Q&A: Opening night
Doug Smith hosted a live Q&A to talk Raptors as they prepare to open their 2007-08 NBA season at home against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Q&A is over, thanks for your questions. Hit Refresh to get the newest version and scroll down for the latest questions.
Hello, ladies and germs,
Just got done at shootaround here in the quiet of the ACC, no news of any significance to report, Sam Dalembert said his foot's okay and he should play; Sam Mitchell's not sure how long he can stretch out Chris Bosh's minutes tonight but other than that, nothing earth-shattering.
Got questions for Friday's Mail Bag? Bring ‘em on
Q: Hey Doug, with the new season starting tonight, like every Raptors fan I can't wait to get started and watch the Raptors make all the U.S. writers look silly when it comes to their predictions on Toronto's team. My question is for everyone that's going to be celebrating at the ACC tonight, is there anything special going on? Anything you know of for the first 10,000 fans or anything like that? Great job and thanks as always!
Luke C., North York
A: Far as I've heard, there's nothing extra special planned; the Atlantic Division banner has already been raised, there are no rings to give out. You'll get the usual hoopla, I presume somebody (Chris Bosh?) will say something pre-game and there's sure to be new intro music.
But other than that, the usual sensory overload NBA experience.
Q: Hi Doug, I am curious if the Tuesday “Nothin' but Net” piece is on a one-week hiatus or if you're new blog has taken made that piece obsolete. My 2 cents are to keep the Tuesday/Friday pieces as they were. You had a great thing going and it would be a shame to lose them to a simple blog (as great as a blog can be).
Bill Logan, Toronto
A: Simple blog? Wow. (Kidding)
It was tough to go away from Nothing But (Iner)Net, which is what we thought about calling the blog but technical glitches stopped us. I'll still do a Friday mailbag, though, to stay in touch.
And we'll try to weave as many Lists and Basketball 101s into the daily thing as we can.
Q: Hi Doug,
Other than the players, I think one of the highlights of every game is the mascot. Is it one person underneath the costume or do several people share the role? What type of background do they have? Their resume must include some sort of theatrical experience, I would think.
David Hatton, Toronto
A: That dude or dudette (I'll never tell) is the hardest working Chicken in show business. It's one person in there all the time. And as for its background? I'm not really at liberty to tell but I'd think you'd have to have been a darn good gymnast to carry off some of those stunts. Oh, and be a bit of ham, too.
Q: After seeing the final pre-season game against the Wizards, I couldn't believe how well Bargnani was playing, and how much he's progressed in just one year.
Doug, what do you think the odds are that at the end of this season, you'll be able to say "Bargnani is now a better player than Bosh"?
Roger B., Toronto, Ontario
A: Good? Better? Best? It's all subjective and they are really different players. I do think we'll be able to say Bargnani is as valuable to this team as Bosh is, and has the potential to be as dominant in any given game, by about the all-star break. If not before.
Q: Hi Doug,
First time I've written but never miss a mailbag. So I'm sorry that the first time I write is criticism. But what's with you and Feschuk writing off Garbo (Saturday)?
You write that the nine-man rotation will be "T.J. Ford, Anthony Parker, Kapono, Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani and backups Jose Calderon, Rasho Nesterovic, Carlos Delfino and either Kris Humphries or Juan Dixon." And Feschuk says Garbo sucks because he only got 3 points in 18 minutes of a pre-season game and has a broken leg. I'd play Garbo over Dixon and Humphries if he only had one leg. Please tell me that you just made a mistake on your list (and that Feschuk was just kidding). Otherwise, keep up the good work.
Phil Leonard, Hamilton, Ont.
A: Here's the gig, we didn't write him off, he sort of did with some so-so practice and games. But not to worry, I'm told this week he's worked harder, played with more energy and is once again going to be counted on to contribute.
