It's called a slump, pure and simple
And a fine good morning to you all.
Had a whole bunch of “What’s wrong with Jose?” questions over the last couple of days, given his rather ordinary play this last week.
I think it’s a combination of fatigue and the expected lulls that all players hit at some time during the season.
I don’t for a second think it’s got anything to do with T.J. coming back, as more than a few of you suggested. Calderon has played well alongside Ford in the past, he will again in the future and I know his personality, he’s not one to worry about who else is on the roster or on the floor or on the bench waiting to take his place.
A lot of the turnovers he’s committed have been silly and unusual for him, dribbling the ball off his foot, throwing Oakley-esque passes into the front row. That, to me, is nothing more than mental fatigue rearing its ugly head and I’m certain he’ll snap out of it.
His shot’s been a bit off, too, and while I don’t expect him to shoot 60 per cent from the floor the rest of the year, it’ll come back.
It’s called a slump, ladies and gentlemen, he’ll get out of it. As a wise old sage around baseball once said, slump’s are like the common cold, everyone’s got a remedy but they still take two weeks to cure.
Stan (hearts) Jose
Take a read of Brian Schmitz in the Orlando Sentinel today. He hits the nail on the head about the playoff ramifications of the big game and Stan Van Gundy reiterates his love for all things Calderon.
When you're watching the game tonight as I am (I hope we get a halftime infomericial on how great the Marlies and FCs are) check out the media seating, which is on the baseline stretching out from right next to the basket on the same end of the court as the Raptor bench. It's a good seat, if a bit crowded, but a tad dangerous, too.
Can't remember exactly who it was (maybe Mike Clarkson of our paper way back in Year 1 or 2) but someone was sittng there minding his own business when, lo and behold, Shaquille O'Neal (in the slimmer, quicker version of Shaq) came barrelling out of bounds chasing a loose ball, tried to vault the press table and stepped squarely on the beat grunt's laptop.
We live perilous lives, us beat grunts do.
Yes, they rebound horribly. They give up way too many offensive rebounds and second chance points. Yes, it’s got as much to do with blow-bys on the perimeter scrambling the defence and getting the bigs out of position.
But here’s one for you: The Raptors have actually out-rebounded the opposition in 28 of their 58 games so far this season.
Can’t imagine it happening tonight.
Kevin in Toronto wonders:
Doug, can you honestly see the Raps making it to the Finals within the next three years? Your honest opinion, please.
No, not a chance. With two or three new pieces? Like two wing players and another big? Yep. I can.
From yesterday’s mail:
Q: I'm not sure if this has ever been done before, but what are the chances of a charity game between Raptors' management/coaches and Raptors' media?
On the media squad, you could have Leo Rautins in the middle, Michael Grange at the 4 and Sherman Hamilton play a very small SF. In the backcourt, you could have the tandem of Jones and Smith with Jonesy running the point. Of course, you could be the first guy off the bench to be the Vinnie "Microwave" Johnson on this team of (not-so) Bad Boys.
For the management/coaches, Jay Triano could run the point, Mike Evans could play the two, Alex English at small forward, Sam Mitchell at PF and Bryan Colangelo in the middle.
This could be a great addition to Raptors' Fanfest with all proceeds going to the Raptors' Foundation. I, for one, would donate some cash just to see Sam take out some of his frustration with the media guys on the court. And seeing Bryan C in something other than a designer suit with his signature collar would definitely be worth the price of admission.
Mike M, Ottawa
A: Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner.
Chances are nil but I’m sure lots of people would love to see it.
And while I appreciate the kind words, the only thing I’ve got to do with a Microwave is how to use it to heat up pizza.
Speaking of the mail, you see the link for questions now under that scary picture? Well, it seems to work. Had about 55 yesterday alone and that’s an awful lot. Trouble is, there’s simply not enough time to answer them all. So we’re going to have to be a little more discerning here, I’ll sill do lots and probably get up a couple of mailbags a week but if you don’t see yours, don’t despair. It’s not that I hate you or you’re too negative or too positive or not from a unique foreign place like Accra or anything. There may be other questions on the same topic or your topic might just be a tad out of date.
End of rant.
Did you notice …
Caught that Jazz-Mavericks game last night and saw the horse-collar takedown Nowitzki used on Kirilenko.
As soon as Kirilenko hit the floor and it looked like a ruckus might have ensued, did you see the Jazz assistants? They immediately went and stood in front of the bench to make sure no player took even a step on to the court.
Bet they wish they had that kind of discipline in Phoenix. If they’d done that last year in the playoffs, the Suns might have an NBA championship to their name.
One more from the mail
Q: I read your blog (Monday) morning and figured I'd rephrase the question I asked last night to keep it from seeming like I was dumping on Mitchell. I'm not. I'm a huge Smitch fan.
Now, my memory is likely failing me but last year there were times that Garbajosa played small forward for the Raps. I was wondering what the difference between Garbo and, say, Humphries, playing the position. It would seem that Hump could help with some of the rebounding problems (esp. when playing with Bosh and Bargnani) and would give up anymore defensively then say, Jamario Moon.
Anyways, I'm sure there is a good reason, just not sure what is.
Matt M, Calgary
A: Had a couple of questions yesterday on this possibility. Here’s the answer for all of you:
If Humphries ever gets Garbo’s basketball experience, intelligence, ability to knock down a three-pointer when needed and overall ability, I’d say Hump can be a three. That, my friend, is never going to happen. Which is why you’ll never see Hump at that position.