With his colourful on-air personality, Chuck Swirsky’s name became synonymous with Raptors basketball in Canada for many years. So with Swirsky’s Bulls in town to take on the Raptors tonight, Oliver and I caught up with Chuck to discuss the Raptors as a whole, Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani, Bryan Colangelo, Sam Mitchell, Derrick Rose and tonight’s game.
Enjoy 15 minutes of Chuck today in lieu of the usual game thread…
The writing was on the wall when Bryan Colangelo traded a first-round pick (and Gary Forbes) for point guard Kyle Lowry. Jose Calderon’s days as the starter in Toronto were finished. Both Colangelo and Calderon hinted that a trade would be ideal for both parties. Coming off a seven-game stretch as the starter earlier this season where he twice posted 15+ assists, there may never be a better time to trade Calderon.
Dwane Casey has experimented with a two-point-guard lineup, and it hasn’t worked. Kyle Lowry and Calderon both need the ball in their hands to be effective and more to the point, Jose’s atrocious defence makes it difficult to leave him on the court in crunch time. Looking at the big picture – it doesn’t make sense to carry a $10 million veteran backup point guard on a 4-13 team that is building for the future.
Before looking at what kind of return the Raptors could get in a Calderon deal, let’s examine the asset they have…
Kyle Lowry blowing by Steve Nash is something we hope to see at the ACC on January 20
In one of the more anticipated days of the summer for basketball junkies, the NBA announced its’ 2012-2013 schedule on Thursday, and as usual, there are some games that obviously stand out from the rest.
While I doubt the Raptors are featured in many, if any, of those games for the casual NBA fan, we’re here to cater to Raptors fans. And with that, here are the games we think you should circle on the calendar:
For the sensible Raptors fan, this was the perfect game. It was a closely-fought, exciting game that was decided by an overtime buzzer-beater by Luol Deng. The Raptors remain fifth-worst in the NBA — a half-game behind Detroit for sixth-worst — which is important because we should root for the franchise to get a top-five pick in this upcoming draft.
As with Wednesday’s game against the Bulls, Derrick Rose sat out to heal his groin injury. Of course, this meant that optimistic Raptors fans couldn’t help but ask the question. But it was not to be on this night — the tank momentum was just too strong.
You might think you can’t afford more than a couple of my thoughts on this game, but you’re in luck tonight because we’ve got a special deal on a half-dozen of them. Don’t consume them all at once!
Start time: 8:00 PM ET Channel: Sportsnet One Probable starting lineups Toronto: Jose Calderon, Gary Forbes, James Johnson, Andrea Bargnani, Aaron Gray Chicago: C.J. Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah
Toronto: DeMar DeRozan and Jerryd Bayless will both sit this one out..
Chicago: Derrick Rose is questionable for tonight.
One man’s misfortunate (DeMar DeRozan’s twisted ankle) is another man’s opportunity. Gary Forbes scored 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting in just 20 minutes last night against the Knicks, so I assume that’s earned him a chance to start tonight against the Bulls. While he’s not a particularly efficient scorer — he’s shooting just over 38 percent from the field this season — he’s a fairly decent passer, rebounder and defender so he could bring some interesting elements to tonight’s game if he gets to play 30 minutes.
The Bulls haven’t played since they beat the Raptors by 12 on Wednesday, so they’ll be rested for tonight’s tilt at the United Center, where they have a 19-4 record this season. This seems like the kind of game where they would let Derrick Rose sit this one out and keep resting his pulled groin so he can hopefully return for Monday’s game against the Nuggets. Chicago has a two-and-a-half game lead over Miami at the top of the Eastern Conference, so they’re probably feeling pretty comfortable at the moment.
I can’t remember if I’ve featured this awesome Key & Peele sketch on this blog before. Even if I have, it’s worth watching again.