Q: Hey Doug,
I have written in before and no post, what's up with that? Although I am excited to see my own writing re-published I am more excited to see the answer to my question. If the Raptors do not go farther than the first round this year would you keep the team statues quo or would you make a move from frustration reverting back to our inevitable achilles heal: a lack of aggressive athleticism at the SG/SF position? If you have to make a decision based on potential... if you could only sign EITHER Bosh or Bargnani to a long-term deal who would it be?
Jesse Solomon, London, Ont.
A: We're getting a little ahead of ourselves with the spectre of post-season failure, aren't we? I don't think Bryan Colangelo ever makes a move out of "frustration" but not seeing improvement this year from last would certainly lead him to tweak the roster a little bit. Gone are the days of wholesale change because the nucleus is still good but two or three new pieces wouldn't be out of the question.
Bosh-Bargnani? Only one? Long-term? Knowing what we know now? Let's just say I'd give Bargnani a six-year deal today before I'd make the offer to Bosh. But I would make the same offer to him, eventually.
Q: Hey Doug it was the last 10 seconds of the last exibition game, Toronto had 99 points, we, the fans at the ACC where chanting "Pizza Pizza". Derek Martin with the ball, my question to you; Why wouldnt he go for it? instead he ran off the clock at the half line smiling as he heard us chant, does he think me missin out on free pizza is funny? Tell Martin next time you see him he owes Tyron a slice.
Tyron Anderson, Toronto
A: It was actually 98 and he would have had to hit a three. Believe me, he knew exactly what the score was and looked over to the bench to see what they thought about him putting one up. They didn't think it was the brightest of ideas. You don't think D Mart would have passed up a shot given the green light, do you?
So, I think it's Sam who owes you a slice and I'll mention it to him tonight.
Q: Hello D-man! Your weekly mailbags are breathtaking, utterly breathtaking! I look forward to them each and every week. But enough brown nosing, let me get to it.
Personally, I hate the Raptors jerseys. They're ugly. If you get a chance to talk to BC, please tell him to go back to the retro purple and black striped dino jerseys. Those were sick! Honestly Doug, you can't tell me you find the jerseys visually appealing?
Other than that go Raptors!
Matt Waechter, Toronto
A: You think I've got fashion sense? Seen me lately?
I often get the chance to talk to Bryan, I'll bring up the desire for purple and black pinstriped uniforms but, trust me, that dude's got fashion sense and he's not going to go for it.
Q: Hey Doug, I've enjoyed reading your columns for as long as I can remember so much so, you are the only local sports writer I read now. Congratulations on the expansion of your duties (blog).
Now, we are all in agreement that our boys in red will be in the playoffs as the last whistle blows, but my question is come April/May which teams in the East do you see as our best and worst match-ups given the flurry of movement that has transpired? I personally have never been too impressed with Washington or Cleveland. Boston will be good but without a great point guard I actually see us matching up well against them, your thoughts?
Jef Moore, St. Catharines, Ont.
A: Worst? These guys never, ever want to play Chicago; and I'm pretty sure if you asked them honestly, they'd say New Jersey was one to be avoided.
I think they wouldn't mind Boston, actually; and would take Cleveland in a heartbeat. They also would match up okay with Detroit, I think.
Q: With all the unfavourable predictions regarding the Raptors this season, mainly from "experts" down south I truly wonder what it will take for Bosh and Company to get some legitimate respect from the NBA community. A finals appearance? Bosh manhandling Garnett in the playoffs? Sam vs Isiah in a court side brawl?
Jeff Moco, Kitchener, Ont.
A: The experts are people in the media and you know how much we dont't know. I wouldn't sweat it.
Coaches and players respect these guys, a lot.
Respect from the prognosticators? Getting to the conference finals would open some eyes, I'm sure. So would a 55-win regular season.
Kobe's on the block and you're probably sick of hearing stupid Raptors fans come up with lame trade scenarios since the Raptors are apparently not in the running at all. Anyways here's one more stupid fan with one more scenario.
