Man, are you folks ever prolific. Inbox floaded, cleared out, flooded again. We'll parcel the leftovers out as the week progresses.
This week's themes: You are over the Moon (still), I'm a smart guy (but snarky) and Chris Bosh's padded undergarment.
Q: Jamario Moon's playing great now, but what's his status by the end of the season? Would he become a restricted free agent? His output-salary is very attractive to other teams as well!
Bau Ta, Richmond Hill
A: The Raptors hold the option on a second year of Moon's contract, which they'll have to exercise by next summer. It's for the minimum salary, too, so he'll remain a bargain if he keeps playing like this.
And if he keeps it up, can't imagine they wouldn't pick up that option.
Q: I'm sick of hearing the media give Jamario Moon nicknames, when the names are so inferior than this one: Super Jamario.
Jeremy Shaw, Toronto
A: The media? This media? Not so much. You can call him whatever you like and here's something else to chew on from faithful reader Christian Snyder out in Kitchener.
Hey Doug, with the recent emergence of 'Jam'-ario Moon as a bona fide NBA player, I've found that plenty of people are jumping on his bandwagon. Now, being from God's Country (i.e. Waterloo County) I was wondering if we shouldn't name his bandwagoneers Moonninites. And the old school fans (like the kid who met him before the NJ game who had been a fan from his Patroons days) can be the Old Order Moonninites.
Q: Is it just me or is December the most critical month of the season for the Raps? I mean look at their opponents: Charlotte (much improved), Phoenix x2, Houston x2, Boston X2, Dallas, San Antonio, New Orleans. Those are 10 games in which the Raps will have a very difficult time winning. A dreadful month likely means we're fighting real hard come April.
Aaron J., Markham
A: Big month, yes; especially with the preponderance of road games. Not sure it's any bigger than March, but if they can hang in there, take care of business at home and steal one or two unexpectedly on the road, it sets them up to make a big move in January, when they have a much easier schedule.
Q: I have a question about the "over and back" rule. I noticed that sometimes when the offense brings the ball past the center then bring it "over and back" sometimes it is called and sometimes it isn't. Explain.
Tim Lockhart, Brampton
A: If you saw that happen without a pass or shot being tipped by a defender, you saw a terribly blown call and I'd imagine you'd have seen Sam Mitchell's head explode.
If you saw it on an inbounds play, it's perfectly legal, now you can inbound from the frontcourt to the backcourt at any time.
Q: Here's something I've been thinking about after watching Mo nail the four-point play. What does Kapono bring to the table that Mo didn't? In fact Mo is a better transition player, can hit the three and is a better defender; it can't be a contract thing? Doesn't Mo make less in New Orleans? I don't get it.
Rupert Smith, Toronto
A: No, it's not a contract thing, they both got the same money.
But Kapono is four years younger, shoots three-pointer at a much higher percentage in his career (46-37) and that's why they did it. Youth and talent in one specific area. Not a hard decision.
Q: Okay, smart guy. You answered my 'simple question' about Kapono not shooting enough with one word. Defence. I'll pretend you meant both his poor defence robbing him of burn as well as opposing players' tight D on him. Well done (if that's what you meant).
Here are some complicated questions.
If a player can be called for goaltending on a continuation, can a player also be credited with a block? (Yes I play fantasy hoops).
Also, with the Raptors home woes fueling paranoia, what's your take on the ACC crowd this year. Have they gone Maple Leaf corporate?
Sam Toman, Toronto
A: Okay, smart guy.
No, you can't be credited with a blocked shot. The field goal attempt only counts if the basket goes in; otherwise the foul takes precedence. Are you in Grange's league? If you are, I hear his team is great. And if you're in the same league with the First Lady Of The League (who assures me she isn't 'obsessed' with fantasy leagues), I hope you never win a game against her.
The crowd this year? No different, really, except there are more people there now. And they actually seem a bit more enthusiastic this season. That, of course, will change with a few more losses.
