Remember last night when Kawhi Leonard went barrelling into the stanchion, courtesy of Joel Embiid, with the speed of Fred VanVleet running away from Serge Ibaka’s cooking, and all of Toronto held their collective breath? That was slightly terrifying, but because we here Raptors HQ never overreact to anything, it got us thinking about some real sinister stuff.
For Halloween, here’s a special spooky edition of the Culture Watch.
The Scariest Toronto Raptors Outcome
A franchise that has lived in a constant state of dread is no stranger to the possibility of horrifying situations. The current roster fits together like peanut butter and chocolate in a Reese’s cup, so the thought of any player getting injured is enough to make you check under the bed for any ACL tearing monsters.
The possibility of Kawhi Leonard leaving after one season is another one that has Raptors fans waking up with night terrors, but what would happen if Kyle Lowry suddenly demanded a trade? The scariest haunted house of all is one that is vacant of our beloved point guard.
With LeBron leaving the East, it appears that the ghost of playoffs past has finally left Toronto alone. But what if, by some freaky new rule implemented by the Jigsaw Killer of the NBA, Adam Silver, LeBron ended up back in the East? For now, this seems completely unlikely, but where is Daniel Hackett because he’s going to need to check our closets for this one.
Remember when Cleveland assembled the most randomly put together roster last year, only to completely dissolve it at the trade deadline and come back and kick Toronto’s collective ass? Don’t pull back the shower curtain now, but there is a possibility that the same could happen with the Lakers this year. Getting to the NBA Finals is a very attainable goal for the Toronto Raptors this year, but the thought of clawing their way to safety, only to see that LeBron has composed a team that defeated the Golden State Warriors and is waiting for the Raptors is enough to keep you awake until June.
The Raptors as Horror Movie Survivors
Clearly in a battle of last man standing, in a delirious quest of survival in the horror movie milieu, the Raptors’ Masai Ujiri would be the man to beat. You would forget about him completely as he disappears at the beginning of the movie, only to pop up out of the shadows and bludgeon the killer to death before stealing his or her weapon. That’s right, Ujiri is too smart for the natural — and the horrifically supernatural.
Who on the Raptors Would Be First To Go?
This is a little more difficult to answer. Kyle Lowry is no stranger to sacrificing his body for his team, which could lead to him being the first victim. However, he is smart, and he is quick, and if I’ve learned anything from horror movies, it’s that they usually keep the character that viewers are most attached to around until the third last scene.
Enter Jonas Valanciunas. Where Kyle’s speed and size may help him outrun a killer, Jonas’ will be the reason that he is the first to go. A 7-foot tall man weighing in at around 265 lbs would not only be the easiest to spot, but also to catch. Sorry Jonas. You’ll somehow make your way back in the sequel.
The Call is Coming From Inside the House
Okay this isn’t a psychoanalysis of which Raptor would make the best deranged lunatic, but rather a look into who would haunt the dreams of their victims like Freddy Krueger. The answer is obviously Kawhi Leonard, especially if you’re Ben Simmons. Not only is he a silent assassin who you would never see or hear coming, but he has hands the size of those giant Mr. Big bars from the early 2000’s (does anyone else remember those?) and could just pick you up from like a football field away if you tried to run.
The Eastern Conference.... as Candy
Reese Cups are the best and so are the Raptors.
The Indiana Pacers are Oh Henry, because you don’t think about how great they are until they’re already in your face.
The Miami Heat are Hot Tamales; not that great but also not terrible, and a little spicy.
The Philadelphia 76ers are Mars bars. They’re overrated and get stuck in your teeth for too long.
The Chicago Bulls are Smarties, because when you were a small child they were so good, and now they’re just awful.
The Boston Celtics are Hershey’s Cookies & Creme because they are basically white with a few chocolate spots mixed in as if to say “See! We’re diverse!” Actually, Boston is probably the house that gives out bottled water or a toothbrush for Halloween.
The Milwaukee Bucks are Crispy Crunch. You don’t eat it, it eats you.
The Detroit Pistons are Aero bars. You can change the shape all you want, but it’s still the same product; good, but not memorable.
The Orlando Magic are Crunch bars. They’re pretty basic and often forgotten, but those sweet rise crisps are heaven, and so is Terrence Ross.
The Atlanta Hawks are Crunchie bars. A little bit painful, but still enjoyable if you have time to sit down and eat(/watch) them.
The Charlotte Hornets are Tootsie Rolls. Mostly terrible, except sometime you get that delicious lime one and think “hey these aren’t too bad, actually.” The lime ones are Kemba Walker.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are Butterfingers. Remember when Tristan Thompson said the East runs through Cleveland? Cleveland is a fake threat just like Butterfingers are fake peanut butter.
The Washington Wizards are Sour Keys. They make you pucker up and cringe. They are downright terrible, and yet, you can’t stop.
The Brooklyn Nets are bubble gum. Exciting for about a minute, and then boring and flavourless.
The New York Knicks are candy corn. Despite being terrible, there is still somehow a market for them.
The Scariest Raptor of All-Time Is...?
This was addressed earlier today in the HQ Roundtable, and it’s the question of the day that probably sparks the most debate.
For a little while there, Toronto had famed Kobe puncher, Chris Childs. For a longer while, Toronto had famed everyone puncher, Charles Oakley. The Raptors have also hosted James Johnson, basketball player, undefeated MMA fighter, black belt, and all around terrifying dude. And don’t forget Serge Ibaka, a man who should not fight for fear of messing up his beautiful face, and yet has managed to fight not only opponents, but staff from his own team. It shouldn’t be surprising that Ibaka has a hot head and no fear; the man eats lamb brains and fish eyes without a second thought. But still, Ibaka is not our most terrifying Raptor.
DeMar DeRozan is perhaps the most loved, and also most terrifying Toronto Raptor to ever play the game. This is a man who grew up settling trash talk by creating a human fighting circle, and fighting until there was one man standing...
...in high school. In Compton, California.
This is a man who can shove T.J. McConnell and not even flinch when he gets in his face.
A man who is going to end up murdering Lance Stephenson sooner rather than later.
When asked about “real vs. fake” tough guys in the NBA, it wasn’t Draymond “Nut Punch/Face Kick” Green that had Compton rapper Vince Staples shaking. It was DeMar DeRozan. Staples doesn’t say any more about it, but he firmly believes DeMar DeRozan deserves respect, and that he wouldn’t want to be the one who finally catches DeMar’s hands. And I believe everything Vince Staples says — and refuses to say.