Bargnani, Calderon, Parker, Nesterovic and a first rounder. That is a lot of talent going their way and we would still have a line of Ford, Kobe, Kapono, Bosh and Garbo, with Graham, Delfino and Humphries off the bench. The salaries are close (might need a throw in or two).
My question is, do you think that would be enough talent to get Kobe? (assuming the 1st rounder is a future pick since we would be the shizzle in the short term) thanks.
Paul Crombee, London
A: Sick of trade rumours and suggestions? C'mon!
Now, I don't think that's enough to get him at all. Sorry. And it looks like Chicago remains the favourite anyway, 'cause they've got better players to package together.
The shizzle? I take it that's good? Can I be the shizzle sometime?
Q: Hey Doug,
First off, please go tell the idiots at Raptors TV that SOME of us would like to watch a whole pre-season game, not just the game in an hour recap. And please tell them NO ONE wants to see the stupid drum team on TV ever, especially not during the already condensed game in an hour (they managed to get face time 4 times in the first 20 minutes of the Cleveland game!).
Second, I agree with the guy last week, Let's change the name to the Huskies and go to the Toronto Blue and White, as it always should have been. Let's start the movement, you can be our leader!
OK, question time. Would you trade Bosh for Kobe, and do you think we'd be better off for it (and let me just say I'm a HUGE Bosh fan and would hate to do it)? Who do you see BC trading for this season?
Dave Walker, Toronto
A: I'm all over that non-Game In An Hour thing, too; and they know it. Must be cost because it makes no sense to do a live game and not show it unless it somehow costs more.
I like Huskies better than Raptors, too; but the dye, my friend, is cast.
Yes, this is a better team with Kobe over Bosh. No, it's not going to happen. Ever.
Trading for? I have no idea and no one does; let's let everyone a couple of dozen games to see who sucks and who might be available.
Q: Hi Doug - that's a good story on Sam the Man in (Tuesday’s) paper. Now, it's handling big expectations and living in wake of desig as Coach of Year. When no one expects much, it's easier to be bold and to sleep well at night regardless of outcome. But now there ARE expectations. How will Sam ensure that higher expectations are SHARED by team and coaches; not just on his shoulders? The more shared, the easier to withstand the scrutiny. And maybe being in Toronto also helps?
Charles Novogrodsky, Toronto
A: What Sam does best of all is get that 'all-for-one' attitude to permeate the franchise, from players to staff and if there's greater expectations -- and there are -- what I imagine he'll do is impress upon them the need for even more cohesion because blips that might have gone unnoticed last year will be magnified on a team from which something big is expected.
Sam's greatest attribute is his personality and his ability to get people to work together for the common good. Being able to tell them "hey, we need to stick together now more than we ever have" plays right into his skills.
I'm not sure being in Toronto helps a lot because these guys, despite pre-season predictions, are going to become a very big story in the league, I think, which will bring the media hordes running.
Q: Great, now instead of Tuesday and Fridays, we have to put up with your snide remarks and sarcasm everyday in your blog. No really, this is great. Both the wifey and I follow your writings religiously. The way you report and write on the Raptors is like the red chilli peppers in my spaghetti. Kicked up a notch!
On to the question, Doug, considering we were the Atlantic conference champions last year, we got deeper and our core players are still young and improving, why is it that we get no respect? No respect for what we have accomplished and no respect for the potential of our core group and no respect for the team identity of our group. It’s maybe a good thing to fly under the radar but sometimes you just wish we would get some respect. Is it because this team is "north of the border"? Befuddled!
Louis Lo, Richmond Hill
A: Okay, here's another thing on the respect thing: Really, what's this team done? Won 47 games, sure; won a division in a year in which New Jersey lost a couple of key players to injury. People want to see consistency rather than a flash in the pan -- see the Clippers two seasons ago -- and if Toronto matches what it did last year this time around, they'll be the buzz of the league.
