Last week, Jalen Rose (via his “Story Time with Jalen Rose” series on Grantland) brought us the entertaining tale of the night Vince Carter went all Brock Lesnar on Sam Mitchell in the trainer’s room. Rose mentioned that at one point, the players in attendance laughed hysterically at their humiliated coach.
This week, Rose’s Grantland series continues with yet another embarrassing moment in Raptors history and in Mitchell’s head coaching stint – the night Kobe Bryant dropped 81.
I should point out that there are a couple of discrepencies in Rose’s recount. First of all, he mentions that the 2005-06 team had “hoped to be a playoff team” before suffering some injuries. Ummm, check out this roster, and remember that Bosh was only entering his third season, while Calderon, Villanueva and Graham were all rookies. Nobody expected that team to even sniff the playoffs, and starting the season with nine straight losses and a 3-17 record after 20 games had little to do with injuries, if I remember correctly.
Secondly, Rose claims that this historic night happened “right after” the Raptors traded Vince Carter. Okay, who wrote Jalen’s script, Paul Ryan? Carter was traded in December of the 2004-05 season, 13 months prior to Kobe’s 81-point explosion on January 22, 2006.
With those facts out of the way, let’s get to the actual story:
It was interesting to hear Rose talk about the 1-2-2 zone, the fact that Bryant, a known trash talker, “didn’t say a word” as he single-handedly brought the Raptors to their knees and that Luke Walton scoring 20 would have been more embarrassing to the team than Kobe scoring 81. He’s got a point.
Most interesting of all to me though, was the fact that Rose clearly throws Mitchell under the bus for the second straight week, which leads one to believe that the 13-year NBA veteran wasn’t exactly a fan of Sam’s coaching style or strategy.
If Smitch wants to land another NBA head coaching gig in the near future, he better hope that Rose isn’t an influential figure in Association circles.
Lastly, Jalen, we all really want to know, what’s up with the baseball bat in every story? You’re not Joe Pesci.