Archive for April, 2009
Thursday, April 30th, 2009
Thursday April 30 2009 – 1:55pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)
No huge surprises here … but check out the NBA’s All-Rookie Team(s):
Derrick Rose (Chicago)
OJ Mayo (Memphis)
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City)
Brook Lopez (New Jersey)
Michael Beasley (Miami)
Eric Gordon (LA Clippers)
Kevin Love (Minnesota)
Mario Chalmers (Miami)
Marc Gasol (Memphis)
DJ Augustin (Charlotte) and Rudy Fernandez (Portland) *tie
The announcement RE: the All-NBA Team(s) should be coming in the next couple of days as well.
Thursday, April 30th, 2009
Thursday April 30 2009 – 12:25pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)
No, I’m not talking about the MVP. That has yet to be announced – but I’m sure the award will go to LeBron James … with Kobe Bryant finishing a close second.
So what am I talking about? Kobe is # 1?
Based on sales at the NBA Store in New York City and online sales through NBA.com, Bryant has reclaimed the top slot in jersey sales once again. His #24 Lakers jersey was the top seller in 2006-07 but he was overtaken by Kevin Garnett last year.
And as a TEAM, the Los Angeles Lakers sell more jerseys than any other club.
Here’s how it all breaks down (based on sales):
1. Kobe Bryant (Lakers)
2. LeBron James (Cavaliers)
3. Chris Paul (Hornets)
4. Kevin Garnett (Celtics)
5. Allen Iverson (Pistons)
6. Dwyane Wade (Heat)
7. Paul Pierce (Celtics)
8. Nate Robinson (Knicks)
9. Pau Gasol (Lakers)
10. Dwight Howard (Magic)
11. Derrick Rose (Bulls)
12. Ray Allen (Celtics)
13. Steve Nash (Suns)
14. Shaquille O’Neal (Suns)
15. Carmelo Anthony (Nuggets)
And here’s how the Top 10 TEAMS break down:
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Boston Celtics
3. New York Knicks
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Chicago Bulls
6. New Orleans Hornets
7. Phoenix Suns
8. Miami Heat
9. Detroit Pistons
10. San Antonio Spurs
The sales numbers used to compile this list were taken from the beginning of the 2008-09 season, through to April 2009.
Wednesday, April 29th, 2009
Wednesday April 29 2009 – 1:33pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)
I’m going to keep this short and sweet.
One year ago today was locker clean-out day for the Raptors.
They were stumbling into the ACC … fresh off their 4-1 series loss to the Orlando Magic (similar to what the Spurs are doing today – after dropping 4-1 to the Mavs last night).
The Raps were licking their wounds from another 20/20 performance by Dwight Howard (21 points, 21 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Toronto was left wondering what maybe “could have been” had they been able to close out that game on a higher note – getting out-scored 18-10 in the final 5 minutes (after trailing by only 2) to eventually lose, 102-92.
Toronto led at the half and led by as many as 7 in the game, but when all was said and done, the Raptors fell flat.
TJ Ford – 6/14 FG – 14 points, 5 assists, 4 turnovers, 5 rebounds, 2 steals
Jose Calderon – 5/10 FG – 12 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds
Chris Bosh – 7/19 FG – 16 points, 9 rebounds
Andrea Bargnani – 2/4 FG – 4 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists (15:55 minutes)
Jason Kapono – 6/13 FG – 13 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists
Carlos Delfino – 3/11 FG – 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 6/6 FT
Those were some of the players that stood out for the right and wrong reasons.
A long year came to an end a year ago today.
And the year that followed was (has been) just as long.
Let’s hope Summer 2009 starts the turn-around and bigger and brighter things are to come.
Tuesday, April 28th, 2009
Tuesday April 28 2009 – 1:02pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)
More injury news to report …
30 minutes ago it was Raptors’ point guard Jose Calderon.
Now it’s Calderon’s former teammate, Jamario Moon.