No chili peppers with spaghetti, how about a nice olive oil, some clams and a lovely bottle of red?
Q: To save yourself from more Raptors questions, so many times in the past (when he was healthy & worth something) Penny was being rumoured to be traded to Toronto. What happened to those deals and why did Grunwald back out of them in the end?
Also, do you see him being a rotation player with a significant impact this year in Miami due to his experience and veteran savviness?
Wild Ace, Toronto
A: I beleive they backed out of any serious talks because Penny Hardaway was injured more than Marcus Camby as it turns out.
And, no, I don't expect him to be a significant impact player in Miami. When Dwyane Wade gets back, I expect him to be out of the rotation.
Oh, I also expect him to eventually get hurt.
Q: Hey Doug. Great work! Keep it up.
What the heck is going on in that Aaron Lynett photo of Bosh and Moon in yesterday's blog? Do the cheerleaders snuggle around you when you write your column?
Carlos Martins, Toronto
A: Dude, I'm virtually certain that, after covering this team for 13 seasons now, that the cheerleaders (and they prefer to be called dancers, by the way!) aren't at all sure who I am, what I do or why I hang around the arena a lot.
Q: Have you ever seen Bargnani as happy as he looked on his birthday? Every pic I see and watching the GIAH, he's laying it up or whatever and just has a huge grin on his face.
Alex Taylor, London
A: He was pretty darn happy at the end of the longest day of his life in Rome at training camp this year, too.
I hadn't actually noticed last week, though. I'll take you word for his glee.
Q: Doug, every single year I under-estimate Bosh. He has continued to improve every year, to my delightful surprise. BUT, he played exactly like I thought he would in playoffs last year against the Nets; Slightly above average. Not great, not franchise like. I'm afraid Hollinger's right Doug, Bosh may have peaked. Please tell me I'm under-estimating him again?
Andrew R., T.O.
A: Andrew, you're under-estimating him again.
Let's see how he does in a second playoff appearance before we turn him into A-Rod of the hoops set, okay?
Q: Hey Doug! Love the blog. Wondering who you think the impact players for tonights game will be?
Barry Schilthuis, Caledonia
A: Tonight's game?
If I were a betting man, I'd be Bargnani has a huge game in an easy Raptor win.
Q: After watching last night's Utah game and seeing a healthy and motivated Kirilenko. The Jazz look like one of the big west teams to beat. But do you see the Jazz being able to match up with an up tempo team like Phoenix? Can't wait to go to tonight's game and feel the engergy and optimism...of course till someone gets injured.
Ed Chan, Toronto
A: You're an optimist, aren't you? Who's going to get hurt?
I like the Jazz. A lot. I'm not sure they can win the West but I wouldn't want to face them in a playoff series.
They probably can't run with Phoenix (who can?) but if Jerry Sloan gets into a series where he can run an offence that runs time off the clock on each possession, I like his chances. He would never let his team get in a track meet with Steve Nash and his cohorts.
Q: Hey Doug.
Do you think the Raps will 50 games this season?
Jay Prasaud, Toronto
I think they win 52.
Q: Hey Doug,
Really disappointed about the no (Inter)Net yesterday. I guess I was one of the tens of people you were talking about. Not sure if you caught OTR last night, but Sam Mitchell and Jason Kapono were guests. Mitchell was hilarious, cracking jokes, witty remarks, and so on. I was wondering if you've noticed how he is around the players. Does he take jabs and joke around with them at practice, or is he strictly business? It seemed like Kapono always had a smirk on his face in the background when Sam was speaking. Is the relationship between coach and players that good on this team? I can see why you guys love to interview him. What a character.
Nick Jankowski, Toronto
A: Does Sam take jabs? Do I like the occasional adult beverage?
Of course he does. All good natured and never at an inappropriate moment but part of his, um, charm, is making the odd snide comment.
