Young Onez Invade DNB

A lot of time people think that what I get to do is fun. Which most of the time it is exactly that. Before I made my way to our Party up the street at St Louis Wings, I was able to stop by the ACC and catch up with Amir Johnson and Demar DeRozan. In the 3 years or so of covering the Raptors I have got to know both pretty well. I first talked with Amir and than as you will hear Amir kind of invades my chat with Demar DeRozan. I could have done some editing and taken all this fun out but when you have Amir Johnson Wooing like Ric Flair and delivering chops to his teammates why on earth would you. My only regret is this in audio form and not on video. There was some fun, but there was also some serious talk about the upcoming season and what both have been doing since the end of the year. Demar talks about his travels and back at home how both he and Amir compete in the Drew League. Which is for lack of a better term a professional kind of house league. But Demar gives you a better explanation. First up though we have Mr Johnson.

I thought I was through talking with Amir but he also gets involved in the conversation with Demar. In fact right off the top of things Amir is involved.

Sorry about how that chopped off at the end. Demar's last line is "Bring that to next season." In case you were wondering that team Amir plays for in Drew League is the Kings of L.A not the L.A Kings that won the Stanley Cup. The other member of this trio Sonny Weems had a qualifying offer extended to him by the Raptors as did point guard Jerryd Bayless who was also on hand with Gary Forbes and Ed Davis. I did not have a chance to talk with them. I did get in a scum with the man that started it all in some ways for the Raptors Mighty Mouse. I will likely write something about that next week. So enjoy your Canada Day Weekend folks who know the Raptors might have some guy named Steve Nash coming by Monday. That would make it a Canada Day to remember for. This couple interviews with Amir and Demar I will remember for a long time too a lot of fun. Sonny Weems was also a fun guy to talk with but if he ends up coming back to the Raptors I would still say is a long shot at best. But now that the Raptors have qualified him that makes him yet another asset they have to play with in this off-season. Bottom line we should see some fireworks beyond the ones for Canada Day coming soon from the Raptors.

4 Has A New Home.

The Raptors introduced Terrance Ross and Quincy Acy to the media. It was pretty much your standard stuff. The one thing that was note worthy is the Quincy Acy will wear number 4. Yeah so get the duck tape or masking tape and if you haven't burned your old Chris Bosh Jersey you can put ACY on that tape. Trust me though in saying after awhile you will want to buy the Real McCoy. Acy said in the presser that on his AAU Team Bosh had wore that number in the past and it was handed out to the better players after he was gone. Much like the Dallas Cowboys hand out the number 88 to the next great wide receiver. Even without playing a minute on the floor the fact Quincy walks in the door and takes that number tell you a lot about this kid. He has the chance to be a fan favourite the likes of guys like the JYD, Matt Bonner and yes Reggie Evans. He has some swagger attached to a game that is all blue collar. Toronto is going to love this guy. There was once a time you might have though 4 would hang in the rafters. It likely isn't going too now. However it maybe getting a lot of love for years to come on the back of Quincy Acy.

In terms of Ross he was just as surprised as everyone else that Raptors ended up picking him and he will be wearing number 31 for the Raptors that does not have any really history that I can recall. Both will get there first chance to show what they can do in few weeks when the Raptors hit the court in Las Vegas for Summer League.

Draft De Ja Vu?

First before we get into what the Raptors did last night I just want to thank the folks at St Louis Wings for being our hosts for another year for the NBA Draft. Thanks to everyone that came out and had fun with us as well. No matter what the Raptors do in the draft it has been proven the last couple years that will have fun on NBA Draft night. As for what the Raptors did let's first take a walk down memory lane.

Mighty Mouse was back in the house for the Toronto Raptors as he was a guest for the Raptors draft party down at the ACC. He of course played at Arizona and in the Pac-10. The draft that year was held in Toronto at Skydome. The crowd that night would boo the eventual rookie of the year that night the crowd wanted Ed O'Bannon not the small point guard from the Wildcats. Speed ahead to modern times and the Raptors were picking and headed to that same conference for their pick. Terrance Ross from the Washington Huskies and now the Pac-12 was not on anyone's radar for the Raptors at 8. Most had Ross pegged to go in the mid-teens in the draft. So why did the Raptors go there? According to them it was a combination of his ability to shoot the ball and do it from distance along with his defense. It is not a case of complete De Ja Vu as I am pretty confident in saying Ross is not going to be challenging for Rookie of the Year. The Raptors hope they might have that in form of Jonas Valanciunas, that would their hope anyway. If there is an Ed O'Bannon in all of this that might be Austin Rivers who many felt the Raptors would select. That said just like Ross is likely not going to win Rookie of the Year, it is doubtful Rivers would be a complete bust.

Tank Nation will look to a few wins down the stretch of the season that forced the Raptors into a coin flip with the Golden State Warriors. In winning that coin flip the Warriors ended up with Harrison Barnes who many believe that if he was there the Raptors would have surly loved to pick him at 8. Let's face it there are always a lot of would of and could of situations in an NBA Season. If Andrea Bargnani does not get injured are the Raptors even picking at 8 in the first place. If he was healthy the Raptors likely are even deeper in the pool in terms of their pick. While I love Raptor fans some of you tend to over react just a bit at times. No more so than at the draft it seems. Can I tell you Ross was a terrible pick. No I really can't. In terms of seeing him play with the NBA Lockout I can't say that I caught a lot of Washington Huskies games this year. I am pretty sure not to many people in Toronto Canada were checking out the Huskies on regular basis. Ultimately it looks like Ross will have a chance to be a roll player with specific tasks in terms of making shots and defending. If that guy that everyone says is coming home to Canada actually does, Ross would be a nice player to play along side him at times with Demar DeRozan who is looking a little bigger playing at small forward. If Nash does indeed come along with Jonas already coming the amount of pressure on  Ross will be small. If anything by what he wore last night I know a girl that will be a fan of his just based on that.

Now the Raptors had two more picks in the 2nd round and as promised at 56 the Raptors drafted a Euro at 56 that will not be part of the roster this year so let's not even bother talking about that. I had half seriously and half jokingly said I was more interested to see what the Raptors would do at 37 than I was at 8. While nothing is a sure thing and especially in the 2nd round that is true, the Raptors may just have finally hit a home run in the second round. If you were a fan of Reggie Evans and the way he played basketball just go down to Real Sports and get a Jersey with Acy on the back. From the first time I saw Quincy Acy play at Baylor I nicknamed him "Baby Reggie" because he looked like a clone of Reggie Evans. Turns out the comparison is not lost on him as well as he mentions Evans as one the guys he patterns himself after. This kid just flat out works. Ed Davis if he ultimately is around just got someone that will push him for minutes in a major way. Dwane Casey is going to LOVE LOVE LOVE Quincy Acy. This guy is nothing but hustle with a big old beard. Raptors fans have always respected hard working blue collar players and that is what Quincy Acy is.

