DNB Top 10- Things I Have Learned During Lockout

Hello all back again...NBA Lockout is still going on with no signs of stopping anytime soon. So today I thought I would share some things I have learned from the experience. Some are funny some are true. So with that drum roll please. What no drum roll? We can't afford to pay for that these are tough times.

#10- NFL Network is much better at filler than NBATV Canada. I mean if a network can make the NFL Combine into a show really a lockout is a peace of cake.

#9- I forgot how much I truly love the CFL. Have had chance to watch much more than I normally would. To all my friends in Toronto this probably does not apply if you have been watching the Argos.

#8- In every Labour dispute as in any divorce there is really only one winner....Lawyers.

#7- I really don't have to be on Twitter 24 hours a day or even an hour a day. Life still goes on surprisingly

#6- People will go to any lengths to try to create content. I mean some of the things I have seen during this lockout are just a joke. But people are trying to keep working and keep their audiences entertained and engaged. But let's face it with no actual league to cover that is challenging.

#5- Lockout or not Raptor fans never change. Jonas Valanciunas may be inducted into the hall of fame before he ever plays an NBA Game. While Andrea Bargnani would be lucky if they let him in the door.

#4- Just how awful the WWE has become. I mean seriously. I am the Dinoblogger and I am more Awesome than anything I see on their programming. I once almost applied for a job writing for WWE. That was till I got to the line about having 5 years of soap opera writing experience.

#3- How much the game of basketball has brought so many great people into my life and how without it you don't end up seeing them as much.

#2- That Lebron James truly has no clue. Lebron thinks this is all going to get solved by November. I will bet him his Championship Ring...oh wait. Well at least if there is no season Lebron only has to win 4 Championships now in Miami.

#1- Life happens with the NBA or without it. The more people start to realize this the worse it will be for the NBA.

So that is my list I am sure you all have you own. So leave some comments if you like with yours. Or just say hello because at the rate this lockout is going we all might need name tags if we wait for basketball to be back. Hello my name is James Borbath in case you forgot. Take care folks and see you next Tuesday unless a miracle happens and the NBA Lockout ends before than. Not holding my breath for that.


Joseph Debuts In Red and White on Weekend.

It has been a big year for Cory Joseph playing on a Texas Team that was in the top of the Rankings in the NCAA Tournament. Deciding to enter the NBA Draft and eventually getting selected in the first round by an NBA Franchise that makes few mistakes in the draft in the San Antonio Spurs. Now the locked out and a rookie in waiting who gets no Vegas Summer League to impress has decided to take on the red and white of Canada and help them try to qualify for the Olympics in London in 2012. There is no doubt 2011 has been a big year in this young man's life.

If his first couple games are any indication as to how he will do with Team Canada it would appear to be positive. He has been able to fit into the system well and he credits that to knowing some of the players and having them help get him up to speed. Coach of the National Team Leo Rautins had nothing but positive things to say on how well Cory was able to jump into action right away.

Rautins " Cory is a really good fit. He offers three things that we really need. One is he pushes the ball and that is something that we want to do. Second thing is on defence he can get after people. Third he is an energy guy and he is just to fun to be around and is good with the guys."

Leo went on to say that Cory had been able to learn a lot of things from a number of the players on the roster prior to officially suiting up for the team. He gave credit to both Cory and Jermaine Anderson the starting point guard on the team for past few years working together to get Cory up to speed. Cory gave credit to Anderson as well as a few of the other players he knew got him ready to roll. This was also the first in game action for Joseph since the Longhorns made their exit from the NCAA Tournament in March. This is a good chance for him to make up for the lack of a summer league with the NBA cancelling Summer League due to the on going NBA Lockout.

Joseph "It is good to play in an actual game instead of just working out. Not that working out is bad. You want to get that game experience."

Going back to draft night it was a surprise to many that Tristan Thompson was taken 4th by the Cleveland Cavs. It was also a surprise that Joesph himself was taken in the first round by the Spurs. But according to Joesph he expected both to happen.

