Get Free Shots from Toronto Raptors Ramblings: October 2006

Friday, October 27, 2006

What could have been so beautiful....

what could have been so toight.
But once again another fantasy draft has passed me by and a couple of panic moves have me looking to make moves early. I'll site taking Marvin any point this is a tough call. In the 9th round, well you get the picture. Of course my team is still top notch from a Marion, JJ, Josh S top 3, right down to my team namesake at number 12, the Garbage Man (Porn Star). Still working out a nickname. Let's just say my team has tremendous upside potential (TUP).

Of course the highlight of the draft, as I eluded to a post ago, is watching a) a guy's team get autodrafted and b) a guy going on and off line.

Team a) was Hoover. We move the draft back twice to accomodate him and he doesn't show. With #1 in a keeper league he landed Lebron, and then sweet sweet fate followed up with Amare as his second overall pick. Amare looks done, or at least a ways away. If Amare comes back he could have the team of the decade, which will once again suggest Yahoo rankings aren't that bad.

Team b) was sitting in my living room across from me. It wasn't until the 11th round, but any time Jeff Foster gets drafted and you get to announce it to an unknowing GM....that's quality stuff.

Raptors 7-0. The last team to go 7-0 in the preseason were the 2001 Lakers. So these Raptors are in good company.
Alright, the 7-0 still doesn't mean anything, but it's just nice to see them winning. Bosh is injured, Ford is injured, Bargnani has a mystery's not looking great, when you hear Mitchell 1 week ago saying the key wil be staying healthy. Ouch. But any time Jose Calzone goes 11-11 from the line and drops 7 are looking at some tremendous upside potential.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

ESPN - A Kick to the Nuts

Thinking about switching up your fantasy league provider this year? Tempted to join ESPN, figuring since they charge money it must be good. Think again my friends....think....again.

Last year ESPNs fantasy hoops seemed like a sweet dream come true. Free. Loads of extra features, generous draft times, only a semi intrusive contstant 'upgrade' sales pitch and naked stripper mascots for every team. Well at least that was a good idea someone in my league had.

The Monkey Den (my league), decided it was time to leave Yahoo and take a trip down ESPN's sweet fantasy lane, as their NFL leagues are great. It all quickly collapsed. ESPN failed to realize that massive advertising on billboards across the States and on every single web hit on their site site might actually attract a few people. So what do they do? A few days before our draft send an email to only our league GM (who was on vacation) letting us know that we could no longer do a live draft. Sorry, they were too full. If you want to do a live draft you just have to sign up for the edge they tell us, it's only $40 each. So i guess they aren't that full. Just too full for everyone who followed their mass advertising campaign to their site.

Are you freaking kidding me ESPN? Do you have any idea what it means to sabotage a league's live draft? It's not like you're an unreliable internet service provider, a rickety computer, that often screws one guy in each draft, or even a nagging lady friend (side note: isn't it great when one guy keeps coming in and out of a draft and you just know he's panicked. His sytem's giving him trouble and he hasn't done anything with those pre-rankings. He's freaking out, knowing all too well that the kid who did the pre-rankings, bumped Amare into the top 10, just to reward those guys who show up. Welcome to microfracture surgery hell. Anyways...we all love that guy.) But I digress. ESPN You are supposed to be our safe haven for a few hours a year, on glorious glorious draft night. And you pull this crap?

Needless to say we moved into panick mode, found out we could live draft on sportingnews for free, and then manually moved our teams over to ESPN. That's a lot of work to stick with ESPN who just jammed it up our collective shoots. And after all that it turned out the league was mediocre. For that effort and pain ESPN should have been sending VIP passes this year. What do they do instead? Decide just to charge everyone this year. Atta go ESPN. Way to suck us back in.

Needless to say The Monkey Den is safely back where she belongs, in the hallowed halls of Yahoo's mediocre fantasy service. Safe from any kick's to the nut sack.

Next up....Raptors 2007 Sleeper Picks....or is that Pick.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lessons from the first three games

What do we know after a 3-0 preseason start?

Preseason still doesn’t mean jack
As always it’s important to remember that the preseason, is like a movie trailer, just good for some solid entertainment if you're lucky. It may build your expecations one way or another. But really it doesn't mean squat. When you consider the ridiculous union rules that don’t let NBA teams practice more than 3 hours a day on court, it is shocking that these guys can perform together in any cohesive fashion at all. These guys have shown a knack for knowing how to play b-ball (i.e. no Araujo’s on this squad).

