Tag: Confederacy of Dunks

Episode 9.218: Season 09 Premiere w/ Ennis Esmer & Jay Rosales

It’s time for season nine of Confederacy of Dunks! We’ve got new segment alerts, medium market darlings, ranking the final Raps roster, opening night changes and extension slander!

Raptors: Toronto sits 10th on the list of most valuable NBA teams, making us a medium market (not small!). Does that change the perception of the team? The final roster is complete. We rank the players who made the cut from 1-15!

NBA: We recorded on opening day. We discuss changes we’d make to the opening night festivities and don’t worry, Antarctica might be included. Lots of extensions in the league, but DeAndre Ayton did not get one of them. Was that a mistake for Phoenix?

Quickish Questions?!!?, introduce our new League Pass Report segment that we’ll be doing this season and lots of tomfoolery with our guests Ennis Esmer and Jay Rosales!

Episode 216: Off-Season Funhouse Edition: Patrick Ronan Stewart & Yaw Attuah

Media Day, contenders and sleepers, oh my!

RAPTORS: Media Day always signals the true beginning of a new season and it was a wild one around the league. What was the most interesting thing to happen or be talked about? If you had access to media day, what kind of ridiculous questions my you throw at Masai and team?

NBA: What teams are contenders this year? It seems like a few sure bets are falling off a bit. What players are people sleeping on right now?

Quickish Questions and more, with Patrick Ronan Stewart & Yaw Attuah!

Episode 215: Off-Season Funhouse Edition: Matt Henry & Ryan Henry

Getting close to training camp and we’re feeling hyped, lots of new faces to talk about, and MVP lists and potential basketball doc treatment!

RAPTORS: There are a lot of new faces coming to training camp. Who is the most intriguing out of this new bunch of players? What’s getting you hyped for the new season coming up?

NBA: After watching Untold’s Malice at the Palace doc, what other basketball team needs their story retold? We look at the top ten MVP list from last year and discuss who should be added to it and who should be kicked off!

Quickish Questions and more, with not one but two Henrys: Matt Henry and Ryan Henry!

Episode 214: Off-Season Funhouse Edition: Alexey Ots & Cathryn Naiker

Masai saying it’s gonna be a rough season, Kyle wanted to finish the year, and the Elam Ending might weasel it’s way into the league long term!

RAPTORS: What is the best Goran Dragic outcome for Raptors fans? Lowry said that he declined a trade at the deadline and chose to stay with the Raptors, even if it was just to watch. Is that surprising?

NBA: The Elam Ending is kind of cool, maybe will become a greater part of the league in some way. We come up with other changes to the playing format that might be fun! Which NBA team looks like they’re the worst heading into the new season? Quickish Questions and more!

With guests Alexey Ots and Cathryn Naiker!

Episode 213: Off-Season Funhouse Edition: Your Boy Brian & Georgea Brooks

Talking new vibes, tats, big 3’s and what to do with Ben Simmons!

RAPTORS: New era for the team. Rosters aren’t finalized yet, but Raptors are looking like one of the most international teams in the NBA. Is this Masai’s plan or happy coincidence? Team is bringing in Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk to training camp as they are clearly looking for some shooting help. How big of an issue is shooting going to be for this team? Danny Green just got an awesome Raptors tattoo. Which Raptor needs a new tattoo and what would it be?

NBA: Between Nets and Lakers, who has the better big 3? What’s going to happen with Ben Simmons? Quickish Questions? Of course.

With Your Boy Brian and Georgea Brooks.

Episode 212: Off-Season Funhouse Edition: Sheldon Alexander & Antony Hall

We’re back from our week off, Summer League is over and we’re starting to worm our way towards the start of the season.

RAPTORS: Summer League thoughts. How are we feeling about the debut of Scottie Barnes? Did anyone else stand out? There’s a lot of chatter about how this year is gonna be OG’s big breakout. Are there any other players that might be a better breakout candidate? It has been set for the Raptors to return to Scotiabank Arena this season! We give our own ideas on what the opening-day festivities should look like!

NBA: Who is the best point guard in the league? Which team is going to have the worst change in their regular season record, good or bad?

Quickish Questions and more, with Sheldon Alexander and Antony Hall!

Episode 211: Off-Season Funhouse Edition: Kyle Lowry Tribute

What can you say about Kyle Lowry and what he means to Toronto? Some would say he first arrived to an impossible situation, playing for the NBA’s only Canadian team, a franchise that no one ever took serious enough to include in potential contender talks.

That’s fair. We weren’t anywhere close to contention when he arrived. Fans were worn down by betting on Bargnani, watching Chris Bosh consistently marching to the finals each year with Miami, and DeRozan emerging as our heart and soul without any real parts around him. But then Kyle arrived.

Once this new team started making the playoffs, they never stopped. After some heartbreaking defeats at the hands of players like Paul Pierce and LeBron James and a devastatingly risky DeRozan/Kawhi trade, Kyle brought us a championship. What an amazing nine-year run.

This episode is dedicated to Kyle Lowry and contains some snippets from his journey here as well as some amazing insight from some of our amazing guests like Alan Shane Lewis, Derick Deonarain, Cathryn Naiker and Katie Heindl!

Thanks, Kyle. Time for a new era.

Episode 209: Off-Season Funhouse Edition: Matt McCready & Cathryn Naiker

After weeks of speculation on what happens or who the Raptors take in the draft, we’re going to find out on Thursday, so let’s speculate a little more!

Raptors: What is the best possible outcome for this team? We qualified Gary Trent Jr which makes sense, but we keep qualifying Nando just in case he comes back to the NBA. What former Raptor is there that you just can’t let go of, and what type of gesture would you do to make them stay?

