One more sleep, Toronto Raptors fans! Not only that, we have real (non-Raptor) games tonight! Let’s bounce around and see what’s up as the season begins:
1. Mr. “I Am Toronto” speaks
We’ve heard DeMar DeRozan tell the story of the night he was traded before, but there’s something a little more raw in the way he talks about it here with Draymond Green, on Green’s Bleacher Report show “Chips.” I highly recommend watching the whole thing (20 minutes):
What’s also cool is just how DeMar talks about wanting to transform the perception of Toronto around the league, to take the Raptors from a joke of a franchise to a team that had to be respected. And he, and Kyle Lowry and Dwane Casey and Masai Ujiri, did exactly that.
2. Always read Zach
You should always read whatever Zach Lowe writes because he’s just about the smartest hoops writer on Earth. But you should never, ever miss Zach Lowe writing about OG Anunoby!
Even after averaging 16 points and sniffing 40% from deep for the second straight season, he still has one leap in him — maybe more.
“I can be an All-Star,” Anunoby says. “I know I can.”
Cue the excited Shaq gif!
3. Canada, represent
This list gets bigger and bigger eery year it seems, and I for one hope it never stops growing:
22 Canadians have made it on to NBA season-opening rosters that were finalized Monday (including players on two-way contracts). That is an all-time high, beating the previous high of 20 that was set in 2019-20 and 2020-21.#NBA75 pic.twitter.com/Zr5iBuVD6D— Brian Swane (@BrianSwane) October 18, 2021
Three Canadian Raptors on opening day! Incredible.
4. DeAndre Ayton, Suns disagree
On the one hand, it’s pretty unusual that a third-year player who just averaged a 16-10 double-double and helped his team make the NBA Finals wouldn’t get a max contract offer from this team.
On the other hand, this is Robert Sarver’s Phoenix Suns!
I gotta figure Ayton is getting max money, right? At some point? From someone else? I think the Suns are pretty foolish for not making the offer. What’ll probably happen is some other team will sign Ayton to a near-max contract offer in restricted free agency, Sarver will match (and fist pump thinking he saved some cash), and Ayton will be miserable and demand a trade.
Is it really worth souring the relationship over a few million bucks — money that Sarver probably has lying around in between his couch cushions?
5. Picture day
Pictures are worth 1,000 words, so I’ll just shut up and leave this thread here for you to ogle: