As the preseason winds down, there are lots of new previews and rankings and goings-on on all your favourite hoops sites. I read as many as I can, but let me know in the comments if you have a can’t-miss favourite!
1. Preview Time
Before the preseason began, I contributed to SB Nation’s NBA mega-preview, writing about expectations for the Toronto Raptors this season; it was just published yesterday. I joked about this on Twitter, but the preseason left me thinking I may have been a bit too pessimistic in my outlook!
Participated in a "season expectations" roundtable for SB Nation earlier today and was, uh, pretty low on the Raps. After tonight... well, I'm gonna need someone to hack in to their systems and delete all evidence of that 'cause now I think this team's winning 55 games— Josh Kern (@joshuakern) October 5, 2021
I have the Raptors winning only 35 games in the preview. Now, after seeing them terrorize teams on defense and in the open court (yeah, I know, it’s preseason) I’m confident they could win 40 — but only if they want to. 40 puts them in play-in territory and I’m not sure that’s where this team wants to be.
I imagine either top six or bottom six is the preferred outcome, and if it looks like the former isn’t possible, they’ll focus on the latter down the stretch — much like last year.
2. Final Cut
Yesterday saw the anticipated release of Freddy Gillespie and Reggie Perry, meaning the Raptors still have to cut one more player to get down to the max of 15 + 2 two-ways. It’s a tough all for me between Sam Dekker, who has the shooting the team needs, and Ish Wainwright, who’s bigger and more athletic.
My money (such as it is) is on Dekker being waived; I know the Raptors need shooting, but Wainwright showed some range in preseason, and his size and length make him a more natural fit.
3. Boss Man
The Cleveland Cavaliers signed Ed Davis yesterday, and anytime something good happens for Ed Davis, I smile.
OFFICIAL: #Cavs sign F @eddavisXVII.— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) October 13, 2021
DETAILS: https://t.co/mL89CU8lQZ pic.twitter.com/Fc79vvsV2z
I’ve long thought it was a shame that Davis didn’t get more of a shot here in Toronto. He started 24 games in 2012-13, averaging 10 points and seven boards, before he was sent out in the trade that brought Rudy Gay back to Toronto. Obviously that all worked out pretty well in the end, but I think Davis would have been a great long-term fit playing with Kyle Lowry!
Alas, Davis has bounced around since then. He’s on the back side of his career now, but glad to see him still sticking in the league.
4. Video gaga
I’m not going to get into all the ignorant bullshit Kyrie Irving was spewing on Instagram Live last night, but I think this pretty accurately sums it up:
Kyrie Irving on Instagram live right now: “I am not going to be used as some tool to further this agenda…”— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) October 14, 2021
This pandemic has already dragged on longer than it should have and it’s 100% because of people speaking and acting like Irving is now.
5. One for the ages
Hope you don’t mind the occasional non-basketball thought, but did you see the goal that Alphonso Davis scored to put Canada up 2-1 over Panama in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying play? This is nuts:
Best. Player. In. CONCACAF.— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) October 14, 2021
I’m not a big soccer guy, but that is absolutely one of the coolest things I have ever seen.
Canada would go on to win 4-1, and a World Cup appearance finally seems to be within their grasp, which is also very cool.