Roles players are us
This Raptors squad is chalk full of quality role players. It’ll be interesting to see how Sam Mitchell deals with this. Everyone is performing and trying to earn their way into ‘consideration’ for minutes. PJ Tucker led Texas in rebounding at all of 6 foot 5 (playing with Aldridge mind you) and after getting no minutes so far this year, comes in against Jersey and holds his own, en route to dropping 18 pts.

Our three point vacancy has been filled
Gone are Mike James and Charlie V chucking up bombs, in are Jorge Garbajosa, Bargnani and yes….Chris Bosh. Our bigs can huck it up from downtown. Again, It’ll be interesting to see how Sam Mitchell tries to take advantage of this, especially when our point guard can’t shoot. It should open up some room for the drivers (Ford, Jones, Parker? Mo?) and we should once again expect to be scoring lots of points. If we’re going to lose….at least we’ll be losing big.

Winning World Championships is good for the confidence
Who is this Jose Calderon? He sure isn’t the same tepid (dare I say pansy) from last year. He’s taken that gold medal from the World Championship and rolling it up into something quite smoke-able. Great news, as we’ll have someone to push T.J. and provide solid minutes at the point. Having Garbajosa around is a nice reminding for Jose that he’s sweet.

Raptors fans think we know something everyone else doesn’t but don't let this mess up your fantasy draft
The Raps are getting zero respect so far from the sports media, with many predicting we are still a 30 win ballclub. We have a brutal schedule up to New Years and then it softens up. I’m looking at 38-42 wins for this team. If we could hit 40, that would be solid. To make a run at he playoffs this year, .500 probably won’t do it and we’ll have to go on one heck of a late season run. Luckily we can roll with blind faith right now and say, we do have a chance.
But if you are looking for sleepers on your fantasy squad...yikes, it's tough right now to think of any Raptor with the exception of Bosh who is going to do much. Mo will get his, jack his three's etc. Garbage Man will have some night's where he goes 5-9 from downtown, but will put up average numbers at best. Bargnani will be all over the map. Tough to think you'll get much fantasy love from this team.

And last but certainly not least, the sweet new do on Chris Bosh is working.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Garbage Man Commeth

Lost but not buried in the splendour of the Raptors first preseason game was this little ditty, 3-7. Jorge Garbajosa from behind the arc was 3-7. This is significant for a few reasons. The first and most obvious is that the Rapshow attempted the 4th most three's in the league last year and had a potent offence. That offence was potent in the pass, pass, jack it up category. It made for fun watching hoops, sauf the fact we routinely gave up 105 points per game.

With the departure of Mike James and the Red Rocket the question remained 'who's gonna jack the triplets?'.

Sure Colangelo built a 'running' team, which means less 3's but I earlier predicted that Mo Pete might be attempting 12 a game. Well Mo attempted a few, but the Garbage Man jacked up 7 of his 12 shots from behind his new arc. Worries that he can't hit the longer range 3's were certainly not dismissed with one outing but it's sure better than 0-7. And with the Nani going 2-2 it may not have to be a pure Mo-Show after all.

One game didn't teach us much, except my excitement for the Garbage Man is officially building. He's a working man. A guy who's not oversized, who's not overskilled, but might have just enough heart and certainly enough hair to make us believers.

Next up....let's give this guy a nickname.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ramble On

Two things tonight. 1, it's hard to get into posting about projected starting lineups, fantasy values and the likes with this Copperfield of a squad we've got here. Will Bargnani be better than Jorge the Garbage Man for your fantasy squad....i don't think so. But let's at least see how these guys at least scrimmage against each other. Alright...coming soon the insights straight from camp on who's who to fill some gaps in your fantasy squad. Late rounders you can pick with your head and heart. Nothing better. Although you are talking to a guy who's fantasy squad was name The Big Red Bonner. But hey, when you have to play two centres and you can start Bonner at the C, who jacks triples like he's banking it off the glass in Double Dribble....well there's some strategy there too.

Random moment of the night, and it wasn't the 40 wings for two...or the comment 'do those come with fries?'. Nope today's random winner is the help save my draft call I get at work. Working on a computer all day, I am tagged a computer guy by those less fortunate friends who drank there way through the learning curve. "My NHL live draft is starting and i can't get in. The pop up blocker won't let me in".


Don't you love getting into your fantasy draft and watching the stragglers barely get in and more so the guys who drift in late, who fall in and out etc. Connection down, didn't check for compatability in advance, etc etc. All classic and equally enjoyable to give your friends a good ride, but none nearly as golden as 'the pop up blocker got me'.