A long day of answering the mail
What’s a guy to do with eight hours to kill in an Indianapolis hotel room? Mail, of course. The TNT Drama In The Daytime’s perfect white noise to work to.
So here you go.
And there’s lots more where these came from for the regular Friday offering. I warn you, though, this is loooooooong.
Q: Since you've made it known that you hold a special place in your heart for Nate Robinson and Carmelo Anthony how about rounding out the starting lineup of players who will not be receiving a Christmas card from you?
Andy C, Michigan
A: Let’s see, I’d put Kenyon Martin, Eddy Curry on the list for sure; and maybe Ron Artest. Yeah, let’s go with Ron Artest as the fifth.
Q: Let’s hope that TJ's spirited play recently lightens the load of your mailbag; the naysayers SHOULD now be able to see the benefit of having BOTH guards at the point (wishful thinking though, eh? LOL)
TJ has truly demonstrated his unique style and contrast to that of Jose's; 15pts in the 4th quarter vs. the Knicks on Sunday and then a healthy line of 16-7-5 against the Pacers in support of Jose who just didn’t have the pop he usually does (very understandable in an 82-game grind).
My questions are regarding something Bosh said in the post-game interview along the lines of: 'Jose RUNS plays and TJ comes in and MAKES plays' (the emphasis is mine).
An interesting summary of their styles from the guy who is/should always be the focal point of our offence.
Firstly, what do you make of this analysis?
Secondly, in a 7 game playoff where the opponent is more half-court oriented (eg Detroit), do you see TJ's minutes decreasing to allow Jose to 'run' more of the sets he seems predisposed to being better at?
Jawad R, Unionville
A: That’s a very astute observation by Mr. Bosh, and well put. That’s exactly the biggest difference between the two.
I’m not sure if his minutes will decrease because Ford’s ability to ratchet up the tempo might be a perfect antidote in the post-season for the 20 or so minutes I expect he’d play.
Q: Can we put aside the fairy tale happy ending that TJ Ford and Jose Calderon can co-exist. In reality, we have two starting NBA point guards in Toronto. My question for you Mr. Smith is if you had to choose one, who would it be?
Sam L, Thunder Bay
A: Nope, not going to put it aside. They have co-existed and can co-exist and will co-exist.
One will start, likely Jose, one will come off the bench, likely T.J., for this season.
Q: Doug, I'm reading about Primoz being the fourth big and I'm wondering, what happened to Hump?
C Y, Toronto
A: Let’s say they’re 4 and 4A. Depending on the game and the matchup, if one of Rasho, Bargnani or Bosh is in foul trouble or not playing particularly well, the matchup – and maybe Sam’s mood – will determine who plays the 10 or 12 minutes that are available.
Q: Rank in order these off-season acquisition’s contributions to the Raps thus far this season: Kapono, Delfino, Moon
I'd put them in inverse order of their salaries (Moon, Delfino, Kapono) for contribution, though I think Delfino's D and willingness to take charges have helped make up for some of the things Mo Pete brought (circus shots not included).
John B, Burlington
A: I’d make it Delfino, Moon, Kapono right now. Look who finishes a lot of games.
Q: I've heard a lot about the Raps being inconsistent and their inability to put together a win streak longer than 4 games this year. I know they are a young team, but from what I see they almost always bounce back from a bad game with a solid effort. To me that shows maturity and I give most of the credit to the example of CB4. My question is what is the longest losing streak for the Raps this year?
Jeff D, St. Catharines
A: Four’s their longest winning streak, three’s their longest losing streak.
Q: I always enjoy reading your articles but sometimes your know it all attitude gets on my nerves. I can remember when only one spot remained on the Raptor lineup and you said that Moon would be lucky to even make the cut, never mind a chance to see the floor. Now you are already crapping on Bleeker! (Primoz) Hey, the kid’s excited, and he brings some balls the Dinos badly need. In regards to our guard situation, I feel Jose is too classy of a guy to say anything, but how long do you think before Sam’s pet is back in the starting line-up? At the end of the day or season for that matter, Jose will demand that starters position and get it or move on. I know Toronto can match money, but it won’t be about the Benjamins.
