To start this media watch off we look to the Raptors' mercurial point guard Rafer Alston who spoke to media yesterday and compared this year's Raptors to the Starship Enterprise. Rafer believes this upcoming version of the team can not only be better then last year, but also make the playoffs. While this is great to hear from Alston, it remains to be seen how Alston will carry himself this year on and off the court, something that could have a huge impact on the team's performance in the end.
As we've been discussing here at Raptorshq, Jose Calderon has been playing so well overseas in the current Eurobasket tournament that maybe we won't even NEED Rafer to be a posititve and upbeat starter. It now appears that we're not the only ones picking up on the soon-to-be Raptor's excellent play. ESPN.com has given Calderon a good review as well and just based on the commentary from local media overseas and even other GM's, it looks like Babcock and his scouting department may have found a diamond in the rough.
Perhaps Eric Williams has taken in some Eurobasket games via satelite and likes what he sees as well...because Eric apparently is now interested in staying on with the team this upcoming season. This is curious coming from a player who not even a year ago was adamant about being shipped out of the T-Dot to just about any other destination. It seems however that Eric is buying into Raptors' GM Rob Babcock's new plan and the truth of the matter is that a willing and able Eric Williams would be a huge asset to this young and unproven club.
From the same Toronto Sun article we see that the Raptors' are interested in Jermaine Jackson as a candidate for the Raptors' vacant third point guard position if they are unable to acquire Jay Williams. Raptors' fans may remember Jackson as being the mini-me version of Alvin Williams who played a similar "third string pg" role for the club in both 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons, playing 24 games in each.
Could the Raptors' have acquired heavily sought former Dallas swingman Michael Finley this past offseason? Folks at Dallasbasketball.com seem to think so. While we can't see Mark Cuban trading Fin for Lamond Murray and Aaron Williams, rumours such as these coupled with Rob Babcock's attempts at signing Chris Duhon, Jay Williams and Keith MacLeod certainly seem to show just how much Babcock was working the phones this summer.
And finally, I'll sign off this media watch with some interesting soundbytes I picked up here in Chicago while watching Fox's "Best Damn Sports Show Period." Former 76ers owner Pat Croce was asked about Babcock's comments on the team's prospects for the upcoming season and Croce stated that if Babcock had been working for him and had said those things, he would have "been fired."
Also, Jalen Rose, a frequent contributor to the show, was asked by New York Actor Michael Rappaport about Babcock's statements. Rose reiterated his take on the situation and then Rappaport suggested he come to the Knicks to help them fill some of THEIR team needs.
"make it happen..."