Was a time to play “what if” the other night with an old friend
It’s after the game in Milwaukee on Saturday night and I’m waking down the hall to the Raptors locker room to see what’s up and I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in too long.
John Hammond.
And the first thing that came to mind — even before congratulating him for getting the Bucks to the playoffs was:
What if?
What if the Raptors hadn’t screwed up so many years ago when they had the chance to hire Hammond?
What if they hadn’t blown it by going through a ridiculous process of whittling a large group to four only to say they were going to open up the process again only to come back to the same four and eventually picking Rob Babcock.
The four — Babcock, Jeff Weltman, Mark Warkentien and Tony DiLeo (remember that Gang of Four?) —were basically underwhelming at that time and that the Raptors — and I am pointing a finger directly at Richard Peddie — didn’t even deign to interview Hammond, who was the No. 1 man to Joe Dumars in Deroit at the time, was a shocking blown opportunity.
John wanted the job and deserved to have a shot at it; the short-sightedness of Peddie and his people set the franchise back years, so far that they might still be digging out almost a decade later.