Toronto Raptors fans and ESPN's Bill Simmons, aka, "The Sportsguy" have a bit of a tortured relationship.
Simmons has always expressed his fondness of Canada, and the city of Toronto, but the basketball team, our beloved Toronto Raptors, hasn't always gotten off so easy.
Sure, Simmons was one of the more vocal media supporters of the Vince Carter backlash after VC resurrected his career in New Jersey, but since then...
From the "Atrocious GM Summit," to a look at how the Raps have advanced basketball in Canada, it's been pretty downhill ever since.
In his most recent post, Simmons piles it on a bit more, this time, at the expense of the Raptors' 2011 top pick, Jonas Valanciunas.
From the post:
IN-GAME STORY LINE THAT MAY HAVE ENTERTAINED ME AND ME ONLY: Even if the Timofey Mozgov/Jonas Valanciunas center battle didn't bring back memories of Russell and Chamberlain, or even Dave Cowens and Tom Boerwinkle, I loved watching the guy who nearly derailed the Carmelo deal before realizing his meaninglessbackupbigmanian destiny in Denver (Mozgov) outplaying the top-five lottery pick that Toronto stashed away last summer (Valanciunas). On the bright side for Raptors fans ...
1. Even if Valanciunas doesn't seem like he knows where to go or what to do, and even if his pick-and-roll defense could only be described as calamitous, he's only 20 AND he hustles. So there's hope.
2. At least they ended up with Landry Fields instead of Steve Nash.
Sportsguy did have some nice things to say about Linas Kleiza, namely wondering why he hasn't been more effective in the NBA and likening his beard to that of the Dad from The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, but finishing the section on Lithuania vs Russia by noting that "Worst Bryan Colangelo Picks" was something he Googled, well...you get the idea.
That being said, we've talked at length about Big Val and the expectations we should have of him in year one so I'll take Simmons' criticism with a grain of salt.
After all, this is the same guy who thought Sebastian Telfair just needed the right coach to turn into Monta Ellis...