Joseph " I knew I was going go in the first round and I kinda knew Tristan was going go at four. I love Tristan going at four that was almost better than me going at 29 maybe just the same. He is like my brother so I loved it. "

Many had hoped that Thompson would be suiting up for Team Canada as well. Rautins said on Thompson participating for Team Canada, " When the time is right he will play." Coach Rautins continued " There is different things going on one is school and the other is physically. He was a little down after all the pre-draft workouts. I know personally from watching Andy (Rautins) he was exsuasted he was physically wiped out. So I can't judge anyone individually as to what they are feeling. That is the word I am getting, I have no issue with it when the time is right he will be here."

Thompson is obviously at the top of the list of a great wave of young Canadians and while this is a great thing for Team Canada and Coach Rautins moving forward it will be vital to get these players in red and white. But he was able to get Joseph on board. According to coach Rautins Cory had want to be a part of things from the first phase but was unable too. But he is here now and likes the idea of having some seniority over Thompson and Myck Kabongo who many would hope follow their friend Cory to Team Canada eventually. Joseph had this to say on the topic, " Definitely I am the one that did it first. But everybody has their different situations. So I am not sure what their situations are right now you would have to ask them."

It is something that will be an ongoing topic has time marches on. As the talent pool grows for Canada in terms of basketball it is great for fans of the sport. In terms of the national team it is vital that they get these young players as part of the program. San Antonio is a good place for that in terms of the NBA as they have had many players that are key parts of their roster play internationally. Cleveland might be a different case but time will tell. Ultimately no NBA Team can officially stand in the way of a player choosing to play internationally. But to have a franchise supportive of that certainly helps. Matt Bonner also of the Spurs has wanted to play for Canada but has had issues becoming a Canadian despite being married to a Canadian and having a Canadian direct relative. In the Case of Thompson, Kabongo and a number of others that are gaining attention that will not be an issue. The issue will be Canada Basketball being effective in recruiting them to play. Joel Anthony had been one of the successes in that regard. He has been a fixture in the program for a number of years. Andy Rautins also not just because his last name but his talent has been part of the program as well. Now Cory is part of that mix for this summer and hopefully moving forward.

In terms of his NBA Future Joseph has not had much time to get to know his new organization. He explains how things have worked in terms of him getting ready for the NBA.

Joseph "There was like a 4 day gap before the lockout I was able to do a little mini-camp. After that I haven't been able to have contact with them. I can talk to the players though, and have been able to talk to some of the younger guys and they have been helping me learn the plays and all of that."

It is much the same as the experience NFL Rookies had to go through. There was a window when the NFL Lockout was lifted and they were able to briefly reach out to organizations that drafted them. It will make things a little tougher for all the rookies waiting for the NBA Season to start. Joseph though at least will have the security that comes with being drafted in the first round. Assuming that it remains the same that would mean a guaranteed contract for a number of years and a real chance to make it with San Antonio. The Spurs prior to the lockout made some moves that suggest he will have a chance as well.

He now leaves Texas and will likely be replaced by his friend and fellow Canadian Myck Kabongo. We have had the chance to have Myck in this blog on several occasions. So it was good to hear that he has been able to help Myck. He says he has been there for him answering any questions he has had. But he is confident that Myck will do well and spoke to how intelligent and talented he is. Something that I would agree with and the same can be said for Joseph himself. Kabongo will be starting his freshman year at Texas this season and is one of the top freshman entering the NCAA this season.

As for Joseph he debuted in two wins for Canada this past weekend over Belgium. Coach Rautins likes the fact that he can throw Joseph out on the floor with a number of players including Jermaine Anderson, Carl English and his son Andy. It also is good when you press the fast forward button and imagine a back court of Kabongo and Joseph some day in the future. As for the present here is Cory's thoughts on his debut.

Joseph: "It feels great to represent your country. Getting in touch with the team, the players and the plays. I feel like it was a pretty good start, it could have been better but we got two wins and that is all that matters."

While many will lament on the fact Thompson is not here. The fact Joseph is still is a big positive for Canada moving forward as they attempt to qualify for the Olympics in London in the group qualifier in Argentina at the end of the month. The day may still come that we see Thompson and Joseph re-unite and rekindle what we saw in burnt orange in Canada red and white. But for now Joseph has the likes of Andy Rautins, Joel Anthony and others to play with. His addition on it's own makes Canada better.