Moon will undergo surgery on Thursday April 30 to repair a sports hernia injury.
He will accompany his Miami Heat teammates to Atlanta for Game 5 of their 1st round series against the Hawks, before returning to Florida for his surgery at Baptist Doctors Hospital in Miami.
The Heat are saying Moon will rest for two weeks following the procedure, and then be re-evaluated. Heat officials are saying that they expect the forward to miss the rest of the 2009 playoffs – no matter how far Miami advances (or not).
In 80 games this season (with the Raptors and Heat), Moon averaged 7.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.08 steals in 25.9 minutes per game.
Tuesday, April 28th, 2009
Tuesday April 28 2009 – 12:30pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)
The following was just sent out – about 15 minutes ago – from the Toronto Raptors public relations staff:
The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday that guard Jose Calderon underwent surgery this morning to repair ligament damage and capsular laxity to the ring finger of his left hand. Recovery time is expected to be six to eight weeks.
The procedure was performed by Dr. Brent Graham at Toronto Western Hospital .
This past season, Calderon averaged career highs of 12.8 points, 8.9 assists (fourth in the NBA) and 34.3 minutes in 68 games (all starts). He led the NBA in assists-per-turnover ratio (4.21) for a second consecutive season. He also established an NBA single-season free-throw percentage record of .981 (151-for-154).
Monday, April 27th, 2009
Monday April 27 2009 – 10:46am Eastern (Toronto, ON)
I see my good buddy Doug Smith already beat me to the punch on this one (the early bird gets the worm I guess) but I had to mention it anyway.
I was checking out some of the post-season awards last night (the press releases that were sent to me by the league over the last 7+ days) and I noticed that Raptors’ swingman Jason Kapono got a 2ND place vote for the Sixth Man of the Year award. So I knew right then … that I had my topic for today’s blog!
But, again, Smitty beat me to the punch. I guess I should have written my piece last night and published it ASAP. Serves me right for watching “Oceans 11″ on TMN and then heading to bed.
I like Kapono. He’s a good guy. He’s a great character. And on the floor, when he’s on … he’s deadly. But there’s no denying that he has been inconsistent in his time in Toronto and this past season specifically was not exactly stellar. It certainly wasn’t “6TH Man of the Year” worthy.
Though his scoring, rebounding, and assist totals went up this year (over what he did in year 1 with the Raps), his 3PT% and FG% were both the lowest they’ve been in 4 seasons.
But the bottom line is … whoever gave JK a 2ND place vote for that award … was saying that the 3-point specialist was a better player and/or had a more significant role/contribution on his team than players like Nate Robinson, JR Smith, Lamar Odom, Travis Outlaw, and more.
I hope Kapono legitimately wins the award one day – maybe even next year. If he’s playing at the top of his game he could be the kind of player that has that “it” factor you’re looking for in a second-unit scorer / igniter off the bench. But he simply didn’t have that kind of year this season.
For what it’s worth … Hakim Warrick got a 3RD place vote as well (and, no, Norm Rumack does not vote on this awards). Yes, Hakim Warrick.
This blip on the radar with the 6TH Man voting gave me reason to go back and check the results of ALL of the awards that have been announced thus far, and there are/were some surprises in every category. Here’s who stood out for me (for the wrong reasons):
- Grant Hill, Joel Pryzbilla, and Hedo Turkoglu each got one 3RD place vote for Defensive Player of the Year.
- Nicolas Batum got a 3RD place vote for Rookie of the Year.
- Vinny Del Negro got a FIRST place vote (plus one 2ND and one 3RD place vote too) for Coach of the Year … while Scott Skiles, Tony DiLeo, and Rick Carlisle each earned one 3RD place vote as well.
Remember, I told you which ballots I had this year and I even published my official picks. So none of these blips came from me! If you want to see who I voted for, you can check out this blog from 11 days ago:
And we’ll see if “the media” (including me) gets it right for the awards that haven’t been announced yet – like the MVP and Most Improved.
