Oh the season. Oh the season! Election or NBA, both are upon us. We're getting into the spirit by bringing you our season previews (with a little help from the presidents). One per day for the next 30 days—which will bring us to the Day of Reckoning. So please join us on the campaign trail as we shake hands, kiss babies and sink jumpers.
“Popularity, I have always thought, may aptly be compared to a coquette - the more you woo her, the more apt she is to elude your embrace.” - John Tyler
Upon the death of William Henry Harrison in 1841, "The Accidental President" took office before a cabinet and a congress that wasn't even sure if he should be there. Though he was key to the westward expansion of the country, John Tyler tried too hard to get respect by vetoing a Tariff bill and was the subject of impeachment proceedings. Unsurprisingly, Tyler was not re-elected.
In 1993 the NBA expanded to Canada, adding the Vancouver Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors. The name was selected in a naming contest and was rumored to be influenced by Jurrasic Park. The colors were purple, black, red and silver, which made just about as much sense as naming Isiah Thomas their first GM. They named Isiah Thomas their first GM. Their first expansion draft pick, BJ Armstrong, refused to report to camp and the team traded him. Their first-ever pick in the regular draft, Damon Stoudemire, was booed by Raptor fans at the draft, which was held at the Skydome in Toronto. He went on to become a member of the infamous Jailblazer teams in Portland.
Nineteen years later, not a ton has changed. The franchise killed off the purple in the uniforms and logo; the Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh Eras have come and gone; and the team is still named after the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park. There were a few playoff appearances, though the franchise has won only one playoff round, in 2001, before losing the infamous Vinsanity Graduation Day Game Seven against the 76ers. The Raptors won the draft lottery in 2006, selecting Andrea Bargnani over LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, Brandon Roy and Rajon Rondo. Bargnani is a decent enough player, but a core of him, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan doesn't inspire much confidence (as fun as it could be to watch). Jonas Valančiūnas is as mysterious an X factor as you'll find in this league. All of this uncertainty won't stop a surprisingly fervent fan base from showing up and making the Air Canada Centre an oddly tough place to play (the tilted, 3-D lettering underneath each basket that makes it look like the logo is standing up probably doesn't help visitors either).
In the USS Princeton Disaster, an explosion on a ship carrying Tyler and his wife killed dozens of bystanders while showing off its cannon to a crowd gathered along the Potomac River. The Raptors entered the offseason looking to make a splash by signing Canada's own Steve Nash. They wound up paying Landry Fields $20 million instead. He isn't very exciting or very Canadian. Will the Raptors front office get it together? Will they avoid the lottery and fight their way into the 8th seed? Will visiting players remember they need to bring their passports to play them? Jamaal Magloire is still playing?!
Rushed Pull-Up Jumpers
Pokemon who the team should adopt as its new mascot: Staryu
Headline we're most looking forward to: "Raptors Trade Away All Remaining American Players"
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you enter the pearly gates?: "You really tempted the fates there making the logo something extinct."