I’ve taken to taking Twitter breaks on the weekends, so prepping for this column today I had a bit of a “uh, what’s been going on??” moment. Needing five interesting things to share every day requires constant vigilance, as Mad-Eye Moody might say! On we go:
1. WNBA Finals media brouhaha
So, after another thrilling WNBA Finals game, which the Chicago Sky won and sealed their first WNBA Championship, the Phoenix Mercury declined to do any media after the game.
So, the Phoenix Mercury players declined to do press after that loss. That’s not ideal.— Lindsay Gibbs (@linzsports) October 17, 2021
Naturally, the Twitter hot takes soon followed.
I’m not going to get into it all, but I do think the arguments that “they players are hurting themselves when they don’t do media because media grows the game” are disingenuous.
The game grows the game. The highlights, the winning plays, the skill and determination of the players. No sports fan in existence has ever said, “I didn’t follow the sport until I saw one of the players answer a question from a reporter after a game.”
If the team decided as a group not to participate, and faces the consequences of that, be it fines or whatever, then I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I get that it sucks for the reporters hoping to talk to them, but I don’t think in the long run anyone is really losing anything by not hearing a bunch of heartbroken athletes speak in platitudes.
2. Scout takes
Sports Illustrated did its annual “let’s see what the scouts say” tour around the NBA, and when it came to the Raptors, the anonymous scout basically offered up… a bland, lukewarm Pascal Siakam opinion:
There are real issues with Pascal Siakam. I don’t know what it is, but I think Siakam, just the past 18 months, has just been trending downward.
So basically the exact analysis everyone on Twitter has been offering. How insightful!
At least said scout didn’t call Siakam (or anyone else on the Raptors) an asshole, the way he did Cleveland’s Colin Sexton.
3. Roster shakeout
So the Raptors are officially down to 15 players on the roster (plus their two two-way players) after waiving Ish Wainwright.
I thought it would go the other way — I thought coach Nurse would really like Wainwright’s size and athleticism — but I can certainly see the appeal of Sam Dekker’s ability to stretch the floor.
It’s probably also a good time to remind ourselves that although these decisions seem big in the moment — and they’re certainly HUGE for the guys themselves — ultimately the impact on the team isn’t particularly large. Unless things go drastically wrong with players 1 through 11 on the roster, guys like Dekker and Bonga and Dalano Banton likely won’t play much — so debating them endlessly on Twitter probably isn’t worth investing too much time into!
4. Cover story
As you may or may not know, Sportsnet’s Alex Wong was once a big part of Raptors HQ — he and recently retired Editor in Chief Daniel Reynolds co-ran the site back in the day. Alex has gone on to do all kinds of cool stuff since those halcyon days, including writing a book about iconic basketball magazine covers, called Cover Story — and it comes out this week. I can’t wait to read it — Alex is a great writer and as on old dude who needed SI and Slam to get his basketball fix back in the pre- and early-internet days, I think it’s gonna be a blast.
You can find Cover Story wherever you buy your books, starting tomorrow!
5. 45 4 Lyfe
The Toronto Star published a great profile of Dalano Banton by Libaan Osman over the weekend. It traces Banton’s roots (and routes — shoutout to the 45 Kipling) to Rexdale and his journey to becoming the first Canadian player drafted by the Toronto Raptors. If you want a feel-good story to start your Monday off right, you really can’t go wrong with this one.