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  Does Getting Along Matter?

Apr. 21, 2010, 12:50 PM

The 2010-2011 Toronto Raptors were a team whose players generally got along better than they performed. In a perfect, or even a middle of the standings world, it would have been the other way around. Thought you should know: there is no column for love in the standings. Since friction is often the by-product of healthy competition, an abundance of good feeling could actually be a bad thing.

Who can forget the ever-grouchy Charles Oakley calling out Vince Carter as a mama’ boy in the 2001 playoffs.

That’s harsh but Michelle Carter shook off the comparison and went on to live a productive life.

For those of you reading this in your parents’ basements or cadging it online at the office or school library (God bless you children), the 1972 Oakland A’s represented the high water mark for discord in professional sports, at least before players started pointing bazookas at each other in the Washington Wizards’ dressing room.

The A’s won two World Series, the Wizards and Raptors did not so while teammates who despise each other don’t necessarily ruin things, there seems to be some question as to whether it helps.

I think it does and I think it is particularly important in Toronto.

Despite a 22-win season, there are a dozen free-floating ambassadors in the NBA firmament who when asked will describe Toronto as one of the top cities to live, let alone to play.

A behind the scenes look behind the dressing room doors for a feature on NBA TV Canada showed well-traveled Reggie Evans tearing into a post-practice meal and reminding younger players that comparable luxuries are not available in all NBA cities.

Every player on the exit interview endorsed head coach Jay Triano. That can’t be a bad thing.

Who knows, maybe some discord would have boosted the club to a few more wins. When you only win 20, the list of things that have pushed you higher is pretty extensive.

But internal power struggles mean young players move a little closer to being jaded and the frustrating chore of trying to land helpful free agents never gains traction.

This off-season, the vibe, the sky-high potential of DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis as well as the promise of a premium draft pick, make for a markedly different scenario.

Call me sentimental. I’ll take the love.