Other posts related to raptors

The Disposable Superstar

 | May 12, 2009 1:45 PM

Billups as a Toronto RaptorThis article, The Disposable Superstar, about Chauncey Billups is really great.  I do think he’s getting a little too much credit for how well the Nuggets are playing.  The Nuggets I believe only won five more games than last season.  Nene has been one of the top centers, Birdman has been fantastic off the bench and Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith have improved.

However the fact is what he has accomplished is quite impressive.  I think my admiration for him might override my disgust for Kenyon Martin.  Of course it figures my Toronto Raptors gave him up for nothing.

It is nice also to read about what an influence his father had on him, how he drove him to every game and played an important part in his life.  Inspires me a bit to keep trying more with my children.  Here is a photo of the championship ring Chauncey sent to his father.

No one is more appreciative of Ray than Chauncey, and he wants to do something for him. So, months later, a box arrives in the mail at Poplar Street. Inside the box is a ring, a Pistons championship ring, just for Ray.

He puts it on his finger … and then stops to read the engraved inscription, on the side, near the gold:

Billups: The Right Way.

Another interesting thing is how Kevin Garnett and Sam Mitchell were big influences in his life.  Kevin Garnett, though I dislike some of his tactics against opponents, really has to be applauded for how he treats his teammates.

KG, his old buddy from the 1995 McDonald’s All-American high school game, is recruiting Chauncey, relentlessly. He wants Chauncey to sign in Minnesota, and to entice him, he invites him to his Minneapolis home. On the wall in the cellar is a poster. It reads: The Billups Suite

Chauncey thanks McHale for being frank and accepts the Pistons deal, his sixth team in five years. Mitchell almost cries when he hears the news, but Chauncey thanks him and Brandon for making him a point guard. Then, in the Billups Suite, Chauncey and KG share a goodbye embrace.

Finally I think I am just drawn to Billups because of how much his teammates have loved him. Here is how his closest Pistons teammates reacted to the trade.

They keep talking about games, moments, shots. Hamilton has always told Chauncey he wants his toddler son to someday marry Chauncey’s toddler daughter, and he brings it up again…  It goes on this way for three incredible hours that Chauncey says, “I’ll never forget. We were, ‘Wow, wow,’ in disbelief. Just coming to the realization it was over.’”

Eventually, Chauncey tells them he has a flight to catch, and he walks out the door. The three of them enter the elevator, and Chauncey pauses to give Hamilton a last hug.

Hamilton breaks down, sobbing. Absolutely sobbing.

 

Share

Time Out H2H Finals

In the finals I was not nearly as concerned about my opponent as I was in the semi-finals.  It turned out I underestimated my opponent somewhat.  My strategy was to win FG%, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and be competitive in FT%.

I was winning most of the way but in the middle of the second week the Lewisville Rockets became incredibly hot and at one point was 7-1-0 against me.  The only categories I was winning in was assists.

Jason Kidd stealI tried to catch up to him in rebounds but I just couldn’t seem to do it.  I also tried to catch him in steals and almost did it until Mike Conley got 7 steals.

But just when things started to look bleak my team got hot and I suddenly started catching up in rebounds.

On the last day of the season, Wednesday, I loaded up on rebounders hoping that:

  1. The Lewisville Rockets wouldn’t counter by loading up on rebounders.
  2. The Lewisville Rockets wouldn’t notice that at least their best player, Lebron James, wasn’t playing on Wednesday, and possibly Joe Johnson.

Fortunately the Lewisville Rockets didn’t do anything.  On the last day of the season Lebron and Joe didn’t and Emeka Okafor only played six minutes.

I won this matchup because in the end my team played six more games.  And the effective number is actually more since on the second last day of the season his three Atlanta Hawks barely played.

If Kwang had been managing the Lewisville Rockets he would have won.

I learned a few leassons from these head-to-head playoffs.

