(Sam’s big brother Phil would like a word with these Sports Illustrated comedians)

The Toronto Raptors have yet to tip-off the regular season and they’re already receiving major recognition. Sort of. The Toronto Sun’s Steve Buffrey explains.

The Sports Illustrated website (SI.com) has come up with an all-poison NBA team and two Raptors made the list, head coach Sam Mitchell and forward/guard Jalen Rose.

SI.com contributor Paul Forrester included Rose on the list with this explanation: “Rose has made a career out of playing the hired gun, imported by teams so desperate for additional offence that they were willing to hide their eyes at his statue-like defence. Those teams also share a willingness to unload Rose and his salary-cap choking contract at the first nibble.”

As for Mitchell, Forrester added: “Who better to coach the most dysfunctional team we could dream up than a coach who reportedly regularly challenged his own players to fight him last season?”

To be fair, Mitchell denied ever “wrestling” Vince Carter or wanting to go after Rafer Alston, although nobody with the Raptors probably would have blamed him if he had. As for the Carter incident, the Toronto journalist who reported it lost his job shortly after.

Mitchell claimed that he never saw the article in SI.com, but was not amused.

“A smart man, (Raptors’) Wayne Embry, always told me never dignify a stupid question,” Mitchell said yesterday, when asked about the report.