He is a yuck a minute most days, when he's Cranky Sam, we all just roll our eyes and look forward to another day.
Q: Here's a straight-up "rules of the game" question:
Are players allowed to leave their feet when shooting a free throw, or are they required to make a set shot?
Just in case that was too easy, I've got one more:
Is it illegal to advance the ball with a closed fist, i.e. can a player punch the ball to his teammate?
Jon Whitzman, Ottawa
A: They can take jump shots on foul shots any time they like, as long as they don't cross the line and they can punch ball with all their might any time they feel like it. Easy? Nah. I had to think about the answers for a minute.
Q: Hey Doug, I'm tempted to see if your virus threat is real, but, I'll fight it for now...here's the real question: What's the over/under on Pierce and Allen being injured and Garnett being by himself. Just like in Minny? Is it 10 games, 15? Thanks.
Jeremy Wideman, Uxbridge, Ont.
A: I've got 25 games before one of Pierce or Allen misses a week or two, which is why I honestly think the Celtics will be life and death to make the playoffs.
Q: Hey Doug,
Just thought I'd give you a break from the norm and write about why TJ should start over Ford instead of visa versa. While Calderon is an extremely valuable player, and he and TJ make up one of the best PG combos in the league, if I'm Sam Mitchell there's no way I start Jose over TJ.
First off, TJ has far superior court vision, and a much better and accurate passing ability. He frequently sets up beautiful plays, and is able to read his team mates next moves before they even make them. While his jumpshot may be a little hit and miss, his main job is to set up efficient offensive plays and he certainly achieves that. While Jose, he generally has a pretty good jumpshot, and his court vision and passing abilities are improving, but not quite there yet.
Both players are brilliant in their own ways, each with their own individual talents, but the above reasons should be enough to put any Jose over TJ debate to rest.
Amanda Faris, Barrie, Ont.
A: I believe, Amanda, that you are now my very favourite poster of all time.
I couldn't have put it better myself.
And because there really is no question here, I won't unleash the virus my web friends tell me I could.
Q: Hi Doug;
So... Garbo. Estimation/indication of his playing time tonight? Our good friend Dave Feschuk has suggested there are rumblings of discontent there; I think that's probably an overstatement. It's true that Garbo didn't play much and from all accounts didn't look like himself in pre-season, but I don't think the Raps -- even with their new guys -- can max out their success without Jorge adding his full complement of smarts, skills, and work ethic to the mix. Are we going to see that this year, or is there really cause for concern?
Jamie Noonan, Ottawa
A: I think, eventually, we see Garbo back to the old Garbo; I think he went through a lull in camp that cost him conditioning and time and got him in the bad books a bit. But he won't stay there long.
As for tonight? Looking at the Sixers’ roster and rotation, I'd bet he gets 14-16 minutes when Philly goes small.
Q: Do you see jump shooting as this teams best asset and worst enemy? If any team will settle for jumpshots it's this one. Only one starter (TJ Ford) is not known for his shot. I am afraid of the stretches of each game where we will see clang after clang. Mitchell is going to sound as horse as Phil Jackson after this season yelling at them to move with the ball.
Richard Halsall, Hamilton, Ont.
A: Sure, it's a great asset and terrible detriment; if shots aren't falling, this team isn't winning. But I also think the way the roster is structured, there are enough proven shooters to rely on when a few people aren't making shots that it's not the biggest concern in the world.
I think the biggest problem will be on the nights this team inexplicably doesn't defend or rebound.
Q: Hello Doug,
Last year, we dominated a lot of teams with our bench scoring. This year, losing both Bargnani and Peterson from the bench, will our bench be able to put up similar numbers? A lot of games were won by the bench. What do you think?
Adil Alibhai, Ajax, Ont.
A: Yes, the bench won a lot of games last year, for sure; this year, I think the starters will win more because this is a far more explosive starting five.