Perry R, Timmins
A: You know what, I’ll put my attitude, gleaned from actually being around these teams, out there any time. Yeah, Primoz, is kicking some butt as the fourth big man in an occasional game. And Moon, in training camp when there was one spot, was wildly over-matched. He’s less overmatched these days.
Sam’s pet? I didn’t know he had a pet? Oh, I presume you mean T.J.? Right. Sam’s pet. Sure. If T.J. starts again, I think it’ll be next season. If then.
And when Jose re-signs in Toronto, I’m gonna be waiting for the apology and a little attitude adjustment.
Q: Not looking to get into the mailbag, just wonder where Smitch gets his suits made? Can you let me know the name of the place, I am getting married in the summer and want to be pimped out like Sam.
Dave S, Maple
A: If you do a Google search of Sam Mitchell and Ross and tailor I’m sure you’ll find all you need. It’s not a place as much as it’s a guy.
Q: Looking at the how the Raps have played them over the last few seasons and especially this season - do you think the chances of advancement to second round of the playoffs are better if we get Orlando? Do you see any other teams with which they have an equally good chance against?
Richard A, Markham
A: I think Orlando would be a much preferable matchup to Cleveland, yes. But I think they could win either series, or lose either series.
Q: I don't know about you Doug, but I'm itching to see Kapono take some 3-point shots. What do you think factors into his lack of attempts? Failure to make himself available there, or his teammates not finding him there while he's open?
Amanda F, Barrie
A: It’s a cop-out, but I’d say it’s a combination of both. He’s trying to create a lot of times when he gets the ball, rather than shoot it right away; and when point guards turn the corner I’m not sure they’re looking for him quite enough.
But also don’t discount defences. You’ll see the Raps run much the same stuff with Moon in that spot and all of a sudden he’s got wide open threes; a minute later, Kapono’s standing in the corner and the same defender who’d leave Moon to help is staying glued to Kapono. His reputation precedes him.
Q: How important is winning the opening tip? I am wondering if this might be a role that Moon and his incredible hops might excel at?
I am not being critical of Bosh and his ability but Moon can fly! Can this have any positive impact? Thanks for reading and I enjoy your comments.
Jerry D, Strathroy
A: The tip determines who gets possession of the ball at the start of each subsequent quarter but I don’t think it’s hugely significant.
Q: The Raptors have been built with depth in mind. When it comes to the playoffs, teams will be playing their best 7 to 8 players at best. Who are the Raptors going to be playing in your opinion come playoff time. Also, hearing Sam speaking of Jose and TJ, he stresses 'he needs both of them' over and over again. Don't you think at some point, Bryan's going to have to give one up in order to land a nice wing player to add to the core?
Romero C, Markham
A: As I’ve said a few times, I think the rotation for the playoffs will be the five starters, Ford, Delfino and Rasho and, on the odd occasion when Moon’s going bad, Kapono gets time and if they need a fourth big it’ll either be Hump or Brezec depending on the opponent. So I do think you’ll see a rotation of nine, sometimes 10.
And yes, they need a wing player. Do they necessarily have to part with Ford or Calderon? No, they don’t. One doesn’t follow the other.
Q: Who is this Roko Ukic fellow? His name gets mentioned every now and then as a potential addition to the team... but I'm not exactly clear of who he is, where he is currently playing, and/or how the Raptors have his rights (and for how long does this last)?
Carlos M, Toronto
A: For real? You don’t know? Wow.
Ukic is a former second round pick now playing in Rome, he’s a 6-5 guard who’s never had a really, really, really good season but apparently he’s soon to be inducted into a Hall of Fame. The Raps have his rights until they sign him or bring him to training camp and cut him.
The plan now is for him to be here next season.
