NBA players often enjoy throwing one back with the boys. Or a bunch back with the boys. In the VIP area of a club where you’d never get past the velvet rope.
And it’s hard to imagine anyone in his or her early 20s overdoing the partying to the point they showed up hungover to work the next day. Nope. I certainly never showed up to work still buzzing from the night before and confused about what happened during part of said night. Nope, not me. Never.
But here’s a trickier question: did this team miss the playoffs because it partied too heartily? It’s impossible to say for sure, and Bryan Colangelo, the Raptors president and general manager, has declined to comment on the off-court habits of his players. But there are people close to the club who believe those habits ultimately hurt the win-loss record.
Perhaps it’s a symptom of the TMZ age, but as one team employee who was granted anonymity opined: “This year, (the partying) was a little too much.”
Toronto is a true international city, a place where the nightlife comes in all sorts of flavors and truly goes on into the hours where few good things happen. NBA players genuinely like the city and trips there. For players on the Raptors, it takes a certain level of professionalism not to get sucked into that.
But if this is true — and that is a mighty big if, mighty big — this is more about the players than the place. Frankly, if you want to find trouble in Salt Lake City you can find it. Well, maybe a bad example. If you want to find trouble in Sacramento you can find it. Or Oklahoma City. If you’re undisciplined, the trouble will find you, no need to be in Miami or New York.
If — again big if — this is true, some roster changes may be needed. Because this is about the players, not the city.