Q: How come basketball players don't have cool names like Tuukka? Any chance you and your partner in crime can change your names to Douug and Stuumpy and maybe start a trend?
Or are you concerned that Sam might start giving you guys a hard time?
Phil S., Toronto
A: Sam gives us a hard time for simply being there, a new name isn't going to change anything.
But I will ask my friend Stummpppy to see what he thinks.
Q: I noticed in (Wednesday's) game that Chris Bosh was wearing a protective belt or vest under his uniform. Is this normal for him or anyone else? Is he protecting an injury?
Howard Rose, Concord
A: It's a padded vest and it's not only normal for him, but a lot of players, especially big men who take a beating in the paint are wearing them these days. They're very light but do offer a layer of protection. They've only been in vogue for a couple seasons, too.
Q: At this point with the Celtics being 8-1 (as of Wednesday evening), do you take back your earlier prediction that they will be life and death to make the playoffs?
Mark D, Toronto
A: The snark in me wants to say write me again in April.
But they are certainly going good now, aren't they? They could have a playoff spot locked up by New Year's
But write me again in April.
Q: Have you noticed that Sam frequently will call a timeout and not sub anyone in, only to bring in a sub about 5 seconds or so after the play starts back up?
Any rationale you can think of for that one?
A: If I could think like Sam Mitchell, I'd be making four mil a year and ripping on beat grunts every day. But I'll give it a shot.
Sometimes if there's a timeout called to address a particularly bone-headed play -- which is sometimes the case -- Mitchell (and other coaches) will do their ripping in the huddle and instead of showing up the perpetrator in front of 19,000 fans by immediately hooking him from the game, he'll let him go back out there for a possession or two to try and redeem himself. It's all part of the psychological aspects of coaching pro athletes.
Or maybe he just forgets what he wants to do.
I dunno for sure.
Q: I guessing that not including Dick Bavetta as a top 5 referee in the NBA was nothing more than a mistake, and I'm sure several readers are responding on his behalf as we should.
I know you like TJ, but does he not offer better trade value to the Raps then Jose does. What odds would you give on BC trading TJ this year, if you were a betting man of course?
Steph Regnier, Glencoe
A: Actually, Dick's name didn't come up in any conversation I had in the ref matter. Probably should have, though; maybe everyone figured he'd be on the list and no one made sure he was.
Whether I like TJ or not doesn't matter a lick, I don't think they should trade either of them. At all.
Ford, actually, is very difficult to trade; he's in the first year of a contract extension and is what's known as a 'base-year compensation' player and the Raptors would be limited in how much salary they could take back. So, the odds: 1,000 to 1.
Q: Quick question for you: Is it ever a bad idea to have your three best players on the floor together? (This is where you say "of course not!").
Then why don't Calderon and Ford ever share the floor together? I'm not saying you do it all the time, but when the matchups allow you to, Sam Mitchell should do it.
How about a first substitution of Calderon and Hump for Parker and Bargnani? That way you could end the first quarter with three athletic shot-blockers (Moon, Bosh, Hump) playing behind our two point-guards. That lineup could get up and down the court in a hurry, and would be fun to watch.
Am I crazy? Or is this not a good idea?
Chris Black, Toronto
A: Since you asked, I'd say closer to crazy than to being an NBA head coach.
No, it's never a bad idea to have your three best players on the court together, which, I presume, is why they start Bosh, Bargnani and Ford.
Neither Ford nor Calderon are big enough to cover two-guards and neither shoots the ball well enough coming off screens to make them valuable in a halfcourt offence, which is why the only time you'll see them play together is in the dying seconds of a close game when they need two ball-handlers and good free-throw shooters in the backcourt.
Q: I'm a huge Garbo fan. Love his game, and his atttude. I'm disappointed to see how things have begun this year for him, and I hope he pulls it together for the second half.