And I bet Delfino and Dixon and Calderon and, yes, even Good Joey every now and then, will give them as many points most nights than they got from Mo and Bargnani and Calderon last year.
A little bit about you for a change.
Can you shed some light on how much time you put into the "Nothin But Inter(net)" columns...and now your daily blog? I can't imagine that its an easy feat.
Steeebo Hallman, Mississauga
A: Easy? No, it's not easy at all. It's hellacious, and tedious and time consuming and pain-staking (okay, that was for the bosses who control the purse strings).
Here's how it's working so far, or not working, depending your view point.
Watch games at night, up around 7, blog 'til around 9 by reading and writing and surfing, practice late morning, maybe blog, maybe actually do some work for the paper and home to hang with the family in the evening.
Long days? Sure. But that's what they pay me the mediocre bucks to do.
Q: Most experts are projecting Bargnani to be a solid rotation player and possible lower tiered star. In all honesty, from all of your observations at practice and games, scrimmages, what is this dude's ceiling?
Dave Lee, Thornhill
A: There is no doubt in my mind he has the ability, and the potential, to be a perennial all-star. Whether he does or not, no one can say; injuries and desire may have something to do with how good he gets but from what I've seen, he can be a top 10 player in the league.
Q: OK, the questions are coming in too fast; someone already beat me to the Garbo issue. How about this: A hockey question on a basketball blog. Assuming you're somewhat in-the-know regarding Leafs and MLSE, how can they look at Colangelo's success in one year with the Raps and not wonder about Ferguson and the Leafs? Not that Ferguson has been given half the power extended to Bryan, but come on -- the Leafs are terrible and stuck with terrible for years unless they start rebuilding NOW.
Do you think MLSE is contemplating a similar management model for hockey to the one they've implemented with success in basketball? Give the GM autonomy to blow up the status quo and remodel? Not that I care much -- it's better for my Sens the way it is! -- but it's got to be tough for Tannenbaum to watch his cash-cow continue to wallow in the mud while the Raps head for the playoffs again.
Jamie Noonan, Ottawa
A: Pucks? Neat! Pucks are us!
If they aren't contemplating a change, maybe they should be.
But the fact is, it's easier to quickly rebuild a basketball team with $17 million in cap space and a bunch of roster spots than it is to rebuild a pucks team, isn't it? They can't deal someone to immediately clear up cap space, of course, but they can do something big to blow it all up because it's certainly not working like it should.
It's obvious the management model in basketball works; you can't say the same thing for the hockey so maybe they do have to re-think the whole structure.
I'll mention it to the Pucks brigade when I see them.
Q: Long time reader, first time writer.
I was wondering what you thought about playing both Jose and T.J. together at times during the season, instead of always having them sub for each other.
I know that it worked quite well with Mike James and Jose back in the day (James is more of a 2 and never saw a shot he didn't like) but at the same time you have two distributors and playmakers on the floor at the same time with both Jose and T.J.
Just putting that out there.
JJ Kunnas, Toronto
A: We've asked Sam about that a few times and he thinks -- rightly so -- that they're too small to put on the court together. James was a two-guard in a point guard's position, that's why that worked; neither Ford nor Calderon shoots it nearly as well coming off screens as James did.
Q: Doug -- what has become of Norma Wick? I thought she was excellent in her role and always well prepared. Who is replacing her and who is benefitting from MLSE's lack of judgement?
I actually like the blog -- maybe you should call it the B-Log or something in keepinng with the annoying nickname habits of the NBA.
Ralph Petermann, Guelph, Ont.
A: She was excellent, and a hard worker and knowledgeable about the game and she should still be working here and is greatly missed by many of us.
They haven't replaced her, as a matter of fact; and are sharing her rather huge workload among the likes of Sherman Hamilton and Paul Johnson, which is horribly unfair to them.
Yeah, I need to be annoying with the name of my blog, too. There are tens of people who think I'm annoying enough as it is, thank you very much.