  1. Make sure you have accurate predictions.  I had a spreadsheet predicting how I would do against my opponent.  In the first round I kept Matt Barnes thinking he was a .500 shooter.  It turned out he was a .430 shooter and he ended up shooting .188 for me.  In the second round I thought I would win rebounds until I realized after a week that I had not counted Chris Bosh’s statistics for his team.
  2. Don’t let a player go to free agency if you really like him.  In the first round I let Thabo Sefolosha go to free agency because I thought Kwang wouldn’t want him.  Kwang ended up grabbing him in a few hours.  Fortunately Sefolosha did poorly in the second week.  In the second round I let Anthony Randolph go.  Kwang picked him up in a few hours.  That kid might be a stud next season if Nelson lets him play.
  3. Don’t assume you’ll win a category.  I assumed I’d win steals when I had a ten steal lead and that was gone in two days and I never got it back.
  4. Don’t do head-to-head again.
Share

Time Out H2H Semi-Finals

There were a lot of holes that I suddenly had to fill as the playoffs commenced.  In the first round, the semi-finals, I was matched up against Kwang’s team, which was the strongest team because of his shrewd late season pickup of Lamar Odom and his earlier fantastic pickup of Rajon Rondo.  Kwang grabbed Lamar Odom before I had a chance but in the case of Rajon Rondo I was being lazy, I should have gotten him off waivers.

I looked at the statistics and realized there was almost no way I could win.  Since he owned Dwight Howard I figured I could win free throw percentage (FT%) and with Calderon, Kidd and Wade I was confident I could win assists.  Normally I do well in field goal percentage (FG%) and rebounds but against his team I knew it would be almost impossible to beat him in those categories.  Therefore I tried to picked up a lot of guards to win three pointers and steals.  I was also hoping to win blocks by adding Ronny Turiaf and Chris Andersen, two block masters.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - MAY 04: Jose Calderon #8 of the Toronto Raptors reacts after a three pointer against the New Jersey Nets in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2007 NBA Playoffs on May 4, 2007 at the Continental Airlines Arena at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey.Just a few days in I realized I had to abandon blocks because Ronny and Chris weren’t doing it for me while Odom and Howard were blocking everything.  The funny thing was the day after I dropped Chris he got six blocks.  I decided to go after three points completely.

However it turned out that Kwang was better at picking guys who can shoot three pointers.  His big pickup was J.R. Smith who had burned me several times but was on fire throughout the playoffs.  I picked up O.J. Mayo whom Kwang dropped but he sucked for me.  Of course after I dropped O.J. Mayo he played great in the finals against me.

computer late nightBy the last weekend of the semi-finals I was behind Kwang by so many three pointers that I was resigned to defeat.  Then on Friday at midnight I suddenly had an eureka moment.  When I saw Kwang drop Jermaine O’Neal and pick up the last good three point shooter I realized he had no rebounders left except Lamar Odom and Dwight Howard.  Dwight Howard, fortunately for me, had no games scheduled for the weekend and Lamar Odom had only one.  Kwang was ahead of me by about 70 rebounds so I am sure he wasn’t concerned that I could catch him.  But I realized that if I completely turned over my lineup Saturday just before lineups were to be locked that I could gain significant ground on him.

For the next few hours I figured out who the best rebounders were that were available.  Then I sent a long email to Paul Kahn with instructions about what to do because I was going to be on the road on the way to Legoland.

At 1:40 PM Paul completely revamped my lineup, changing it from three point shooters to rebounders.  The first game was at 2 PM and I did this at the last minute hoping that Kwang wouldn’t notice and change his lineup.  At 2:01 PM I had Paul then change my lineup, grabbing all the good rebounders available for Sunday and even putting a couple of good ones on my bench so Kwang couldn’t get them.

I expected at the end of Saturday’s games to be still down by 20 rebounds but I ended up passing Kwang and almost catching him in FG% (thank you Jeff Foster for grabbing 18 rebounds).  Saturday night Kwang changed his lineup to have only rebounders but it was too late because the guys he picked up weren’t as good.  Sunday I continued to beat him and even passed him in FG%.

