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Watch the Tape: Serge Ibaka and... Braaaaaains!

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The Mafuzzy Chef Serge Ibaka has been putting his younger teammates to the test, both on and off the court. We’re here to review what the hell is going on.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Watch the Tape will teach you absolutely nothing about basketball, how to watch it better, or how it’s properly played. It WILL take you on a tour of some of the finest, and most random Raptors-related (and sometimes adjacent) material on the net.

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I’ve mentioned before that I wanted to get in on some “How Hungry Are You?” action, Serge Ibaka’s cooking show which is growing in popularity by leaps and bounds.

And now, after Ibaka’s 30 point, nine rebound performance against the Bucks, the Raptors’ Congolese baller is as hot as his skillet. It felt like time to go back to everyone’s favourite off-season video to try and understand what Serge has been doing differently, how he’s fitting in with the Raptors today, and, yes, what he likes to eat.

Without further ado, Watch the Tape: “How Hungry Are You?: Episode #5” in which Serge serves the Bench Mob (more or less), lamb brain, and Pascal Siakam shows us that Jakob Poeltl’s greatest asset to the city of Toronto was keeping Skills’ gigantic ego in check.

Serge Ibaka presents: "How hungry are you?" | Episode 5 with the Raptors Bench Mob

These guys were always asking me to be on #Howhungryareyou so I had to invite them and cook for them... It was fun to host the Bench Mob Fred Van Vleet, Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Delon Wright on Episode 5 of "How hungry are you?” #mafuzzychef

Posted by Serge Ibaka on Monday, October 1, 2018

0:00-0:05: This is an effective horror set-up. Kudos to Serge. Although, as we will see, Pascal Siakam’s scene-stealing turn in the opening is foreshadowing a different type of scary.

0:25-0:28: This is also eerie. Filmed weeks before the season began, Ibaka somehow presaged both Norman Powell’s bigger role with the Raps, as well as diminished availability from OG Anunoby, and... the disappearing act of C.J. MIles?

I mean why else was OG with the Bench Mob? Why else would Serge curry favour with the kids — unless he knew he’d be playing more second unit minutes this year? And, Miles not even invited? Ibaka could tell that Miles’ newly sculpted arms would only work to impede his shooting motion — turning “The Bench Dad” into “The Bench Dud”

(I’m here all week, enjoy the brains.)

But, clearly the most telling part of this whole intro is Powell being given the seat at the right-hand side (ours, not Serge’s), suitable for both Prodigal Sons and, apparently, inconsistent second round picks?

0:30-0:36: Anunoby has already spoken more in these six seconds than I heard through the entirety of 2017.

0:38: Cat? Delon Wright thinks Serge is going to serve them cat? (Actually, not so far-fetched. Remind me to tell you my “eating cat in Ghana” story later.)

0:51-1:00: “Monkey’s Good though.” This is where the seeds of my Siakam-related dread are planted. Not only does he have to one-up his teammates with his culinary braggadocio, (check out the disdain at 0:55), he then accuses his host, a man with FOUR EPISODES OF A COOKING SHOW ON YOUTUBE, of not knowing how to cook! Oh, Pascal, what happened to you?

1:10-1:24: While I admire Serge’s “do anything to win” attitude, I’d kinda prefer if he was thinking less about improving his teammates on-court I.Q., and more about the host of flesh-eating pathogens brain is known to harbour.

2:09-2:15: Salt Bae!

2:31-2:33: I hate to argue with a 6’10” human being, but there is no way this is salad.

2:47-2:52: Ibaka puts down the tray and OG goes for the tin with a hint of trepidation. Is that deja vu to his rookie year, or unfortunate foreshadowing? (In related news, I was expecting Powell to barrel towards the medium sized circular object with his eyes closed, before sending a spherical object clanging off of it at approximately 90,000 miles per hour).

2:55-3:01: I give Ibaka a B for his nickname game. Young OG and Delontino? Solid. P and Freddy? Generic and unimaginative. Normatech? Confusing.

Are we to believe that Powell is an Autobot? Or that his side hustle has moved from music to a Silicon Valley start-up dedicated to software that makes Kawhi Leonard’s press conferences seem like they were done by an actual human person with actual human person emotions? (They’re still in Beta.)

3:04: Serge Ibaka is a My City Life cover man! In case you’re not familiar with My City Life, it’s a “lifestyle” magazine out of Vaughan (keep it controlled, McCreery), whose other cover men include Robert DeNiro (pretty sure it was a stock photo), Patrick Patterson (looking oddly like Tom Hardy in Venom), a UFO House designer, and “Fashion Santa” Paul Mason.

You’re welcome.

3:06-3:40: Check out Siakam’s jealous eyes. He’s pretending to mock cover-Ibaka, but deep in his heart he wants a photo-shoot in Vaughan Mills sooooo badly.

Ibaka though, shows a vet’s presence and ignores the man gunning for his job and fashion icon status, and then launches into a reasoned and calm discussion about what the Raps need to do to win this year. How can this be the same guy I once compared to Darcy Tucker?

3:41-3:46: Delon Wright, angling for a vineyard tour invite with the Banana Boat gang. Shoot your shot, kid. Shoot your shot.

4:10-5:30 A fun discussion about who among the bench takes the final shot in a game where the starters are out. Am I surprised that Powell hesitated for about 0.2 milliseconds before he said he’d shoot? No, I am not. (0.2 milliseconds of course being the usual amount of time Powell takes before any decision on the basketball court.)

Am I surprised that Delon, OG and Freddie all basically say they’ll swing the ball for the best look? They’re perfect Canadian ballers — a little boring, but effective.