So at the end of the day the Raptors still have a lot of work to do for this team to be a playoff team. But they did get some pieces to a puzzle last night. The largest piece of the puzzle is likely still Steve Nash. Once that domino falls it would lead to an exciting era for the Raptors regardless of anything else that happens. Still just Nash alone will not be enough, it will take some more moves and work to be done. It is exciting times for the Raptors. July 1st can not get here soon enough for people. I was able to drop in at the ACC and speak with Amir Johnson and Demar DeRozan prior to the draft and will get those interviews up in some form or fashion later today or Monday.


2012 Draft Preview

As I'm sure you all know, the NBA Draft is at 7:30 tonight. Team DNB will be hosting a Draft Party at St. Louis Wings at the Atrium on Bay where Raptors fans will be united by their love or hate of the Raptors' pick. So what do you need to know before the draft?

Before watching the draft, I suggest stopping by Draft Express, which has all of the information you need on this year's prospects as well as a terrific and usually fairly accurate mock draft.

Outside of Anthony Davis at number one, the selections are far from confirmed or obvious, with many potential trades in the works and a lot of deception by NBA front offices. Will the Bobcats keep their pick? Is Washington really that interested in Beal, or are they just screwing with the Cavaliers? Are the Cavaliers interested in Dion Waiters like Adrian Wojnarowski reported this morning? Are the Rockets going to get Dwight Howard with all of the picks they've collected in the past few days?

There are many questions that will be answered in just over an hour. It's incredibly difficult to speculate how things will play out, because they change by the second.

The Raptors seemed certain to trade their pick just after the lottery, but now seem to be just as interested in using their pick. Are they simply concealing their hand? Are they waiting to see how the first seven picks play out? No one knows. I'm not even sure Bryan Colangelo knows. I'm very eager to see what the Raptors do. Maybe they will trade the pick for a wing player. Maybe they draft Lillard. Maybe Waiters. Maybe Lamb. Maybe they throw a curve ball and draft someone no one thinks they will. It's just so hard to say.

What do you think the Raptors will do?


7 Dayz in the NBAz

So the past week has been filled with more chatter then action, but really what else is new.  A couple of news stories though have made the cut for this weeks edition of 7 Dayz, some surprising and some not so much.

5. Draft Pick Swaps
There has been a lot of chatter of the Toronto Raptors looking to ship their 8th pick.  Earlier, players in the mix were Rudy Gay and Andre Iguadala, as of recently it has been Kyle Lowry.  So far, the only picks swapped was Minnesota's 18th, and Detroit's lottery protected 2013 pick.  It is the players involved in that deal that are more surprising.  Houston lost Chase Budinger for the 18th pick, shocking as Budinger has proved to be a bright spot in the Rockets organization.  Also, Detroit and Charlotte gave up their only real "stars" in Ben Gordon and Corey Maggette - which makes no sense for teams trying to get better, so this trade doesn't seem to benefit either team, rather keeps them both in the same position.

4. Nash "Supposedly" Has a Wish-List
Earlier this week, Eric Smith and Jack Armstrong reported on the radio that through various media sources in Miami, a wish-list for one of the top free agents of the summer was released.  Two of the expected teams to be on that list, Miami and New York, were not included.  Phoenix, Portland, and Toronto apparently were the teams Nash would prefer to go to.  Phoenix makes sense.  Going back, and working with the team he has become comfortable with for years.  Toronto also makes sense.  Retiring in his home country, retiring as a hero to his nations hero, and of course being close to his new job as the GM of Canada Basketball.  Portland on the other hand, is kind of odd to me.   We will all have to just play the waiting game and see how this pans out.

3. Orlando Magic Liquidate Front Office
The Orlando Magic have fired practically all of their assistance coaches and staff, including the popular Director of Player Development, Adonal Foyle. This all comes after the firings of GM Otis Smith and Head Coach Stan Van Gundy.  In all honesty, this is probably and attempt to "start fresh", trying to give Dwight Howard a plays to start new and grow some more.  Its a tough hit, seeing how successful the team has been, and how diva-esque Dwight has been.  Either way, these execs all have bright future's in the league, as I do not believe they did anything wrong or to deserve their release.  

2. Larry Bird Leaves the Pacers; Donny Walsh Steps In
Due to undisclosed health reasons, long time Pacers employee and NBA HOFer Larry Bird resigned as  the head of Basketball Operations for Indiana Pacers.  Stepping in for Bird? The man who left New York surprisingly, and the man who Bird took over for Donny Walsh.  Honestly, I see why Walsh left the Big Apple, the media just rips you apart no matter what.  If you do not do what the city wants, then simple enough, they don't want you.  It was probably an easy decision for him to go back to Indiana, the smaller market and friendlier environment probably makes the old man very comfortable.

1. LeBron James, WHOOPS, the Miami Heat Win the NBA Championship
Probably the most loved AND the most hated team, the Miami Heat have won the 2012 NBA Championship.  This means two things.  First, LeBron James finally has a ring.  Second, we cannot make anymore "Ringless LeBron" jokes.  We also have to realize Chris Bosh also has a ring.  Great. I don't know why it annoys me so much.  Actually I do.  It is just weird to call Chris Bosh an NBA Champion, it makes me both mad and happy.  I mean mad because of the way he left the Raptors, but happy to say we were the city that grew him to be the player he is now.  Either way, the 2012 Miami Heat better have a nice asterisk beside their title, because they didn't even play a full season or who knows what could have happened.


Pre Draft Conversation With Jack Armstrong

He always comes through for us here in the Dino Nation Blog, it is our pleasure as we get close to the NBA Draft, on Thursday to welcome back Jack Armstrong. We have a lengthy discussion about not just the Raptors outlook for Thursday, but the big picture for the Raptors entering the off-season. There is talk about the draft though and several of the top prospects. We also get into some of the rumors that have been flying around including the idea of Steve Nash becoming a Raptor. Jack gives some extensive thoughts on how you should approach trying to sign him, his impact on this roster, how it would impact on the fan base and the risk involved in making this move. We also touch on the evolution of Canadians in the NBA draft and how it is no longer just the Raptors giving Canadians looks anymore. We go way into overtime on this interview and have a look at what could be potentially a very optimistic and exciting off-season to come.

Thanks to Jack as always. It is always great and thrill for me to have him on to talk basketball with. As I mentioned off the top of the interview were having  a Draft Party at St Louis Wings so if you would like to come out and enjoy the NBA draft with yours truly and DNB Staff as well as all of our loyal readers and fans please do. We will be at the 595 Bay St Location just up the street from the ACC. So come out and have some chicken wings and fun with us and see what the Raptors first move will be in an exciting off-season.


Raptors Last Scheduled Workout Lacking Star Power

The Raptors are having their last scheduled workouts at the ACC today. There was no big names coming back for a second visit. In fact these names are not exactly ones that would be familiar to anyone other the draft junkies. It more a Who is that guy? Rather than a who's who workout.

