There are a lot of people freaking out about the trade between the Toronto Raptors, Memphis Grizzlies and Detroit Pistons that’s gone through today. In the deal, as first reported by ESPN’s Marc Stein, Toronto acquires Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi (whom many are reporting on Twitter will be waived due to the issues with getting him a Canadian work visa), Detroit gets Jose Calderon, and Memphis gets Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis, Austin Daye and a second round draft pick.
Pretty much everyone that follows basketball for a living says the Grizzlies and Pistons got the best deal. Rudy Gay is barely shooting 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from beyond the arc this season, and his poor shooting augmented the case against him in the eyes of Memphis’ new ownership. But despite his inefficiencies scoring the basketball this season, this much is certain: Rudy Gay is a superior dunker to Jose Calderon.
Yes, that was a very strange statistical game for the lads, wasn’t it?
The two main point guards wind up with 23 assists, two turnovers and zero points in a combined 45 minutes, as odd a stat as I can remember. But it speaks to what’s really turned things around offensively for this group. Sharing the ball does seem to work, the 34 assists they had as a team was a new season high, the previous was 33, set last Saturday in Orlando.
I don’t know what’s gotten into them – maybe it’s as simple as everyone’s just having fun playing – but it’s something to see.
I’ve written about Calderon and Lowry elsewhere, but maybe they need each other to be successful? Maybe neither one of them is an everyday, starting point guard at the level necessary to win in the NBA? Maybe they compliment each other perfectly, so they should be left in place, even as it seems like too much of the same thing? Maybe Andrea Bargnani should stay off the court? Maybe DeMar DeRozen is legit? Who knows? But I’ll tell you one thing I do know: the Raptors aren’t as bad as the season’s first month may have suggested.
On a pretty tight deadline for some work today, but I came across this animated video from the Grantland YouTube channel, that I wanted to share. In the video Jalen Rose explains an altercation between Vince Carter and Sam Mitchell. At the time, Vince was still in Toronto getting booed by the fans because he wanted out. Before a game, Sam—then the Raptors head coach—made a comment to Vince in the trainer’s room about how he’s always receiving treatment.
One thing led to another, and before long they were entangled in a bit of a fight. Vince, somehow—since he’s not known as a fighter, got Mitchell above his shoulders in a WWF move, before bodyslamming him to the ground. It’s a funny story until you realize this was the team’s star and coach going at it in the trainer’s room before a game. As Jalen notes at the end, Vince and Sam’s relationship was never the same. Unfortunately, neither were the Raptors.