But then again, we come to the Siakam Connundrum: His first instinct is to say he’s going to shoot. Fair enough, a little swag never hurt anyone (except Norm Powell), but then, reading the room, Siakam flip-flops. Now the ball’s going to Freddy. But before that ball gets out to FVV, Siakam’s gonna do some “spicy stuff” on his defender.

Am I unreasonably concerned that Siakam is swayed by peer pressure? Add it all up people. Monkey’s good? His desperate ploy to pretend he doesn’t want to be a My City cover-boy? Changing his mind? Clearly, Siakam has gone rogue from the Raptors carefully cultivated team concept and “spicy stuff” is obviously code for: “I don’t want to give up this ball, because without the Austrian Hammer around to keep me grounded I have become a raging tower of Carmelo Anthony-esque ball-hogginess, REGARDLESS OF WHAT IS GOOD FOR MY TEAM!?

Or, you know, maybe he just wants to show off his new handles.

5:33-6:33: A legitimately interesting discussion about what the Raps need to do to have playoff success. Right away the guys seem more humble, the joking is gone. They hear what’s been said about Toronto. They know how all of them, in varying ways have had big moments in the playoffs, but have also fell short.

It’s telling that the theme is really about playing loose — about finding a way to shut out the noise of the media and fans. They all seem to want to find that way to win, but I wouldn’t say any of them, aside from VanVleet (naturally), seems convinced yet that it’ll happen.

6:34-7:03: Probably my favourite part of the whole video. Anunboy tries to get away with a “what they all said”, causing him to be roasted by the rest of the table. The best line: Powell’s “Ey, ey, we got Kawhi now, bro. You gotta talk.”

Anunoby’s smiling attempts to justify why he didn’t just want to repeat what everyone else had said are both charming, and, to any of us who had to sit though two-hour university lectures partially graded on class-participation, a welcome reminder of why people who don’t feel the need to fill up space with nonsense are so awesome. (Clearly, I was never one of those people.)

7:15-7:31: The unveiling.

There’s a lot going on here but the best parts have to be:

  • Delon Wright clutching his chest like his heart is saying: “Lamb Brains? N’ah, bro. I’m good. See you at home. I’ll take a Lyft.”
  • Pascal Siakam, the “monkey’s good, though” doing up his hoodie so tight Serge is going to need the jaws of life to give him a bite.
  • Fred VanVleet. Stock still, hand covering his mouth like your Aunt at Thanksgiving after Uncle Reg got into his third bottle of red and tries to explain why he’d vote for Trump.

8:07-8:14: Delon leans in for a sniff. This feels very much like what an oenophile would do.

8:17-8:30: Delon is fearless, he spreads that brain on there like it’s peppercorn pate. I don’t know how this translates into usable on-court basketball skills, I just know that it does.

8:35: I think VanVleet might actually die.

8:42-8:49: I don’t care that he can’t stay on the court for more than two months at a time. I don’t care if we have no idea if he has a consistent three-point shot. The Raptors need to invent a time-machine and go back three weeks and sign Delon Wright to a big-money extension because THIS IS WHAT LEADING A TEAM LOOKS LIKE!!!

9:04, 907, 9:10: OG Anunoby’s side-eyes are everything.

9:46: “That shit’s shaky, bro.” I may like to poke fun at Norm Powell, but that’s the line of the night right there.

9:50-9:53: Siakam pumps his Insta account. Would Poeltl have ever let this sort of flagrant self-promotion fly? You know the answer to that. If Jak was still here, the two of them would have blown off this entire video to play 36 consecutive games of FIFA on matching bean bag chairs.

10:08-10:10: “Just because I’m from Africa, don’t mean I gotta eat everything, bro.” To be fair. You did just say that monkey was good about six minutes ago.

10:42-10:43: I love this. Siakam clearly needs to go puke, and Ibaka orders him back to the table. Please tell me this rejection was accompanied by Serge’s double thumbs down move.

10:48-10:49: I feel like Norman Powell has a seriously underrated trash-talking game. After VanVleet tries to get away with just biting a tiny bit of brain-less bread: “Don’t try to pull a Deebo, man!”

Then about ten seconds later he hits VanVleet with another classic chirp: “C’mon floor leader, c’mon leader, lead us to the victory.”

11:23-11:54: Delon goes back for seconds, taking a bite of what appears to be a raw piece of brain, and manages to pretty much kill the rest of the table. I don’t think VanVleet could be more horrified if that piece of brain then erupted out of Wright’s stomach.

12:08 - Norm challenges Masai, GM Bobby Webster and Nick Nurse. Is this a passive-aggressive dig about roster construction?

(All kidding aside, it says something about the Raps culture that a fringe rotation guy feels that sort of comfort level with his bosses.)

12:14: Delon tosses out “Big Cat” Jamaal Magloire. Which would be as interesting as the first episode of “How Hungry Are You?” that involves the MaFuzzy Chef eating an elbow.

12:23: C’mon, Pascal! Drake and Meek Mills is ancient. If you were really MyCity cover-worthy you’d know that the beef to settle is Drake-Pusha T.

12:33: VanVleet was clearly rattled by this experience. He challenges Ibaka: “We get to pick a food, any food, and if you don’t eat it, we get Rolexes.” Ibaka swat’s that one away like a weak floater.

12:41: My head is spinning. OG Anunboy gets the last word? And it’s Lil’ Uzi Vert? Not only does OG say it with matter-of-fact confidence, he actually turns to the camera, like Lil’ Uzi is watching.

They grow up so fast...

So, “How Hungry Are You?: Episode 5” teaches us that the Raptors Bench Mob’s chemistry and bro-mances are indeed as charming as we could have hoped. That the guys legitimately like each other, and despite having a wide range of personalities all seem to get along incredibly well...

As long as Pascal Siakam can keep the fame-hungry beast within, of course.