Name                                      Position          Height             College/Country
Tu Holloway                            Guard              6-0                   Xavier
Terrell Stoglin                          Guard              6-1                   Maryland
Wesley Witherspoon               Forward           6-9                   Memphis
Robbie Hummel                      Forward           6-8                   Purdue
Xavier Gibson                         Centre             6-11                 Florida State
Negueba Samake                   Centre             6-11                 Mali


From The Desk Of The Dino Blogger- Friday Free For All

It is Friday and the NBA Season is officially over as far as games on the basketball court. The NBA Draft is right around the corner, as is our second annual Party with folks at St Louis Wings. So hope to see some of you live and in person next Thursday. I always enjoy getting to see the folks that have read the DNB and get a chance to talk with you. What I have always attempted to do is write in a way that is personal and as much as if you were to be listening to me talking to you. In starting off this whole Team DNB concept that is something I stress to all the new people that I am bringing into the DNB to work here. I want real people showing you their personalities and hopefully providing you content you enjoy and find interesting, informative and above all entertaining on some level. This is only scratching the surface of what Team DNB is designed to be doing going forward. The hope is to provide all kinds of different opinions and content for you to enjoy. It is also is the hope to make you feel part of Team DNB as well. So we have a whole summer in front of us for everyone to learn and grow and be ready for the upcoming NBA Season in the fall. After almost five years of doing this all on my own it was time to reach out and bring more people into the fold. In doing so also to hopefully engage you more as a reader and make you want to come here for your Raptors and basketball fix. It has been a process working with others and something I am getting use to. In everything I have ever done with the DNB it has always been with the thought of you the readers in mind. That will never change.

Now on to the NBA Finals and the sad pathetic finish to the NBA Season. This is of course unless you wre rooting for the Miami Heat and if that was the case you may in fact not have a soul. A bit to harsh? Yeah probably it was but at the end of the day I just can't applaud the Miami Heat. I can respect them and tell you that they deserved to win this series and out played the Thunder that I picked to win in six back in December. Still at the end of the day, I will always have more respect for Kevin Durant than Lebron James. It has nothing to do with basketball really, it has more to do with people and how they represent themselves as such. I will say, that Lebron James having a genuine conversation with Bill Russell, who I consider the greatest NBA Player of all time, was a point in his favour. Russell to me is the true icon of basketball, he just did it in era that most of us were not around to see. Kevin Durant hugging his mother in defeat would melt the soul of even the most jaded person you could think of. If it doesn't, than they to likely are without a soul. I think at the end of the day Kevin Durant will learn from this and this is only the beginning of an epic rivalry for the ages between him and Lebron, along with the Heat and Thunder. The word epic is used far to often these days but it really applies here.

Then there is Chris Bosh, the first face of a Raptors Franchise to find ultimate success going elsewhere. Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady never came close to that. Again in terms of basketball Chris Bosh was a big part of why the Heat find themselves NBA Champions. His play in the Finals and since his return from injury in the Pacers series was outstanding. He averaged a double double in the Finals. Still it is the person that Chris Bosh has become that I take issue with. I just don't know how someone who was so intelligent and well spoken in Toronto, has turned into this cartoon like character we have seen since deciding to go to Miami. Let me say that it is not the choice he made to go there that bothers me. I think ultimately it was the right one to make. I think he had legitimate reasons to walk away from the Raptors. Still it is this arrogance and quest to be noticed that drives me nuts. It seems being a celebrity and popular is almost as important to Bosh as it is to win. I don't get it and I just don't understand it. Maybe there were always signs of this in his time here that being a basketball player was only part of his goal. In fact there clearly was. Still since going to Miami it seems that guy that craves attention has been put on full blast. I saw it tweeted by Ryan Wolstat that Bosh said to him that none of this would have been possible without him growing up here with the Raptors. I just can't figure out if I am to believe that as genuine or just the right thing to say. What I can say is I genuinely liked Chris Bosh and supported him in his time here. Even when it probably wasn't the cool thing to do. Still ever since his departure the guy that I thought I knew becomes a distant memory. I think he has changed, if you were to ask him it is all of us that are the ones that have changed. In the end it becomes a chicken and egg debate and I will let you decide who is the chicken.

As for the current Raptors it is really starting to come down to crunch time in terms of re-shaping this team into a playoff contender. A huge step in that direction would be Steve Nash becoming a Raptor. It is something that has been talked about for years and I really am trying my best to stay objective and distant about it. Ultimately, I am not sure that I can. Eric Smith from the Fan 590 was on Hoops last night and was saying he is hearing Nash's short list is down to three teams Toronto, Phoenix and Portland. Eric said this comes from a number of people he was talking with down at The Finals. None of which would have a rooting interest in where Steve Nash ultimately decides to play and likely end his career. If this is true and Nash ends up a Toronto Raptor it will be the biggest moment in the history of this franchise. Bigger than anything before it. Why make such a bold statement? Simple, because for every casual Canadian Sports fan the Raptors will become instantly relevant. While people debate and ponder who or what the Raptors do in the upcoming draft, make no mistake about it, if two days later the word leaks out that Steve Nash is signing with the Raptors, that debate of anything else will be shoved to the side. The Raptors signing of Jaamal Magloire was a meaningless and a pointless gesture. Signing Steve Nash is a game changer in so many ways before you even get into the basketball discussion of how it works for the Raptors and the impact of it basketball wise.

After a lot of frustration this just might be a move that brings the Raptors back to a level that they had when Vince Carter was on top of the World and jumping over giant French men in a single bound. Steve Nash the basketball player is not the same guy that won back to back MVP's but he is the same person. I guess all of these topics have a general theme. It is about people and sometimes that is far more important than any stats on a page or rings on a finger. Something that I think gets lost in this day and age.   

The King Of Swag

Hello there. So I'm back to crown "The King" of swag. Will I give it to Lebron James? or Dwyane Wade? After last night both will have matching rings in the fall but only one can win here.

Before I get started, let's first all become familiar with the true meaning of "Swag". According to UrbanDictionary.com, the definition of swag goes as follows: 

"Swag: Appearance, style, or the way he or she presents themselves". According to Candice Kaye (me), Swag must also include ones confidence, personality and ability to dress effortlessly. Let me give you a little secret about women, a man with swag screams instant confidence. That instant confidence is enough to make her weak in the knees. But, shh don't tell her I told you. 

This is NOT IT by either definition of Swag!!!
Ok, let's get started. Love him or hate him, you have to admit, Lebron James processes confidence unlike any other player in the league. I mean anyone who is friends with Jay Z makes me happy. I'm kidding, just a little.

I have to admit, I am sucker for a man rocking a backwards hat or the bow tie, both together would be bonus. I love Dwyane Wade's use of the bow tie and yellow cardigan. The days of baggy jeans, and low riders finally over ladies. This is the new look, and as a woman, I could not be happier. 

 Swag must carry you to events, to the way you dress to get a coffee, to a casual dinner etc. I personality like Lebron's versatility. In a suit, or in a casual setting, his confidence is always there. Effortless style, as I listed earlier in my definition of "swag" is key. Looking effortlessly awesome will come easy to those who understand "swag". To me, Lebron wins in that area compared to Dwyane Wade. Look how cute he looks in that Yankees hat (yes I am also a sucker for a man in a Yankees hat).

So, to the man of confidence, effortless style, and presence, I crown "The King" of swag to Mr. James.  

 Oh and the Finals MVP and now a NBA Champion. Up next for me is seeing who catches my eye at the NBA Draft next Thursday. The Future of Swag for the NBA. Least I hope so guess will see.


