First Impressions of Earth - Post Draft Thoughts...at 3 AM

I'm a big Strokes fan.

Have been for a while.

In fact their debut album, "Is This It?" is one of my top 10 favourite albums of all time. Something about that raw combination of guitar and vocals I guess.

In any event, their follow-up album was pretty solid as well. Not quite as good as their first, but still did the group justice.

Finally earlier this year, after a long hiatus, the Strokes released their long-awaited third album. Naturally, I grabbed it as soon as it hit the shelves.

Problem was, even as a big fan of the Strokes and their sound, I was not a big fan of the new album. Sure it had a few songs that jumped out at me with that "classic Strokes sound"...but mostly I just didn't find it to be that great and put it away for a while.

In fact it wasn't until a few months ago that I started listening to it again in preparation for the Strokes arrival in Toronto to perform at the Ricoh Colliseum. And after giving it another shot a funny thing happened - I actually started to really enjoy it. In fact the album grew on me to the point that it stayed in "heavy rotation" for weeks even after the concert. And in fact the concert simply brought out many of the albums' subtleties that I had previously missed.

So what's the point of all of this? Am I considering leaving the HQ for a new career with Pitchfork.com?

Hardly.

In fact I'm really writing this as a comparison to last night's NBA Draft.

I'm sure later today we'll see the team grades (we'll give some out ourselves), pick by pick analysis, and hear from GM's as they justify their selections. But for me personally, my first reaction after the draft was one of disappointment.

Sure Bargnani was a bit anti-climactic when all was said and done and I have faith in Colangelo regarding this selection...but I guess I just felt B.C. might have done more. Especially considering some of the night's events. Both Marcus Williams and Rajon Rondo fell lower than I expected (Williams especially) and I was disappointed that Bryan Colangelo didn't make a bigger push for either player. Hell, all it took for Danny Ainge (who made some very curious moves of his own) to get Rondo was to take on Mr. Fossil Brian Grant's salary and give up what will probably be a low, future first-rounder. With the cap room Toronto has, couldn't we have done that and taken either point guard?

(As a sidenote - the most entertaining team drafting was none other than the Knicks. The passing on players like the aforementioned Williams and drafting of Renaldo Balkman about 30 picks earlier than projected had me out of my seat in disbelief. Hands down this was the single most random draft pick I've ever witnessesd.)

The second round though was where things really turned a bit sour for me. While most of the players I was hoping would slip to Toronto at 35 were gone, there were a few names such as Bobby Jones who I thought would be great fits. However Colangelo grabbed Texas forward PJ Tucker at this spot. While Tucker was a successful college player and a great rebounder for his size, the fact of the matter is that he's really a 6-4 power forward. His size and style of play is quite similar to Joey Graham and I worry that he doesn't have the perimeter skills to play the 2 or 3 in the league. I would have much rather taken Denham Brown here as sure enough, he was taken a few picks later by the Sonics preventing Toronto from having a shot at him with the 56 pick.

Oh...and speaking of pick 56. Toronto selected recent Eurocamp star Edin Bavcic but later traded him to Philly for cash. With the cap room we currently have, and the low cost of late picks such as these, I'm not sure I understand this that much either. It seems that the Raptors' braintrust felt that Darius Washington, Mike Gansey, Taj Gray, Justin Williams, Kevin Pittsnogle and Juan Jose Barea weren't worth taking a flyer on...and incidentally all went undrafted.

Maybe I was lulled into false expectations by the amount of player moves (15 trades) and assumed that the Raptors would follow suit. With several players seemingly attractive to Toronto however, Colangelo and co. were curiously quiet and I couldn't help but feel a bit down when all was said and done.

However on my subway trip home I thought it over some more and realized that maybe Toronto's lack of activity wasn't due to lack of trade options or attempts. Maybe Colangelo just knows a thing or two more than most other GM's and the average fan and there really weren't many players in this draft worth persuing that hard. After all, he is a former NBA Executive of the Year.

No, Colangelo may be doing something that most GM's have a tough time doing - thinking outside of the box.
The bottom line in any event is that these two draft choices may very well grow on me - much like the Strokes newest album, which eventually had me hitting the repeat button.

In the same manner that the Strokes could have easily stuck to the classic sound so familiar to their fanbase, it would have been easy or "safe" for Colangelo to pick certain players like Adam Morrison or even Denham Brown (in terms of a second-round option.) But Colangelo seems to have a vision for this club and both Bargnani and Tucker do have some very intriguing aspects to their games which probably fit his vision to a T. As the summer and next season unfolds, I'm sure we'll see more of this plan and who knows, by this point maybe the draft results will have grown sufficiently on me already.

So instead of ranting about Colangelo's lack of aggresiveness this evening or how he could have done better, I'm just going to sit back and chill. After all, it's not like I was jumping for joy after Charlie Villanueva's selection last year either.

Now...where is that Strokes album...

FRANCHISE

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