The draft, the coming schedule, the planning, the trades: Oh yeah, the NBA is back

Happy NBA Draft Day!

It means two things mainly: Fans and us will be able to debate the relative merits of the Raptors taking a guy many of us will never have actually seen play basketball and that I have to stay up way past my now-normal bedtime because they won’t likely make the selection until close to 11 p.m. ET.

Other than that, though, it does further signal the return of the sport and inches us closer to stuff happening on the court, wherever that may be for the local squad.

I don’t know who they will take and I certainly don’t know who they should take; given that Dan Tolzman once told us the group of possibilities could be as large as 50 and that Bobby Webster told us yesterday they’ve talked to upwards of 70 potential selections for their two picks it’s more of a crapshoot than it’s ever been so there’s no way any of us can praise or criticize the choice.

But the choice will happen and it’ll be something concrete to think about and that’s a good thing.

While we were talking to Bobby yesterday (he predictably offered no comment on his own contractual situation and re-affirmed that re-signing Fred VanVleet was top priority) the league was up to some shenanigans, too. It released a framework for its 72-game season and, frankly, I think they missed the boat on one major part of it.

Included in the setup is the fact nothing with change in inter-conference play this season, each team will play a home and home series with each team in the other conference, just like they have for years.

Given this season’s compacted nature –fewer games but more back to backs to get it all done by late July – I think they missed a glorious opportunity to cut travel and the grind by limiting the number of times an East team has to go out West and vice-versa.

It would have eased the wear and tear on the players, some of whom are already whining about the shortened off-season and what’s coming in 2020-21, and would have even cut travel costs for teams that are going to be very money-conscious for the next little while.

The league sure hasn’t made many mistakes since it came up with the original bubble plan last summer but this might have been one.

On the other hand, I think it’s wonderful that the league has built in an all-star break without an all-star game so either the players get some rest or they can maybe reschedule games inevitably postponed early in the season because of the pandemic.

And, as we wrote in the Webster story, only releasing half the schedule in the next couple of weeks does open the possibility of the Raptors moving back to Toronto for the end of the season and the playoffs if – and it remains an if—they have to open somewhere else.

But the one undeniable thing all of this means can only be greeted with glee:

Basketball’s back. In a big way. That’s a good thing.

A rather startling shortage in the mailbag submissions for the weekend and only you can rectify that.

All it takes is an e-mail to askdoug@thestar.ca with whatever question is burned into your mind and we’ll get it answered here on Sunday morning.

Do your part, please.

It was like minus-5 when Super Dog and I went out for the frosty morning constitutional around the back 40 this morning and I’ve had just about enough of that, thank you very much.

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Thank goodness it looks like it might get to the mid-teens Friday for the traditional (Thankfully Heated) Patio Beers With Baseball Steve.

And given that pretty soon the provincial government is going to come to its senses and shut everything down for a couple of weeks, a day or two of relative warmth will be greatly appreciated.

I don’t know what impact, if any, this will have in the long term but I will say that I love that the Argos are going back to the old double blue boat logo.

They are, after all, Argonauts and as someone who paid a bit of attention to them eons ago, the nostalgic retro logo unveiled this week brought back some very good memories.

Lord knows there are issues with the CFL and I really hope enough of them can be resolved so that the league can overcome having to sit out and entire season because of the pandemic.

A new look in Toronto likely won’t sell tickets and it definitely won’t solve what I see as some serious leadership deficiencies in the head office and issues that exist that threaten the very existence of some teams but the Boatmen are sure going to look good.

Hope someone sees them.

I’ve never been one for teams coming up with third, or fourth, or fifth jerseys simply to line their pockets but this one for the Argos just feels different and necessary. It’s not a throwback, it’s the team’s look and maybe that’s why it works.

Besides, that’s how it’s being sold, as the official new look instead of how the NHL – and the NBA – just throw out variations on the uniform solely to juice sales.

Like with the pucks this week: Can anyone really tell me what the heck “reverse retro” means other than “we lost a ton of money last season, give us more of yours to help fill our coffers.”

TORONTO STAR