Kwang’s team really was better than mine.  It was quite a chess match as we made moves back and forth throughout the week to try to beat the other person.  In the end I had the last move, it was acutally like two moves, which is why I won.

I am never doing H2H again.

Share

Raptors 2008 – 2009

 | April 16, 2009 7:12 AM

Toronto Raptors forward Shawn Marion, right, drives to the basket past Chicago Bulls forward John Salmons in the first quarter of their NBA basketball game in Chicago, April 15, 2009.

The Raptors season ended on an up note as they beat a Chicago Bulls team that should have been motivated to win.  Doug Smith of the Toronto Star has an interesting blog article with his take on the three most significant wins and losses of the season.  I remember all of them except for the loss to the Thunder.  I especially remember that horrible loss to Vince Carter and wondering that night why Vince Carter seems to only try against the Raptors.

Seems like just yesterday we were throwing lamps at our TVs after this.

These are my thoughts as the Raptors season closes.

  1. Jose Calderon can be a top point guard.  In the middle of the season I was concerned about this but seeing how he flourished at the end I have to believe it was his hamstring that was hampering him (pun not intended).  He needs to work on his strength and conditioning but considering this was his first season as a starter, I think next season could be an All-Star season for him.  I think his work ethic is unquestionable considering how he improved his free throw percentage so dramatically over just a few seasons.
  2. I think Chris Bosh is better than I would admit before when I blamed him for all the Raptor woes.  Is he a franchise player though worth breaking the bank in 2010?  I am not so sure.  If the Raptors can get something good for him I think they should consider trading him.
  3. Andrea Bargnani, Alan’s favorite player, really became a lot better.  I wonder if his better position is power forward than center.  He does need to learn to grab rebounds better but I think that will come.
  4. Shawn Marion really played well at the end of the season.  I am not sure if he did it because he knew he needed to make a good impression since he’s now a free agent.  Sometimes he seems too moody and a bit selfish.  But I think he’s quite talented and would love it if the Raptors brought him back for a good price.  It is hard to find a small forward that rebounds, steals, blocks and plays defense against the other team’s best player.

One move the Raptors might consider is trading Bosh but I am not sure what we need.  Amare Stoudemire would be nice but I still like the idea of Bargnani moving to power forward which won’t happen with Stoudemire.  I think what would be ideal is trading for a shooting guard that can shoot three’s, create his own shot, drive to the hole, and get lots of free throws.  You know, someone like Dwayne Wade.  Of course we won’t be getting Dwayne Wade but interestingly enough Ben Gordon is a free agent.  Unfortunately Ben Gordon has a reputation of being selfish.

If we did trade Bosh then getting a center that rebounds and plays defense would be a great move.  I think the Polish Hammer, Marcin Gortat, would be great but he’s a restricted free agent.

Looking at the list of free agents in 2009 I see Kwame Brown who I actually think is very good, great rebounder.  Jarrett Jack is a restricted free agent and a shooting guard, maybe he could help the Raptors.  Lamar Odom is an unrestricted free agent and I think he’s amazingly talented.  He probably wants out of LA since he doesn’t start there.  Charlie Villanueva is a restricted free agent with a lot of talent and he probably hates playing under Scott Skiles.  Same for Ramon Sessions who could help the Raptors except he can’t shoot three’s.  David Lee is awesome but he wants to stay in New York.  Ike Diogu will probably make more money this offseason just because of his last two games.  Paul Millsap is a beast but Utah will probably try to keep him.

Maybe we should keep Bosh, sign Marcin Gortat and Ben Gordon and Shawn Marion, and make a run.  That’s still not a team that can win it all though and I am not sure the Raptors can afford Gordon.

Share

Sports Guy and MIT

 | February 13, 2009 7:17 AM

Apparently the Sports Guy hasn’t attended any MIT frat parties.  Not that he’s missing much.  Anyway I found this reference to MIT from his NBA trade value rankings, King James version article quite funny.

