Posts tagged Kyle Lowry
Ball Don't Lie EP 56 - Durant Strong

Scott and Flows break down the NBA Finals as the Warriors force a Game 6 and one final game at Oracle. More on Kevin Durant's injury and how it effects the series and the entire NBA. Can Kawhi's Raptors get it done and bring a title north of the border, or will the Warriors complete a miraculous comeback?

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Ball Don't Lie EP 54 - KD Doesn't Have a Hive

Wos of Count The Dings and The Athletic join Scott and Pierce to break down the 2019 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors. Then, Sporting News’ rankings of the current quarterbacks in the NFL, how we’re coping without Game of Thrones, and Goofy Mog of the Week!

Follow Scott on Twitter: @BarbersChairNet
Follow Pierce on Twitter: @HennyOmega
Follow Wos on Twitter: @BigWos

CHICAGO! Come out and hang with The Barber's Chair Thursday, May 30th for Game One of the NBA Finals! The Golden State Warriors will face off against the Eastern Conference Champion at 8:00 p.m. Fall through for drinks and the big game and meet Scott, Flows and Pierce. 3439 N. Sheffield

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

Becky might no longer have two belts but you can still get your #FreeTheMan tee on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Case(y) Closed
Photograph: USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA/REX/Shutterstock

Photograph: USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA/REX/Shutterstock

Now, depending on who you ask, you’re either shocked by the news of Dwane Casey’s firing, or not at all.

For me, someone who has not been shy to call for a head coaching change during his tenure, Toronto changing course comes to me as both surprising and not. Some of the positives with Casey during his time with the Raptors was the slow process of a sustained culture of winning, and he didn’t just use his words, the actions from the players spoke, and the teams got better as the years progressed.

Getting to the playoffs five years in a row, after the franchise as a whole had been to the postseason a grand total of five times its first 13 years of existence, that was a major boost into the culture that both Casey and president Masai Ujiri wanted to implement going forward. He challenged his players to be better game after game, and was never satisfied with wins – he wanted to keep getting better. That’s someone you’d want to play for, because the expectations he imposed on you were challenging enough that you’d want to improve, not just for yourself, but for the betterment of the team.

At times Casey was out-coached. He was slow to react to the opposition's chess moves, and looked frantic or desperate to make things happen; forcing the issue, if you will. As a coach, you want to be the most prepared person in the room. To know the tendencies of your opponent, to take advantage of opportunities given to you, those are things that take a lot of time and experience to adapt.

It also helps that you have great players in your disposal, and one particular reason why Casey ended up canned after being swept by the Cavaliers (again), is because he was working with good-but-not-great players. DeMar DeRozan & Kyle Lowry are All-Stars, absolutely. They’re not household names outside of the country of Canada, heck, they’re probably not even household names outside of the Greater Toronto Area. They both improved their games, but not in the season that matters, and that happened to be the regular season.

We’re one season removed from the “culture reset,” which a year ago Masai Ujiri famously proclaimed that the Raptors had to do; 59 wins, the 1-seed in the East, and pretty much a lock for NBA Coach of the Year was not enough for Casey to retain his position as the head of the North.

Where I stand with the move is this: the Raptors are in the worst position you can think of in terms of their team status. They’re a good team, not good enough to be great, and other teams within the conference (Celtics, Sixers, Pacers, and Bucks for examples) are loaded with a lot of young talent and have a higher ceiling. The championship window for the Raptors is closing, and the Raptors need a leader with Championship pedigree to take them over the top. Whether it’s challenging DeMar & Kyle to take their games to another level and bring everyone along with them, or making the Raptors a team that the league will actually take seriously in the months of April & May, a lot of it falls on the roster, but it does start with the coach.

Everyone will be quick to point out that LeBron James is the reason for his dismissal, but you have to cut ties with mediocrity some time. If this is a Mark Jackson-Steve Kerr situation, then that’s what happens, but if not, it’s the risk you take in order to get better. Consistency with getting to the playoffs is good, but all that effort for early exits every year isn’t ideal, and something has to give. Being the first top seed in 49 years to get swept before the Conference Finals is frustrating, and patience is always key to building a sustained successful franchise, but you’ve got to make a move that doesn’t jeopardize the roster and send the Raptors back into the Dark Ages.

avengers i dont wanna go mr stark.gif

Dwane Casey is a good coach. He influenced the locker room in many ways in order for the Raptors to ascend into a team where people had to mention in the same breath of title contenders. Even if the results didn’t pan out, the fact that the inkling of respect was evident, was a lot. It was more than what was given to the Raptors in their franchise’s history, so Casey deserves a lot of credit for his contributions.

It’s time to look ahead as to what the future holds. Whether significant roster moves are coming (*cough* Ibaka *cough*) or if the Raptors land gold with a new coach, the state of the franchise is in limbo until further notice.

Thank you for your time, Dwane Casey, we’ll take it from here.

Where that may be? Hopefully upwards.

That’s My Word & It STiXX

The Toronto Raptors - Underdogs of the NBA

Fresh off Superbowl 52 and watching my beloved Philadelphia Eagles finally win the big game, my fandom will shift focus to my hometown Toronto Raptors, whom I’ve been loyal to since however long I’ve been watching basketball, which is definitely over 15 years. The 2017 Eagles played the role of the Underdogs. Their star QB Carson Wentz was having an MVP-type season before tearing his ACL on December 10th in Los Angeles, which I was in attendance for. The odds weren’t in our favour if you were to ask Vegas or any sports analyst who had a collective thought to offer up as to what the future of the Eagles was going forward for their season. For the rest of the season, the Eagles were underdogs in all but one game (Week 16 vs the Raiders) and the common denominator was Carson Wentz. Never mind the fact that the team had lost other core pieces of the team, but that didn’t stop the non-believers from adding fuel to the fire.