Q: I've been reading all year, but this is the first time writing in. Do you think Colangelo traded Juan (the contingency pg) to give TJ a little bit of a kick in the bum? I don't want to make light of his injury, but it seems TJ hasn't exactly been in a hurry to get back on the court. I'm sure Kapono aka Sam the Eagle (look it up) will appreciate TJ being back.
Pete L, Waterloo
A: I think Dixon got traded because he didn’t want to be here and it had nothing whatsoever to do with T.J. Ford.
(You think Kapono looks like the dude from the Muppets?)
Q: I'm going to try getting these questions in again.
1. J.A. Adande of ESPN wrote a column on the all-star weekend and had a spot about where he ran into your man Charles Oakley... Charles wanted to start a show where retired athletes compete for a chance to fight Mike Tyson... you gonna watch?
2. This is more serious, I've heard comments about LeBron wanting to leave Cleveland in 2010 and go play for the Knicks (for various reasons, i.e. Nike contract doubles, etc.), and he would try to convince Dwyane Wade to come play with him, I'd imagine he'd try to convince CB4 as well, I can see Wade leaving Miami, but I'm undecided as to what to think about CB4. Do you think he stays or goes because I imagine he'd have a better chance of winning the title with LeBron and Wade (as much as I love the Raps team right now)
Vanlang N, Ottawa
A: Anything Oak’s involved in, I’m watching.
We’re already starting to worry about Chris Bosh in 2010? My God, that’s a bit much isn’t it?
I’ll say with certainty right now that he’ll leave. Or he’ll stay.
And it’s not the Knicks, it’s the Nets. Jay Z’s a part owner, they’re tight, they’re going to Brooklyn sometime to start over.
But Bosh? Gone. Like the wind. (I keed, I keed).
Q: Do you think the Raptors waive a big man like Maceo now that they have Brezec? Can a player even be waived at this point in the season? If so, what would be the advantage (if any) to doing this.
Lyndon L, Toronto
A: Why waive him? Yes, you can but it makes no sense. They’d have to pay him the remainder on his salary so why not have him around in the case of emergency, as they have all year?
Q: Now that TJ's back, I think it's time to start up the debate over who starts at PG … just kidding.
(1) Does anyone in the lower portion of the East strike you as a potential darkhorse going into the playoffs (ie. Washington with Arenas back in the mix)?
(2) If Brezec hits a three at some point, is there any chance the Raps PA guy will say "Gangsta Pimp for 3!!!" ?
Shaun G, Toronto
A: If Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas are both back – which is doubtful ‘cause I’m guessing Arenas shuts it down for the season – Washington might be able to give Cleveland or Orlando a scare in a 3-6 series.
And if that’s how they announce a Brezec three, some of us will storm the front row of the scorer’s table and make our anger known.
Q: Why don't basketball teams flash multiple signs like in baseball to try to disguise which play they're going to run? It seems like teams make it way to easy to know what's coming.
Greg W, Toronto
A: Time. Unlike baseball, where they’ve got, what?, about six minutes between pitches, there’s no time in the NBA for that.
Q: Question about TV coverage as the Raps venture into the playoffs. Last year, the first round coverage was aired by a Canadian station (TSN I think?) with Chuck and Leo covering the play by play. Us Canadians did not get to watch the TNT coverage. If the Raptors were to advance deeper in the playoffs (let’s say the Eastern finals for argument sake), would Canadians be able to see the American coverage of the game or would the Canadian feed always take precedent?
I love Chuck, but I would love to hear Marv Albert or the TNT crew or even Bill Walton ("the Raptors have the worst team name in the history of all sports") call a Raps series.
Ashton L, Toronto
A: Local broadcasters do the first two rounds of the playoffs so unless you find a sports bar, say, the Harbour Sports Grille, that has access to the American feed, you’ll get Chuck and whichever of his sidekicks is along for the ride.
Conference finals, on the other hand, are exclusively broadcast by TNT or ESPN/ABC.
Q: With about two months left of regular season play, what are the changes for Jose to win the most improved award and who would be his biggest competitor for that award?
