I’m not sure whether watching this 12-minute video will make you laugh or make you angry/sad/frustrated, but regardless, here’s Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose previewing the Raptors 2013-14 season for Grantland:
A few notes:
- Simmons makes a comment about the city being a Leafs town and the Raptors only having the 20,000 die-hards that show up for games. He therefore questions whether the Raptors being good would even matter in the city.
This is the type of comment we hear from ignorant American media members all the time, but Simmons knows better, and I really wonder whether he was trying to get a reaction from the Raptors’ notorious online cult following or even just setting the stage for Rose’s comments about playing for the country, etc.
- Rose defends Vince Carter as Simmons references Vince quitting on the franchise, he makes a few jokes about the crappy Raptors teams he was a part of (including a Rafael Araujo reference and a Kobe 81 points reference), Toronto’s nightlife, his love of the city when he played here, but also his take on why it’s hard to attract free agents (taxes!).
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Build a winner here the right way, and Toronto will take its rightful place as one of the more attractive cities in the NBA.
- Rose thinks Rudy Gay’s shooting struggles in Toronto had to do with not having teammates that attract double-teams like he had in Memphis.
The problem with this theory is that Gay actually shot better in his 33 games with the Raptors last season (42.5% from the field, 33.6% from three) than he did in his 42 games with the Grizzlies (40.8%, 31%), so…y’know…research.
- The pair have the Raptors ranked 23rd heading into this season, with predictions including breakout years from Jonas Valanciunas and DeMar DeRozan, the potential firing of Dwane Casey and an immediate trade of Rudy Gay.
Both Simmons and Rose seem convinced that Masai Ujiri will accept a “bottoming out” type deal for Gay virtually immediately, but if that was the case, I imagine Ujiri would have pulled the trigger on reported tanking opportunities involving dealing Gay this summer. The more realistic scenario to me is likely that Ujiri gives this team some time to prove themselves, and if they look on their way to a disappointing campaign, he will then look for potential deals involving Gay and Kyle Lowry (among others).
- The most interesting tidbits from the preview were each’s predictions for where Gay lands, with Simmons predicting Milwaukee for the expiring contracts of Caron Butler and Ekpe Udoh, plus rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo, while Rose boldly states that Toronto could be a landing spot for Rajon Rondo.
It’s important to note that neither Simmons nor Rose is reporting anything here, but rather making random predictions. So remember that if you’re wondering why there aren’t any “Report: Toronto a potential landing spot for Rondo” headlines anytime soon. It would be ironic, however, if Butler joins Valanciunas in T.O. after he and Tyler Hansbrough were loathed for kind of separately bullying JV in his rookie season.