Sunday mail delivery, the fixed one
Once again, you’ve out-done yourselves. Here’s a big bunch more and there are a few scorekeeping specific ones I’ve got to run past some people who know and I’ll sprinkle ‘em in when I can.
Oh, and I've fixed the World vs. US thing now.
Q: You mentioned that Moon's appearance at this year’s dunk contest will be the first since Vince of 2000. I seem to recall another Purple Dino at that dunk contest, who's game at the time closely resembles Moon's right now. T'Mac at the time was able to do a little bit of everything pretty well, which is really what Moon's game is all about (although T'Mac 'took it to the rack'; a little more consistently). Question for you; I think we all know that Moon of today would have no chance in a dunk contest against Vince of 2000, but how about against T'Mac of 2000? Who would you take in that contest?
Ian M, Toronto
A: I can hardly remember what I had to drink, er, eat last week, let alone exactly what Tracy McGrady was like in 2000.
But I’m guessing that, if pressed, I’d say Moon’s a better athlete today than T-Mac was seven years ago. So I take Moon.
Q: I was wondering a couple things: Does the NBA need to add two more stat lines? The hockey assist, and the RA (Rebound assist). These are some things guys should be getting credit for.
And, when a guy puts a shot up, doesn't sink, and jumps and puts it in, do they get a board credited to them as well as the two points because they got their own rebound?
Bryce F, Toronto
A: There are too many stats in the sports world as it is, there is absolutely no need for more. And yes, the dude would get a rebound and a basket, and a missed field goal attempt, if he had control of the ball.
Q: Is Kris Humphries in line for the most improved player this year? Other than his shot selection I can't believe the improvement in his play. He has gone from the 12th man to first or second off of the bench. The other side of this argument does not reflect well on the other pine dwellers, specifically Kapono. Does the Humphries illusion end soon because I can't see him getting more than 5 minutes a game in the playoffs.
Kevin M, Maple
A: Nah, he’s got no shot at most improved. Andrew Bynum and Hedo Turkoglu are two names that come immediately to mind and that’s just thinking off the top of my head. You could put David West in that conversation, too. I bet I could find half a dozen more with time.
Illusion end? Well, you need at least a three-man bigs rotation so unless Sam goes back to Rasho or Colangelo swings a trade for a real veteran banger, the Hump is it.
Q: I've got a basketball 101 question, can you explain the terms 'the block'; and 'the lane.' They seem to be the same thing to me. What's the difference?
TC W, Toronto
A: They’re different. The ‘lane’ is the painted area of the court; the ‘block’ is the little square outside the bottom of the ‘lane.’
Q: Any idea if Sam Mitchell is a Hilary man or an Obama man? And do any of the players ever let their political beliefs known?
Pat K, San Diego
A: I have an idea but after several short political discussions with him, I don’t think his mind is entirely made up. Don’t forget Edwards, too. Some of the others do in private conversations but no one’s carrying signs or placards or anything.
Q: In Saturday's NY Daily News article by Frank Isola, it says that BC spoke briefly with Garden president Steve Mills. Should Raptor fans be worried about NY poaching Colangelo from us? If not, who do you see replacing Isiah when he is eventually fired?
Todd B, Hamilton
A: No, don’t worry. Colangelo’s not going anywhere, especially to the cesspool that is New York. He had a conversation with Mills 'cause they know each other, it wasn't like it was a job interview or anything.
Other names: I’m sure the usual suspects will surface, like Bryan’s dad, Jerry; Nets consultant Kiki Vandeweghe and maybe they’ll dredge up Donnie Walsh’s and Chris Mullin’s name again. It’s boring. And if anyone can read Jim Dolan’s mind on what he might do, that’d be a first. This is, after all, the guy who gave Zeke the extension.
Q: In spite of all the international flavour on the Raptors, Jamario Moon has the greatest accent in the history of the franchise. True or true?
Danny B, Gatineau, Que.
A: It’s a pretty good one. But Oak’s Mars accent might have been the best.
Q: Watching that game against the Knicks, my suggestion was a drill to speed up his still developing offensive game and it would go something like ... feed him pass after pass after pass, not allowing him to hold onto the ball for more than a half-second. He either passes or takes the shot ... immediately.
Will G, Toronto
A: You must mean like the one they do almost daily with a coach throwing passes to him in the post while another coach defends him while holding something akin to a football blocking pad?
Q: If I remember correctly, Dennis Rodman led the league in rebounds because he was a leaper, that could out-jump taller guys. Jamario Moon is also a leaper. Can't he study some old Rodman films, learn positioning, and maybe become an all-star? The Raptors really badly need a rebounder.
Mike B, Toronto
A: Actually, Dennis Rodman led the league in rebounding because of his hustle and his ability to read by shot where the miss would go. He was a smart rebounder, not an over-the-top athlete.
Q: I'm watching the Raptor-Knicks game at the moment, and this had me wondering: when Balkman tipped the ball back into the net after a miss by Nate Robinson, he didn't get called for the offensive goaltend, as the camera clearly showed it was. Do people watching on the sidelines (Coaches, other players, scorekeepers, or even Chuck and Leo) ever ask the referees to look at a call like that again? Are they even able to tell them to?
Samantha C, Kingston
A: Oh, players and coaches ask all the time, they ask the refs to confer to make sure they get it right and the good ones, if there’s a doubt in their mind, will check with their partners. The scorekeepers are far too busy to get involved in that, and wouldn’t anyway, even if some of them know as much or more about the rules than some refs.
