After an offseason that saw some of the league’s brightest stars swap franchises, the Raptors are left as an afterthought. After all, while inking Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka to deals may help Toronto, those moves look small when compared to, for example, the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas swap. However, in this writer’s humble opinion, the Raptors have been left out of the spotlight for too long. Masai Ujiri selected the projected steal of the draft, rookie OG Anunoby, and secured C.J. Miles’ 3-and-D services for the foreseeable future — that’s cause to celebrate!
In honour of these offseason moves that will likely keep the Raptors relevant for at least the next three years, I’d like to introduce an arbitrarily concocted awards list. Each award will be granted to the Raptors member that best suits each category. There are only a few rules:
1.) You must hold a current position on the Raptors roster or coaching staff.
2.) These awards will have little to do with playing time or accolades.
3.) If you have a funny name or hair, you’ll probably win an award for something.
Are you ready? Let’s get started.
Most Predicted “Revenge Games” – DeMar DeRozan
This offseason, Sports Illustrated ranked DeRozan as the 36th best player in the league, ten spots above where he ranked heading into last season. DeRozan most likely believes that he deserves the number one spot on that list; his unrelenting tenacity would prevent him from thinking otherwise. And so, would I be shocked if DeRozan dropped 40+ points, and sneered directly into the camera during his postgame interview? Probably not. Would I be surprised if it happened more than once? Maybe, but he’s still the most likely Raptor to do it, thus winning this award.
(As a side note, it would not surprise me if DeMar decided to sit down at his laptop one day and compile a carefully-constructed list ranking every journalist in sports; you can be sure that every Sports Illustrated writer would be at the bottom of his list.)
Least Likely to be Given a Nickname – OG Anunoby
Lowry is the Bulldog. DeRozan is DeMarvelous. Unfortunately, it looks like CJ Miles will likely be CJ Kilometres. If someone tried to give OG Anunoby a nickname, this person would simply be detracting from his already established remarkable designation. You can’t improve on perfection — don’t even try.
Most Likely to Become a Fleeting Memory – Bruno Caboclo
Listen, we all love Bruno. He’s a friendly guy; his personable demeanour makes everyone around him want to give him a hug. However, while his long arms may make for the best hug of your life, they certainly do not make for an excellent jump shot. On the court, Bruno just looks lost. His temperament, while passionate, could use some refinement. As saddening as it is to witness, it becomes less and less likely that Caboclo will ever see meaningful minutes on an NBA roster as the days go by. It will be devastating to see Bruno go, but at least we’ll still have his big haired, Brazilian compadre. [Editor’s note: For now.]
Player whose Hairstyle Most Aptly Mirrors his Playing Style – Jakob Poeltl
I’m sure you immediately thought of Lucas “Bebe” Nogeuira when I mentioned the word “hairstyle” in a Raptors article. Don’t get me wrong, Bebe’s hair is glorious and is deserving of both praise and affection. However, I seek to find poetic beauty in the oft-forgotten hairstyles of the world, so bear with me.
Let’s be clear: Poeltl’s hair is nothing remarkable. It’s relatively clean-cut, and it possesses very little up-front attitude. However, it’s not completely straight-laced either. There are some occasional curls that provide an odd edge, implying a nuance of danger and excitement. Now, swap out the word “hair” with “gameplay”. Doesn’t it still make sense? When observing the Austrian’s gameplay, you’ll immediately notice his soft hands and equally soft locks. But, sporadically, he’ll throw down a monster jam that makes you question whether he can pull off a Birdman-style hairdo.
His haircut hints at something greater, as does his polished inside presence. While I could come up with analogies on this subject all day, I’ve written far more than I ever thought I’d write about an NBA player’s hair, so let’s move on.
Most Likely to be Blamed for Every Loss and Disregarded after Every Win – Dwane Casey
From reports of Casey’s potential dismissal, to questionable interviews with the team’s star players, it’s fair to say that the winningest coach in Raptors history has a tumultuous relationship with both the Raptors’ players and fans. Regardless, Casey has displayed unrelenting poise over the duration of his tenure in Toronto. Night after night, Casey bears the weight of the organization’s failures and simultaneously gets overlooked after each victory. Hopefully, after promising a more fluid, assist-based offense, Casey will be commended appropriately when credit’s due.
Thanks for reading. If you can think of any zany, haphazardly fabricated awards that you’d like to grant to your favourite players, leave them in the comments below!