He is an impressive young man and in the few times I have had to talk with him that shines through. What is great about this young generation of players that Joseph is a part of is that they are not only talented they are good quality people as well. Canada Basketball is lucky to have the pool of talent growing in this country. For them to be ultimately successful it will take getting these kids to be part of the program. That is the challenge that lies ahead in the long term future. The challenge in the short term is to punch a ticket to the Olympics in London.


Cory Joseph Is A Go For Canada.

Just a brief update that might make you re-think if you would like to go out and see Team Canada on the weekend. Cory Joseph is going to be playing for Canada. The first round pick of the San Antonio Spurs has decided to suit up for Canada in the Pre-Olympic Qualifier and play on the weekend in exhibition games at Ryerson on Saturday and here at McMaster which I will be covering on Sunday afternoon. Tickets are 10 bucks well worth coming out. This will be a big plus for Canada to add Joseph to the fold. His Texas Teammate Tristan Thompson will not be though. But it is a step in the right direction that he might someday if Cory remains committed to the program. Myck Kabongo could also be a potential player for Canada in the future but he will be pre-paring in Austin for his freshman season with Longhorns. Picture on the left is from when both Thompson and Joseph were in town working out with the Raptors prior to the NBA Draft. Leo Rautins will be happy to have Joseph on the squad no doubt. He will be happier if Thompson and Kabongo follow their friend to his roster. Myck played lasted summer for Canada's under 18 team and earned a bronze medal in San Antonio. Rautins would love to have another Spurs player as well in the former Raptor Matt Bonner who still is being denied his Canadian Citizenship.


DNB Lockout Journal- Basketball Is Back...Not The NBA.

So the NBA remains locked out and the Atlanta Hawks might have a new owner. Guess he doesn't mind the fact that he will lose money in Atlanta. That or he has bought into the belief that David Stern will win at the end of it all and provide a structure with cost certainty that makes an NBA Franchise a better investment. But there will be more than enough time to talk about the NBA Lockout in future days, weeks and months.

I am going to cover a basketball game this weekend. Canada Basketball is having a couple games this weekend vs Belgium. I admit I know little to nothing about Belgium but on the surface it would seem games that Canada should win. Games are taking place at Ryerson in Toronto at 6pm this Saturday and they travel down the highway to my neck of the woods at McMaster on Sunday Afternoon at 2pm. Admission is 10 dollars for both.

It makes me recall the last time the national Men's Team was here in Hamilton. This was before I had access with the Raptors and decided to go down and check it out more as a fan than as a journalist. I got a chance to talk with Sam Dalembert that day for about 10-15 minutes. I had got there early and happened to run into him. He was a very nice guy. It made the blowup that would happen later even more puzzling for me. This was a guy that I talked with 2 weeks earlier that was totally on board with playing for this country for a longtime. But a dispute with Leo Rautins lead to him being kicked off the team and him saying he would no longer consider playing for Canada with Leo in charge.

While winning will play a role in Leo Rautins future running Canada Basketball. It will also or should be about recruiting players to the program. Tristan Thompson will not be here in Hamilton or at Ryerson in Toronto playing for Canada. While you can understand why he isn't going to be with the state of things in the NBA. He is entering the league and has yet to play a game. It is vital that he does at some point though and this does not become another Jamal Maglorie situation. He along with Cory Joesph also drafted in the first round by San Antonio and Myck Kabongo who heads to Texas where both Thompson and Joesph starred will also not be there.

It is vital for Canada basketball to bring these kids into the fold. While Ryerson and Mac are nice venues to go watch basketball and be close to the action. It would be a lot nicer for Canada Basketball if they could be playing at the Air Canada Centre and Copps Coliseum. But those venues would be mighty empty as of now. But if you had young exciting Canadians that once the NBA is back should be part of the fold than perhaps that would draw some interest to make that a viable idea. Team Canada does have Joel Anthony and Andy Rautins both on NBA Rosters. But they are not going to draw like these kids could or Steve Nash would. In fact even Matt Bonner the Raptors former Red Rocket is likely to draw a bigger crowd.

He still remains stuck in limbo trying to become a Canadian and play for Canada. Why this is taking so long is anyone's guess. It sure didn't with Sam Dalembert who became a Canadian right here in Hamilton Ontario. The blame may be on the government and the system. It could be on Canada basketball for not being able to work the system to get him in. But one thing is almost a certainty if Bonner was a talent center in hockey he would have been singing O Canada and have his citizenship long ago.

