We'll kick off this slightly later than usual edition of Lunch Box Links with a look back and ahead. Back, as in a few takes on the Raptors' loss to the Knicks here via the NY Times and here via SB Nation's Posting and Toasting. And forward in terms of previewing tonight's match versus the Bulls via the Associated Press and SB Nation.
Derrick Rose still appears to be a game-time decision at this point. But does it really matter? As Blog-A-Bull discusses, the team has been playing great under the leadership of back-up PG John Lucas III.
Last night's loss to New York saw Jerryd Bayless go down with injury, possibly delaying a look at how he fares with Jose Calderon back in action. Bayless of course had been playing out of his mind as a starter, prompting many "what does the team do about Jerryd" questions from media.
Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun notes that Bayless is showing he certainly belong in this league, although the question remains in what capacity. TSN.ca's Tim Chisholm notes that it probably doesn't matter considering how different this entire roster will likely look next year.
Speaking of next year, the draft will obviously figure prominently in next year's personnel decisions, especially since the Raptors have three picks to use. ESPN.com released their first mock draft yesterday, pegging Harrison Barnes of UNC into the Raptors' spot with the fifth overall pick. From the post:
Analysis: The Raptors have been looking for a legit small forward for several years and Barnes would be a perfect fit. While he hasn't had the elite season we expected (those early Kobe comparisons have totally faded), he's still a lethal shooter who could turn into a Danny Granger/Glen Rice sort of player down the road.
The Glen Rice compare is an interesting one that I hadn't considered, and one that's admittedly quite intriguing, but it's still hard to see current favourite, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist being consistently slotted above Toronto at the two-spot.
Keeping with the draft theme, Mike Prada of Bullets Forever.com gives a great take on some of the NCAA Tournament's top prospects, and we've got updated mock drafts from NBA.com and Draftexpress who yikes, have Andre Drummon slotted in Toronto's spot currently.
Finally, how does this year's NCAA Tournament coverage on TSN compare to that of years past? CanadianSportsFan provides a great breakdown of how this year's March Madness stacks up.