Raptors Picture Still Cloudy A Week From The Draft

A week from today one way or another, when your head hits the pillow you should know at least something about the Raptors future. It might be that the Raptors have even more youth through the draft or that they have made some trade to improve this roster. The answer likely won't be coming til next Thursday night at the earliest. In the time between now and than the Raptors have a couple more draft workouts scheduled one that is going on as I am typing that has the following participants:

Alex Young                 Guard              6-6                   IUPUI
Tyler Murray               Guard              6-5                   Wagner
Terrence Jones          Forward           6-9                   Kentucky
Jared Sullinger           Forward          6-9                   Ohio State
John Henson              Forward           6-10                 UNC
Perry Jones III            Forward           6-11                 Baylor

The one name that jumps off the page in Jared Sillinger who made news recently for being red flagged with some medical concerns about his back. A week ago the Raptors would be just hoping he was available at 8. Now could he even be around at 37 and take a similar nose dive like DeJaun Blair did? That seems unlikely but you never no. The other notable name is Perry Jones III. The Baylor standout seems to be a favourite for a lot of folks in this draft class. The Raptors will also be having another workout on Monday or at least are scheduled to have one. They have brought in more prospects than I can personally remember than in recent times. Part of that is based on having 3 draft picks at very different points in the draft. It also might just be a giant smoke screen to convince teams the Raptors are perfectly happy to pick at the 8th. Based on all Colangelo had to say after the Draft Lottery I find it hard to believe he is happy to remain at 8 and pick someone.

When you consider all the trade rumours we heard at the start of this draft process with Raptors on a hunt to turn the 8th pick as part of a package into an experienced high end small forward. It might be considered a bit of a failure or let down to end up just taking the best player on the board at that spot whoever they deem that to be. The one thing that would be a complete and total shock would be if the Raptors traded up in the draft. There is absolutely no one expecting them to do that. If anything trading back would be possible. Although as we sit about a week a way from the draft it appears the Raptors might just be stuck with just picking at number 8. Call me crazy if you like but given the depth of this draft, and the Raptors history of little success in the 2nd round, I am as interested if not more interested to see what they do there. Bryan Colangelo seemed convinced he could draft a player at that spot that could be part of roster for the upcoming season. If that was true, it would be the first time in a long time if ever the Raptors made a pick with impact in the 2nd round. Solomon Alabli with all due respect has been more team mascot than a second round pick with any impact. 

The one thing that you have to know with this entire process is it is very fluid. It seems to change as time goes on and teams become more clear on how they see the draft playing out. There is also the chance of finding a trade at the eleventh hour as a viable option perhaps right up until the Raptors are on the clock to make the 8th pick. So it should be interesting if nothing else. I will be in Toronto next week and most of out Team DNB staff will be joining me as we host a draft party at St Louis Wings at 595 Bay St. Keep an eye out we still may be doing a  contest as we have in the past to have a fan be our VIP Guest. In addition we have Jack Armstrong scheduled to join up on June 26th just a couple days prior to the draft to try and put all of this into some prospective for us. Jack's interviews are always a hit with you folks that read the DNB and are always some of my favourite ones to do. I look forward to this one and our party next week. In addition finally having some answers on the direction the Raptors are heading. It all will happen between now and seven days from today.


More Draft Workouts Coming

The Raptors have promised additional draft workouts for tomorrow and Monday. Up to this point a total of 27 players have worked out for the Raptors and of those 27 there have been 7 Canadians a part of that mix. The Raptors had never even had a Canadian on the roster until the signing of Jaamal Magloire last season. They have always brought in a few to work out every season though. What was once considered a good will gesture is no longer that as Canadians have become legit draft prospects and that was highlighted last year with the selection of Tristan Thompson at four the highest ever for a Canadian and Cory Joesph also was selected in the first round by the Spurs. So as a Canadian regardless of if you are a Raptor fan this is encouraging signs of what might come in terms of Canadian talent in the NBA.

In terms of the Raptors and what they plan to do with their picks in this draft that remains up in the air. We have seen a wide range of prospects roll through town from big names to little names and everything in between. There has been a focus on point guard and the wing positions as there should be. Still what the Raptors ultimately will do remains a bit of a question mark. Who they might be considering selecting could come more into focus in these next couple workouts. This would be the time you would suspect that of that pool of 27 players they bring a few of them back for a second look. Most seem to feel that Damain Lillard would be their guy. The only issue has become if he will be there now. Some see Portland as a possible landing spot. Portland is also considered on of the teams along with Raptors in the Steve Nash hunt. It just goes to show you how things change during this time of year. A majority of mock drafts did not even have any point guard going in the top ten. Now we could see one climb to as high 6 or beyond. Also the medical news about Jared Sullinger have some medical red flags about his back have called into question his draft stock. If they turn out to be unfounded I suspect some Raptor fans will be telling me that we could have picked him just like they did about Danny Granger. People forget that Granger had his own medical red flags about the durability of his legs. Joey Graham had no red flags and ultimately no where close to the talent Granger has.

Regardless of what the Raptors do remember to join us for our DNB Draft Party at St Louis Wings. The draft gets going at 7pm but I will likely be there earlier than that. So come on out and say hello and have some fun. Will be there all night if you can't make it for 7pm. Hope to see a lot of you in the GTA area come out. We are at the Bay St location at the Atrium. 


7 Dayz of NBAz

Welcome to another edition of 7 Dayz of NBAz, DNB readers! This week, there weren't a ton of great stories in the NBA as most of the focus was on the NBA Finals, so let's start there.

Miami and OKC
Oh boy. Every NBA fan's dream Finals match-up came to be. We were almost stripped of this series when Miami went to seven games with Boston, but thankfully they persevered and gave us a delightful match-up with the Thunder.

The series stands at 2-1 in Miami's favour, despite the general consensus that Oklahoma City has the better team. Lebron James has been phenomenal this series, as has the unheralded and often criticized Russell Westbrook. It saddens me that we take Lebron James for granted, and I genuinely hope that the Heat are able to take the series to silence some of his loudest critics. The Thunder will be terrific for many years to come. Lebron realistically has a window of three to six years before Wade becomes nearly obsolete.

The Heat play at home next game, and while the atmosphere isn't great in Miami, this should allow them to take a 3-1 lead. I'm hoping it doesn't, but hey, I'm just glad we're getting at least five games of this.

Spoelstra? Brooks?
Both Erik Spoelstra and Scott Brooks have come under a lot of pressure to win, and while the series remains close neither has been exempt from the criticism that maybe they aren't the best coach for their team.

Spoelstra has supposedly been on the figurative hot seat since Miami's big 3 came together, despite Pat Riley's insistence that his position is safe regardless of what happens in the playoffs. After last year's unexpected loss to Dallas, one would have to assume that Riley may have to reconsider his position on the matter if the Heat lose to Oklahoma City this year.

Scott Brooks was the NBA's golden child as far as coaches go until this year, despite winning Coach of the Year in 2010. A funny statistic? Six of the last eight COY winners were fired within two seasons of winning the award. Brooks, much like Spoelstra, has been criticized for poor offensive sets and erratic personnel decisions. He's done well given the roster he's been given, but you have to wonder if there's a better coach available.