Enjoy the sunshine (in Toronto) today!
Friday, April 24th, 2009
Friday April 24 2009 - 4:03pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)
It’s April 24 2009. A TON can change before the NBA Draft on June 25 – let alone in the weeks and months following that. Realistically, the roster and/or players below will change quite a bit before Training Camp rolls around in October.
But based on some of the comments that Bryan Colangelo made on Monday – at his end of the year press conference – and based on those currently under contract with the Raptors, here’s an early look at how the team COULD look next season.
Again, keep in mind that Toronto’s season has been over for just one week and SO much could change this spring/summer.
PG – Jose Calderon
SG – Carlos Delfino * (restricted)
SF – Shawn Marion * (unrestricted)
PF – Chris Bosh
C – Andrea Bargnani
G – Quincy Douby
G – Roko Ukic
G – Marcus Banks
PF – Kris Humphries
F/C – Patrick O’Bryant
G/F – Jason Kapono
C – Nathan Jawai
So, there are 10 guys under contract right now.
And, of course, trades (or waivers?) could change that group at any point.
Now, considering the following too:
- The addition of the 1ST round draft pick
- Decisions to be made with Anthony Parker (unrestricted), Delfino (restricted), Marion (unrestricted), and Joey Graham (restricted)
- A decision RE: Jake Voskuhl (unrestricted) … though I’m guessing he won’t be back
Adding the first found pick and Delfino (whose name was constantly brought up by Colangelo on Monday – so you’ve got to assume that where there’s smoke, there’s fire) and the Raps roster/contracts would sit at 12. That would leave 3 spots open for Marion (or “Player X” if the Matrix walks and Toronto looks elsewhere or if they get something for Shawn in a sign-and-trade) … and then what?
Parker? Graham? Both? Neither?
Again, based on what is on paper at the moment - would it be wrong to think that (a) you’d have to pick between Parker OR Graham given how many 2′s and 3′s you might have on your roster already when the season begins? And (b) you’d have to address your front court size and experience with one or both of those remaining roster spots if your current bigs off the bench are only Humphries, O’Bryant, and Jawai?
The roster (the bench especially) is stacked heavily with guards and forwards but still very light on big men. Outside of Bosh, Bargnani, Humphries, Jawai and O’Bryant, where would Toronto turn? Hence the reason I think that you’d have to think that any money that’s left after Marion (or his replacement) will be spent (or trades will be made) – in addressing size and toughness (“toughness” being something else that Colangelo stressed a number of times at his Monday presser as well).
Plus, the Raps will PROBABLY be looking at a SG/SF in the draft. Toronto’s 1ST round draft pick is slotted to come at #9. But the Raps could move up in the lottery. However, for argument’s sake, let’s assume they don’t get a higher pick and they stay where they are. If that’s the case, Toronto will likely be looking at guys like:
- Tyreke Evans
- Stephen Curry
- Earl Clark
- Gerald Henderson
- Terrence Williams
- Demar DeRozan
So, when it all shakes down, what does this mean?
Well, as I’ve said a number of times … there’s a lot of work to do.
I still believe this team should have been in the playoffs this year and I still believe they can be a 5-8 seed in the East – even with the way the roster is constructed right now … with a core built around Calderon, Bosh, and Bargnani. But a lot of work has to be done and a major move may be needed to get this team out of the “5 to 8″ talk and into the “1 to 4″ category. That’s the goal … but … admittedly … it’s tough to see Toronto being able to hang on the same level with Cleveland, Orlando, and Boston right now.
Time will tell. I should be an active, exciting off-season.
* Head’s up … this may be the last blog until Monday. We’ll see.
Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
Thursday April 23 2009 – 3:34pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)
This news came along from the NBA head office today.
And, no, Mutombo winning the award had NOTHING to do with him getting injured the other night and likely seeing his career ended. The votes for this award were submitted before the post-season began.
