Of scouts and trades and Sammy Dalembert
Been all sorts of visitors in town these past few days.
Scouts. All kinds of scouts and various brainiacs.
The Raptors had one of their high-level talent assessment meetings over the last couple of days as Bryan Colangelo summoned all his braintrust – the likes of Wayne Embry, Bob Zuffelato, Jim Kelly and Micah Nori – for a little chat.
Before anyone gets all worked up thinking this means trades are imminent, it was a previously-scheduled session to get ready for the big push through the end of the college season.
Still, you can imagine they did chat about the team’s immediate needs and how they might be met.
You know who misses T.J. Ford the most?
How many open looks did he get off Jose Calderon running the high screen and getting into the lane, a move Juan Dixon hasn’t quite mastered yet.
It’s part and parcel of the bench woes of late.
"(It’s) knowing how to manage the team, manage the minutes, manage guys’ shots, get guys shots," Sam said of the backup poing guard roll. “How good (Calderon) is at turning the corner, which sucks the defence in and creates shots for Jason and those guys.”
That’s what they miss.
With my Philly Daily News man Phil Jasner apparently enjoying a game off, let’s turn to what the columnists are saying down there. Check out Sam Donnellon on Sammy Dalembert in the wake of Milwaukee’s win over the Sixers last night.
If anyone’s looking askance at long-term point guard solutions around these fellas, I’m told by A Person Who’d Know that the legendary Roko Ukic will be here next year.
A sticky buyout problem seems solved and it’s make it or break it time for Ukic, who’s having a pretty good year in Italy.
HEY!!! Dancing With The Stars on tour was here this week and NONE OF YOU wrote to offer free tickets. Shame!
Of course, Mel wasn’t here so the show wasn’t as good as it could have been. But still …
Here’s a timely mailbag submission, and to make yours timely, just click here.
Q: With the Philly game coming up, you can't help but think of the 2004 NBA draft debacle where the Raptors ended up with the infamous Hoffa when they could have gotten Iguodala.
Now I know you don't think that he's a superstar, but obviously there's no question he would be perfect for the Raps now.
My question is, though, if you still think the Raptors would be better off if they picked him?
AARON HARRIS/THE CANADIAN PRESS 17-17 Raptors got you in a panic? Remember these days, folks.
If they had, they may not have been as bad as they were, Bryan Colangelo may never have ended up coming to Toronto, and we would never have had the great group of selfless guys who have gelled together so well the past two years (despite the the 'sky is falling' 17-17 predicament).
I love Iggy, but I think we're better off on the path we are now.
Dan P, Sarnia
A: If we could turn back time …(someone should write a song with that lyric)
Knowing what we know now, Hoffa was exactly the right pick; they wouldn’t have sucked so bad with Iguodala, they may not have fired the GM as quickly with Iguodala (although they would have eventually fired him) and they would not have been where they are today.
So, yes, selecting Hoffa was one of the greatest moves in Raptor history. And all the drudgery and hell everyone had to suffer through for two years was worth it.
Hoffa, though, is kicking some serious Russian butt.
There’s an ex-beat grunt, part-time musicologist and seer of all things political in the world (a guy who also has too much time on his hands) who reported last week that Hoffa’s averaging like 11.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, shooting 59 per cent from the field and leading his Spartak St. Petersburg team in fouls.
Go here to track Hoffa daily.
I believe Eric Williams, Aaron Williams, Alonzo Mourning and two draft picks would not be enough in return for Mats Sundin.
We are an insecure lot, aren’t we?
ESPN’s John Hollinger anoints Jose as an all-star and I get like a dozen e-mails telling me. It’s like we need vindication up here.
I know John, like him a lot, watched him and Sam have a very comical conversation about “European” basketball last time we were in Atlanta and I respect his opinion.
I concur. I think it’s a flat-out no-brainer that Jose’s the third-best point guard playing in the East today and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he wasn’t in New Orleans.
It’s Chauncey Billups first and Jason Kidd second and then Jose. I think coaches will give Calderon consideration but if they go with just the two PGs, it’s going to take an injury for Calderon to get there. I don’t see coaches voting two backup PGs.
My man Rob out in Waterloo, the same dude who wants old, injured, done, $20 million a year Shaquille O’Neal here, wonders if we ever concoct (leak, I think was his phrase) trade rumours that get GMs talking.
No, all we do is make GMs’ lives miserable for about the next six weeks. Most of the stuff you read about not only never took place, but it comes as a surprise to all those allegedly involved.
Remember a few weeks ago in the mailbag there was a question about the court in Cleveland being raised a foot or so? I agreed with the writer who said it was a terrible idea and an injury just waiting to happen.
Well, was flicking between games last night and saw Seattle’s Jeff Green hurt himself falling off the court chasing down a loose ball.
Wasn’t a serious injury but it could have been and the NBA has to get the Cavs to change that next season.