 If I’m Houston’s Daryl Morey during the All-Star break, I’m buying Patron shots for the Maloofs until 3 a.m. Sunday, then offering them T-Mac and a 2009 No. 1 for Martin and Kenny Thomas’ deal that expires in 2010. Then again, Daryl went to MIT — he probably couldn’t do three shots without passing out …

I also found Sport Guy’s assessment of Bargnani depressing because it’s probably accurate.

Andrea Bargnani: His ceiling? Memo Okur. Is this a good thing for the No. 1 overall pick of a 2007 draft that included LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy? Probably not.

Share

Hello Jesus Shuttlesworth

 | February 5, 2009 3:22 PM

My fantasy basketball team is pulling away from the pack but I am still playing around with it, seeking perfection.  Now I can welcome Jesus Shuttlesworth to my team, aka Ray Allen.

Mon, Feb 2 4:01 PM PST my trade ofer for Ray Allen was accepted.  It went through Wed, Feb 4 4:29 PM PST.  It looks great based on the 2009 stats.

PR PRK GP FG% FT% 3PM REB AST STL BLK PTS
Elton Brand -0.31 83 29 .447 .676 0.0 8.8 1.3 0.6 1.6 13.8
Andrea Bargnani 5.51 12 51 .432 .833 1.4 5.2 1.0 0.4 1.1 13.5
Monta Ellis -5.08 104 7 .348 .778 0.4 3.7 3.0 1.1 0.7 11.6
for
Ray Allen 11.08 4 50 .497 .941 2.4 3.4 2.8 1.0 0.1 18.1
Carlos Boozer -1.92 95 12 .559 .727 0.0 11.7 2.7 0.9 0.3 20.5

Ray Allen is playing better than expected and I don’t expect it to be kept up.  But on the other hand Brand and Ellis are damaged goods and Bargnani is too inconsistent.  All three were on my bench.  Plus I get Boozer who hopefully will come back strong from injury though I am not counting on it.  I actually dropped Boozer a month ago so it’s nice to get him back.  Sorry Alan I traded Bargnani.

The weird thing is now I have too many good players.  Do I put Joe Johnson on my bench?  Or Charlie Villanueva?  I guess it’s a nice problem to have.

Update: Just after I orignally wrote this post it was announced that Elton Brand will have season ending surgery.  I discovered that after noticing that the team to whom I traded Brand had dropped him.  Talk about trading someone just in time.

Share

2008 Thoughts – Sports

 | January 10, 2009 3:31 PM

MLB

  • Pat Gillick proves he’s a winner by leading the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series title.  And just like with the Blue Jays he leaves and already the Phillies are making bad moves, like signing Raul Ibanez for too much money in an over-crowded outfield market.
  • I predicted the Tampa Bay Rays would win the World Series and was quite wrong as their bullpen continued to implode.   I think they should have used Shields for Game 5 part 2.  He is their best pitcher and then they could have used Garza in Game 6.  Maddon definitely should have pinch hit for Howell.
  • The Yankees once again made it difficult to be a Blue Jays fan as they signed the top three free agents.  I don’t think I have ever seen an offseason so dominated by one team.  For the Yankees they were good signings because they print money but for any other team they would be bad ones.  C.C., A.J. and Teix are just not that good.
  • Last season if the Blue Jays had been in another division they would have made the playoffs.  Now with Burnett gone, Marcum and McGowan hurt and the Yankees stocked things look grim.  The Blue Jays should trade Halladay and Wells to the Yankees for a package of prospects.  I would do it for a package that included Joba and Hughes.  They definitely should trade Halladay because he deserves to win a championship.