Check out the release:
Dikembe Mutombo of the Houston Rockets is the 2008-09 recipient of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association. The award is named for the second commissioner of the league and honors an NBA player or coach for outstanding service and dedication to the community.
Mutombo, in his 18th NBA season, becomes the first two-time winner of the award since it was first presented in 1975. The Rockets’ 7’2″ center was cited in 2000-01 for his charitable works while playing with the Philadelphia 76ers – which mirrors his timeline in striving for the past decade to establish and fund the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital and Research Center in his native Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mutombo solicited contributions for the $29 million, 300-bed facility and personally donated approximately $19 million. The staggering costs of continuing to provide care to women and children in that region and to acquire medical equipment and supplies has kept his Dikembe Mutombo Foundation busy and focused, with a goal of reaching 100,000 grass-roots donors ($20 or more a year) by the end of June 2009. Those interested in the project or in donating can sign up through the Web site (www.DMF.org) or call 1-877-funddmf.
“My prayer is that as many people as we have in Houston, maybe 100,000 will respond to my call to donate $20 or more,” Mutombo told the Houston Chronicle in March. “After that, I’m planning to go after every city that I played for.” The eight-time NBA All-Star and four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year has split his career with teams in Denver, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York and Houston.
One avowed goal of Mutombo’s hospital project is to fight malaria, which he said killed more than 300,000 children last year. “The treatment will cost no more than $10,” Mutombo said. “If we can come up with $2 million in treatment…there is a chance for us to really eradicate malaria in that particular area.”
“This is something I will do for the rest of my life. No matter what I go do, whether it is working for the league or business for myself, doing humanitarian work, I don’t think there will be anybody who can stop me.”
“That Dikembe Mutombo would be the first player to repeat as a J. Walter Kennedy award winner speaks as highly of the honor as it does of him,” said Doug Smith, president of the PBWA. “No player has given more freely his time, his money and himself, on a consistent basis, than Mutombo through the years. His and his foundation’s continuing efforts in building, maintaining and improving the hospital in Kinshasa are widely known and set a standard for NBA players and, frankly, athletes across all sports. The PBWA is delighted to present him – again – with this award.”
The PBWA represents approximately 150 writers for newspapers, magazines and Internet services who cover the NBA on a regular basis. Members nominate players and vote for the award. The five finalists this season were Mutombo, Bruce Bowen of the San Antonio Spurs, Ben Gordon of the Chicago Bulls, Devin Harris of the New Jersey Nets and Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic.
ALL-TIME NBA J. WALTER KENNEDY CITIZENSHIP AWARD WINNERS
Season Winner, Team
1974-75 Wes Unseld, Washington
1975-76 Slick Watts, Seattle
1976-77 Dave Bing, Washington
1977-78 Bob Lanier, Detroit
1978-79 Calvin Murphy, Houston
1979-80 Austin Carr, Cleveland
1980-81 Mike Glenn, New York
1981-82 Kent Benson, Detroit
1982-83 Julius Erving, Philadelphia
1983-84 Frank Layden, Utah
1984-85 Dan Issel, Denver
1985-86 Michael Cooper, LA Lakers
1986-87 Isiah Thomas, Detroit
1987-88 Alex English, Denver
1988-89 Thurl Bailey, Utah
1989-90 Doc Rivers, Atlanta
1990-91 Kevin Johnson, Phoenix
1991-92 Magic Johnson, LA Lakers
1992-93 Terry Porter, Portland
1993-94 Joe Dumars, Detroit
1994-95 Joe O’Toole, Atlanta
1995-96 Chris Dudley, Portland
1996-97 P.J. Brown, Miami
1997-98 Steve Smith, Atlanta
1998-99 Brian Grant, Portland
1999-00 Vlade Divac, Sacramento
2000-01 Dikembe Mutombo, Philadelphia
2001-02 Alonzo Mourning, Miami
2002-03 David Robinson, San Antonio
2003-04 Reggie Miller, Indiana
2004-05 Eric Snow, Cleveland
2005-06 Kevin Garnett, Minnesota
2006-07 Steve Nash, Phoenix
2007-08 Chauncey Billups, Detroit
2008-09 Dikembe Mutombo, Houston
And, yes, “Doug Smith” is THAT Doug Smith – of the Toronto Star.