Derrick M, Toronto
A: I’d say David West is going to get a lot of votes, but Jose’s going to be right there in the balloting. Hedo Turkoglu will get some support, too.
Q: Maybe it's been brought up before and I missed it, but what do you think of putting Bargs out at 3 now that we've got Brezec?
We've got no slasher at three anyway, and with 3 bigs clogging up 3, 4, 5 (Nesterovic/Bosh/Bargnani), what team can guard that many bigs? Bargnani can't play back-to-the-basket (yet), and likes the three. And it has been said that we play better D when Rasho starts. That being said, what do you think of this set up then?
Starters: 1. Calderford, AP, Bargnani, Bosh, Rasho
Bench: 1. Calderford, Delfino, Kapono/Moon (depending on situation), Hump, Brezec
Thomas W, Toronto
A: Not going to happen. Bargnani would foul out of every game guarding threes, somewhat limiting his contribution. And Rasho, while good in small doses, is not a starter anymore.
Q: What do you think was the worse point guard duo in the history of the Raptors? Does the name Milt Palacio come to mind...haha
Philippe A, Ottawa
A: Worst? Man, you’re taking me back to the bad old days. Considering they've always had one good one that's really, really difficult to answer. In the 16-66 season, Chauncey wasn’t very good and a guy named Chris Garner got some minutes. That’d have to be in the discussion.
Q: From his own perspective, why did Juan Dixon want to go to Detroit? Certainly he won't get more playing time in Detroit, so that can't be it. Was it the marginally greater opportunity to win a championship or go to the finals? Or perhaps, my personal favourite motive unique to the Raptors, was he afraid the impact of a Canadian education on his children? I just thought it was weird to see a player who won't get playing time anywhere demanding a trade.
Greg S, Toronto
A: He didn’t necessarily want to go to Detroit, he wanted to go somewhere where he might get a chance to play. That’s likely not to be with the Pistons but it’s not like he had any say in the matter.
Q: I have a question that's in dire need of an answer.
Why do they (and by they I mean everyone) call three-point shots 'treys'? I don't get it.
Mary L, Ajax
A: A horrible slang term for tres. The number three en Francais.
It can go away any time.
Q: Hey Doug, I know lots about basketball so I'm not a novice asking this question, but I get confused about when a team goes on a scoring run. How are "runs" started, and when do they end? Common sense would tell me runs start and end between stoppages in play, but does the stoppage in play mean timeouts only or can they also mean out of bounds plays?
Also, with all due respect to Maceo Baston, why did we sign him to a two-year contract for $2 million or whatever if he never plays? And seeing as they need rebounding help, why don't they play him more often? I realize he is FAR from the answer to troubles, but he could give some decent bench minutes in the second quarter. I guess with Brezec now here it's a moot point, but before that why wasn't he getting minutes when the team was struggling with rebounds? It couldn't have hurt to give him a small chance.
Simon S-G, Toronto
A: Runs are consecutive points scored by a team. If Toronto trails 2-0 and then leads 12-2 before the opposition scores, it’s termed a 10-point run. Doesn’t really have anything to do with the time on the clock.
Baston is here as an insurance big man, always was going to be, probably always will be. And $2 million a year is less than half the average salary, it’s hardly a burdensome number.
Q: I really enjoy reading your blog. I've been meaning to submit a question for a while now so here it goes:
It's about the term "big" that bandied about all the time in the basketball world. Is it just a matter of physical stature - like do you need to be a certain height to qualify? Or is it linked to the position or role of a player on the team (i.e. power forwards and centres, players who take position in the post)? Besides Bosh, Rasho, Barg and the new guy Brezec, which other players on the current Raptors roster can be considered bigs? How do the Raps compare to other teams in the East in terms of number and quality of bigs on the team?
Janice B, Halifax
A: I guess physical stature is the way to best describe it. The terms now in vogue are ‘bigs’ for power forward and centres, ‘smalls’ for shooting guards and small forwards while point guards generally remain on their own.