Neither are likely to be fired this offseason, but it's likely that the outcome of this year will be the second last straw for Spoelstra and Brooks. They're terrific coaches. The NBA is an unforgiving business.

David Stern Versus Jim Rome
Oh boy. If you didn't hear about this gem, you've missed out. We've always known that Stern is a wry, sarcastic, and often bitter man, but I don't think anyone expected him to do anything like this.

Jim Rome, a respected radio personality in the United States asked David Stern about whether or not the NBA draft lottery was rigged. He made sure to explain to Stern that this wasn't his opinion, but was a common one amongst fans. Regardless, Stern was not impressed at all.

"Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"

Cold. Uncalled for, even. But utterly hilarious nonetheless. Click here to listen for yourselves.

Dream Team Documentary
Many books have been written about 1992's Olympic Dream Team, but never were we afforded such a great presentation of the team that forever changed the landscape of international basketball as we were when NBATV released this incredible documentary.

For years, we knew that it was difficult to assemble the Dream Team. For years, we knew about them losing a scrimmage game to college players. For years, we knew that they dominated their competition in the Olympics. But we didn't know what happened behind the scenes.

The documentary looked at the relationships between the players, coaching staff and fans rather than the traditional overview of what transpired in Barcelona. Michael Jordan took the reigns from a reluctant Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Larry Bird and Patrick Ewing were great friends. John Stockton explored the streets of Barcelona without being recognized by fanatics. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen took their game against Toni Kukoc and Croatia VERY seriously. Charles Barkley did what he wanted and frankly just didn't care what anyone thought.

It's strange that the NBA waited 20 years to release this film, but I'm thankful they did. It was one of the best basketball documentaries I've ever seen, and many people agreed it should have been much, much longer.

It's still running on NBATV from time to time in Canada, and will likely be available for purchase on NBA.com. I highly recommend you all watch it.

Raptors Looking For A Wing
Colangelo alluded to being willing to trading the pick shortly after the lottery, and last week rumours surfaced from many sources that he was in fact seeking an established wing player. Two names stand out: Rudy Gay and Andre Iguodala. To a lesser degree, Luol Deng was also mentioned in trade rumors.

The Raptors are aware that they already have one rookie coming into the 2013 NBA season, adding to a plethora of young talent already present on the roster. Casey wants to win now, and believes that the team is a lot closer to competing for a championship than last season's record showed. Colangelo agrees, as do I. So why continue a rebuild? Fill some holes and go for it, right?

All of the aforementioned wing players offer something dramatically different to the Raptors, and it's nearly impossible to speculate which one will be acquired. However, one thing is clear: Colangelo is very serious about getting one of those three players, and knowing him, he'll get one.

A package for any of the wings would likely include the pick, a young piece or two, and possibly a small piece of the core. Ed Davis, James Johnson, and Jose Calderon are names we hear very often, but recent rumblings about DeMar DeRozan have taken some Raptors fans by surprise.

I'm no NBA general manager. I acknowledge that Bryan Colangelo has made some questionable decisions in the past but also recognize that he's fully committed to this rebuild and wants to do it right. I trust him. You may not, but I do. The draft is only a few weeks away, guys. I'm eager to see what transpires.


Bosh or Bargnani Problems Remain The Same.

Chris Bosh has been playing a key role for the Miami Heat as they lead the Thunder 2-1 in the NBA Finals. I mentioned on Friday how the the Raptors no matter what they may say after he has gone, were ill prepared to have him walk. Ultimately, when you think about the Raptors now they have basically just elevated Andrea Bargnani to the roll of Bosh on their roster. In comparing the two players they offer a much different skill set at first glance. Bosh would always be considered a better rebounder and Bargnani a better shooter. Still both at times have been questioned for their desire to defend and do the dirty work. In some senses the Raptors are still following the same model that they failed to have success with under Bosh. Bargnani quickly replaced Bosh in terms of his role on the team. The one role the Raptors have never replaced since he left was the one that Vince Carter filled with the Raptors. That dynamic small forward that could both attack the basket and make a poster, but still be able to hang out beyond the arc and bomb 3's at times.That is something the Raptors have not replaced. Demar DeRozan has half that equation in being able to attack the basket and make spectacular finishes. He lacks that three point threat to truly be taken seriously by a defense to worry about him.

The Raptors ultimate problems might not be all that different without Bosh as they were with him. I don't think Andrea Bargnani is a significantly better player than Bosh or every will be unless the Raptors fix these problems. Can Bargnani have more success than Bosh did if the Raptors find a dynamic wing option and a better point guard to attack the basket? Probably they can but they had seven years of trying to find those things with Bosh and were never able to find that proper mix. Another thing that was missing was a true center that could rebound and defend. The Raptors hope they have found that piece in Jonas Valancuinas. In many ways could develop into the Anti-Bargnani. If he can make up for Bargnani's lack of rebounding and have his back as help defender it could make for a nice pairing. Still, without that dynamic wing and attacking the hoop point guard the Raptors remain somewhat flawed.

Andrea Bargnani is no more a 1a player than Chris Bosh was. He just isn't that guy even if you believe the guy that exploded for about a stretch of 13 games is the real Andrea Bargnani moving forward. The one good thing about Bosh leaving has been it has allowed Andrea Bargnani to play at his natural position and even if it is just from a mental point of view, he is more comfortable at that spot. Ultimately the Raptors problems before Bosh and after him still are basically the same ones including the fact that Bosh ultimately left and went elsewhere.

It has always been a source of frustration for the Raptors top star whoever that happened to be to recruit players to come here to play along side them. Some will tell you if the Raptors start winning the players will come. Really think this is honestly true? I mean you may hate him now, but Vince Carter was at one time in Toronto considered one of the best players in the league and likely was the most popular. Raptors were winning and appearing on national T.V in the United States.  What was he able to attract to the Raptors in terms of free agency? The answer is not much except of a past his prime Hakeem the dream that quickly turned into a Raptor nightmare. If he can't get anyone to come in that position on top of the NBA map can we honestly think that Chris Bosh could have or Andrea Bargnani and Demar DeRozan can?

Basically the Raptors are a team that by and large has had to build a team with only 2 of the 3 major components you have too build a franchise. In the time Bosh was here the Raptors would never venture into that level of being a tax team with greater penalties for being one the Raptors are no more likely to do that with Bargnani. In fact, Colangelo all but said that would be the case for this upcoming season. If you are not going to over spend a little and being willing to go that extra mile to try and change the Raptors free agency fortune it is going to be hard to see a solution to this problem.

Friday I was talking about hope and not so much today. Still if you want some hope of how the Raptors fix this problem in free agency I will give you a long term answer. You clearly have noticed that basketball has had a lot more talented Canadians playing the game these days. Legit Canadian Draft prospects are now becoming the norm and not the exception. If enough of these Canadians develop into true NBA players the Raptors will have a pool of free agents that would actually value the Raptors differently. The idea of coming home and playing here might be to much to pass up. Steve Nash has manged to avoid the temptation of it. Still as the numbers increase of Canadians not all of them will be able to resist you have to figure. This solution is not keeping Bryan Colangelo his job or helping out in the short term unless you in fact sign Nash. Over time though the Raptors need to consider this as their one advantage they have in free agency.    