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
Wednesday April 22 2009 – 2:23pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)
I see in the “comments” section from Monday’s Bryan Colangelo blog – that there’s still a great debate raging on with many of you out there. Just play nice folks. Keep it clean.
Debate and disagreement is all a part of pro sports – especially in a city like Toronto that is starving for a winner in ANYTHING!
Heck, why do you think so many folks are going bananas over the Blue Jays right now and their 10-5 start?! We’re less than 3 weeks into the MLB season (still FIVE months to go) and suddenly the Jays are being looked at as contenders by some! That’s crazy.
I hope it happens though. I’m a big baseball fan and I’d love to see Cito and the boys rise high again. In fact, I was at the game last night – watching Texas knock off Toronto 5-4 – and I had a great time. The only issue I had was with the concession stands. $5.00 for a slice of pizza? A slice that’s smaller than the slice you’d get at a Pizza Pizza store in the city. $4.00+ for a bottle of water or bottle of pop? $9.25 for a cheese and tomato sandwich?
Maybe I’m biased because I’m still mad at Aramark for getting rid of the “Ice Cold Beer” guy last season, but those prices are way too high. $4.75 for a bag of M&M’s? Come on.
Given the current state of the economy, while many of us are focusing on the cost of tickets and the price of players’ salaries, how ’bout discussing the cost of food and concessions?! I mean … a 10% or 25% or even 50% mark-up on food and beverages in stadiums and arenas would be big enough wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t companies still make a ton of money off those kinds of increases? So why is it that they have to totally hammer us with 100%, 150%, and even 200% increases?! It’s crazy.
Yes, you do have the choice – as a consumer – to eat (or drink) or not. But, for example, based on what I paid last night at Rogers Centre, Aramark is making $96 dollars on a case of 24 bottles of water and about $40 on a large or x-large (8 slices I think) pizza.
Alright, back to basketball …
That is what this blog is SUPPOSED to be about, right?
1. Tough to see Dikembe Mutombo’s career probably come to an end on a knee injury in Portland last night.
2. Derrick Rose wins the Rookie of the Year award. Kudos to him. He had my #1 vote when I sent in my ballot.
3. 42 for Brandon Roy last night. How many teams are kicking themselves right now (and, yes, I include Toronto).
4. Flip Saunders in Washington with a (hopefully) healthy Arenas, Haywood, Jamison, and Butler? I like it.
5. As of right now … I’m still going with Griffin over Rubio for the #1 pick in June’s NBA Draft
6. Phil Jackson wants the Lakers to be tougher. Sounds like that’s a running them for a lot of teams around the NBA.
7. Jason Terry wins the 6TH Man award. Again, that’s the right call. Impact on a PLAYOFF team carries more weight.
8. I’ll expand on this on Friday but how would you like a starting five of Bosh, Bargnani, Calderon, Delfino, & Marion?
9. How bad does Detroit look? Wow. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
10. I’m SHOCKED that Larry Bird is not a top 20 scorer in the history of the NBA.
Tuesday, April 21st, 2009
Tuesday April 21 2009 – 1:27pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)
Some big amateur basketball news is breaking today …
Check out the release just sent out by Canada Basketball:
With the International Basketball Federation’s (FIBA) introduction of a new level of global competition, Canada Basketball is pleased to announce the appointment of the Cadet(te) National Team (U17) coaching staff. Christine Stapleton of Hamilton, head coach of the National Elite Development Academy (NEDA) women’s program, will lead the women’s cadet(te) national team, while Roy Rana of Toronto, head coach of Ontario’s Centre for Performance and architect of the successful high school program at Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute, heads the men’s team.
