John Gaudes

writing + digital media + design

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Filtering by Category: Raptors

Power Forward Friday: Make DeMarcus Cousins great again

Last week's Power Forward Friday was on everyone's favourite malcontent: DeMarcus Cousins. I won't take credit for the trade rumours that have blown up since this November 4 article, but I will say it was awfully timely.

Footnotes from October

Don't sweat the small stuff. Here's a collection of my other news articles, game previews and recaps from the month of October.

News

Raptors grab #6 in Lowe’s League Pass Rankings - October 7
HQ Overtime returns for a new season - October 27

Recaps

Raptors fall to Nuggets in Calgary, 108-106 - October 3
Clippers withstand Raptors comeback, win 104-98 - October 6
Raptors get slammed by Wizards, 119-82October 21

Power Forward Friday: A return for Bosh?

We’re just sitting down, but we already know how the movie ends. This season will end in an NBA Finals between the Cavaliers and Warriors, as it was foretold by a weak Eastern Conference and a Kevin Durant signing.

While giving a trilogy of Finals matchups its Return of the King moment is exciting, it can leave those on the outside of Oracle and the Q (we the 99%) feeling a little hopeless as the season gets underway. Sure, there are plenty of interesting things happening around the league — new faces, young powers, the almighty questions of continuity. But in a league where radio heads sit on weird podiums and tell us, “it’s all about a championship”, it can lead anyone to sigh and wonder... what are we doing here?

Thankfully, the Raptors have clamoured over the shoulders of other teams, and are one of a handful of prime spoilers, squads that are one piece (or one LeBron ankle injury) away from a Finals berth. Like we heard throughout the playoffs last year, you just have to win and be there to spoil the party. Toronto has balloon pins ready to go.

In order to really boost their chances, though, the Raptors need to acquire a starting power forward. Ever since Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan ascended after the Rudy Gay trade, Toronto has been tailor-made for a stretchy four that the guards can throw the ball into. Despite a 32-point season opener for Jonas Valanciunas, which suggests he’s ready to graduate from cleanup duty, Lowry and DeRozan still run this offense ad nauseam. To be a more well-rounded team, and to take a load off their backcourt minutes, Toronto needs that high post threat. And look, Jared Sullinger is hurt now. They need it bad.

So three years into heavy minutes for Lowry and DeRozan, and with the team closer than ever to breaking through (we hope), the time has never been better for an acquisition.

This is my attempt to diagnose the Raptors’ need. I want to dream out loud about power forwards who can fit the gap in the Raptors offense, and look at how they fit basketball-wise and feels-wise. Then we can pass judgment and deem the nominee fit or unfit.

Let’s start this thing with the man, the former Raptor, the Nickelodeon Teen Choice Award attendee pictured above: Chris Bosh.

Read the rest of my weekly column, evaluating different power forwards and their fit with the Toronto Raptors, at Raptors HQ.

Raptors HQ Roundtable: Previewing the 2016-17 season

Raptors games begin tonight, so this is my last opportunity to share season projections with the world. I was part of the annual Raptors HQ season preview roundtable, where we talked up the improvement of Jonas Valanciunas, expressed Pascal Siakam hope, and made very sober predictions for how the Raptors will lose. You can check out links to both parts of the roundtable below.

Raptors Player Preview: DeMarre Carroll, and the quest for health

Turning 30 is a big deal, whether you’re a regular dude facing existential dread, or a basketball player facing an exit from your prime. In the NBA, there are plenty of players who have impact well into their 30’s, but there’s no doubt that a decade rolling over changes perspective, and changes how we talk about a player, fair or not.

DeMarre Carroll just turned 30, as he enters the second year of a 4-year, $60 million deal with the Raptors. While his delightful fashion sense tells us he’s still feeling youthful off the court, there’s real concern about how young he feels on the court. Carroll played in just 46 regular season and playoff games in 2015-16, often fighting through a myriad of injuries that, when listed out, is fairly depressing...

Read the rest of my preview at Raptors HQ.

Some footnotes from April and May

With the Raptors in a playoff run that's gone well beyond my early expectations, the last six weeks have been a bit of a blur. Here's a few links to things I've done, if you're curious to see.

The Raptors are better than the Pacers, and it's showing - April 22, 2016
After another Raptors collapse, the future will be decided Sunday night - April 30, 2016
The Raptors will be tested by the Miami Heat, and it'll be crazy fun - May 2, 2016
Kyle Lowry is back, and that changes everything for the Raptors - May 9, 2016
Lessons from Game 6, and what the Raptors must do to win Game 7 - May 14, 2016

I've also been hosting a post-game online radio show called HQ Overtime, which gets our writers analyzing the games right after the final buzzer. If you want to check out the archives, they're all up on iTunes. Here's the Game 7 show from the Heat series, with Justin Rowan from Fear the Sword.

Finally, I've been doing a number of interviews on radio and television to chat about the Raptors and all their successes. Here's a couple hits from CTV News Channel.