Q: Hi Doug,
This is about Mr. Moon, and, no, it won't be a Halloween riff. More like: how high the Moon -- as in how high in the rotation can he go this year? He has turned out to be a great athlete, a good shooter, a hard worker and a learner. With that in mind, and putting aside any chagrin you may feel for writing that his chances of making the roster were non-existent to slimmer-than-slim, what say you about his chances to become an important bench player this year?
John-Peter Bradford, Ottawa
A: Important bench player? Slim and none. I think he's a year away, at least, from grasping the nuances of the game well enough to be a regular in the rotation of a title-contending team.
As for the summer, I always thought Moon was a great story and a great kid and I hoped he'd do well; I wasn't sure they'd blow the money they blew to keep him around. That was all.
Q: The Wizards were tops in the conference until the injuries started to mount. Not unlike the Raps, I don't see them getting much love from the prognosticators. How do you see them doing this year?
Marc B., Kitchener, Ont.
A: I like the Wizards but until they decide to defend even a little bit, they are going to remain all style and no substance. I expect Orlando to give them a good run for that division title and the loser will be the No. 8 seed in the playoffs and a first-round casualty.
At least that's my guess.
Q: Hey Doug, good job you're doing. Hope you got a nice raise for the added assignment (blog).
Who will be on the injured (inactive) list tonight? I'm guessing Martin, Moon & Baston.
Marcus Fenix, Toronto
A: Nice raise? I've got a few people at 1 Yonge I'd like you to talk to.
They won't give us the inactives until an hour before the game but I've got the same three in mind as you do.
Q: Doug -- you never answer my questions. I think you are showing a bias against the farming community of Guelph. This hurts. This hurts deeply.
Ralph Petermann, Guelph, Ont.
A: From a guy who, back in the day, used to cover the Argos when they had training camp at Guelph and who used to work in Tilsonburg, Woodstock and Orangeville, I'm crushed that you think I'd slight a farming community.
But here's a tip on how to get a question answered: Ask one.
Q: First things first: Where has Norma Wick ended up? She has the three b's in abundance: beauty, brains and basketball jones. It is a CRIME that she is no longer covering the Raps. The bonehead who fired her needs to be hung by their you know whats.
Second: What about packaging some of the Raps' depth in a trade for Maggette? He's in a contract year, he single-handedly averages (per 48 min.) more than DOUBLE the trips to the line than all of Toronto's small forwards PUT TOGETHER and then some, and at 17 ppg and 6 boards, he's head and shoulders above anything the Raps have at that position, or at the two guard. He's the slasher we desperately need. And it's win-win after the season: either he's impressed enough with the Raps to re-up, or his salary comes off the cap. So?
Lee Zimmerman, Ottawa
A: I believe my feelings on Norma's absence are well made just above this question.
Maggette is interesting; I thought he would have been a good fit a year ago and he might still be. But let's see how this team gets out the gate, okay?
I do think Maggette will be traded this year and I'm sure the Raptors will make a call about him when that time comes.
Q: Hi Doug,
On a sports program you were on yesterday you mentioned that the Raps offence will exhibit a more methodical approach. Last season the quick transition from defense to offence of the Raps game was very exciting to watch. Are you saying the pace will be slower?
Ron Adams, Mississauga
A: Yeah, I think it will be slower. Talking to T.J., Sam and the assistants this pre-season, they are making a concerted effort to have Ford slow down a bit more often, use his speed to change the tempo of the game rather than set it as he did so often last year.
So, slower? Yes. Just as effective? Yes.
I gotta run, get ready for the big game tonight.
As always, the questions have been funny, insightful and plentiful. And nary a one suggesting I'm a real dope and that they should trade for Magloire or fire Sam or anything like that. For that, I thank you.
Remember, though, if we didn't get to your question today, there'll be the regular mailbag on Friday to look for and it could wind up there.
I'm out. For now.