Opening Statements: Wizards at Raptors, Game 58
This is Washington’s last chance to punch back at the team which has son’d them this season with a 3-0 sweep thus far. But why would you want to punch your dad? Well, because your dad is a Raptor.
And while you’re on this whole #Wizards-#Raptors preview tip, check out some answers that I gave to questions about the Wiz at the Republic.
Teams: Wizards at Raptors
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON
Radio: WFED-AM 1500
Spread: Raptors fav’d by 5.5 points.
Wizards tickets … anyone?
Click to get them served up for cheap via TiqIQ and TAI.
Q #1: I mean, what if Chris Bosh does want to come back to Toronto?
@BlakeMurphyODC: HA. That’s not happening, didn’t you know we don’t get the good cable? In all seriousness, if he wanted to come back, the franchise would have to consider it, but if it meant a max deal, it’s hard to see how it would work. Bosh is a terrific talent and one of the best defensive bigs in the game, but it’s unclear if he’d be able to be the focal point of an offense. A Lowry-DeRozan-Bosh core sharing offensive duties, though? I’ve heard of worse ideas. (But again, not happening.)
Q #2: So word on the street is that Raptors fans are ready to welcome Vince Carter back with open arms, and that they’re going to retire his jersey, and Rob Ford is going to declare every day Vince Carter day. What percentage of this is true?
@BlakeMurphyODC: The Vince situation is complicated, and the fans don’t feel one way or the other as a group. It will happen eventually and some fans will rejoice while others will groan, but it’s probably the right call, if and when he apologizes to the fan base, which he’s still never done (I go into this more in that article I linked). By that time, however, Rob Ford will probably be Prime Minister and will have no time for declaring city-wide days off.
Q #3: Why not re-sign Kyle Lowry?
@BlakeMurphyODC: Honestly, unless he’s commanding more than a three-year, $27 million deal, I can’t give you a reason. He’s a top-15 point guard, general manager Masai Ujiri has said as much, and that’s about the rate you pay a player like that. He’s always had this talent, but he’s finally found a situation that suits him, one that accentuates his best attributes and reigns in his primary negative: an over-competitive streak (he and Dwane Casey don’t always seem to see eye-to-eye, but you get the feeling there’s a deep respect and understanding there).
Q #4: What percentage has Jonas Valanciunas progressed this season in comparison to the general expectations going in (and why, etc.)? And if you had to compare him to a type of bird, what type of bird would that be?
@BlakeMurphyODC: This is a tough one, because Jonas does a lot of things that make you lose your mind, good and bad. His defense is still a major work in progress, and his face-up game is incredibly predictable (that pump fake is so slow). On the other hand, he’s physical and fiery–traits Toronto fans love–works his tail off, reportedly works hard to improve, and has developed some nice post moves.
To put a percentage on it, I’d say he’s probably only 75 percent of the way to where fans expected to see him this year and maybe 60 percent of the way to where they hoped to see him. Luckily, development isn’t a one-year, make-or-break proposition.
As for a bird, I’ll go with a heron, if for no other reason than they’re bad ass.
Q #5: Really, how glad are you that the Raptors didn’t end up with Steve Nash?
@BlakeMurphyODC: The Nash situation sucks so bad, for him and basketball fans in general. You don’t wish that on your least favorite player, let alone one your favorites. In retrospect, it’s obviously good that they didn’t get him, but it didn’t even make sense in the present, either. It was a job-saving move from Bryan Colangelo, one that would have let him tie his value to a marketable Canadian superstar into his next contract.
Q #6: Who is this Landry Fields character that I used to hear about years ago?