Posts Tagged ‘Ubuntu’

Talking the talk, already … in Raptorville

September 29, 2008

The 2008-2009 NBA season officially opens today for the Toronto Raptors.

Together, Chris Bosh [PF/C, current All-Star], Jose Calderon [PG, current ‘almost’ All-Star] and, new arrival, Jermaine O’Neal [PF/C, former All-Star] form the core of a team with significant ambition this season … which includes a stable starting 5-man group BUT a plethora of question marks elsewhere on the roster. 


O’Neal likes Raptors chances of ‘doing great things’ this year
The difference between the Raptors and the other contenders and pretenders is the level of excitement that goes with today’s official opening of the 2008-09 season.

They are talking great, not good, expecting success unrivalled in the franchise’s 14-year-history, the optimism based on the arrival of a new big man and the natural maturation process of a roster now dotted with experience rather than question marks.

“Me, Chris Bosh and Jose (Calderon) sat down after the scrimmage (last week) and it was like, ‘Man, we have a real shot here,’ ” newcomer Jermaine O’Neal said. “We’ve got a real shot.

“Obviously, we have the talent on paper and if we mentally believe that and bring that swagger every day, that we’re the best team on the floor every time we step on the floor, we’ve got a shot at doing some great things this year.”

O’Neal is certainly to be at the centre of any resurgence of the Raptors, who’ve bowed out of the first round of the playoffs in each of the last two seasons.

Turning 30 during training camp, he’s been impressive in informal workouts and scrimmages over the last week, according to teammates and coaches. He brings experience – albeit having missed most of two seasons with knee woes – and a steadying force under the basket.

“Watching the guys work out, it’s just amazing how much more confidence they have, having Jermaine O’Neal back there,” said coach Sam Mitchell. “I’m telling you man, just watching them work out, he was blocking shots and talking.

“The thing I love about him, not one time has he talked about ‘Give me the ball.’ All he’s talked about is playing defence and rebounding.”


Rebounding & Defense are crucial elements for a legitimate contender in the NBA but so, too, is QUALITY DEPTH throughout a team’s roster. 

Putting Anthony Parker [OG, 4th year] and Jamario Moon [SF, 2nd year] into the starting line-up, leaves a supporting cast of:

Key Bench Subs
Andrea Bargnani … C, 2006 NBA Draft No. 1 [overall] Selection, Yr/3
Jason Kapono … G/F, 2003 NBA Draft No. 31 [overall] Selection, Yr/6 
Kris Humphries … PF, 2004 NBA Draft No. 14 [overall] Selection, Yr/5
Roko Ukic … PG/OG, 2005 NBA Draft No. 41 [overall] Selection, Yr/1

Will Solomon … PG, Undrafted 2002 Free Agent, Yr/1
Hassan Adams … OG/SF, 2006 NBA Draft No. 54 Selection, Yr/2
Joey Graham … SF/PF, 2005 NBA Draft No. 16 [overall] Selection, Yr/4
Nathan Jawai … PF/C, 2008 NBA Draft No. 41 [overall] Selection, Yr/1


In the view of this corner, whoever sees this group of 8 secondary players for the Raptors as somehow being ‘good enough’ to get the ‘job done right’ in the Eastern Conference this year, Regular Season and Playoffs … is simply NOT being realistic, considering the potency of other teams in this half of the League right now, many of which subtantially upgraded their ‘quality depth’ this off-season.

2007-2008 Finish; TEAM; 2008-2009 Adds; [Number of Quality Depth Adds]

1 BOSTON – Giddens, Walker, Erden **, O’Bryant & Miles [3]
2 DETROIT – Michael Curry [new coach], Sharpe, Brown-KBynum-W [3]
3 ORLANDO – Battie [returns healthy], Lee, Pietrus, Johnson-A, Jones-Dw, Wilks & Richardson [4]
4 CLEVELAND – Hickson, Jackson-D **, Williams-M, Kinsey & Wright-L [3]
5 WASHINGTON – Thomas-E [returns healthy], McGee, Brown-DDixon-J [4]
6 TORONTO – O’Neal, Ukic, Solomon, Adams & Jawai [1]
7 PHILADELPHIA – Speights, Brand, Ivey, Ratliff, Marshall, Rush-K & Hill-H [5]
8 ATLANTA – Hunter, Claxton [returns healthy], Evans-M, Murray-R & Morris-R [4]

9 INDIANA – Rush-B, Hibbert, Ford, Nesterovic, Jack, McRoberts, Baston & Croshere [6]
10 NEW JERSEY – Lopez-B, Najera, Dooling, Simmons, Jianlian, Hayes, Anderson-R, CDRHodge [9]
11 CHICAGO – Vinnie Del Negro [new coach] & Rose [2]
12 CHARLOTTE – Larry Brown [new coach], Morrison [returns healthy], May [returns healthy], Augustin, Ajinca & Brown-S [5]
13 MILWAUKEE – Scott Skiles [new coach], Alexander, Mbah a Moute, Jefferson, Ridnour, Griffin, Jones-Da, Lue, Allen-M & Elson [5]
14 NEW YORK – Mike D’Antoni [new coach], Gallinari, Duhon, Houston, Ewing-P/Jr & Roberson [4]
15 MIAMI – Eric Spoelstra [new coach], Wade [returns healthy], Beasley, Chalmers, Diawara, Jones-J & Magloire [5]

** unsigned 2008 Draft Pick


Instead of talking ‘Loud & Proud‘ at this point in the PRE-SEASON … on the first day of training camp, no less … it might behoove this version of the RapShow to simply try and ‘Walk the Walk’ properly, at first … for one of the few times in the history of this franchise … AND LEAVE THE TALKING OUT OF IT COMPLETELY, considering the fact that this team has advanced to the 2nd Round of the Playoffs only ONE TIME in its 13 year history.