How these guys stack up? Well, Bosh is an all-star so that gives them an edge but I’d say they have average ‘bigs’ in the East. Orlando with Howard would be right there with them, same as Boston with Garnett and Kendrick Perkins. Cleveland now with Joe Smith, Ben Wallace and Zydrunas Ilgauskas would be the best.
Q: Hey, Doug. Long time reader, first time writer. I got a few questions for you, and it'd be a great honour if you answered them:
1: When a ball goes over the backboard after a missed shot I've seen the refs sometimes calling it out and sometimes letting the players get the rebound and keep playing. What is the rule? Does it have something to do with the ball touching foreign objects? (i.e. the shotclock)
2: I've noticed that since his rookie season (except for the second game against the Knicks and a couple of other occasions), when Bargnani actually scores more than two points the great majority of his points come in the first half with a couple more coming in the second. What do you believe is the reason?
3: When a team wins a championship, who gets rings? I know that coaches and players do, but what about the assistant coaches? Athletic trainers? towel boys? (I keed)
Gabriel M, Waterloo
A: If the ball hit something, it’s dead.
If Bargnani gets off to a good shooting start, you’ll see teams play him a lot closer in the second half, which makes it more difficult to score.
On the rings? Everyone gets one, assistants, athletic trainers, staff, and, yes, even the guys who really make the team run – guys like Kevin DiPietro and Paul Elliott, two guys you’ve never heard of but the actual brains behind the organization. (You’re welcome, Kevvy, Paul!)
Oh, even broadcasters get them in some cases. There may be different levels of opulence to them, but there’s a whole lot of rings flying around.
Q: I have a question and a suggestion.
First, can you help clarify when an assist is given out. Is there a time limit or step limit where the scorer has to make the basket for an assist to be granted.
Second, with playoffs coming up, and any edge that the Raps can have should be explored, I have a suggestion for fans during an opposing team's free throw attempts. Rather than a uniform group of fans behind the glass waving objects, what if just the left or right-side were to wave objects. Seems that might just throw-off some perspective to the shooters, who I'm sure are used to zoning out uniformity in the background.
John N, Belleville
A: I went right to the source, a super secret source on the stats crew and she tells me the basket has to be scored within six seconds of the pass and the pass has to lead directly to the basket, whether it be a shot or a drive.
I’ll pass that suggestion along. On second thought, you just have; I’ll leave it alone.
Q: Doug, a technical question for you (a change from the Bargnani this, and Ford that, and Jose here and Moon there).
Late in quarters an official will tap his head a few times as the play progresses (usually in the last minute). Why is that? What does it mean? Thanks for your response and keep up your great blog work!
Mary B, Etobicoke
A: That is to make each other aware that they’re in the last minute of the quarter. No particular reason that I’ve ever been able to discern.
Q: Could you explain the way a New Yorker enunciates the "fire Isaiah" chant? It seems like too many syllables. I can get behind a solid "de fence" or even an "M-V-P" but "fire Isaiah" seems like it would be clumsy at best, the way Raptors fans are seemingly booing Jamario when they yell out "Mooooon". To my mind a good, clear chant needs hard consonants. Your thoughts?
Kristian G, Toronto
A: The one time I heard it, and it was very brief, it was four syllables. Fi-ire, Isiah, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap.
Q: I cannot believe the amount of people who write to you with a question and start it by wondering, complaining and/or moaning about why their previous question(s) have not being posted and answered on your blog. It must drive you nuts. For goodness sakes my blood pressure rises reading them, I can't imaging yours.
My question is: For the love of Primoz Brezec and everything that is sacred, could you kindly never print a question that is prefaced by someone whining that you have yet to print their previous questions?
It would be a good rule and good for both of our health, I think.
A b-ball question? I just thought of based on an answer you gave this morning re: signing Jose this summer. I understand we have the right to match whatever anyone offers. What I do not understand is, can we be push into the luxury tax if we match a preposterous amount ($10-12 million)?
Pat C, Toronto
A: The math is impossible to predict, actually, because not only don’t we know what Jose’s salary will be next season, we won’t know until the summer of 2009 what the tax threshold will be.