I guess what I am saying is the Raptors are still a team that is trying to build around primarily a power forward that has some obvious flaws but some obvious talent. So really has anything changed in terms of the game plan for the Raptors?  Not so much I guess.


Hope is Back In the House In Raptorland

I can say that the last year or so has been the most painful in doing the Dino Nation Blog and just in general as a Raptor fan since the very start. There was a long and painful off-season that was all about the NBA Lockout. It was a dark and dank time that offered no signs of hope for the coming fall. Even when the lockout came to an end sometime in November it did not really offer much hope in terms of the Raptors. Bryan Colangelo made it pretty clear by his words and his actions that the Raptors goals had little to do with what would actually take place this season. At least in respect to challenging to be back in playoffs. The Raptors basically were back to square one almost in some senses. They had a new coach that was going to "Change the Culture" of the Raptors. We have heard this before many times. To his credit, if anything this was accomplished this season, Dwane Casey actually did that. It was the flickering of that hope coming back. It had been all but erased when Chris Bosh took his talents to South Beach. The Raptors can say what they like about that, but they clearly got caught with their pants down in that whole situation. They were ill prepared to move on to a new era without Bosh as the centerpiece.

This off-season the Raptors have the chance to move forward from the abyss they have been in since Chris Bosh left. The buzz is back around the Raptors as they have been the most talked about team heading into the NBA Draft and NBA Off-Season. Colangelo offered no hope last season with the promise of hope in this season to come. He even did that in terms of his draft pick last season taking Jonas Valancuinas. Which at the time was not the most popular choice with many Raptor fans. After a year most folks have had a change of heart. That might be in part because of the Raptors marketing of their pick constantly, or it might be that Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker the two guys most fans wanted, have been below expectations at the start of their NBA careers.

The excitement is back in the Raptor fan base and you only need to spend a day on social media like Twitter to see that is. The danger is the excitement is based on rumours, talk and buzz. Bryan Colangelo to keep this momentum going needs to answers this buzz with actions that live up to it. Which could be pretty hard to do when all is said and done. We have heard names like Steve Nash, Rudy Gay, Andre Iguodala and others as being possible Raptors. There is also a buzz around the draft as well and what the Raptors could do with 8th pick if they in fact keep it. Colangelo has done nothing to throw a wet blanket on these expectations so you have to believe he is going to try and match them or exceed them. This is by far the most challenging off-season for Colangelo in his time in Toronto. To say that it is make or break for his legacy and long term job security is not speculation as much as it is fact.

I have said many times that in all sports what a sports franchise is in the business of really doing, is selling this idea of hope to it's fanbase. The Raptors are once again able to do that with fans having some realistic and some not so realistic expectations for this franchise and the players that make up the roster and those who could. If at the end of this off-season the Raptors can be considered a playoff team or a contender to be one that will be the first step in restoring some real hope for this franchise. Something that has been hard to do even when they had Chris Bosh for the last couple years of his run here in Toronto. It is always a good feeling to have hope for the future. Not just in sports but in life in general.

The next step in this process of hope might not be so easy. It is the same one that 27 other NBA Teams will face. That is how on earth can you be a serious contender for a NBA Title. If the first two games of the NBA Finals have not convinced you that OKC and Miami is on another level from the rest of the NBA you will eventually learn this lesson. It is more than logical to think we can be on the verge of a Celtics vs Lakers type of rivalry that could dominate this decade. But the Raptors are far from worrying about those monsters that lie ahead they would just like to get back to the post season and be part of that conversation. In a season that might include the NHL being on the sidelines with their own lockout. This is a time to capture the hearts and minds of the casual sports fans in Toronto and Canada. The Raptors had this handed to them before when the NHL missed an entire season and they  missed out on that golden opportunity. They now  may get a rare second chance to get it right. This a long with the fact you have a fan base that is starting to feel like they have seen it all before and tired of excuses and want to see some results. The time is now for the Raptors to be on the attack. We have 15 days to July the 1st and the Raptors in that time need to find a way to make all the right moves and cash in on all this buzz and hope that has been created.

All Forwards Session

In the workouts today the Raptors have a lot lesser names than were in town yesterday. When you look at this list it likely is a group that they are looking at if they were to draft a small forward in the 2nd round. Here is your daily list of who is in town today.

Name                         Position        Height            College
Kyle Weems             Forward         6-6                  Missouri State
Olu Ashaolu             Forward         6-7                  Oregon
Rob Jones                 Forward         6-6                  St. Mary’s
Khris Middleton        Forward         6-8                  Texas A&M
Quincy Acy               Forward         6-8                  Baylor
JaMychal Green       Forward         6-8                  Alabama


Raptors Summer League Schedule

The Raptors schedule for Summer League in Las Vegas has been released. They will open up play on July 13th vs Houston. They will play 5 games in total finishing up on July 19th with a game vs the Knicks. Here is a complete list of their schedule.

Time (PDT / EDT)
July 13
COX Pavilion
3 p.m. / 6 p.m.
July 15
Thomas & Mack
3:30 p.m. / 6:30 p.m.
July 16
COX Pavilion
3 p.m. / 6 p.m.
July 18
Thomas & Mack
3:30 p.m. / 6:30 p.m.
July 19
New York
COX Pavilion
1 p.m. / 4 p.m.

Raptors have made it clear that the plan is to focus on Ed Davis in Summer League. This is assuming that Ed Davis is still around by July 13th. But he and whoever the Raptors end up drafting will be in Vegas playing for the Raptors if he has not been traded somewhere else. 

Damian Lillard or Kendall Marshall?

The Raptors have been searching for their future point guard for a few years now with little success. Colangelo has acknowledged that while Calderon is indeed like a fine wine, he isn't immmortal and will need a replacement. First, they traded for Jerryd Bayless, who showed that he deserves to be in the NBA, but offered question marks as to his ability to run a team. Then, they had the opportunity to draft one of many point guards in last year's draft, but wisely selected Jonas Valanciunas instead. They dabbled with D-League players like Ben Uzoh, who I like, but they too were not the answer.

This year, the Raptors have an opportunity to draft a point guard once again. While the feeling is that they'll trade the pick, the workouts the Raptors have scheduled thus far have been guard and wing centric. They know where they're weak.

There are two point guards that stand out above the rest this year: Damian Lillard and Kendall Marshall. Both are quite different, but share fundamental similarities and weaknesses. And I hate to say it, Raptors fans...

...but this is like choosing between the second coming of Jose Calderon (Marshall) and Jerryd Bayless (Lillard).

Like Calderon, Marshall is an elite pass-first point guard with good size but poor length and athleticism. He's a decent shooter from three, but offers little else offensively. Marshall isn't a good defender, but he acknowledges this weakness and seems committed to improving. He's slow footed and would surely be exploited by elite NBA point guards like Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook. In Dwane Casey's defensive system, many of his shortcomings on the defensive end would be hidden by quick rotations, much like the case with Calderon.

