with Ron Artest whacking Harden in the head with an MMA worthy elbow that sees him still watching the playoffs for 5 more games. If we did end up with the expected one vs two showdown with the Spurs and Mavericks it should be a very entertaining series to watch. Keeping in mind that the Thunder will have gone through the defending Champions and the Lakers most likely to there. If they accomplish that they will be riding quite the high heading into facing the Spurs.

I tweeted last night that OKC vs Miami is your destiny world just accept it. It may take all the drama and fun out of the playoffs for you but think what a potential final that could be. No other match-up has the sizzle that one does.

Shout out To Reggie Evans

I missed Reggie Evans this year covering Raptor games. Still I was very happy for him that he landed in a pretty cool place with the L.A Clippers. It was just a week ago that people were giving one of my favourite guys grief about his flop heard round the world.

Now he is getting love for his play down the stretch in a comeback that was not to be believed as the Clippers stormed back to beat the Grizzlies. I am happy for Reggie who off the floor is one of the nicest guys I have met in covering basketball. On the floor he is a bull in a china shop and I kind of dig that about him. I am not sure how many more playoff games that Reggie will be the key to winning, but he is always giving his 100% out there regardless. It is not like he has had many chances at the playoffs in his time in the league. So go get them Reggie and please no one tell him I took the Grizzlies in 6 games to win this series.

Save HUGO!!!


I am deeply concerned that my favorite mascot, before The Raptor came along, Hugo is in trouble. Part of the deal the NBA agreed too when selling the Hornets to the Owner of the Saints Tom Benson was to allow a name change. Rumours they rigged the NBA Lottery for the Hornets to win as well...maybe. One of the things I have always respected about the NBA is there stubborn nature in terms of team names.There are no Lakes in L.A, Little Jazz in Utah, Grizzles are not running wild in Memphis streets and so on. It speaks to how desperate the the NBA was to keep the team in New Orleans who already bombed out once in the NBA with the Jazz. Now the the Kings future in Sacramento very uncertain it was a priority to keep the Hornets in New Orleans. If we must allow this to happen and New Orleans gets a new name I have a suggestion. Trade Hugo the mascot back to Charlotte let him own the team and re-name them the Hornets. Honestly can Hugo do any worse than Michael Jordan? Also at least I know Hugo will show up at every game unlike Jordan who was more happy to watch Hockey in Chicago than his pathetic Bobcats in Charlotte. People in Charlotte deserve much better, it was once a great NBA Market and they have got the shaft in terms of ownership not once but twice and maybe even three times. If Hugo is gone a part of me will be sad and die. Just like when the Blue Jays got rid of B.J Birdy for that stupid Ace or the Ti-Cats got rid of T.C for that idiot Stripes. Yes I love my mascots and am not ashamed to admit it.

So that about does it. This feature will be back on a regular basis with someone else guiding you around the NBA and they likely won't be talking about mascots. Which depending on your point of view could be a good thing or a bad thing. I hope that you will enjoy the people I am bringing in to be a part of team DNB. A lot of thought and effort went into the process for bringing them on board and I am sure they would confirm that fact. I am still looking for more people to join the team but in a few weeks you will see the first couple people that I am bringing on board to help take the Dino Nation Blog to an exciting new level. At least that is the plan.