Broadcasters? Nah, they don’t get involved and the refs wouldn’t listen to ‘em anyway.
Q: During the Raps-Pistons lesson I saw Bargnani receive the ball at the top of the key. Movement down low opened up the lane and Bargs flushed a wicked one. Five minutes later I saw Humphries curl off a screen and take a fadeaway 18-footer and wanted to cry.
The question I have for you is 'what is so hard about basketball strategy?' You have advantages over other teams, you focus your offensive efforts into exploiting those advantages.
The Raps have two or three advantages. The first is Bosh, the second is their shooting, the third is their shooting. Coming in dead last in the playbook should be Humphries coming off a curl.
I swear it still hurts to think of it- it was like walking in on your parents 'being intimate').
What plays do you think the Raptors should run more often?
Hudson, P, Windsor
A: Believe me, if you wanted to cry, imagine Sam Mitchell’s angst. And anger. And blood pressure.
Did you see Parker more active against the Sixers? And Bosh isolated at the left elbow? And Calderon turning the corner more aggressively? That’s what they need to have more of.
Q: How about a trade involving Zach Randolph? He appears to be on the block in NY and knows how to rebound! - yes I admit he has a few issues.
Chris H, London
A: Actual conversation:
Me to scout: “Love that Portland team.”
Socut: “Yeah, they lose 22 points a game (Randolph) and get better. What’s that say about him?”
Me: “Look at how he’s turned the Knicks around.”
Scout: “Hahaha. You slay me!”
Zach Randolph? Yeah, he’s just what a team with an offence predicated on ball movement needs.
Q: I like your idea, USA vs. The World.
What's your pick of starters and back-ups?
Wallace C, Markham
A: Think I may have done this before but here goes, I’m putting Duncan on the USA team ‘cause I want to.
Starters: Nash, Manu, Deng, Nowitzki, Yao. Backups: Parker, Calderon, Diaw, Barbosa, Biedrins, Okur, Nocioni.
Starters: Kidd, Bryant, James, Garnett, Howard. Backups: Billups, Paul, Wade, Anthony, Rasheed Wallace, Duncan, Stoudemire.
Q: Question in follow up to your Keon Clark "Drunk and High" comment. How much do you agree with Oakley's assessment of players that come to play "high"? (His estimate 60%).
Atif K, Scarborough
A: I thought about this until about 4:20 yesterday afternoon, it’s a good one. Come to play “high.” None, less than 1 per cent, tops. Marijuana users? I’d say 40 per cent, maybe less.
Q: As a more interesting follow-up to Dave's question about the most athletic Raptors of all time, how about a list of the LEAST athletic purple Dinos?
Oliver Miller, Popeye Jones, Zan Tabac, Rasho and Garbo all make my list.
Adam B, Muskoka
A: That’s a pretty good list and it starts and stops with Oliver. But how about Garth Joseph? Mengke Bateer? Rafael Araujo? Sharone Wright? All legitimate contenders, don’t you think? I’d take any of them over Rasho and Garbo. Oh, and toss in Mike Curry, even though he might have been one of the smartest Raptors of all time. Maybe Oak, too.
Q: Since we all seem to be in the mood of discussing potential trade options, what is your opinion of Brad Miller? I think he can provide the rebounding and toughness that the Raptors need. Do you think he would fit in with this team? Do the Raptors have the pieces to acquire him? I'm thinking Rasho, Dixon and a pick.
Rick T, Toronto
A: Brad Miller is far more of an outside shooter and high post passer than these guys need. He’s not a good fit, in my opinion.
Q: Being in New York must really agree with you, (Friday’s) mailbag seemed to be especially full of jokes and keeds.
Jason C, Port Perry
A: Good call on Marks, he was an outstanding athlete, not sure he was in top five class, but … Pape was pretty good, too. Mark Jackson? Good keeding.
Q: I just figured it all out. The Raps might not make a move this year with a major trade, so …
Draft Kenny George in June, trade Rasho, put Kenny in at center, move Bosh to the 4 where he belongs, Andrea becomes sixth man, buyout TJ, bring in Roko as Jose's backup, and then use some cap space and one big trade in the summer for a true wing player.
Okay. That’s not realistic. But can you answer why the Raps would bring Ukic in if he is only essentially taking DMart’s spot on the roster behind TJ and Jose next year? It almost seems like insurance against TJ getting hurt again, and as TJ is totally untradeable, why would Ukic want to languish on the bench as the third option at PG instead of playing for a Euro powerhouse? It all smells a little fishy. C'mon Doug, spill the beans, you and the other grunts must know something about this.
Dean E, Whistler
A: Yeah, that whole ‘start the unproven rookie, bench Bargnani, deal away veteran Rasho thing’ doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Maybe Ukic sees is future as an NBAer and wants to get started quickly; it’s far better to learn what it takes on an NBA team rather than watching it. I think he may be able to play a little two-guard so this languishing on the bench thing might be a stretch.
Fishy? Nah, no conspiracies over here and nothing is afoot with either of the guards they’ve got now.
Enjoy Whistler, see you in 2010.
Q: Would you play Rasho over Humphries? Humphries seems to be slumping and Rasho gives us steady defence, rebounding and scoring.
Greg L, Toronto
A: Most nights, I certainly would. There are times against quicker bigs where Hump could come in handy but you get far more consistency with Rasho, who seems to be taking to this backup role nicely.