Although it isn’t quite the same as Ubuntu, the 2008-2009 Raptors would do well to embrace the following sentiment first popularized by acclaimed RoughRider, Theodore Roosevelt, over 100 years ago:

“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”A West African proverb

There is still a long and arduous journey ahead for this team.

NBA Finals – Game 4 Recap: Do you believe?

June 13, 2008

Game 4 Info – LAL 91, Bos 97

At the start of last night’s 4th quarter, ABC’s broadcast showed what Doc Rivers had said to his team at earlier points during the game:

Doc #1 (standing, to team in huddle): We got to compete if we want to win … we can’t pout and mope … we got to compete … alright, let’s go!

Doc #2 (sitting, to team while looking at Eddie House): Do you believe? Alright, let’s go.

Doc #3 (standing, to Kevin Garnett, as he subbed out): Never stop believing, baby.


As the 2nd half developed and the Celtics gradually clawed their way back into the game, after being down by 21 points at the end of the 1st quarter (an historic deficit for a NBA Finals game) and 24 points during the 2nd frame … you just knew that you were witnessing an all-time classic which was destined to be talked about forever and a day by those who follow the NBA.

From the perspective of this corner … and, given what’s been written here since the Celtics/Lakers match-up was determined … there is only one word that NEEDS to be said, with Boston now leading 3-1.


How the Warrior finally gets his ring

June 5, 2008

It has been a long time coming but … 12 years after being drafted No. 5 (Overall), in 1995, by the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Spirit of the Times dictates that this is the season this young man lays claim at last to what he’s been about his entire adult life …

Garnett after the battle. … winning an NBA championship.

Garnett sets the tone for Boston’s winning ways

After coming this far … from:

(1) Finishing 5th in the 2007 NBA Draft Lottery … and missing out on both Greg Oden & Kevin Durant
(2) Having the worst W-L record in the League last season (2006-2007)
(3) Experiencing the painful loss of their ‘eternal architect’, Arnold Jacob ‘Red’ Auerbach (Oct 28, 2006)
(3) Finishing 3rd in the 1997 NBA Draft Lottery … and missing out on Tim Duncan
(4) Experiencing the tragic death of Reggie Lewis (Captain, 1993)
(5) Experiencing the traumatic death of Len Bias (No. 2 Overall Selection, 1986)

there is no way that the Boston Celtics, with men like ‘The Big Ticket’, ‘The Truth’‘Jesus Shuttlesworth’, & Co., are going to be denied this season … not after amassing 66 Wins in the Regular Season, going to 7 games against the Atlanta Hawks (a young athletic team), going to 7 games against the Cleveland Cavaliers (led by the 2nd best player in the world), going to 6 games against the Detroit Pistons (a veteran team with the 2nd best W-L record in the entire League this season) … and, then, now reaching the NBA Finals against their franchise’s arch-nemesis, the Los Angeles Lakers.

This corner’s R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for Phil Jackson, The Triangle, Kobe & Co. is immeasurable … but 

these Boston Celtics:

* Have 3 proven scorers
* Have quality depth at each of the 5 positions
* Are an outstanding Defensive team
* Are an outstanding Rebounding team
* Are an Unselfish Offensive team
* Have the extra Home court game

and have been possessed with the spirit of Ubuntu! … since their training camp began their season.

There is no more powerful force in this world than …

an idea that’s time has finally come.

Bloodied, battered and bowed

but never, ever broken

as this is THE season of Celtic Pride restored.

Arnold would have been oh, so proud … of the ‘Men in Green.’

NBA Playoffs – Finals Preview

June 3, 2008





By the Numbers

QIR – #1 (6)
Points Differential Rank – #1
Points Allowed Rank – #2
Rebounding Differential Rank – #3

QIR – #10 (30)
Points Differential Rank – #3
Points Allowed Rank – #19
Rebounding Differential Rank – #8

Basketball Acumen

Home court advantage. Should be betting favourite. Team D is THE story, fuelled by KG. Must turn Kobe into volume shooter; clamp down elsewhere. Key Match-up: Thom Thibodeau vs The Triangle. Will win the series with a Positive (+) Rebounding Differential.

Betting favourite. Quickness and size at all positions. Top notch offensive execution. Rebounding & interior D questionable without Bynum. Must get points from multiple sources, not just the MVP. Key Match-up: Team Rebounding Differential. Lakers’ year is 2008-2009.

Who will win

“No Rebounds, No Rings.” – Pat RileyUbuntu: I am what I am because of who we all are Celtics in 7.