Raptors may want to make their return to the court as close to 'normal' as possible

I hope that at sometime today we all take time to reflect on the significance of Juneteenth and vow to make things better individually and collectively and what changes we have to make in our own lives so that the world can be a better place.

Felt kind of odd yesterday to write a story primarily about basketball and what the Raptors might do or look like when they resume the defence of their NBA championship.

We sure haven’t done a lot of writing about the game since March but with things apparently ramping up in the next couple of weeks, we should start thinking about it.

After all, these are the defending NBA champions and that’s going to add some focus to them league-wide, especially given the odd circumstances all teams are going to face.

The idea of the Jumbo Lineup with Kyle Lowry, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol certainly is intriguing and, as I recall, it’s looked okay the few times we’ve seen it for any extended period.

But — and this is a total personal opinion based on the eye test rather than any deep dive into numbers — I wouldn’t mess too much at all with the Lowry-VanVleet backcourt.

It’s as good defensively as any starting backcourt in the league, all things considered. They are both solid on the ball for sure but as help defenders and weak-side defenders and disruptors they are so far above average, it’s not even funny.

I don’t think they should mess too much with it.

We know Nick likes to experiment and get a “feel” for whatever’s going on each night and we know the ability of the players to do whatever is called for on any specific night is off the charts.

You surely can’t argue with the results they get, either last year or this and I think going into this new, strange, compacted “season” is going to call for doing what you do and not trying to reinvent yourself too much.

And, you know, I understand completely the odd times in which we live and the far more important issues facing the world these days but, I gotta admit, it was kind of refreshing to spend at least a little bit of yesterday thinking about the actual playing of basketball.

It doesn’t look like there’s an awful lot more mail in the inbox right now than there was last week so if you wanted to send a note/question/compliment to askdoug@thestar.ca today, that’d be really nice of you.

Personal observation:

If you have to wear a Holder monitor for a few days it becomes more uncomfortable with each passing minute and if I’m not a stark raving lunatic a minute before I get to rip this off early this afternoon, it’ll be a miracle.

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So it’s about 7:45 a.m. as I type this and it doesn’t look like there’s going to be any baseball this season.

That sucks but I bet if I wait another or five hours there’ll be a chance at a 70-game season and the emotions of fans will have been toyed with once again.

It’s boring, no question about it.

Squabbling over whether he owners will pay what they own on a pro-rated basis – how in the world no one sees how sensible that is escapes me – is tiring.

Linking how to get this season back on track to some idea of expanded playoffs in 2021 strikes me as unnecessary. We know the union and owners hate each other like few other “partners” in sports on Earth so adding a layer to already dicey negotiations seems to create addition acrimony where enough already exists.

Leaking detailed plans heavy on specifics and using raw financial numbers that don’t at all resonate with normal folks trying simply to make ends meet strikes me as not the way to gain either sympathy or support for your side of the argument.

It’s to the point where I see “baseball’s dead” and it hardly causes and eyebrow to raise because I know a few hours later someone’s going to report “they met again” and the whole process begins again.

Yawn.

All right, it’s going to be a gorgeous weekend it appears. Sunny and hot and maybe the best weather weekend we’ve had in a year.

Everyone’s going to want to go out and they should be, on behalf of all of is at-risk types, the 60-plus crowd with some pre-existing conditions that have kept us pretty much cooped up on the deck or porch or in the house for about a hundred days …

PLEASE WEAR A FREAKING MASK IF YOU’RE OUT AND AMONG THE PEOPLE.

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Q:

What are you expecting from the Raptors when play resumes later this summer?

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