Joining Stapleton will be assistant coach Jacqueline Lavallee of Saskatoon , while Kirby Schepp of Winnipeg will assist Rana on the men’s side.
Although cadet(te)-aged competition has existed in many FIBA countries for decades, this year marks the first America’s zone championships leading to at the first-ever world championship in 2010. The FIBA Americas U16 World Championship Qualification Tournament for Men takes place June 17-21 in Mendoza , Argentina , while the women’s tournament tips off June 16-20 in Mexico City , Mexico . In each competition, eight countries will compete, with the top three nations advancing to the first ever FIBA U17 World Championship next year.
“We see this as a tremendous development opportunity for our young talent in this country, both in terms of the athletes who will be selected but even more so in the focus and attention competing toward an international event will bring to our development system,” said Wayne Parrish, Executive Director and CEO of Canada Basketball. “In partnership with our provincial basketball associations, we have been working to build a strong, integrated system and this will help reinforce and hopefully extend that.”
Beginning in 2001, Canada Basketball has partnered with its provincial affiliates on the Centres for Performance program, which brings top young athletes together to train under top development coaches at regular intervals through the winter. Each of the six CPs – based in B.C., Alberta , the Prairies, Ontario , Quebec and Atlantic Canada – will place at least one athlete on the cadet(te) national teams. As well, all four coaches have been active in the CP program.
Stapleton, who provided national leadership to the CP girls’ program from 2002-05 brings a wealth of national team experience to the cadet(te) national team post, having coached at four levels (Youth, Junior, Young and Development) since 1998. She led Canada ‘s Development Women’s team to a winning record (5-3) at the 2001 World University Games. In 2004, she guided Canada to a bronze medal which qualified the team for the 2005 FIBA U19 World Championship for the second time in the program’s history. In 2006 she led Canada to a silver medal at the U18 FIBA Americas Championships. She also served as head coach in the CIS, with the University of Regina (1993-1994 to 2001-2002), winning the CIAU National Championship in 2001.
“This is a positive first experience for our young athletes to get a taste of international (FIBA) competition early along their elite development pathway, stated Stapleton. “Having worked with the development system through CP’s and NEDA program, I believe that our country has the talent and the drive to qualify for the 2010 FIBA Cadette World Championship.”
Stapleton played an integral role in developing and executing Canada Basketball’s NEDA program, as part of Canada Basketball’s elite development pathway. She serves as the women’s head coach, and has held that position since the program’s inception in 2006.
Rana has cadet-aged experience at both domestic and international level. He currently serves as the head coach for Ontario Basketball’s basketball development and high performance program, in addition to the CP program – Central East Ontario. On the national level, Rana led team Ontario (u17) to gold medals at the national championships in 2004 and the Canada Summer Games in 2005. He has also had a taste of international competition, working as an assistant coach with Canada ‘s Junior Men’s National Team in 2006. But perhaps his greatest accomplishment is at the grassroots level, as the head coach for Eastern Commerce, where Rana has amassed a 384-78 record in 14 seasons.
“It is a great honour to be leading this first Cadet group in to the FIBA Americas qualifier. I look forward to contributing in the development of the future of our national team program, said Rana. “Our goals for this group are many, but most importantly we want to represent Canada with great passion and qualify for the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship.”
Jacqueline Lavallee joins the Cadette women’s program after serving as an assistant coach with the 2008 Development Women’s National Team. Jacquie is the Saskatchewan CP Girl’s Head Coach, a former University of Saskatchewan Huskie and former national team athlete. She has also served as an assistant coach at the University of Saskatchewan since 2002.
Schepp is currently serving as a the CP Boys’ Head Coach for the Prairies- Manitoba and was recently recommended to be the new Head Coach for University of Manitoba Men’s basketball program to begin in fall 2009.
This is great news for players in this country who will now get a chance to have their skills developed at an even younger age … hopefully … in preparation for playing for the National team one day.
Anything that strengthens the future of the national program and the game overall is positive in my eyes. Kudos to Canada Basketball.