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Another over-loaded Christmas Day for the NBA


A few little things to wrap up another slow week.

Okay?

Can’t say it’s any surprise that the NBA put out its US national television schedule and the Christmas Day schedule last night and both were Raptors-free.

Means nothing, I hope no one felt slighted and we should get the full schedule very early next week.

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The first week television schedule means nothing up here, all the Raptors games will be shown nationally here and I’m sure they will get some big-time network time down the States over the course of the season.

Christmas?

Well, aside from the fact I am mystified at the inclusion of the Knicks on such a marquee game, the league and its broadcast buddies have once again shown that excess is the way to go.

We say it ever year and we’ll say it one more time:

Five games is ridiculous. Two games – maybe one at 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. East and one at 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. East – would be sufficient and if they wanted to take the entire day off, I’d be fine with that, too.

It’s not that there aren’t enough viewers to go around – the numbers prove that there are – it’s that the inconvenience to so many ancillary people is just too vast.

Yeah, you might like lounging around the house with the family or all alone picking and choosing what games you’ll pay attention too but this overblown schedule could wreck Christmas Day for ticket takers, ushers, concession workers, back-of-house employees in five arenas and connected with 10 teams and I think that’s too much.

And, yeah, even not playing on the day disrupts my life. I would guess that over the 22 or whatever number of seasons I’ve been watching this team, I’ve spent 20 Christmas Day on an airplane probably 15 of them. Sure it’s part of the job but it’s not a good part.

The Christmas Day schedule is never going to change. But it should.

Heard something about high water levels in New Orleans the other day.

This seems fitting, right?

And when they get around to figuring out which old show to reprise now that they’ve done Gilmore Girls and Will and Grace, can they do Treme, please?

We’ve got mail that’s all over the map so far, which is outstanding because who wants the same old “who’s gonna play what position and how many minutes” stuff at this time of year. Not me.

Anyway, there’s a few different ones but there’s not nearly enough for a substantial Sunday mailbag (Saturday remains my morning of rest) so get on over to askdoug@thestar.ca and drop me a line, would you?

Shameless plug and scheduling update.

Being the time of many vacations, they’ve gone way down the roster of subs and invited me to do the FAN590 round table tonight from 5-7. If you’re stuck in traffic or sitting around the deck, tune in. It can be in equal parts wildly entertaining and totally infuriating. You’ll love it.

It turns out it’ll be Canada vs. Brazil tomorrow, 5:35 p.m. ET, at the AmeriCup women’s basketball tournament down in Buenos Aires with a spot in next year’s world championships on the line.

It’s the semifinal of the event – Argentina and Puerto Rico are in the other – and the top three teams all move on to the worlds in Spain.

A loss wouldn’t be devastating, the third place game Sunday decides the final spot, but a win would, I’m sure, be quite pleasing for another reason besides a worlds berth.

Seemingly forever, Brazil was the team Canada couldn’t get past, a streak of futility that finally ended at the London Olympics almost five years ago to the day

Good luck to all the supporters of teams that will playing for second place or a spot in Europe when the Premier League kicks off this afternoon.

And, yes, I’m thinking about She Who Supports Arsenal.

The fact Canada Basketball hired Ryerson’s Roy Rana to guide its senior men’s team through the exhibition AmeriCup tournament that starts later this month and at least the first two series of games that’s part of qualifying for the 2019 World Cup is as big a no-brainer as anything I can imagine.

He’s familiar with the program and the style that coach Jay Triano wants to run, his coaching chops are undeniable after leading Canada’s junior team to a gold medal at the world championships last month and his years guiding age-group teams to success is unrivalled.

The hiring was one of those “duh!” moments and it shouldn’t have come as any surprise.

But since we’re onto the men’s senior team that starts its abbreviated summer season in a couple of weeks, one huge question remains.

Who’s going to play?

And what’s it all mean?

Okay, two burning questions but you get my drift.

The who is the most important one, by far.

The way FIBA has screwed up the qualification process for the 2019 World Cup, there will be no NBA players for two of the four different weekends of play in the first round.

European leagues also didn’t open space in their schedules so you’d have to wonder if any of the pros from over there in the top leagues will be able to secure releases to play.

And no one’s spoken about players in the G League and American colleges are basically in full swing and are unlikely to let their players go.

Now, I don’t know that it’s a crippling blow to Canada’s chances because it’s the same for every country and you’d think we’d have the depth from unemployed pros and collegians to get past the early part of the process and, frankly, seven teams not including the United States will make it to the worlds from FIBA Americas and if Canada can’t crack that low ceiling they need to rethink the entire program.

But hiring Rana does make sense to help the process along. He’s familiar with the CIS kids who might play, he’s been part of basically every senior camp for the last six or seven years at least so he knows what head coach Jay Triano wants and his coaching bonafides are undisputable.

So you have to hand it to Canada Basketball for making a bad situation at least a bit more tenable by achieving some program consistency.

TORONTO STAR | SPORTS | DOUG_SMITHS_SPORTS_BLOG

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