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HQ Mailbag: On the Raptors being both good and bad

This week, we’ve got some musings on the ups and downs of NBA life for the Toronto Raptors because it’s been something of a tough week, and because: eh, why not?

NBA: Preseason-Detroit Pistons at Toronto Raptors Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

This week, we’ll keep it short and sweet. The Raptors fell to the Pelicans on Monday and the Pistons on Wednesday; I’ll let other writers do the talking/writing when it comes to breaking that down seriously. Short version: not great!

Instead, for this week’s HQ Mailbag, we’ll focus on some glass half-full topics like this sample question that I will take very seriously.

Kawhi Leonard is very good. He is very, very good. The Raptors now employ one of the best players in all of professional basketball, who, despite dribbling a basketball off his foot in the final seconds of the Pistons loss, remains very good. I realize I’m using “very” a lot. I’m just trying here to keep that glass half-full — even as I leak into pessimism. I’m sorry.

Anyways, Kawhi is good. He is good to the tune of 24.2 points per game (on 48 percent shooting), 7.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists, along with 1.7 steals. Oh, and also this:

Kawhi is good, but I think I’ve said that already. He is a treasure. Next question.

The Toronto Raptors are inside Andre Drummond’s head — you can see it in his jubilation when they came back from 19 down to beat the Raptors. I’m sorry, I’m leaking again.

Still, ever since there was that JV-for-Andre trade rumour, which Masai Ujiri memorably debunked, my mind remembers that JV has especially straight-up owned Dre through the years. And so have the Raptors, with dunk after dunk after dunk. The tradition started when James Johnson cocked that joint back and banged on him. And then OG just did the same thing, too!

Basically, Raptors > Andre Drummond, which is why the win meant so much to former Toronto head coach Dwane Casey. It’s not necessarily because of how meaningful coming back to Toronto after getting fired was — it’s clearly because he’s seen Drummond get clowned and felt for him.

Watch that video enough times and you’ll get over the past week in Raptors history.

My friend continues to take advantage of the “Any question goes” rule. Am I planning on seeing the Grinch movie? No, no, I am not. Somehow, I’ve heard good things. [Ed. Note: from where???]

But those good things? They’re not great things. If they were great things, I’d be more likely to go. As for the movies I am planning to watch sometime soon, I love the Coens — our manager Reynolds has some thoughts on their new movie — and I’m interested in seeing Widows, too. (Reynolds has less good thoughts on that one.) I also haven’t seen Mid90s, which I will check out on my Jonah Hill principle.

But back to the Grinch for a moment. Who is the NBA’s Grinch? Like so many of my thoughts, I first go to the dictionary. Okay, not so many of my thoughts. A lot of my thoughts.

What we’re looking for here is a mean-spirited and unfriendly NBA player. I can think of a few candidates right away: Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul. Admittedly, I can rule Paul out immediately for his charity initiatives. Rondo, not so much. We’ve seen the spat between the two of them already this year (in more ways than one), and Rondo has a much broader history of being a mean one. There’s also Jimmy Butler, who has been in the news of late for Grinch-related reasons. And, uh, maybe you’ve heard: it’s a big week for Draymond Green.

And Draymond even has the direct link to this particular Grinch movie. In an ESPN advertising campaign, the Grinch “trolled” Draymond, Joel Embiid, and JR Smith. I don’t see Embiid and Smith as Grinches—they’re perhaps the best the NBA has to offer in an other, more fun, respect.

So, I’d settle on Dray right now. If a Grinch can inspire the “I love the way he plays, but sometimes he’s too much” attitude, Butler and Green are certainly cream-of-the-candidate crop.

And I guess I should assign a Raptors’ Grinch, since we’ve seen our handful of them in watching the team play this past week. This week, given how painful it was to watch them play against Toronto, maybe it’s E’Twaun Moore or Ish Smith. On the team itself, given his penchant for being cranky as hell, Kyle Lowry has to be the Raptors’ in-house Grinch — we love him, but he’s a pain too sometimes.

In any case, let’s hope these Raptors killers don’t show their faces too often this season. Here’s to the Raptors taking down their demons and defeating (or embracing, with Lowry) their Grinches. The Raptors are good this year. In a “bad” week, let’s remember that.