Some mid-week mail for you to read
I’m going to get these up there now to clear out some of the logjam in the mailbag.
More Friday, of course, and if you’re good maybe some on the weekend, too.
Q: Hey Doug, I've got a stats question for you here, mainly provoked by the Raps' woeful rebounding this year. How 'bout if they showed a rebounding percentage, similar to a shooting percentage? The thing here is that looking only at the number of defensive or offensive boards doesn't tell you how many opportunities the team had. For example, a team taking 80 shots in a game, and making 50% would have had 40 opportunities for an offensive rebound and say they grabbed 10, then you're looking at an offensive rebound percentage of 25.0. Similiar for defensive rebounds. I realize this is a number crunching time-eater, but I'd be interested in knowing how the Raps compare to other teams on these stats - my guess is it's not pretty.
Don H, Lima, Peru
A: Oh, they’re out there. We get them as part of the pre-game notes packages teams give out. Before Wednesday, Toronto’s offensive rebounding percentage was 23.6; its defensive rebounding percentage was 75.2; overall, the Raptors were at 49.4. There were eight teams with a worse overall percentage.
Q: I'm really starting to feel sympathy for you and the way you have to talk so many of us passionate Raptor fans away from the ledge on a daily basis. I enjoy the blog and read it everyday my question is whether or not you have ever had A team? If yes, what sports and who? Maybe it was when you were growing up or before this whole objective opinion business became your calling. Oh yeah, and are there ever any "friendly" wagers placed between teammates whose alma matters may play during March Madness? Dish. Thanks
Trevor K, Halifax
A: Maybe this is what shaped me: I was a huge Boston Red Sox fan in the late-60s and through the 70s when they would tease us unmercifully.
Oh, ‘friendly’ wagers? You bet. All the time around this time of year; you should have heard some people busting on Darrick Martin the other night when the brackets were announced. People wanted to know if the Final Four was being played at Pauley Pavilion and whether UCLA had a road trip of longer than 30 minutes for the entire tournament.
And you can be sure TJ will be talking some Texas trash when he gets a chance.
Q: Doug you have said that the Raps need a good wing man. Who would you let go of the wing men they have?
Darwin N, Swift Current, Sask.
A: Not all of them, no. I’d keep the four that play now – Moon, Parker, Kapono and Delfino and try to find someone substantially better than any of them. I think Moon’s far, far better as a backup than a starter and the fact is, if Delfino gets a big offer as a restricted free agent I think they’d have to think long and hard about whether to match it or not.
Q: Three questions following our recent loss to the Kings.
1) There seems to be some tension amongst the players, obviously the consecutive losses could be the sole cause, but is it possible that this began around the time TJ returned, and has just been exacerbated by their recent skid?
2) Ridiculous question, but all things being as they are now except that we have a healthy Garbo, in your best guess, might we have beaten any of those teams?
3) And because I really want to know, I'll ask again, if an offensive player gets called for goaltending, is it considered a turn-over or just a missed FG?
Marc Z, Halifax
A: The tension is understandable and quite normal for a team that was in the process of compiling a season-worst losing streak. The tendency to point fingers and cast harsh glances goes up with each passing loss but being around these guys every day of that trip, I have to say it wasn’t anything out of the norm.
It’s impossible to quantify what Garbo would have meant so I say they would won one game, the one in Sacramento.
It’s a turnover.
Q: What happens if a team is short handed (9 players dress) and the game goes into triple overtime, and the 5th player fouls out. I know this is a rare occasion, but what happens? Does the team forfeit? Has this ever happened?
Derek K, Hamilton
A: If it gets to that – and I can’t find a reference in modern times to it ever happening in a regular season game – the last guy to get six fouls gets to remain in the game but for every foul he commits after that, a technical foul, a team foul and a personal foul are charged to him.
Q: I watched the Rockets-Lakers game yesterday, and outside of McGrady, Alston, etc, the one who really stood out to me was Shane Battier. What a fantastic defensive job he did on Kobe.
I have heard he is a very good 1-on-1 defender, so I don't think I'm reacting to one game, but I would put him right up there with Nocioni and the other guys who you said the Raps should go after. Not sure what his contract situation is, and I'm guessing that we would have had a better chance of getting him 22 games ago, but at least I'm not suggesting we get LeBron for Primoz and Joey.