You hope for the best for the program and they look to qualify for the Olympics in London soon. It great to have all of this talent coming up through their system. But if they can not cash in on it and turn that into a team that can compete and at least make World Championships and Olympics on the Men's Senior level it will be a failure. As a Canadian I am passionate about the success of Canada Basketball just as much as the majority of people obsess about hockey. But in Hockey there is so much talent it is easy to turn away a player here and there. In Basketball Canada needs it's very best to even have a chance to win. I hope for a day that we can see a team like that someday soon.

But for now any kind of basketball is welcome with the state of the NBA. So if you consider yourself a basketball fan and not just one of the Raptors or the NBA, then you have a chance this weekend to see some. There is a 100% chance to see these games. The percentage you see the Raptors open up against the Sixers in November gets lower by the day.


DNB Lockout Journal- Dealing With Lockout

For almost 4 years this blog has dominated my life. I worked very hard to get it to points that I never thought possible. Getting the chance to interview so many people and players along the way. I have loved every minute of it for the most part. This in addition to getting to know many of you out there that read this blog on a regular basis. Even a few that I now consider friends. Heading into this lockout I was not sure how I would handle it. After all the amount of time I invested in this blog took up a big part of my life.

As things have turned out I honestly have enjoyed the break. Now as most people know the off-season of the NBA has never been a particular favourite part of mine in terms of doing this. While some people love the rumours and speculation that the off-season brings I never have. So much of the stuff that comes out turns out to be nothing more than rumour. But for a lot of folks they love that type of stuff. So they likely miss it a lot. Still when you look at the state of affairs in terms of the lockout you are seeing a lot of the same legal mess that was part of the NFL Lockout. It makes it seems clear that this thing has a long way to go. I am glad David Stern isn't going to take a paycheck during the lockout. However maybe he should take a paycheck and offer it to the many many people that won't have jobs as a result of this lockout. A lot of people making far less than David Stern count on the NBA to make their living.

But the one thing that has been good about all of this is it has allowed me more time to relax and spend time with my mother. I had two experiences this week that had nothing to do with this blog or basketball. I found out someone who was a friend of mine in college died over the weekend in a tragic accident. It makes you think when anyone dies that you know. Really at the end of it all life is what is most important. It sure as heck is not about who wins a messy labour war. It even isn't about if we will be able to enjoy basketball games in fall no matter how much we may love them. In the end life is about people. That is what counts.

The other was I discover an old friend of mine was following me on Twitter. I am sure you have all noticed that I have not been that active on there since the lockout began. The truth is Twitter was a big part of work for me and with less work to do it has caused me to use twitter less. Which might not be that bad a thing. Sometimes I worry about this world with everyone addicted to gadgets and what not. I have become guilty of it too. Every once in awhile it doesn't hurt to put down the Blackberry or Iphone and just experience life without reporting it back to the world. I some how managed to have a life without a Blackberry and did have one before Twitter and Facebook too. They are great things don't get me wrong but they are not the be all and end all either.

So if you find you have more time on your hands during this lockout. Here is an idea. Call an old friend (Yes Call that thing you did before texting) see how they are doing. Spend some time you would invest in basketball with your family. Go share your love of basketball with some kids and teach them how to shoot and pass a ball. These things will provide you more joy than anything the NBA can provide you.

Yes when this all is over we may all go back to being crazy for the sport. But hopefully we all are a little less crazy and take the time to remember that as much as we may love the sport of basketball there is more things to life and no NBA Season, player or team is bigger than that. At the end of the day it has been said many times that sports are just a distraction from life. Which is true. So when the NBA is back don't let the magical distraction that it is take over. Enjoy life because none of us know how long or short a time we have to do so.


DNB Top 10- Lockout Edition

Hello all. The DNB Top 10 will make a lockout appearance. James Borbath your Dino Blogger at the controls. So if there wasn't a lockout what would we be talking about? That is the focus of this DNB Top 10.

10. Mama can that man Coach? Yes Mark Jackson finally will be a coach in the NBA. It seems almost fitting the lockout is preventing him from getting his chance. But can he actually be a good coach in the NBA? How can he help or hurt the development of Steph Curry. Can he actually make the Warriors more than lottery regulars?