Lillard on the other hand is extremely athletic, possesses phenomenal length at his position and is a scoring machine. Like Bayless, his game revolves around drawing fouls and hitting threes. He also struggles to run complex offensive sets, usually settling for the easy pass when he does see an open man (rarely). When a play breaks down, he almost always elects to shoot the ball rather than reset or run a quick pick and roll. Despite his physical attributes, Lillard is also not a very good defender. His problem, unlike Marshall, is awareness. Lillard is an elite defender in isolation, but struggles to help and see rotations.

Let's look at some statistics. First, their predraft measurements.

Kendall Marshall: 6'4.25", 198 pounds. 6'5.5" wingspan, 37" max vert.
Damian Lillard: 6'2.75", 189 pounds. 6'7.75" wingspan, 39.5" max vert.

Despite the height difference, Lillard blows Marshall out of the water here. He has terrific physical attributes for a point guard, comparable to players like Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose. Marshall's measurements mirror players like Andre Miller and Jose Calderon. But don't put too much stock into measurements. That's what bad scouts do.

So again, the decision comes down to what you want from your point guard. Do you want an explosive scorer that will make you scratch your head from time to time? Then take Lillard. Do you want a pass-first point guard that will make you scream at your television, telling him to shoot? Then take Marshall.

Neither will be a star. That's a foregone conclusion. Most people look at Lillard's statistical dominance and forget that he played in one of the weakest conferences in the entire country. Where was he in the tournament, again? Oh, right. He wasn't. Marshall went deep with North Carolina, displaying poise and patience, and an often overlooked leadership. Harrison Barnes may have been the right arm of that team, but Kendall Marshall was surely the brain.

While I'm pretty sure that Lillard will be the more intriguing NBA player, I'm just as sure that Marshall will have the better overall career. He embodies the steady floor general that coaches want their point guards to be. Lillard should be good for plenty of highlights, but his erratic play will sit him on the bench more often that not.

Jerryd Bayless. George Hill. Jeff Teague. Ronnie Price.
Andre Miller. Jose Calderon. Mark Price. 35 year-old Jason Kidd.

Who do you take? Here are some videos to help you out. Thanks to DraftExpress.

Some Big Names Featured on Day 3 of Workouts

Raptors have no less than 8 guards coming to town split into 2 different sessions. The headliners of that this group are Austin Rivers the Duke stand out that has a dad that coaches the Celtics and  Jeremey Lamb from UConn who some have questioned his desire and passion for the game. Lamb with be in the first session and Rivers in the second and there will be a third solo session for UNC Forward Harrison Barnes. Here is the complete list of workouts scheduled for today.

First Session:

Jeremy Lamb             Guard              6-5           Connecticut
Alex Johnson              Guard              5-10         NC State        
Dee Bost                     Guard              6-2           Mississippi State
Kim English                 Guard              6-6           Missouri 

Second Session:

Scott Machado           Guard              6-2           Iona
Austin Rivers               Guard              6-5          Duke
Tyler Murray               Guard              6-5          Wagner College
Harouna Mutombo      Guard              6-4        Western Carolina

Third Session:

Harrison Barnes          Forward           6-8       North Carolina

The Raptors are certainly looking at a lot of different folks and seem to be having no trouble getting some of the big names to come to town for workouts. Raptors are sure doing their due diligence and then some which might be for show in terms of keeping their 8th pick and not actually trading it. Still you can't help but think that might be the case but at least Raptors will have a good idea of what they are passing on if that is what they choose to do.


Canadian Content Featured In Raptor Workouts Today

If you happened to miss it this morning Raptors are getting a look at a couple of Canadians today. Kris Joesph out of Syracuse by way of Montreal is working out today for Toronto. In addition Robert Sacre the 7 foot centre that seems like he has been leading the Gonzaga Bulldogs for years now is finally entering into the NBA Draft. In total the Raptors have a group of six players in town with two guards, two forwards and two centres as part of this group.

Name                          Position          Height             College
Jordan Taylor              Guard              6-2                   Wisconsin
Tyshawn Taylor          Guard              6-4                   Kansas
Kris Joseph                 Forward           6-7                   Syracuse
Kenny Gabriel             Forward           6-8                   Auburn
Justin Hamilton           Centre             7-0                   LSU
Robert Sacre              Centre             7-0                   Gonzaga 


Your Kids Laker vs Celtics

The NBA Finals start tonight and like in 2009 I was able to predict The Finals match up. In 2009 it was Lakers vs the Magic, picking a winner in that series was fairly simple to predict. The Lakers were a clear favourite. No one expected the Magic to make it to the NBA Finals let alone win it. Perhaps at the start some doubted if OKC could win an NBA Title. After going through a list of former Champions in the Spurs, Lakers and last year's Champions the Dallas Mavericks it has changed some minds. In meantime the Heat who were formed to win not just a title but many titles enter the Finals as an unlikely underdog. It was a much tougher road to the Finals for Miami this year as they had to play both the Conference Semis and most of the Conference Final without Chris Bosh. The Heat struggled to get by a Boston team trying to make one last stand with their older version of what Miami has. This is the NBA Final that most NBA fans wanted at the end of the day and now you have it.

If you grew up in the 80's every NBA Season it was expected that the Celtics and Lakers would face each other in June. It was a massive surprise if any other team would make it to the NBA Finals. We may be on the verge of a similar situation with the Thunder and Heat. If you think about it, the Thunder are still young and are likely only to get better. If they can find a way to keep James Harden and Serge Ibaka they are pretty much set for a long run as the kings of the Western Conference. Kevin Durant is making a case to be considered in the debate as the best player in the game. He was the runner up to Lebron James for MVP and these two might just play the roles of Bird and Magic in this rivalry for the ages. Not that you can compare the players games to those Hall of Famers. However, in their own right both should one day also be a part of the Hall of Fame when their careers are over. Just like the Lakers and Celtics swapped turns with the NBA Title so did Bird and Magic with the MVP Award.

The Heat have a tremendous amount of pressure to win not just a title but many titles. The biggest road block to that might well be the Thunder. It calls to mind another era of the Celtics and Lakers rivalry. In the 60's it was Bill Russell and the Celtics that dominated the Lakers with Chamberlian and Jerry West. This was a one sided rivalry that saw Russell and the Celtics find a way to win every year and leave the Lakers as The Finals runner-up. The Celtics set a record that likely will never be broken running off 8 straight championships. Four of those Championships came at the hands of the Lakers. The Celtics and Lakers would hook up two more times and both times the Celtics won making the Lakers 6 time losers. It would not be until till 71-72 when they would finally get their title. Could the Heat end up like that Laker squad that was never able to truly find a way to beat Boston.

Nothing would please Heat haters more than to see them become the Buffalo Bills of the NBA making the finals each year only to have it end in epic failure and Chris Bosh tears. This could be the start of an epic rivalry for the ages and a true changing of the guard for the NBA. Will kids today talk about the glory days of the Thunder and Heat rivalry. Tell stories of Lebron James, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade and that often misunderstood Chris Bosh. Only time will tell, but the ingredients for a long rivalry that we rarely see in modern pro sports is all there. Fans of 28 other NBA Teams would prefer this not be the case. However for those who are fans of not just a team but the NBA this could be the first chapter of a magical story.