Olympics

  • I had mixed feelings about the Beijing Olympics before they started.  In the end I enjoyed these Olympics probably more than any other except the 1976 Montreal Olympics because I actually attended those with my family.  (It was at those Olympics we learned I needed glasses because I needed to use the binoculars to see the scoreboard).  And it is too bad that I and so many others enjoyed them since it accomplished one of China’s goals, to obscure China’s abominable human rights record.
  • I watched seven out of eight of Michael Phelp’s gold medal races.  I am normally not like this.
  • I was surprised by how much I enjoyed NBC’s coverage (except for the tape delay).  Maybe it was because for the first time I had cable during the Olympics so I could also watch MSNBC, CNBC and other stations.  Still NBC was lambasted for its coverage and CBC was applauded.
  • I was annoyed with watching “live coverage” that was actually delayed by three hours because I am on the west coast.
  • Beijing’s opening ceremonies were stunning but part of me couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable about the fact that China spent billions, far more than any other nation ever will, yet many parts of their country are still burdened with oppressive poverty.  It would be like going to someone’s house, being presented a lavish dinner and then noticing the kids are gaunt and eating week old cabbage soup.

NFL

  • I am still upset the Patriots lost.  And I am not even a Patriots fan.
  • I would become a 49er’s fan but their new uniforms are unattractive to say the least.  What happened to tradition?
  • It’s impossible to become an Oakland Raiders fan with Al Davis as the owner.

NBA

  • I am not a Celtics fan but I hate the Lakers.  Therefore I thoroughly enjoyed the finals.  In general though I found the 2008 playoffs the most interesting I have ever watched.  Maybe again it was because I had cable and was actually able to see some of the games, like the Hawks repeatedly beating a shocked Celtics team in Atlanta.
  • The Raptors are struggling and Chris Bosh will leave in 2010.  It’s sad when our greatest hope is Bargnani.  I think I will become a Golden State Warriors fan even though the team is poorly coached, the front office is horrible, and they seem to wear a different uniform every night.  But at least they are entertaining, all offense, no defense.
  • I am enjoying winning my fantasy basketball leagues.

NHL

  • In the one sport where my team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, would actually have an overwhelming revenue advantage there is a salary cap.
  • I heard the San Jose Sharks are good.  Maybe it’s time to switch. :-)

Some are saying 2008 was one of the best years in sports.  I am not so sure about that but I thoroughly enjoyed it even if all my teams sucked.

Share

Hello Candy Man

 | December 29, 2008 10:09 PM

In my fantasy rotisserie league I am still first but the westview wildcats and now the kentucky simonsays are right behind me.

Fri, Dec 26 12:35 PM PST I offered my friend, Mike Law, the following trade which was accepted and went through on Sun, Dec 28, 4:28 PM PST.  It looks good based on the 2009 stats.

PR PRK GP FG% FT% 3PM REB AST STL BLK PTS
Chris Duhon 7.89 9 29 .420 .879 1.5 3.8 8.5 1.0 0.1 11.9
Kendrick Perkins 4.33 16 31 .593 .557 0.0 8.6 1.2 0.3 1.9 9.0
for
Marcus Camby 9.03 4 25 .518 .764 0.0 12.3 2.0 1.1 2.9 11.4

This trade will be good for my friend.  Duhon is one of the top point guards in the league and Perkins has been averaging a double double in December.  My friend needed the depth and the assists.

For my team I don’t need Duhon’s assists.  Also my team is deeper and I can replace Perkins with Kaman who will be hopefully back soon.  Camby is a bit better than Perkins so I’m happy with the deal, as long as Camby stays healthy.  Plus Camby is a former Raptors #1 pick.

Looking back at my other trades I am becoming less happy with the results.

  1. LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol for Elton Brand
    Elton Brand dislocated his shoulder and it does not look good.  Aldridge is playing better and better.
  2. Troy Murphy for Tracy McGrady
    McGrady comes back from his injury playing like a top 5 player making me regret dropping him.  Then he starts playing badly and ends up hurt again making me regret trading for him.
  3. O.J. Mayo, Tyson Chandler for Dirk Nowitski
    Only trade I’m happy about.
  4. Tayshaun Prince for Shawn Marion
    Shawn Marion is playing worse and worse.  He really doesn’t look like a good fit with Wade.  Prince is amazingly doing even worse.
  5. Nate Robinson, Jameer Nelson for Josh Smith
    Nate and Jameer are playing amazing.  Josh Smith is still inconsistent and annoying me.
  6. Al Horford for Carlos Boozer
    Horford has been playing better and better while Boozer is still hurt with no return date in sight.
Share

