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(JASON MILLER)
(JASON MILLER)

On sitting LeBron, and a lament for tanking Add to ...

Cleveland - Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown said he was the squeamish type, so he hadn't watch Milwaukee Buck Andrew Bogut's season-ending fall on Saturday, but he said the risk of a freak injury was no reason for him to sit LeBron James for any or all of the five games remaining on the Cavaliers schedule, including tonight's against the Toronto Raptors.

"Knock on wood you don't what something like that to happen for anybody [but] you can't control that, that same thing can happen in practice. It's a delicate balance, you have be conscious of that stuff, but you can't base you life on it," he said.

The Cavaliers have the luxury of home court advantage throughout the playoffs wrapped up so Brown can do anything he wants as he tries to guide the Cavaliers to the post-season as expertly as possible. Along the way he has to work in Anderson Varejao who's been out with a hamstring problem, get Zydranus Ilgauskas back into game shape, find space in the rotation for Shaquille O'Neal, who has been out after thumb surgery and possibly back for the weekend - Antawn Jamison, added at the trade deadline, has never played a game with Shaq - and also find time to rest James.

"I don't think there's any right answer out there. We're going to take it game by game, I have a plan in mind, but it could be subject to change as we go along," said Brown.

I asked him if he'd be more likely to rest his franchise player at home or on the road - the Cavaliers play in Chicago on Thursday - and Brown said that wouldn't be a factor in his decision.

"What we have to do is think about what's good for him and the team first. If you start thinking 'I got to play him tonight because it's a home game and our fans have paid to come the game; he's a little banged up, but I still got to play him, I don't know how much sense it makes for me to do that. So I have to see what's best for him and what's best for the team going into the playoffs before I make that decision. Right now, whether we're at home or on the road, it's not a factor in my decision."

My spider sense tells me LeBron is going to sit tonight.

*****

Look, quoting yourself is kind of a weak move, journalistically, I'll be the first to admit.

But this is my blog, so screw it.

My overwhelming thought watching the Raptors somehow lose to Golden State the other day was this: Why didn't the Raptors draft Stephen Curry?

It's pretty clear on the strength of his play this year he's going to be a very special player. Is he the bundle of athletic potential that Derrick Rose is? No. But neither is Steve Nash, and he gets by pretty well. Watching Curry live, that's what came to mind. He's nowhere near the ball-handler Nash is yet. And it's probably a reach to suggest he'll ever be quite the passer Nash has proven to be. But he plays with the same calm, focused intensity. He's much quicker and more athletic than his jumping ability (above average, but not great spectacular) would lead people to believe. And my God can he shoot, which in the case of each player compliments everything they do, rather defines it. And plus he likes the city and his girlfriend's family is from here.

The easy answer to the question is that the Raptors were picking ninth and Curry was taken seventh.

But I'm also curious why the Raptors didn't draft Ricky Rubio (taken fifth)? Or even Tyreke Evans, who went fourth?

This is nothing against DeMar DeRozan exactly. He's been just as advertised: A very athletic player with limited elite basketball experience who has at time shone in his first NBA season but more often has been kind of meh. He's no Sonny Weems, in other words. He's put in a lot of time on his game and will surely become the player he's destined to be, it's just yet to be determined what kind of player that is.

But wouldn't the tone of the discussion right now be a little different if the Raptors had a rookie in the fold who not only was significant, game-changing talent, but quite likely a potential star?

Can we agree on that?

Which brings me to myself. A year ago the Raptors were on a winning streak, one that ended up with them finishing 9-4 in their last 13 games. What a waste.

This is what I wrote then in response to Tom Liston of Raptors Republic who - as a season ticket holder - objected to my argument then on the merits of tanking.

"Presuming the Raptors scouting staff would never get this wrong, they should get a better player picking 5th than 9th, or 8th than 9th, for that matter. And I guess my view is that if you're going to miss the playoffs or just make them and get crushed in the first round, better to pick fifth than 13th, or 16th. But hey, easy for me to say."

And that was just more of a theme I began musing on as far back as January, when it was pretty clear the Raptors best case was .500 record and a seventh or eighth seed - sound familiar?

Had the Raptors traded Jermaine O'Neal's contract for cap space and really started tanking they could easily had a chance to pick as high as fourth last summer.

Does anyone think the Raptors wouldn't be a more interesting team with Evans or Rubio or Steph Curry in the fold?

That's the real problem with this franchise right now. Even if Bosh comes back, is there a lot of room for optimism? If he leaves there's less.

The Raptors have been on a treadmill - just outside the playoffs or just in, middling draft positions -- for three straight years despite some valiant attempts to get off it, and several more before that if you exclude 2006-07. Now more and more it appears they're going to be kicked off it and quite rudely.

Anyone know how the class of 2011 is looking?

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