Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Sports Team Venn Diagram

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[via Reddit]

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Toronto Huskies

Toronto HuskiesTim Leiweke, the new CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, seems to be open to a Raptors re-branding.

I will acknowledge that we absolutely have had conversations about the colour and make-up of our brand, our uniforms and our image.

Now's the time to erase one of many mistakes made by the Toronto Raptors since we were granted an NBA franchise. At the time, Jurassic Park was all the rage. Kids naturally love dinosaurs, and Jurassic Park was so damn cool, dinos were everywhere.

We were essentially named after a fad. At the time I wanted our team to be named the Toronto Huskies because we had a team named the Toronto Huskies in the Basketball Association of America during the 1946-47 season. It's a cool name with history so I thought it was a slam-dunk.

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I was wrong and the Jurassic Park fad won the day. Now's our chance to correct this oversight. It's time to change our nickname from Raptors to Huskies. Let's be the Toronto Huskies!

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A Tale of Two Games: When We Tied the Heat

A Tale of Two Games: When We Tied the HeatI was at the Heat game this afternoon. It really was a tale of two games.

Early in the fourth quarter, after battling back, the Raptors managed to tie the Miami Heat. The ACC went nuts. Seriously, it felt like a playoff game. The Raps were going to end Miami's winning streak at 21!

Ready for tipoff #raptors

Then, in what seemed like a blink of the eye, we were down by 20. It all fell apart so quickly... Miami has now won 22 in a row.

We were at the game thanks to Dove Men+Care who wanted to demonstrate their Ultimate Gameday Change Table. It was a souped-up change table for sporty dads. There's a timer, emergency lullaby button and even rankings of the fastest changers.

2013-03-17 12.28.08

Just got a demo of Dove For Men's #ultimatechangetable and it's every father's dream

P.S. Amir Johnson rules. That is all.

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Terrence Ross Wins Slam Dunk Competition

Terrence Ross Wins Slam Dunk ContestFollowing the Leafs 3-0 over the Sens, I got sucked into watching the NBA all-star competitions. I had a rooting interest with Raptor rookie Terrence Ross in the slam dunk competition, so I got into it.

Ross won becoming the second Raptor to do so following Vince Carter's win in 2000. Ross actually paid tribute to Vince with his first dunk in the finals last night.

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Then, he sealed the deal using a young boy as a convenient prop.

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Full points to Ross for the win, but I miss the good old days when props weren't part of every second dunk and it was just an athletic dunker and his creativity. Birthday boy Michael Jordan, FTW!

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Things are Looking Up in Toronto Sports

Things are Looking Up in Toronto SportsToronto Sports fans, I have good news. It seems we bounced off the bottom in August and things are looking up.

At that time, the Jays, Leafs, Raptors, TFC and Argos were all in pretty dire straits. You'll have to click back for details. I called it a "brand new low", but as I type this today I'm pleased to report the Argos are Grey Cup champs, the Blue Jays are entering the pre-season as World Series favourites and both the Leafs and Raptors are on four game winning streaks. Heck, the Leafs might even make the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

And let me tell you as someone who is watching both the Leafs and Raptors these days, they're both entertaining and full of hope, something that's been sorely lacking the past few years. The Toronto professional sports scene is suddenly respectable again.

Go Jays Go! And go Leafs, Raptors and Argos, too! I'm not sure about TFC, but the other teams are headed in the right direction.

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Rudy Gay a Raptor

Rudy Gay a RaptorThe Memphis Grizzlies' leading scorer is now a Toronto Raptor. Rudy Gay and his big contract now belongs to the Rap who traded Jose Calderon and Ed Davis to land him and centre Hamed Haddadi.

What does the National Post tell us about this deal?

Gay, 26, is having a poor year by his standards. He is averaging 17.2 points while shooting just 41% from the floor and 31% from three-point range. However, his career statistics are 45% and 34%, and it is very rare for a player to start declining at this stage of his career. It is likely he is just having an off-season. Almost certainly, Gay would slide in as the Raptors’ best swingman since the departure of Vince Carter.

But there are concerns for the future, most notably how he might pair with DeMar DeRozan, whom the Raptors signed to a four-year, US$38-million extension this year. Both struggle to hit the three-point shot, and are not elite creators. However, Gay and new starting point guard Kyle Lowry played together in Memphis, and are close friends.

The move would be an expensive one for the Raptors. Calderon’s contract was set to expire after this year, while Davis’s rookie-scale contract is only guaranteed through next year at US$3.15-million. He would be due for a raise after that. Gay is owed more than US$37-million over the next two years.

In 24 games as a starter, Davis has averaged 12.9 points and 7.7 rebounds on 56% shooting from the floor. After struggling in his first two years, Davis’s player efficiency rating has shot up to 18.1, well above the league average. However, there is a suggestion that this Davis is playing at or near his peak — that a skinny power forward with limited range on his jumper has a limited ceiling. Davis was the 13th pick in the 2010 Draft.

