Hope everyone had a great Easter Weekend and the Easter Bunny was good to everyone. This Week in Raptorland will be a day late and hopefully not a dollar short. The Raptors schedule combined with the holiday made it tough to hook-up to record the pod cast in time for today. This is probably the last day the Raptors will be relevant this season as the Blue Jays will start their season and get most people’s attention as a legit contender for the World Series. The Raptors if you ask most are miles away from contending.
They did get the better of their former point guard and his new team on Friday. Jose Calderon will make his no doubt emotional return to Toronto tonight. Many fans simply love Jose Calderon. This is taken to the point of insanity in some cases. Jose Calderon for some people is bordering on sainthood and there is nothing that I will say or anyone else that will change that.
The Raptors followed up that dominate win over the Pistons with a complete collapse against the Wizards on Sunday. It was beyond disappointing for folks that are hanging in trying to get what they can out of what is left of this season. The wizards could be a team that next season are one of the non-playoff teams that will be pushing for a playoff spot next season. The win was the seventh in a row at home for them. John Wall is really starting to take his game to the next level and Bradley Beal is looking a lot better ever since Wall returned to Wizards line-up after missing time at the start of the season.
If you’re in desperate need of something to be positive about look no further than Jonas Valanciunas. He had 14 points and 13 rebounds in almost 39 minutes against the Pistons. Last night in a loss to Wizards he led the Raptors with 18 points and another 10 rebounds for back to back double-doubles.
If the Raptors are to prove the critics in wrong it only happens through great internal improvement and Jonas would be one of the players with the most upside to grow. The only other way is the Raptors ignore the tax threshold and spend well beyond that to make up for some contracts that do not exactly fit the talent level of the guys being paid those salaries.
In past years I have done some April Fool’s joke here in the blog but given the way the season has gone it has been a big enough joke. The Raptors have really been very disappointing especially since the loss to the Milwaukee Bucks that essentially ended the Raptors’ playoff hopes. The Raptors finished up March 4-11 and that is no April Fool’s joke. This was following their only winning month of the season in February when Rudy Gay arrived on the scene.
The Raptors running a campaign of 17 reasons to get seasons tickets kind of falls flat in the midst of the despair of what this season has become. I could come up with 17 reasons you shouldn’t believe in this team next season let alone invest your hard earned money in them. Two off the top of my head is Bryan Colangelo will be back and Andrea Bargnani might not be gone and if he is it will not be for much of anything you would have to figure.
The Raptors have nothing to look forward to in terms of the draft unless they find some luck in the draft lottery. Which even if they landed a top 3 pick would cause some issues in adding that salary to a roster that is already pushed up against the tax threshold cap? This is also, despite all the excitement of the NCAA’s March Madness a very weak draft class to select from.
My thoughts and prayers to the young man Kevin Ware who broke his leg in the Louisville vs. Duke game in an ugly play, one of the worst injuries I have seen in sports. You can’t give enough credit to his team for going on to win the basketball game over Duke. This is a classic example on why I always support a young man that wants to enter the NBA as soon as possible. You are one ugly injury away from losing everything while playing in college. It will not happen but the NBA really should allow high-school players back in the draft process. I would say the NCAA should start paying these kids but the simple truth is far too much greed exists for that to happen.
Michigan made the Final Four for the first time since the Fab Five days in the early 90’s. ESPN did one of their excellent 30 for 30 documentaries on that group. In that documentary the Michigan basketball program the year before they arrived earned 1.7 million dollars. After the Fab Fives first season that number grew to over 10 million. Charles Barkley infamously said that college basketball and football are the last forms of legalized slavery in North America. It might not be quite to that extreme level but it is very clear these schools are getting rich off the backs of these talented young kids.
Many of those kids in basketball are starting to be Canadian. In Michigan’s win it was not Tim Hardaway Jr., Glen Robinson III or Trey Burke that were the difference yesterday. It was a young kid from right here in Southern Ontario Nik Stauskas who went 6/6 three point line for 22 points to help Michigan beat down the Gators. This is just one of many examples of all the great Canadian kids in the NCAA Tournament this year.
This is a fact the Raptors should start taking note of before they start seeing a slew of Canadians being part of teams that are beating them at the ACC.