My question is more of an observation. Although Garbo has been missing from the majority of games, I think Delfino has been a worthy replacement.
He's taking charges a few times a came, he rebounds very well, and his defence is far more solid than many of us anticipated. I think Delfino was one of the better moves we've seen BC make. Your thoughts
Hans Pasiman, Netherlands
A: Hey, congrats. Believe you're the first questioner from Netherlands. Excellent. You ever hear of Ramon Van de Hare?
Anyway, my thoughts on Delfino are that he's going to -- or should -- finish a huge majority of close games this year. Tough guy at both ends of the court, excellent rebounder with a nose for the ball.
Him for a second-round draft pick is a steal like Hump for Haffa was a steal.
Q: How tall is Andrea Bargnani really? In the Dallas game, Andrea looked about an inch shorter than Dirk Nowitzki, but NBA.com has them both listed at 7-feet. Is the NBA being generous to Bargnani?
Hugo S, Toronto
A: Nah, he's a legit 7-feet and about 255 pounds. Can't speak to Dirk. Maybe your TV screen needs some tuning?
And here's a tip: Most of the heights and weights are guidelines, at best.
Q: Living in southern California, I rely on NBA League Pass to get my Raps fix. The other night, (a) play-by-play guy was talking about what a luxury we have with both TJ and Jose at the point. He goes on to say that Jose "would probably start on 26 of the 30 NBA teams.
Huh? I'm a bit Calderon fan, but that's laughable.
Still, it brings up an interesting question. How many teams in the league could Jose start for if dealt?
My (somewhat generous) count is 11: Memphis, Minnesota, Orlando, Houston, Milwaukee, Boston, Lakers, Portland, Indiana, Miami, and Atlanta. Thoughts?
Pat Kieran, San Diego.
A: I'd put New York in there for sure, Cleveland and the Clippers, as well. That gets you to almost half the teams in the league. Not bad.
Q: What's Luke Jackson doing these days?
I miss shouting Luuuuuuuuuuuuke whenever he has the ball.
A: And we miss hearing it. No, not really. I'm told Luke's back home, weighing his options. He's had some contact with Galatasaray of the Turkish League, there's been some conversation with teams in Italy and I'm pretty sure, if he wanted to, he could go back and shred the D League again.
Q: My question does not pertain directly to the Raptors. I recently read a Sports Illustrated article hailing Tim Duncan as the dominant power forward of all time. While he is undoubtedly worthy of much of the praise that comes his way, I don't believe he is the best four in the NBA. If you had to rank the league's top power forwards, how would you do so (and why)? My list would look like this: Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Bosh, Shawn Marion.
A: Let's put it this way: If you were starting a team today, who would you rather have, Kevin Garnett or Tim Duncan?
Me? I'd take KG so maybe that's the right answer. But, until he wins something, regardless of his teammates, Duncan has to be considered the most accomplished player.
The rest of the list? Probably right, although Marion is hardly the prototypical four and maybe shouldn't be included.
Q: I think that we should've traded for Trevor Ariza. I can't believe the Magic traded him, the guy has got energy, he can rebound and i know he can't shoot but he is very good defensively and can guard even the top players, why didn't we pursue him?
Oh yeah and also i think you look like the spitting image of Maurizio Gherardini. Tell me I'm wrong.
Chaz E, London, UK
A: We? I believe this is why you are not an NBA general manager. Trevor Ariza? Can't shoot, doesn't start, no better than the twos and threes Toronto already has.
Me? Maurizio? How dare you denigrate such a fine man as The Big M.
Q: Hey Doug, I'm going to groan when I hear the answer to this, but I've wracked my head and I can't figure it out -- what's the new stat (BA) they've added to the box scores on NBA.com this year?
Colin Leach, Calgary
A: And you call yourself a basketball fan! Yeesh! It's Blocked Attempts, the number of times a guy has his shot blocked. How could you not know that!
(Hope you know the back story to this; if you don't, I apologize).