Time for Raps to right past wrongs

JODY VANCE -- 24 Hours Toronto

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

I'm hanging out at the Jays game Tuesday night, when all of a sudden the Jumbotron flashes: "Breaking news: Toronto Raptors win the NBA Draft Lottery, securing the first overall pick."

Stunned, we all pull out our trusty BlackBerrys to ensure it's not April 1.

It's no joke.

The Snackman stops by and quips, "Good thing (Rob) Babcock's gone 'cause you know he'd trade down."

Past bitterness lingers.

Past draft debacles and questionable management practices have brought the Toronto Raptors to their knees in recent years, but with new President and GM Bryan Colangelo at the helm, the team has begun to turn the corner.

Colangelo has quietly made it known that consensus decision-making is history, this is his team and he will make moves based on his plan and those moves will be made with purpose, conviction and no excuses.

FAN 590 Raptors play-by-play man Eric Smith says this is yet another step in the right direction for this club.

"It didn't take Bryan Colangelo long to put his mark on this team -- bringing his golden touch and good fortune from Phoenix."

While the lottery win is fortuitous for the Raptors, they can't put all their eggs in the No. 1 pick basket. There is no LeBron James in the mix this time.

Smith is ever the optimist. "Everybody says there's no consensus No. 1 pick this year but, hey, this is a good problem to have."

Colangelo is taking the good fortune in stride and proving himself a pro: "Now the Toronto Raptors find themselves in a situation with not only the No. 1 pick but cap flexibility ... The combination gives us plenty of options and we are playing with a full deck."

With that kind of talk, perhaps Toronto's NBA team can rip a page out of the Jays' off-season playbook -- and give fans a reason to talk basketball even when the Leafs are playing.

Jody Vance is a longtime television sportscaster and personality living in Toronto. Her column appears Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 Hours.


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