NBA: The off-season has begun. Our old pal, JV, has been traded to the Pelicans. Is there a fit with Zion or is this too many big cooks in the kitchen? Which franchise is the best at drafting? Quickish Questions and more fun with Matt McCready and Cathryn Naiker!

Chemistry

By Kevin Dowse

It’s hard to quantify. It’s even harder to manufacture. It’s more valuable than talent. It’s the worst song ever released by Arcade Fire.

Chemistry: it’s a difference-maker on and off the court, and can salvage a season even when the wins aren’t coming in. It’s fun to watch and can swing a team over the hump of a talented playoff squad into a true contender.

It’s been a major theme this season, and it keeps popping up in the media feed. From the Jimmy Butler Effect, to Golden State, to our own Raptors and even the resurgent Memphis Grizzlies (!!) chemistry has driven some of the most fun storylines in the league this year.

The Butler Did It (Affected Chemistry, Jimmy “The” Butler Did That, haha, He Affect—guys, don’t leave)

Since Butler’s exit from Minnesota, the Wolves seem to be having actual fun playing basketball. Karl-Anthony Towns smiled for the first time in over a season, KG was in the stands wearing a “99” Prince jersey, and they even rattled off a couple of wins! Tom Thibodeau lost one of his all-time Thibs Types™, but maybe this will allow his grinch heart to grow a couple of sizes, and start embracing the team he has rather than trying to turn them into the 2012 Bulls. Since the trade, Dario Saric has been stealing minutes from Taj Gibson, which might just be a sign that Thibodeau finally realized that players’ ages are not some sort of real-life 2K rating. Plus we got to see Towns dunk so hard on Paul Millsap that all of Millsap’s fantasy stats for the night were disqualified.

The big question with Butler’s arrival in Philly was, of course, “how long until Butler calls a press conference to outline his specific hatred of each individual teammate?” Between Fultz’ and Simmons’ fear of shooting, and Embiid’s enjoyment of…enjoyment, it seemed like Jimmy would have immediate issues. Butler’s said and done all the right things so far though, between supporting Fultz, and draining a game winner against Charlotte. There may yet be growing pains, either through personality (how big a deal with this Fultz thing be?) or on-court product (it’s still hard to envision any game plan which takes the ball out of Simmons’ hands), but it’s looking all right so far.

“Steve Kerr says this has been his toughest stretch as Warriors coach”

First of all, that’s a real headline. Second of all, fuuuuuuuuuuuuck you if this is your toughest stretch as a coach. But third of all – GUYS Golden State is finally in-fighting and losing games! This will all blow over and they’ll for sure win another championship, but for right now it’s fun to watch and to speculate. On top of the inter-personal issues (read: two of their key players are weens), it’s really becoming apparent how much this is Steph Curry’s team and how essential he is to their system. The ball movement, the floor spacing, the calm demeanour comes from Steph. Klay and KD taking turns hoisting shots makes Golden State a far more human team. Steph’s constant motion, his ability to hoist 3s from the parking lot, and his promotion of ball movement, is what gives G-State their special something. KD is likely a better player pound-for-pound than Steph (though it might just be a difference of #2 to #5). And on a different team, maybe KD is the missing thing that puts them over the top. But for these Warriors, it goes how Steph goes.

Friendship Isn’t Everything

Yes it is. Don’t listen to me. Nothing is or could ever be as beautiful as the friendship between Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. This shirt comes close, but not really. But as we’ve seen from the Raps this season so far, sometimes you don’t need best-friendship to unlock chemistry. The additions of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green have awakened something with this Raptors team. We’ve seen Lowry playing, maybe, the best ball of his career. Serge is a new person playing at the 5. Pascal’s taken another step. We’ve even absorbed a slow start from Fred and Delon, and the GoDaddy-Cursed CJ, without much difficulty. And it’s clear we’re not even playing at our best yet. But there’s just…something, when you look at this Raps team defend, run the break, move the ball. The pieces are more complementary than they’ve ever been, and we have a bunch of different guys who mesh well together in different ways depending on what look we need. There have been troubling moments – some wildly unimaginative offensive sets from supposed offensive wiz Nick Nurse, and some difficulty executing across an entire game. But you get the impression that there’s another gear set to kick in at some point this season. With luck, the offense will become more consistently fluid (the open 3s starting to fall should help that considerably), and the Raps will get back to full health. When that next gear kicks in, the Raps will look (even more) like a serious contender.

Sure, They Can’t Score

But no one can score on them, either. Just a quick shout out to the old, forgotten, given-up-on Memphis Grizzlies. Their main lineup has only scored around 92 per 100 possessions, which is approximately what my team scored that winter I played pickup in a church basement. But that lineup also has a positive net rating, because they’re only allowing about 89 points per 100. The Grizz are somehow winning with a bottom 10 offense, and currently sit at FIRST in the Western Conference (as of this writing). Something’s working for Memphis, and it starts with the health of their veteran stars in Conley and Gasol. Both are having bounce-back seasons after dealing with injuries and general malaise. They look happy and healthy and are spreading that vibe across the team. People are settling into specialized roles: Shelvin Mack is giving them hot 3-point shooting, and a second steady ball handler with a comfy assist-to-turnover ratio. Add in Kyle Anderson, Garrett Temple and JJJ causing nightmares to their opponents on D, and Memphis is meshing in just the right way. They’re getting just enough done to come out ahead night after night. It may not last all season, and I think it probably won’t, but I would love to be proven wrong.

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