– According to CBSSports.com, sources have indicated University of Memphis head coach John Pastner is poised to hire first-ever Raptors rookie draft pick Damon Stoudemire as an assistant with the Tigers. Both are products of the University of Arizona in the 90’s, with Stoudemire, the 1995-96 Rookie Of The Year, serving as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies’ coaching staff since 2009.
– We heard president and GM Bryan Colangelo mention it last week on The Score, but thehoopsreport.com reports that Turkish big man Enes Kanter will work out for the Raptors in Chicago on June 6th.
– Speaking of Kanter, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star recently played Raptors GM in an audio mock draft for our friends at Warriors.com on Tuesday, saying “I know they like Kanter an awful lot.” But with Kanter already selected in that mock, Smith made Kemba Walker the pick.
– Things I like hearing from forward Kawhi Leonard, the San Diego State prospect who could be in the mix for the Raptors with the fifth pick: “If my opponent isn’t scoring, then we’re going to win the game. I take a lot of pride in trying to shave points off a players’ average or make sure he doesn’t have a good shooting night.”
That quote, courtesy of the Washington Post’s Michael Lee, should be music to Raptors fans’ ears.
– There’s still over three weeks to go until draft night, but we’re already seeing signs to expect the unexpected in one of the more wide open, fluid drafts in years. Look no further than a big rumoured trade from the weekend that had Cleveland acquiring the second overall pick in this year’s draft in a three-team deal involving the Pistons and Timberwolves. Any spark coming from this rumour appears to have been quickly doused by the Pistons, but the major news here is the Cavs angling to make an even bigger splash than their current selections at first and fourth.
– Finally, some props today for Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo’s excellent Ball Don’t Lie blog, for taking a rational approach to the Raptors’ 60th loss of the regular season, which just happened to ensure home court advantage for the Heat over in the Mavericks in the NBA Finals.
There’s no question that season-ending defeat (mainly against Miami’s reserves) was an ugly way to conclude a tough season. But Dwyer rightfully claims that you can find dozens of such determinants over the course of the season, including the Raptors’ win in Dallas on Dec. 28 — probably their biggest of the campaign.