Don’t do anything stupid tonight, please.
If you’re going to drink – and I know you’re going to drink – don’t drive.
If you’re out, please do me a personal favour and treat the staff wherever you are well and with respect and tip them well.
If you’re in, have fun and enjoy the company of family, loved ones and friends and relish the time you have together.
Just don’t do anything idiotic. You’ll remember it, you’ll regret it and you’ll spoil what should be a nice time for the people you’re with.
I’ll be checking so behave.
So, here we are, the end of a year and – depending how you feel about such matters – at the end of a decade.
(I know the first year was 00-01 and maybe the decade doesn’t end for another year but I don’t know if I’ll be here then so we’re going with end of a decade for selfish purposes. Fight me, if you will)
Ends of anything – years, decades, months, what have you – often demand lists and since I don’t want to disappoint you (actually, I don’t really care if I disappoint you because I still get paid) here we go:
The all-2010s Raptors
PG Kyle Lowry, SG DeMar DeRozan, SF Kawhi Leonard, PF Pascal Siakam, C Jonas Valanciunas.
I couldn’t in good conscience put Marc Gasol there after such a short time with the team and JV was integral to a ton of mid- to late-decade success. Kahwi gets it after only one year because of the year it was. No arguments listened to on this one.
Player of the decade
I would have DeMar a close second but Kyle won it all and was part of the turnaround and the heart of a very, very consistently good franchise.
I know the 2010s started slowly but the Raptors are about to play in the playoffs for the seventh straight spring and Lowry’s been integral to it all.
This is the no brainer of no brainers.
The all-Good Guy Team
Jose Calderon, Cory Joseph, DeMar DeRozan, Luis Scola, Amir Johnson.
Class acts, through and through. Nice guys, accommodating to the media’s needs, conversant in stuff away from the game. Just good guys.
And Dwane Casey. Dwane Casey most definitely should have his own category.
The all-Disappointment Team
Anthony Bennett, Hedo Turkoglu, Bruno Caboclo, Lucas Nogueira, Jeremy Lin
Was tough to put Turk on here since he barely played in the decade but he’s like the Poster Boy for under-achievement, isn’t he?
For the rest of them, it’s a well-deserved and well-earned honour. All were skilled to some degree and never realized anything close to what they could have been, whether it was by their own doing or someone else’s.
The all-decade games
Game 7 vs. Brooklyn in 2014.
The great Jim LaBumbard moved some of us to seats on the scorer’s table by the Nets bench, a perfect spot to see one of the great dramatic finishes of all Raptors time.
Game 1 vs. Golden State, 2019
The journey, the history, the moment. The lone thing I have from that series is a framed photo of me in silhouette while the national anthem was played. Gives me goosebumps typing that.
Game 7 vs. Philadelphia, 2019, The Four Bouncer
I don’t care what you think. The most dramatic sports moment in Toronto history.
Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bedlam.
Three That Shouldn’t Be Forgotten
Made a ho-hum New Year’s Day game memorable when he dropped 52 on the Bucks. That’s the kind of player DeMar was, dropping 50-plus in some random game when some guys would float.
Get more basketball insight in your inbox
Get Doug Smith’s weekly email newsletter on all things Raptors and beyond and satisfy your craving.
Sign Up Now
Kyle’s Game 7
No, not Philly last spring. Game 7 of the 2016 conference semifinals against Miami when he went off for 35 points and basically willed the Raptors to a win.
T Ross goes off
Talk about random events out of nowhere. Terrence Ross drops 51 on the Clippers in an insane Saturday loss in January 2014.
Now, on the broader scale.
The Three Best Games
The Four Bouncer
Magical. Mystical. Crazy.
The Bat Flip Game
The Jose Bautista home run ended the single greatest inning in Blue Jays history and maybe the best and wildest inning in the game in decades.
The TFC Rain Game
Remember that one? Their own version of the bat flip game but it unfolded over like 120 minutes in the 2016 MLS Cup semifinal against Montreal. Pouring rain, Lots of goals. Jozy Altidore laying out a guy going for a 50-50 header. Classic.
The Three Players I’m Glad I Saw In Person
At his peak, he was unreal, in the field and at the bat and maybe he was a bit of an odd duck but, man, could he play.
Pure craftsmanship. Under-stated brilliance. For real, when he threw an incompletion you were surprised.
Watching him work a game, to just decide when to start dominating at both ends was unreal. Glad I got the chance for a lot of nights.
I’d be interested in hearing what you folks have to say, what you might add or subtract. You know how to reach me, so reach out if you like and I’ll put ‘em together for one day this week. Keep ‘em short and tight, though.
There’s the big game here tonight so that means we’ll be here in the morning with some post-game stuff and then we have to be back Friday after the Miami game that I won’t be at.
So depending on how I feel or how you reply to the lists thing, I may bail on Thursday morning and get some extra sleep.