A whole weekend without a post. Let’s see what transpired:

There’s the World Cup too, it’s been a bit goal-starved so far but watching Germany eradicate Australia was fun. The howler by the English goalie was awesome too, although it doesn’t top Paul Robinson. The NBA finals provided more grief as the C**tics team play is trumping the Lakers who are relying on Kobe Bryant to bail them out on every possession, and are suffering from terrible play by Lamar Odom and Ron Artest, both looking very gun-shy at the NBA’s biggest stage. Watching possible future Raptor Andrew Bynum has been a bit worrying, he’s had injury problems in the past but at 22, he’s looking like an aging Rik Smits. If I’m a Lakers fan, I’m incensed at Mitch Kupchak for not adding insurance at the PF/C, they’ve got Gasol and Bynum and that’s it. Odom’s game is too perimeter oriented for him to be considered a legitimate frontcourt player against the C**tics, whose bigs are having far too much a say against a Lakers frontline which has been touted as being dominant all season long. The Lakers have no answer for Rondo’s sheer effort and commitment to the drive, and Farmar and Fisher are proving to be inadequate.

The Finals have provided entertainment, but I find parts of the NBA game very hard to watch. The most annoying and exasperating thing for me has to be the cheap offensive fouls they’re calling. The defender is literally moving everytime and impeding the offensive player’s progress and the official are buying it. This is encouraging more players to flop and the officials are buying the flops too, the result is that, what used be non-calls are now “great defensive plays”. If you’re a fan of defense and effort, its been a good finals to watch, but I bemoan how David Stern has polluted the NBA using the officials as the conduits. The NBA is bang-on about the late replays, but if a possession and a point is worth the same in the first and fourth quarters, why not use replays at both times?

The draft is on the horizon and Draft Express has finally caught on to what Steve said ages ago about the Raptors picking Avery Bradley. Without having seen much of the player, my opinion means little, but if the man brings speed and explosiveness to the point of attack, then it’s a good move even though the big man position is of concern right now. The Raptors basically need a player who has TJ Ford’s speed and explosiveness without the rest of TJ Ford’s game. The change of speed him and Calderon provided during their lone successful year was what made the Raptors tick as a team; unfortunately, the GM didn’t see that and felt that just by promoting Calderon he could extrapolate what Calderon did as a bench player to starter minutes, with that in mind he left the backup PG duties in the hands of Will Solomon and that was the beginning of the end.

Jarrett Jack’s a serviceable player and the most reasonable contract on the Raptors but if we do draft Bradley, where does it leave him? What we don’t want to do is draft a guard who needs the ball in his hands to be successful, and then not give him the ball. Bringing Bradley off the bench to backup Jack is an option, and that would give him 15-25 minutes a game which is pretty good for a rookie, but if we’re grooming a guard, is it better to have him baptized by fire than “bring him along” slowly? Some comparisons, Rajon Rondo started only 25 of 77 games for Boston his rookie year and averaged 23 minutes, since then he’s only missed 5 games and has started in every game played. Monta Ellis didn’t make the starting job his until his third year and only averaged 18 minutes his rookie season. On the other hand, Brandon Jennings started all 82 games and played close to 33 minutes. Stephen Curry started 77 games and played 36 minutes.

Naturally, the higher the pick the better the chances that you’ll be starting, but take Jrue Holiday (17th pick) as an example, he started 51 games for the 76ers, most of them after they realized that the season wasn’t going anywhere. The extra playing time helped his development tremendously to the point where people started comparing his defense and aggressiveness to Rondo late in the season; where would his development be if he had been given the reigns starting in training camp? Looking at examples of Eric Maynor, Aaron Brooks, Rodney Stuckey and a host of other guards, the trend is definitely to be conservative and ease in PGs, but all those players usually end up on good teams on account of the picks being late. The Raptors are not a good team and don’t have a PG that has laid claim to the spot, so if Bradley is drafted, I see little reason why we shouldn’t accelerate his development, much like we did with DeRozan.

Go Ghana.