Best Moments of the Day 3

 | December 9, 2008 4:49 PM

“I take my children everywhere, but they always find their way back home.”
- Robert Orben

I love my kids but today’s best moment has to be the time I am spending now alone.  Ji Seon took the kids to a friend’s for a play date and now I am enjoying peace and quiet while doing work and watching on the internet the Raptors get pummeled by the Cavs.

This morning was Isaac’s Christmas performance at his preschool.  Isaac stood in the front row and just looked around while his classmates sang.  Kind of like what Dylan did at that age except Isaac didn’t even try to do the motions.  Isaac looked quite content though.

Share

Hello Boozer

 | December 5, 2008 12:25 PM

In my fantasy rotisserie league I am first but the westview wildcats and I have been switching back and forth between first and second.  Wanting to improve my team I offered Tracy McGrady and Al Horford for Carlos Boozer and Lou Williams.  The other team soon after dropped Lou Williams so I thought the trade would not happen.  But then the team owner emailed me and said he would do Boozer for Horford straight up which I gladly accepted.

Mon, Dec 1 4:01 PM PST the trade was accepted and went through on Wed, Dec 3, 4:30 PM PST.  It looks good based on the 2009 stats.

PR PRK GP FG% FT% 3PM REB AST STL BLK PTS
Al Horford 4.08 16 16 .523 .683 0.0 8.1 2.8 0.7 1.7 11.1
for
Carlos Boozer 3.62 18 12 .559 .727 0.0 11.7 2.7 0.9 0.3 20.5

And it looks better based on the 2009 projections.

RNK FG% FT% 3PM REB AST STL BLK PTS
Al Horford 56 .501 .740 0.0 11.1 1.8 0.8 1.1 11.7
for
Carlos Boozer 29 .551 .722 0.0 10.6 2.9 1.1 0.4 20.7

My reasoning for the trade is pretty simple.  Carlos Boozer is a top player, Al Horford is up and coming.  Boozer is hurt right now which might have motivated the other team to trade him but he should be healthy soon.  He doesn’t get as many as blocks but I have plenty of those and he gives me a much better shooting percentage, which is what I need.

Looking back at my other trades I am pretty happy with the results.

  1. LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol for Elton Brand
    Pretty happy about this trade.  Elton Brand has been underperforming and is hurt now.  But he has still been playing better than Aldridge.
  2. Troy Murphy for Tracy McGrady
    Disaster!  McGrady has been playing hurt and is now out for at least three weeks.  Today I dropped McGrady.  Murphy has been playing well, especially lately.
  3. O.J. Mayo, Tyson Chandler for Dirk Nowitski
    O.J. Mayo has been playing great but Dirk has been awesome.  That German can play!
  4. Tayshaun Prince for Shawn Marion
    Shawn Marion has not been great but Tayshaun has really dropped off.  Looks like I couldn’t have timed that trade any better.
  5. Nate Robinson, Jameer Nelson for Josh Smith
    I thought Nate and Jameer were going to cool off but they actually played even better.  I was starting to think Jameer had taken the next step and was going to be an All-Star.  However both got hurt.  And Josh Smith just played his first game since a long layoff due to injury.  The jury is still out on this trade.

Now that the Raptors fired their coach, will Andrea Bargnani now become the All-Star we always hoped he would be.  Will someone please trade me Bosh?  Can Calderon please play like he did before he got hurt?

Here’s the craziest idea.  The Raptors trade for Vince Carter for some expiring contracts, make a long run into the playoffs, knock off the Celtics and Lakers, and Vince wins it all with a 360 degree dunk over Pau Gasol.  Emotional wounds suffered by so many Raptors fans will be healed and we can wear our Vince Carter jerseys again.  Too much wishful thinking? :-)

Share