Thunder and Heat could be your children's Lakers vs Celtics. 

2nd Annual DNB Draft Party at St Louis Wings

The Dino Nation Blog has been proud to build a relationship with folks at St Louis Wings. We had our first event there to (Un)Welcome Chris Bosh back to Toronto. Short of being at the ACC it was the best place to be to experience that event. Since that time we have had a number of events with the folks at St. Louis Wings and we are proud to have worked with them. Last year we had a draft party there and the place went nuts both when Tristan Thompson was picked at number 4 by the Cavs and when the Raptors selected Jonas Valinciunas with the next pick. It is always a good time going there and the staff has always treated us well. So much so we even have one of their employees as part of our staff now. There will be more details as we get closer to the event but clear your calender and make sure on June 28th at 7pm you come join us at 595 Bay St (The Atrium) location for a night of fun regardless of what the Raptors do or do not do in the NBA Draft. It is a party regardless of what happens. It is also the first event we have held since adding our staff here at the DNB. So Team DNB should be well represented at this event. Team DNB includes you too, and that doesn't require you doing  a draft work out or being selected it just requires you attendance at our party.

If you have facebook and would like to RSVP you can do so and invite your friends and make this an even bigger party. Regardless we would like to see you come out and experience the NBA Draft with us and the good folks at St Louis Wings. The best thing about St Louis Wings is they love their basketball and the sound is always on full blast for any events we do there. So you don't have to worry about basketball being treated as a second class citizen. It never is at St Louis Wings. Here is all the info on the location complete with menu, map and everything.

There may not be punch and pie...actually there likely is pie. But there is a full menu of fun and good times if you are looking for a place to watch the NBA Draft with Raptors Fans like you. This is the place to do it. So come on out June 28th it starts at 7pm but will be there most of the night as the draft never ends to well after 11pm. How excited are we? Look over on the right we have a clock counting down to our party. So make sure when that thing reaches 0:00 you are at St. Louis Wings with us.

Point Guards Top List Of Who Is Coming To Town

The Raptors will have two sessions today and one of them will be for just one guy. Blame it on the agents or the lack of competition but both Kendall Marshall (PG - North Carolina) and Damian Lillard (PG- Weber State) will be in town. Lillard will workout out for the Raptors but all on his own. The 6 foot 3 point guard impressed most on lookers so far and some see him as the fastest player in this draft class. He will workout this afternoon at the ACC. While Marshall will work out with a number of individuals this morning at the ACC. In an ideal world you would have liked to see both here and going head to head. But those days in this draft process seem long gone. It just another example of agents influencing the process as the list of players that sat out drills at the combine in Chicago was a long and lengthy one. Here is a list of everyone that will be part of that morning session at the ACC scheduled to take place in a couple hours.

Kendall Marshall 6-4 Guard - UNC
Devoe Joseph 6-4 Guard- Oregon
Terrance Ross 6-7 Forward- Washington
Hollis Thompson 6-8 Forward- Georgetown
Henry Sims 6-11 Centre- Georgetown
Kyle O'Quinn 6-10 Centre- Norfolk State

That group is in this morning session and as mentioned Lillard will have his own basically private session in the afternoon. So that is what is going on with your Raptor workouts for the day.



Ok, let’s make this clear, I really could care less about how these gentlemen look on the court. To me, no one really cares what you can play like if you don’t know how to properly put yourself together. So, I’m taking “Playoffs” to a whole new level. Mmhm, “Swagger Playoffs”. I’ll be pairing off players based on their style, and fashion choices. Through the process of elimination, I will give you a champion. There is no ring for the winner, not even a Candice Cup, just the respect of a girl that loves basketball, Fashion and Swag!!!
Maybe Next Year Guys?
Kevin Durant: I love the backpack. As a matter of fact, they are ‘back in style’. However, the next time you decide to wear one, please don’t use the front clip.
Rajon Rondo: I appreciate your ‘sporty’ swag. Gentlemen, there is really nothing better than a man who knows how to sport track pants. However, for today, I’m looking for a little more personality.
Chris Paul, and Kobe Bryant: I appreciate both of your class and sophistication. However, dressing outside the box would have made you both perfect candidates.
So that is who missed the playoffs and there is no Swagger Draft Lottery so it is good bye to all of you. Our Final Four consists of two members of the Miami Heat, Some Thunder Up representation without the initials K.D and a Clipper who loves L.A a lot more than D.C.

The Swagger Semis
I heard Westbrook got some heat on his shirt choice during a post game press conference. The only way I can explain this to you, would be to show you. These photos are taken from the male fashion bloghttp://styleguy.tumblr.com/ PATTERN IS IN. Westbrook’s shirt is not a pajama fellas, but rather a very good shirt choice! Some may call his style “hipster”; I call it a sense of individuality. It takes a lot for a man to pull off this look, and I believe he did it perfectly. So, I’m going to bring the heat down, and say Mr. Westbrook I like what you’re wearing.

Now Lebron. Lebron, Lebron, Lebron. If anyone in the NBA understands “Swag” it is this man. I have noticed, especially in Toronto, men are looking a lot slimmer than usual. Gentleman, please stop loosing weight. There is nothing sexier than a larger built man, or a man with muscle. Colour, slim fit jeans, bow ties, and skinny ties still look good on a larger built man. How to achieve this? Tailoring. Once you understand the meaning of tailoring when it comes to a suit, dress shirt, or a jean, your entire look will change for the better. I can promise you this. There is a perfect example of this below. A simple black suit doesn’t look so simple does it?
I do appreciate Westbrook choice of pattern, but the way Lebron puts colour together is key. Remember: When wearing light pants, please, please, please wear a darker coloured shoe. It will ground the outfit. White shoes, and white pants to me, have zero swag.

Lebron James. His versatile swag channels his version of ‘handsome’.


Nick Young, your name really says it all. The meaning of ‘Swag’, well to me, represents ones personality. Swag can be an accessory you decide to wear, or the way you present yourself when you walk into a room. Walking into that press conference sporting a shirt like that, exudes confidence. Who said you always had to wear a tie? Let’s see your personality! Change it up!

Dwyane Wade, you got me at that pink pocket square. A man wearing colour can never be a bad thing… Unless he decides to wear Hawaiian flowers, not in Hawaii. I have seen this happen. I love how he paired a suit jacket with a pair of high top kicks. It brought down the formality of this look. Shoes can make or break an outfit. If Wade wanted to dress up this outfit, throw on a pair of Suede Wing Tips, and bam, you got a whole new look! Versatility is KEY. Ladies, this goes for you as well.

So, Nick Young’s swag gives you a taste of his fun, young, ‘cool’ personality. (Yes, I give you that description with just his shirt choice). However, Dwyane Wade’s versatile style, gives him a sense of sophisticated presence walking through any door. And that is true swag.
Dwyane Wade this one goes to you!

So that is it we have an all South Beach Final. Like I said you can’t get a ring for winning the Heat will have to figure out how to earn their jewelery on the court. Off the court both these guys have time still to step up their game and bring home a different title in “the king” of swag. Will crown our winner before the NBA Finals are done.