Chris G, Chicago
A: Battier’s one of the most under-rated players in the game, which is why Houston would never let him go. When you’re looking at making trades, you have to think of teams that want to make moves because (a) they under-achieve and need to shake things up; (b) have financial considerations they need to address; or (c) want to get rid of a guy on the downside of his career.
Battier has three years and about $21 million left on his contract, which means he’s a bargain, too.
Q: Hello Doug: My question is regarding the mid-level exception that allows teams over the salary cap to sign free agents. I think this is what the Raptors used last year to be able to sign Kapono. Is this available to every team every year or is it every two years? And how much is the maximum they can sign a player for?
Elaine M, Edmonton
A: Teams over the cap get to use the so-called ‘mid-level’ cap exception every year; they can use it on as many players as they want, splitting it however they desire.
Maximum? A team can spend whatever it has under the cap to sign a free agent from another team, the full mid-level if they are over the cap, or up to 25 per cent of the total cap to re-sign one of their own free agents.
Q: I can't believe you didn't mention that Primoz Brezec ripped a paper out of the Denver chicken's hands during the Raptors player introductions and then tossed the chair the chicken was sitting on. All this according to the radio broadcast of the Denver game. Are you slipping - passing by a chance to dump on Primoz?
I can't imagine Sam being too impressed with this - two chickens assaulted by the same guy. Is that part of the reason he was stapled to the bench that game? Notice I said part because I am sure your answer will include something like " because he sucks" or profound words to that effect.
How does the league view such incidents?
A P, Mississauga
P.S: A Basketball 101 question for good measure:
How is it determined which team gets the ball to start the second half? Is it the team that lost the opening tip-off?
A: I missed that Primoz-stuffed animal interaction but, believe me, Sam leaves him on the bench for much better reason than goofing off with mascot.
Now, for your basketball question: The team that doesn’t get possession of the ball after the opening tip gets it to start the second and third quarters; the team that gets possession to start the game gets it to start the fourth quarter.
Q: I've been faithfully following your blog for so long now. And while I've been tempted to write to you on several occasions, I've always been too lazy to.
However, your reply to Nick H-C concerning why Rasho doesn't dunk often has brought a cause to my fingers.
First of all, I think Rasho doesn't dunk that often because it is, in fact, not a given that he can dunk easily on every possession. It's not easy for him to blow by his defender, nor is it easy for him to get off the ground (However little it may be). So sometimes it IS easier for him to settle for a baby hook. That said, I care if he dunks. The fascination with dunks, other than that they are entertaining, is that the success rate is near 100%. The baby hook, albeit a shot with a very high rate of success, is not quite as guaranteed. So if Rasho indeed can dunk in more situations, I would like to see him do so (and stay away from the Vince Carter syndrome).
Anything I'm missing out on. Your thoughts? (Lame attempt to get a reply)
Tom K, Toronto
A: I think that on the occasions fans feel Rasho should dunk and doesn’t, he lays the ball in and I’m certain his teammates are quite fine with it. On occasions when he misses a tip or a layup, I’d say 95 per cent of the time he couldn’t explode past his guy and dunk the ball. That other five per cent? Everyone’s gonna have to live with it, it’s the way he plays and, on balance, he’s played pretty darn well.
Q: My question is: In your experience, are Raptor's fans more fragile than most fans in the NBA? Are other fans able to handle the ups and downs of the season a better than Raptor's fans? Are they capable of more perspective both at the season level, and on a historical level? Or are true fans everywhere all this crazy and neurotic?
Ken H, Toronto
A: Well, I’m not nearly as close to any other fans as I am to all of you so I can’t say for certainty, but talking to other beat writers, some of whom have the same level of interaction with fans that I do, Raptors fans are far and away more volatile, quicker to offer blanket criticism and more reactionary than anyone else. And, from what I know, it’s not even close.
Why? I can’t figure it out. I love the passion most of the time but the over-reaction? It’s way out of hand some nights.
Remember the old saying: Never get too high after a win, never get too down after a loss. It’s a legitimate way to act.
Q: Nesterovic has played outstanding of late without the injured Chris Bosh. Do you think Toronto would benefit if they started
Sam L, Thunder Bay
A: I don’t think so, I’m sure Bargnani doesn’t last five minutes any game guarding threes.