Doesn’t it feel like the NBA Draft was just a week ago, yet we’re already talking about training camp?
The shortest off-season continues at break-neck speed with teams finalizing their respective rosters and bringing in extra bodies for training camp battles. The Toronto Raptors are no different, with Friday’s invites/signings of Alize Johnson, Henry Ellenson, Yuta Watanabe, and Oshae Brissett.
Before projecting what the Raptors’ final roster will look like, we spent the majority of the latest podcast reminiscing on the past — from the Rogers Centre to Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol’s time in Toronto. Enjoy the latest episode of That’s A Rap!
In This Episode:
1:40 — Rogers Centre memories
With discussions brewing around the possible demolition of the Rogers Centre, it reminded us of better times under the Dome. What is your Mount Rushmore of Rogers Centre/Skydome memories? Which, if any, would you replace from Joe Carter’s homerun, Wrestlemania, the Raptors defeating Michael Jordan’s Bulls, and Jose Bautista’s homerun?
10:30 — Slandering Jon
The Milwaukee Bucks are deservedly the favourites to top the East for a third consecutive regular season and lay claim as the team to beat (non-Lakers edition). Yet, with each day that passes without Giannis Antetokounmpo signing his max extension, doubts are surely creeping into the minds of Bucks fans. GM Jon Horst had been tasked with surrounding Giannis with his best team yet. Instead, he fumbled transactions for Jrue Holiday, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Pat Connaughton, and DJ Augustin. Imagine having a front office you could trust, Giannis!
20:00 — The Morey Effect
The damage Elton Brand inflicted on the Sixers — essentially killing The Process — could have been the beginning of the end for Ben Simmons and/or Joel Embiid in Philadelphia. Instead, Daryl Morey swooped in and made shrewd moves, one after another. The Sixers roster has not fully recovered from the losses of Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick, but this off-season was a step in the right direction.
25:10 — Pistons firing on zero cylinders
Speaking of Brand, if he expressed any interest in coming out of retirement, there’s a very good chance the Pistons would have signed him. Troy Weaver’s off-season plan was apparently, “sign anyone over 6’9.” When thinking about off-season losers, does the title go to Detroit? Milwaukee? Or some other team?
27:10 — 2020 and 2021 off-season winners?
The Lakers have been universally lauded as the off-season winners, and head into the season as favourites to repeat. However, with an obvious bias, shouldn’t the Raptors be considered? For the second consecutive year, Toronto had the #1 free agency target. By re-signing Fred VanVleet, Toronto has a core (FVV, Pascal Siakam, and OG Anunoby) that could win multiple championships with the addition of a superstar (hello 2021 cap space!).
39:30 — BIG talk
From Baynes to Ibaka to Gasol, the Raptors’ past, present, and future in the centre position has proven to be (or will prove to be) quite fruitful. Baynes brings a combination of Gasol’s screen setting and Ibaka’s shot-making, and more importantly, a solid rotation piece who fits nicely in Toronto’s cohesive starting lineup. Ibaka and Gasol join Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard as key championship players who left the 6ix for Tinseltown. The memories they left behind will never be forgotten.