My best guess right now is that, yes, even at that preposterous amount they would stay under the tax level.
And I like your rule, by the way.
Q: I've been noticing in the last couple games, that during the pre-game intros, Joey Graham does one of those jumping bumps to everyone in the starting line-up as they get introduced, except for Bosh. Is there some sort of "tiff" between them?
Will C, Toronto
A: No. There’s no ‘tiff.’ You’re reading waaaaaay too much into this.
Q: Not sure if you've been asked this before, but a mildly interesting question as far as I see. How much homework/prep work do you do before each game? Do you attempt to write up parts of the recap that can be written before game time?
So to the actual question, how worried are you about T.J.'s frame of mind? I know after his first game back you said you liked how he was a little more careful about protecting himself, but let's face it, last night against the Knicks was pretty over the top. I think all of Raptors nation was cringing every time he led a fast break or drove to the bucket. It's fine for us to be doing that, but when even T.J. himself seems to be cringing, you know you might have a problem. Obviously, we need to give him time to get more comfortable, but how confident are you of him getting back to 90% of where he once was from a psychological standpoint?
Dan W, Walkerton
A: I took out the specific reference to the first Knicks game because it’s old and I wasn’t actually there. Hope you don’t mind.
Anyway, to the first part of your question: Because I generally have to file for the web at the final buzzer (and often for the first edition of the newspaper), I try to pose pre-game or shootaround questions that will give me stuff to flush out the bottom of a story. I usually type that while watching the first half. Then it’s writing the top over the course of the second half, hoping for no dramatic buzzer beaters. Then it’s to the locker room to gather post-game quotes and refile, generally within 45 minutes or an hour of the game ending.
Now, as for T.J. I think he was quite tentative in that first game, much less so in the second and fully comfortable in the Pacers game Tuesday. I’m sure he had a lot of things racing through his mind and it’s going to take a while before he’s fully 100 per cent. But he’s a lot closer now than I thought he would be.
Here’s an interesting quote he gave us after that Indy game.
"I just want to play, that’s all it’s about. I just love to play. I think I have an opportunity to continue my career and I just want to play the same way. I worked extremely hard so I wouldn’t have any worries or no fear I just have to continue to play that way.”
Q: Doug, about Toronto getting the all-star game in the future. Does hosting the all-star game help in introducing the city to the players? Maybe increase the attraction to free agents? West teams only come here once a year to and usually on long road trip, so they might not get to know the city well enough. If Raptors are legitimate contenders and an attractive city, wouldn't veterans and free agents consider Toronto more?
Michael S, Thornhill
A: Never once have I heard of a player making a free agency decision based on what kind of fun they had at an all-star game. Can’t imagine it would ever happen. Players tend to go to the big fancy parties or stay in their rooms and play video games on all-star weekends. Where they are is quite unimportant. Besides, Toronto in February can be pretty bleak and cold, what’s to make you think someone might not want to come as a free agent ‘cause of the weather.
Q: Doug, consider this: you are the Raps' GM and in the summer you re-sign Calderon and Delfino, how do you get a perimeter defender to stop Kobe, Crawford, Hamilton and 5 other just like them?
Aurelian V, Oakville
A: Trades, free agency. It’s not that difficult to make roster moves.
Q: BC recently said he didn't make certain trades this week because he didn't want to mess with the salary cap flexibility he has after next season. Isn't that just smoke and mirrors? The Raps owe $33M to Bosh, Ford, Hump and Kapono in 09/10 with an option on Bargnani for another $6.5M. If BC re ups Jose and Carlos for another 12-13M this off-season and takes back a salary when he trades Rasho next year they're over the cap and haven't yet resigned Moon, AP or Jorge leaving nothing but the midlevel exception for free agents!
What if Bargnani actually does become something better than Matt Bullard and asks for an extension worthy of a number one overall pick? MLSE are NEVER going to go into luxury tax money.
