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Rankings rankle a very proud DeMar DeRozan


Lists, man.

Those crazy lists and rankings and subjective placings of one person or one thing over another, all done as much for click bait and eyeballs as anything.

Many don’t make any sense, at best if there is methodology to them it’s flawed or incomplete and at worst is a bunch of people sitting around looking at raw numbers and going with their “gut” feeling.

I have no time for them, generally; I guess it’s a fun exercise for some people but it does nothing for me and I’ve long suggested that energy not be wasted on getting at all worked up about them.

They’re fun but meaningless and, basically, in the NBA world a per-camp exercise in keeping busy. They can’t be meant to be definitive, they are conversation starters that exist to draw people into websites or stories. Nothing more, nothing less.

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But, still, they exist and people pay attention and those who are listed or ranked or compared seem to care a lot, at least in immediate public reaction.

The latest – and by far the closest to home – came from DeMar DeRozan, who was ranked 46th by Sports Illustrated in this listing of the NBA’s top 100 players.

Now, I know DeMar pretty well and I had an idea he wouldn’t be pleased when it was pointed out to him, just like he wasn’t pleased way back in the day when, I believe, the great John Hollinger, then at ESPN, took some shot at the Raptors about the season they were approaching or their playoff hopes or somesuch.

And, he wasn’t

That was what he put on the tweeter machine and while I had no idea what it meant, all it took was an urban dictionary search to find out and if you’re not a fan of naughty words or phrases, don’t google it, just take it from me that he’s displeased.

And good for him.

If there’s one thing about DeMar that may not quite come through, it’s that he is fiercely proud of the player he’s become, a two-time all-star, a key member of a conference finalist team, a leader and, yes, a very good player who might have flaws but who doesn’t?

He, like every other player worth his multi-million contract, is supremely confident, he feels he’s as good as anyone in the game and that’s just how you want it to be. You don’t want guys who at any level think they are subordinate to anybody, you want guys who know they’re going to make the next play or the next shot; who figure they can, and will, win any game they play.

To be “ranked” that low would, um, rankle and it should and I’m kinda glad DeMar lashed out.

Now, do I think he’s the 46th best player in the NBA? No. Given his skill, his importance to his team, his team’s success and the breadth of his career, I’m sure if I sat down with a list of rosters I’ve have him quite higher. Not sure if that’d be top 20 or top 30 or whatever but I’d certainly have him higher than 46 out of 100.

Does it matter? Of course it doesn’t, just like the original list doesn’t matter a lick, either.

But athletes are different than you and I, and I like that one struck a chord of discontent publicly.

And now that I’ve done just what SI wanted when it published the rankings – get people talking about them – we’ll let the matter lie.

Until I get to talk to DeMar at camp and let him vent one more time if he wants.

Yeah, I know, the music.

Stopped doing any when things went kablooey while I was in Rio and I was already imposing on New Friend And Excellent Editor Tash to post the morning missives without asking her to imbed a video of my choosing, too.

Then I just got a bit lazy and the new machine took some getting used to and you know how things go.

But a couple of my favourite Irregulars have asked so …

And how did I come up with that?

Well, if you want conversation-starting lists, check out this one. It sure provided me and Baseball Steve with stool conversation fodder because he’s the biggest Springsteen fan I know.

Mail.

More, please.

Click on askdoug@thestar.ca, let your mind wander wherever it wants to go and come up with a question for the weekend, will you?

Much appreciated.

So the Unfortunately Named Mississaugas have been in the news a bit lately, first with the long-anticipated announcement that Jerry Stackhouse is going to be the new head coach and yesterday with news they’ve acquired the rights to Canada’s own Brady Heslip.

The thing with Heslip – and it’s the same across the D-League, actually – is that by giving him some kind of small financial guarantee (I don’t know the number but if you guess in the $ 50,000 range you might not be far off), it not only assures that they will have his D-League rights when Raptors camp ends near the end of October, it gives him a monetary reason to stick around North America.

The D-League salaries, frankly, suck. Sure, there’s some per diem and housing involved, the season’s short and those help but thinking you can get all good young players to stick around the continent while paying them a maximum of about $ 26,000 is ludicrous.

I get that not every young player either wants to find a job in Europe that would pay more – there’s still a fear of the unknown that keeps kids at home – or can find a job in a very competitive world so making it worth their while to stay home is a good move.

It helps the teams, it helps the league, it sends a message that the NBA is at least a little serious about growing its minor league.

And, here at least, maybe it helps the UNM a chance to sell a ticket or two.

Doesn’t it feel like the pretend pucks thing that’s going on should just be ending rather than just beginning?

Seems they’ve been going for weeks already.

And who ya got? I’m going with The Kontinental Kids for sure, even if the logo is butt-ugly.

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