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A couple of harsh truths about the NBA Summer League – Toronto Star

By Doug SmithSports Reporter

Mon., Aug. 9, 20214 min. read

Article was updated 2 mins ago

Since the Summer League season is full upon us and it holds greater interest among some Raptors fans for the first time in years because of the players involved, how last season ended and what’s in store for this season, I hold there to be two undeniable truths.

The first is that the No. 4 overall pick and a second-year NBA point guard who played in 47 games and started 14 are supposed to dominate or at least be very good every time out.

So, yeah, it must have been comforting to many that Scottie Barnes and Malachi Flynn looked quite good in Toronto’s win on Sunday, that’s what it’s supposed to be and if it was the other way around for a game or two or three, there’d would be legitimate cause of some minor concern.

As you know, I believe you can’t find out for sure who can play from Summer League performances but you can find out who can’t.

We knew Barnes could play, you don’t get to be the No. 4 pick in the draft by bluffing your way through  a college season or two so the fact he was confident after a bit of a nervous start and showed defensive chops and offensive promise isn’t news, it’s what’s expected.

Same with Flynn. The measure of his improvement will come in November in a backup NBA role, not in any enhanced Summer League roll.

Look, it’s good that they both played well but, in the grand scheme of things, it should have been that way.

The proof will come in the fall and the promise of today doesn’t mean an awful lot until we get to see them against legit NBA competition when camp and the season. For now, it looks good but …

The second undeniable truth is this:

The NBA deserves some kind of all-time hype award for turning what, at its heart is a glorified series of exhibitions involving mostly G League talent into a social media and TV bonanza.

All the power to them and I know many people love this but, really, it’s astonishing what it’s become.

I hope everyone there has a lot of fun and sees a lot of friends and does good work but the event is given far too much gravitas given its reality.

Very solid mailbag yesterday and I don’t know what you’ll come up with this week but I’m sure you’ll do great.

All it takes is clicking on and sending along a question that will be magically answered here Sunday morning sometime.

So they’ve doused the flame in Tokyo and that was some couple of weeks, wasn’t it?

I’ll leave it to the taller foreheads to sum up what it means in the grand scheme of things but given all the dire prognostications about super spreader event possibility and the way things would shake out, I think the organizers – not the IOC because it’s evil – deserve some thanks and praise. And I don’t know how or when I’m going to get to Tokyo sometime because I feel that’s the right thing to do.

The athletes? Well, you know how I feel about them. They are inspirational and amazing and push themselves to such limits it’s almost incomprehensible to us normal people. That they give us such drama and emotion is something we should be thankful for. I do know that I will be looking to find ways to watch them over the next three years and you should, too.

Finally, this was a very interesting Games for me, the first Summer Olympics since 1988 that I wasn’t at.

It was odd and I really wish I’d been assigned to go but I will say this: People of Canada are absolutely spoiled by the level and depth of coverage.

The printed words were as outstanding as they always are and even at the seven Games I attended, I knew that.

What I mean is the TV coverage. Wall to wall. Live. Every event you could possibly want to see you could see as it happened and that simply doesn’t happen in a lot of the world.

It made my Games experience tremendous and no viewer should ever take that for granted.

I think Night Court was tremendously under-rated as a TV sitcom and I am sure I’m not the only person of my vintage to have a crush on Markie Post.


It’s funny, there was a CNN show Sunday night that chronicled the history of the sitcom – it was very much a broad strokes look but it was kind of fun – and two things became apparent.

First, there were some very hokey and campy shows back in the day but they were entertaining and the start of the sitcom arc nonetheless.

Second, two of the greatest TV show theme songs of all time were the Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres and if you don’t agree, you’re wrong.

This was great.

This might have been greater.

At worst, it’s a tie, right?


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