9. I thought we had a G.M Already? The Raptors are searching for Bryan Colangelo's replacement as G.M. The team leading up the search is Bryan Colangelo. What all this will mean for the Raptors and how this will impact on newly hired coach Dwane Casey. Don't you hire the coach first and then a G.M?

8. Hang Up Your Spurs. Have we seen the end of an era in San Antonio? After a first round exit to the Grizzlies who had never won a playoff game let alone a series prior to that. Is this the end for Timmy and the rest in San Antonio?

7. What will Mark Cuban Do For An Encore? Mavs are champs and Mark Cuban said the might not even get rings? Championship Belts? Who knows but could you see the Commissioner David Stern being happy about this? More important then all of that was this a flash in the pan or are the Mavs legit contenders to repeat in the West?

6. OKC now legit contenders for an NBA Title? Step one make the playoffs....check. Step 2 make it all the way to the Conference Finals...check. Step 3 Go to the NBA Finals ??? It sure seems that Kevin Durant has a team on the verge of greatness in one of the NBA's smaller markets. Can the Thunder be considered the best in the West and the guys to challenge the folks in Miami for years to come in the NBA Finals? Can Russell Westbrook be part of that winning formula?

5. Got Mello Now What? Oh yes the Knicks have Carmelo Anthony and Amare too. They finally returned to the playoffs. But the have no G.M in place after Donnie Walsh was forced out. Rumours that Isiah Thomas could be back. Oh it is a mess in New York City. If and when this lockout ends will the Knicks have the power to build on what they have? A new CBA might just high jack there plans of building there own super team to compete with the Heat.

4. Boston Is to old to win? We talked about the Spurs might be done. How about the original Big 3 in Boston. Has the window shut on their chance to call themselves contenders in the East? Sure they still are likely the best team in the Atlantic Division but that is not saying a lot when you look at the Sixers, Nets, Raptors. Aside from the aforementioned Knicks there is not a lot in the division. But in the East with Bulls and Heat looking far better than Boston is this the end for them. Rajon Rondo would have to be super human for it not to be.

3. Coming Soon...Superman Has Left Orlando Again. Oh yes we all remember when the original Superman Shaq took his cape and flew off to La La Land. Now Dwight Howard is already making noise he will do the same. Well if Orlando does not contend for a title. Which is a pretty safe bet they won't. So will Otis Smith get the drop on Dwight and trade him like The Nuggets and Jazz did? Or will he ride it out and face the possibility of getting screwed over like the Cavs and Raptors. But cheer up Magic fans you still have 4 more years of Gilbert Arenas the former agent 0 to look forward too.

2. Miami Heat How Do They Improve? They still have there 3 mega stars. But they lack some serious depth in South Beach. If the new CBA is not a friendly one how will the Heat get better to start winning all those rings Lebron James promised? If they can't add depth beyond the 3 big names how long before we start hearing Chris Bosh trade rumours? The newlyweds would not like to be relocated to some awful place like Milwaukee or worse Sacramento. While some Raptor fans would take pure joy in even the possibility.

1. Lakeshow Drama In Full Effect. We have heard very little from Kobe Bryant. He was not in the loop on the hiring of Phil Jackson's replacement. He might have to call Lebron James and get the low down on why Mike Brown is a terrible coach. Oh and we have Ron Artest who has changed his name like Chad Johnson did in the NFL. Lamar still married to a Kardashian. Mike Brown's over under on being Laker Coach is perhaps 2 years at best. It is never easy to replace a coaching legend in sports. Jimmy Johnson did a good job replacing Tom Landry with the Cowboys. But those things are rare. How long before Phil Jackson gets a call from Pat Riley to ask to take his talents to South Beach? Will it take longer than it will for Kobe to get Brown fired or demand a trade out of L.A? Things are not looking up for the Lakers. It is scary to think the Clippers might have a brighter future than the Lakers. Well it might not be that bad but things sure are set up for a Lakers implosion.

So those are things we should be talking about. Instead we are talking about the lack of progress in labour talks. Here is a story from Adrian Wojnarowski from Yahoo Sports on where things stand with the Lockout after unsuccessful talks on Monday. But it is summer time and he weather is hot so enjoy it. The NBA Lockout will be still there waiting for you in the fall.