Rob Turennte - Getty Images

Rob Turennte - Getty Images

In the NBA, the Raptors have always been known as “that team in Canada,” or “that team that doesn’t matter” in whatever capacity in which they’re addressed throughout American media. Being the only basketball franchise in a country of 32 Million, which is still primarily a hockey country, the Raptors have their own problems gaining traction in the respect column from Canadians as a whole, but that has changed over the years since their improbable 7-game playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets in 2014. That series started a trend of making the playoffs repeatedly the following years to the point where it’s just expected that they make it to the postseason now.

As a Raptors fan, that’s still hard to believe sometimes. I can give one hard sneeze and be sent back flashes of a 4-19 start and multiple double-digit losses in a row. They were dark times that flash of bad Jay Triano coaching and heartbroken Chuck Swirsky calls, not to mention the putrid rosters that were ‘supposed’ to elevate Chris Bosh and a then young DeRozan who really hadn’t made anything of himself.

Without going into the history of how we got to this point, the fact is that the Raptors have consistently been a great team in the East without having a superstar player (although DeRozan’s play in this season is challenging that), an elite head coach (Casey’s pretty good), and a stacked roster. No one jumps out at you and says to the average fan that they’re a must have for their Fantasy teams. The Raptors aren’t always going to be a go-to team you run with on NBA2K. We’ve always been the fanbase that screams that we need “one more piece” in order to compete, but with so many people saying that Canada isn’t a desirable place to play ‘because of the cold’ (like New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, Detroit etc. don’t exist), the excuses are running thin. With notable names having played in Toronto in recent years by the likes of Rudy Gay, DeMarre Carroll, and currently Serge Ibaka, players are not adverse to wanting to play in Toronto like they used to.

DeMar DeRozan has been part of the 2-headed juggernaut to carry the team in years past, but for the first time in his career (maybe the 2nd), the team has been fortified from top to bottom to be put in a position to compete at a high level consistently, especially when it matters. Yes, regular season success is great, and with 7 rounds of playoff experience, including an appearance against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2016, you’d think that they’d be on the radar for the forseeable future. In the famous tone of Charlie Murphy (RIP), Wrong! Wrong!

Boston, Cleveland, and Washington have really always been the staple teams to be discussed when it comes down to ‘who can win the East and advance to the Finals.’ The Cavs; we’re witnessing (haha) their collapse and what looks to be the 2nd post-Lebron era looming. Boston has a hot-shot coach in Brad Stevens and one of the youngest and most talented rosters that oh, just happened to acquire Kyrie ‘Uncle Drew’ Irving and Gordon Hayward, to vault themselves as the ones to dethrone the King, and I mean, I get it. Boston is an esteemed franchise which has a rich history of success on its resume. Washington is only mentioned because they have star power and no one wants to say Toronto, which brings me to the Raptors. If any year they should take a look at the model for success that the Eagles ran with, it’s by embracing being the underdog. The whole city of Philadelphia, and its fans, clung to the label and it unified the locker room to the point where they were able to bring in their first NFL championship since 1960, and their first Superbowl overall.

I can be positive that everyone in the East is tired of hearing that LeBron is the be-all and end all of the conference. It’s true; in order to get to the Finals, you have to take down the King. It’s especially evident in the AFC for Tom Brady and the Patriots. You have to go through the best to be the best. Toronto has been stewing for a while. One thing about Canadians is that we’re pretty damn passive. It’s not a good thing, but it’s our thing. Don’t ask, it’s just in our engrained DNA for the most part. We’ll shout things like “Fuck Brooklyn”and “We don’t give a shit about ‘It’” in the playoffs and be bounced gracefully, but we’ll always come back with that same energy until we ourselves grow tired of being that whimpering kid asking why people don’t like us.

After being swept by the Cavs in the ’16-’17 season (completely wiped from my memory, if I’m being honest), Masai Ujiri called for a culture reset. What was working when it didn’t matter wasn’t working when it did, and that needed to change. With a retooled offence, an aggressive defence, and a selfless environment hovering over the organization, for the first time in its franchise, the Raptors actually looked poised to make a deep run that has some people thinking that June basketball is a possibility. Now, barring any major injuries, because God loves to throw those hurdles in there, anything is possible.

This year’s Philadelphia Eagles are examples of that, but it’s not about a group of players going down, it’s about the attitude of the organization as a whole and the collective will that each person has in order to assert themselves in a position to win. The Raptors have put themselves in a position not for ‘win-now,’ but for steady growth so that when they want to win, they’re doing it in a consistent fashion.

Time will tell as to how the success of this ‘culture reset’ will result, but at the beyond halfway mark of the season, the Raptors have improved in their efficiency and are winning games against good teams – contenders, I should say. They deserve to have more respect in the NBA, and for them not to have a Christmas game while having two multiple all-stars on the team in the city that just held one of the best all star weekends, that was a big slap in the face, and the top dogs of the team let the NBA know it. They’re all about to “prove ‘em,” and where the expectation is for the Raptors to falter right out of the gates in April, I think these guys from the North have other plans that stretch past the expiry date a lot of people have already plotted out. We’ll all know soon enough.

That’s My Word & It STiXX