There’s an NBA story that won’t get a lot of attention that deserves to – the Raptors have dropped the interim tag from coach Jay Triano and given him a three year extension. At first glance this might not make much sense – he was just 25-40 after taking over from Sam Mitchell. You need to look at two things, though – what he had to work with and how he finished. The team was a total mess last year between injuries, the whole Jermaine O’Neal debacle, the big trade at the deadline, and so on. The fact that he won even 25 games in those circumstances is a miracle. On top of that, down the stretch when nothing mattered and the team had every reason in the world to collapse, he got them to finish at 9-4. Granted, there were some soft opponents in there, but they did beat Orlando in Orlando. I’ve been partial to Triano for a long time – he’s a Canadian like me, and the only guy in recent memory who has had any success coaching our national team. He’s also one of the good guys in the sport – he’s intelligent, strategic, and he knows his stuff. Toronto desperately needs some stability and something that works, and that can start with a good coaching regime. Triano brings that. I was high on Toronto coming into this past season. I won’t be fooled again, but this certainly improves their chances next year.
I meant to touch on it last week, but I think that the Rams have officially lost their minds. After a series of strange and seemingly directionless roster moves this offseason, they really came up with the capper – they cut Pisa Tinoisamoa. Tinoisamoa doesn’t get the respect he probably deserves – the linebacker led the team in tackles last year and in four of the last six years. He’s not the biggest guy in the league, and the reason the Rams gave for the move is that he’s below the ideal size for a strongside linebacker in a 4-3. That may be true, but at this point the Rams should be more interested in having guys who can play, and Tinoisamoa never takes a play off. He’s a hustler and a grinder, and that’s the kind of player a team should be embracing instead of rejecting as they try to undertake a massive rebuilding project. This move doesn’t give me a lot of faith in new coach Steve Spagnuolo, but to be fair I didn’t have a whole lot to begin with.