Road to the Six, via the 905

You wanna get niche? LET’S GET NICHE!!!

To my loyal dozen of readers – I’m sure you were thrilled when I resurrected the ol’ blog after two full seasons of DNP-rest. We’ll see how often I feel like chiming in on the Raptors Road to the 2nd Round Exit, but full disclosure, I brought the blog back because I’m going to be covering the Road to the Six. If you aren’t familiar with the reference, it’s the Raptors 905 slogan.

The big club’s G-League (formerly D-League) affiliate is starved for attention. Did you know they won the championship last season? Did you know Bruno Caboclo won Finals MVP?

Pro athletes trying to make the top leagues of their respective sports invariably have interesting backgrounds. Rather than just report on the results of the games, I’d like to tell the players’ stories.

One minor snag – I don’t have a press pass. So, the goal is to attend as many games as I can, write a bunch, film myself doing postgame reports, and show my work to the relevant parties. Hopefully my stuff measures up, and they grant me a pass, allowing me to access the players. In the meantime I’ll be putting on my scouting hat, trying to identify the next Delon Wright.

I hope that actually attending these games will allow me to offer a deeper insight into these prospects. I’ll try to answer some questions that the Facebook Live-stream can’t reveal:

-how does Player X move without the ball?
-does Player X cut with purpose, or does it seem like he’s going through the motions?
-does Player X fight through screens, or does he often default to switching?
-is Player X attentive in the huddle, or does he seem disinterested?
-are Player X’s teammates inspired by his leadership, or could they not care less?

All subjective, sure, but it all sounds like a lot of fun to me, and I hope you’ll enjoy my attempts at deeper looks into these NBA dreamers. Once I get that press pass, the human interest element will enter in, providing a more unique, and colourful picture of the players.

That’s my vision for how this is going to go, but I really don’t know where this will take me. I just want to cover pro basketball, and this is my plan.

The home opener is this Wednesday. I’ll be zeroing on the Raptors’ top prospect – Lorenzo Brown.

As is typical of a G-Leaguer Brown has bounced around a lot since being a 2nd round pick in 2013. The 6’5 guard has 63 games of NBA experience, with short stints in Philly, Minnesota and Pheonix, and spending time in Italy and Russia in between. On paper the guy seems like a stud – 2-time G-League All Star, 23.6 PPG, 7.7 RPG and 4.0 APG in 11 games last season.

The early eye-test, ie the season-opener on Saturday in Grand Rapids, ie the only Lorenzo Brown game I’ve ever watched, is also enticing. He’s a dynamic scorer – able to finish in transition, in traffic, and shoot the three off the dribble. He’s also got a bit of a throw-back post game, a la Gary Payton, where he uses his 6’5 frame to back down smaller point guards.

On Wednesday we’ll see how he looks in person.