Forget cap space, aren't trades the only way to go now that the "core" is in place? Time to check my 649 ticket and see if I can afford season tickets.
Lincoln S, New Hamburg
A: Again, you’re confusing cap and tax. There is enough of a difference between the two levels – it’s about $12 million this year and that could grow – that they can add players with the mid-level this summer and still be able to pay Jose and Carlos.
In the summer of 2009, when the contracts of Rasho, AP, Garbo, and likely Joey are off the books, they’ll be under the cap far enough to sign a free agent and maybe two.
And the tax will not be a huge concern.
So, not taking back someone this year whose contract extends beyond 2009 is much of what Colangelo was talking about with his reference to “flexibility.” It’s long-term financial consideration, and it’s difficult because the tax and cap aren’t hard numbers, they are determined each summer when they total up the Basketball Related Income league-wide.
Q: With New Jersey likely to enter full rebuilding mode this off-season, what are the odds the Raps could get their hands on DeSagana Diop? A young defensive banger who rebounds and protects the rim sounds like a good fit for the Raps as an upgrade over Rasho (not to mention as a complement to Bosh). Maybe having Diop sign a mid-level deal with the Nets then sending a pick plus Rasho's expiring contract would get it done. My only worry would be he and Bargnani both fouling out of every game in the 3rd quarter.
Mark S, Montreal
A: They can get their hands on him if they want, he’s a free agent. I can’t imagine why they would want a big, immobile centre as a backup. And Diop makes about $2.2 million this year, anyone’s going to get him for far below the mid-level salary.
Q: I was watching Heat highlights the other day and Marion's shooting form had me laughing, as it always does. Which five active players have the most bizarre shooting form in the league? (I would put Marion and Camby up there)
Kevin D, Toronto
A: I’d put Marion and Marcus on the list along with Juwan Howard, Jermaine O’Neal (when he’s playing) and you’ve got to admit that Rasho’s sort of slingshot-style is, um, unique.
Q: Hey Doug, I read the blog all the time. One question I was wondering about recently is related to the schedule. How did the current number of games in the schedule come to be? It seems like such an arbitrary number. Is there some reason for it? Thanks!
Garth S, Chilliwack
A: It is a rather arbitrary number, isn’t it? A nice, even 82. It comes from a combination of number of days in the season and the desire to have enough regular season games to ensure the best teams move to the playoffs. About now, it seems about 12 games too long.
Q: Hey Doug, I have been saying to my friends since the beginning of the season that the Raptors will have trouble against teams with good slashing shooting guard or small forward. To me playing defence against them is a matter of effort. I have seen Delfino do it on a few occasions where he just refused to lose sight of his man and chase him all around so that the offensive player doesn't even have a chance to get the ball. I don't see Anthony Parker do the same at all, he may be smart, but he is not tough in your face type. I have seen Raja Bell do it against Kobe a week ago. I am sure they can set screens and stuff, but now at least you are making him work that much harder just to get the ball. Could you comment on this please.
Andy W, Toronto
A: It is a lot of effort but a lot of it is scheme, too. No one in the NBA can guard another guy one-on-one much of the time, it’s how you funnel players to help defence, how you double-team or if you do and what second defender you send that usually determines how much success you have against great offensive swingmen.
So far, they haven’t had much success and it’s something they’ll have to improve if they get Cleveland in the first round.
Individually, they could be better, but so could the whole way the team defends.
Q: Doug, do you think Bryan Colangelo is overplaying the Euro aspect? Yea, there have been some Americans who were unhappy in Toronto (see: Davis, Antonio) and Europeans might like Toronto as much as any American city, but do you think Bryan is putting too much emphasis on that and taking a gamble that an American will like it up here (like Bosh, Ford, Kapono)? And when will BC get a Chinese fellow? Spadina will go nuts and MLSE will love the money!
Michael S, Thornhill
A: I think he’s putting emphasis on finding good players, regardless of where they’re from. So, no, I don’t think he’s “over-playing” the Euro angle nor will he seek out players based solely on their passports.