Calderon, meanwhile, will go down as one of the greatest Raptors ever — a low bar, perhaps, but meaningful nonetheless. Calderon’s 525 games with the team are just 17 behind Morris Peterson’s franchise record. His 3,770 assists more than double second-place Alvin Williams on that all-time franchise list. He is also a top-five Raptor in career minutes played, field goals made, field goals attempted, three-point field goals, steals and free-throw percentage.

Andrea Bargnani remains a Toronto Raptor.

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Andrew Wiggins: Canada's LeBron

Andrew Wiggins: Canada's LebronI only became aware of Andrew Wiggins last year when my brother Ryan espoused his virtues as a slam-dunk #1 pick in 2014. Wiggins is from Vaughan "The City Above Toronto" and currently plays for Huntington Prep High School in West Virginia. I'm told the nickname "Canada's LeBron" is well deserved.

If Andrew Wiggins stays healthy, he's a lock to go first overall in 2014, but already I'm seeing articles asking if the Raptors shouldn't tank for Wiggins.... next season.

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I've never been comfortable with the idea of a team intentionally sucking in order to score a better draft pick. I like to root for my team to win, even if I know they can't win the championship, and I believe we owe it to sport to make the opposition earn every win against us. The notion of tanking has never agreed with me.

And in the NBA, you can come in dead last and not get the #1 pick. In fact, there's a 75% chance you won't get the first pick overall if you come in last. That's far from a guarantee.

Wiggins may be a once-in-a-generation player, and he's even Canadian, but if we're already talking about tanking to improve our odds of drafting him in 2014, we really are hopeless.

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A Tale of Two Raptor Teams

A Tale of Two Raptor TeamsLess than a month ago, the Raptors were 4-19. 4-19 is pretty ugly. 4-19 was enough to get me to stop tuning in, despite the fact my main winter team isn't playing at all.

Since then, the Raptors have won 8 of 9. 12-20 is nothing to write home about, but it beats the mess out of 4-19. Heck, in the Eastern Conference, 12-20 puts us in 10th place, only 2.5 games out of the playoffs. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

With Andrea Bargnani out of the lineup, and the Raps putting in a solid defensive effort most nights, I've been watching again, and it's been fun. It's not a star-laden team, but it's a cohesive collective that plays together and shares the wealth between DeMar DeRozan, Jose Calderon, Kyle Lowry, Ed Davis, Alan Anderson, Amir Johnson and Terrence Ross who managed to score 26 points last night.

I'm not foolish enough to suggest the Raptors will make the playoffs, and I'm well aware these wins are coming against weaker teams, but with 8 wins in 9 games, they certainly have my attention.

Ping me when we trade Bargnani for a 2nd round pick.

P.s. Sorry to hear Raptorized John passed away. I've heard his calls on The FAN 590 for so long, it was like he was a part of the station. Raptorized John had a distinctive voice and always started his call with "Yo!".

Raptorized John died last week during his sleep. I'm thinking he would have been jazzed about Ross's effort last night.

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The Christmas Day Bargnani Fight

The Christmas Day Bargnani FightMy brothers and I ended up in the same room Tuesday as we met up at my mom's for Christmas dinner. Many topics were passionately discussed, but the one that caused the biggest uproar was Toronto Raptor Andrea Bargnani.

With an embedded photographer in the room, a great deal of this debate was captured. In a nutshell, my brother Ryan is somewhat blinded by the Fantasy Sports value of a player and gets that confused with the real-game value of a player. Apparently, he really likes Andrea Bargnani's numbers and considers him an asset. Meanwhile, Steve and I are ready to ship him out of town for a couple of basketballs and consider him an overrated disappointment.

Here's Ryan emphatically telling me Bargnani should yield a first round pick in a trade.

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Here's my brother Steve and I trying to decide which course of logic to follow first.

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As a courtesy, we heard him out, of course.

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At some point, Ryan compared Andrea Bargnani to Dirk Nowitzki. That's when I needed to sit down.

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This argument could go all night...

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To the computer!

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Conclusion: Bargnani is a nice pickup for your fantasy sports team, but if you have a real NBA team, you'll be better off when he's out of the lineup. Sorry, Ry.

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Canadians in the NBA

canadians in nbaWhen the Toronto Raptors released Toronto native Jamaal Magloire the other day, it brought the number of Canadians in the NBA down to 8.

Here are the 8 Canadians currently playing in the NBA:

  • Joel Anthony - C - Miami Heat
  • Samuel Dalembert - C - Houston Rockets
  • Cory Joseph - PG - San Antonio Spurs
  • Kris Joseph - SF - Boston Celtics
  • Steve Nash - PG - Los Angeles Lakers
  • Andrew Nicholson - PF - Orlando Magic
  • Robert Sacre - C - Los Angeles Lakers
  • Tristan Thompson - PF - Cleveland Cavaliers

Nash playing for the Lakers presents an interesting dilemma I'll address in episode 11 of Toronto Mike'd, which just happens to be recording tonight.

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