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.
Now it’s being that suggested that the Raptors partied in a way I certainly never did entirely too much this year, as suggested by the Toronto Star (via Ball Don’t Lie).
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.
The Spurs beat the Mavericks by 26 points on Friday night, a game all of the Dallas players would love to forget. But there was a funny moment for rookie big man Salah Mejri: after a dunk, he appeared to yell something at the San Antonio bench. Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan were completely nonplussed.
For what it’s worth, Mejri later tweeted that he wasn’t intending to be disrespectful.
Hassan Whiteside recorded a triple-double last night against the Hornets, and his tenth block was particularly impressive. He didn’t so much block Marvin Williams‘ layup attempt as pluck it out of the air with one hand. It almost looks like it should count as a block, rebound and steal at the same time.
The NBA world has taken notice of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In Thursday night’s home game against the Knicks on TNT, Pistons players wore warmup shirts that read “FLINT NOW,” and the organization announced a $500,000 donation towards providing clean water for residents of the town.
Former Pistons great and general basketball legend Rasheed Wallace went even further, according to a tweet from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina:
Sheed obviously has a connection to Michigan, having played in Detroit for six years (including on the 2004 title team) and serving as an assistant coach for the Pistons during the 2013-14 season. This was an incredible gesture by him for the residents of a town that has been without drinkable water for a long time.
The Kings are a complete mess right now. After a loss to the Nets on Friday night, the team is reportedly considering firing head coach George Karl, who has been with the team for just about one year, and DeMarcus Cousins says they have “a bigger issue than the players.”
But, on the bright side, Cousins is still a monster on the court. During the Nets loss, he posted a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, showing why he’s the one thing about this franchise that is going to be worth talking about long-term.