The mail, finally, gets delivered
Here’s a Did You Know.
Did you know black sambuca is quite tasty and goes well with a pint jar of Stella Artois? Toss in some chocolate cake and a chicken wing or two and you’ve got yourself a gem of evening.
Not the greatest of mornings, mind you, but a gem of an evening, I tell ya.
Now, on to the important stuff. Lighter than usual load this week but there’s more coming, I’m sure.
Q: Doug, I'm a little short on the research department, so I was wondering if you could find the answer to the following three-part question for me.
When was the last time that a team led by a player younger than a) 30 b) 28 c) 26 has won a championship?
(Cough, Bosh comparison, cough)
Robert B, Oshawa
A: My ciphering skills are a bit diminished today. Was Kobe the leader of the Laker teams that won? How about Dwyane Wade in Miami? How old was Jordan when he got his first championship? Magic was a kid when he was winning and so was Larry Bird.
Q: With four games left in the season, I decided to write you one more time. My questions were never posted or answered for that matter this season. But, I ain't mad at ya.
I actually have three questions:
1. Why are points scored in overtime added to a player's total? The way I see it, OT is a tool to separate two teams tied at the end of regulation and the points scored should solely be used for that purpose. What do you think?
2. During the game against the Bucks on Wednesday night, T.J. Ford tipped the ball in his own basket while trying to secure a rebound. Chuck Swirsky announced that, that basket was credited to a Buck (forgot who it was) who was closest to T.J. Is that how it always works?
3. I noticed several times that Jose Calderon claps his hands while jumping when an opponent's player takes a jump shot. Is that a distraction method? If so, is it really sportsman like? What do you think?
Biruk A-K, Waterloo
A: Never once? Oops. My bad.
I hadn’t ever thought about the points thing, actually. I guess I’d say they should count because it’s the same game.
Yes, player closest gets credit for the basket. I remember that play clearly and I recall the referee in front of the scorer’s table immediately telling The World’s Greatest Official Scorer that the Milwaukee player had tipped the ball.
Jose’s claps? I don’t know if they’re distracting, I think they’re sort of cute. And all’s fair in love and basketball so I can’t see the move being unsportsmanlike.
Q: I haven't seen this question recently, if this year at all. What difference do you think John Salmons would have on the Raptors? Delfino and/or Kapono probably wouldn't be here. Do you think Salmons has anything the Raptors need? I haven't seen him much, but he seems like a quality playmaker, decent rebounder, strong if not quick defender, and another mellow voice. Not really a difference maker I wouldn't think.
Ian T, Toronto
A: I agree, they would have been no better or no worse if Salmons hadn’t listened to divine intervention and reneged on his deal here.
He’s a little more athletic than the guys they’ve got but still not a big difference-maker at all.
Q: Hey Doug - question about rebounding. If a player misses, say a simple layup, and grabs his own rebound, shoots again and misses, grabs rebound and scores does that count for 2 rebounds? Sorry if its a stupid question - but you often see that happen during some (bad) game play.
Jamil B, Sydney, Australia
A: That is indeed like hitting the statistical motherlode. A couple of rebounds, couple of field goal attempts, a basket and two points.
Yes, it all counts.
Q: Doug, what's your personal rule on player privacy? Your blog seems pretty liberal with your thoughts and I assume some information wasn't gathered from on the record conversations. Is there a definitive separation between reporting and casual chattery, or do you have to say the magic "off the record..." first?
MK L, Mississauga
A: Hmm, let’s see. You don’t have to actually say, or hear, those words in any conversation. Players and coaches, and us, know what’s a “interview” and what’s a “casual conversation” so we all pretty much realize what can be used and what can’t.
One thing we sometimes do is if we’re having a conversation that may or may not be on the record and someone says something funny, or cutting, or telling, we might mention “hey, can I use that?” And then we go from there.
A lot of the “chats” we have may not yield information we use right away but give us something to store for another day. Somebody might mention something in passing that you look for in the next game, for instance, or offer you a nugget of information you can drop unattributed into a blog item or a story.
Q: You've probably heard this countless times but your blog = awesome. It's great during work when things are slow, and even better during class. I've been a reader for quite a while and have always been itching to submit a question, but never knew what to ask that would neither bore nor annoy you.
Whenever I'm reading this at work, it always gets me thinking about how much less I enjoy what I do in comparison to you. What inspired you to be a writer? Did you always know this is what you wanted to do? If you weren't a writer what would dream job #2 be? And one more: When the day comes that you, sadly, decide to step down, do you get to hand-pick your successor (what qualities would you look for)?
Michelle L, Toronto
A: Bore? Annoy? Never. The questions are fun. Exasperating at times, but mostly fun. An old journalism adage says there’s no such thing as stupid question. It’s probably true.
It’s funny, when my Grade 11, or maybe it was 12, or one of the 13s I took, English teacher suggested I drop the class, I figured he was right. Wrong.
Don’t think there was one thing that ever inspired me. I was a pretty big newspaper reader back as kid and it always struck me as a great way to teach people, inform them and entertain them every now and then.
And after an unsuccessful run at Grade 14, an ad in the paper for the journalism-print program at the University of Welland caught my eye and I was off to races. And given that I’ve got a face for radio, this seemed to be the only area of the media I could handle.
If I wasn’t doing this? I’ve been doing it now for almost 30 years, I can’t imagine what else there would be. Teaching might have been cool, but, again, those pesky grades probably would have precluded that.
But when it comes time to shut it down, they’ll have to pry this machine of my cold, dead hands and then they’ll pick whoever they want. I won’t have a say.
Q: In spite of the (Wednesday) game picking up in the second half a little bit, I found myself mesmerized by Primoz. What's his deal? He sits by himself, seems like a bit of an outcast, and I think (and we're pretty high up in the ACC, so I'm not sure) that he was chatting to himself the WHOLE GAME.
When he did finally get on the court, he was Mr. Energy... and then he was off the court and back in the locker room before the buzzer went (by himself, I might add). We are thinking that he must be doing something funky off-court to get this kind of treatment from his teammates and coaches. In short - do the guys just not like him?
Gavinder B, Toronto
A: The Gangsta, or Gangster, I’m never quite sure which, is beloved by all. Well, maybe not beloved, maybe it’s “tolerated by all” in some cases but he’s a good guy everyone has time for.
Q: Hey Doug, I was just reading from that link you posted that the Knicks have 19 sellouts on the season, which is pretty incredible, all things considered.
How many games have the Raptors sold out this season? Normally Chuck is all over talking about the sell out crowd, but I haven't heard him blabbering on and on about it this year.
Jake K, Toronto
A: Maybe it’s just getting boring for him. They are at 32 sellouts with two home games left. They won’t match the best season ever, 2001-02, when they sold out 40 of 41 home games.
Q: I've been on a streak lately because you've posted my last two questions, so here's me going for #3. Realizing that the Leafs have started a new era with a new GM and the Raps more than likely to have an early exit (again)in the playoffs, which team do you think will win the championship first, the Leafs or the Raptors?
Jason R, Toronto
A: Much to the chagrin of my pucks-fan friends, I’ve always said I expect the Raptors to at least play for a title before the Leaves. And nothing they’ve done on the hockey side of the conglomerate has made me change my mind.
Q: Is there a "kangaroo court" in the Raptors' clubhouse, and if so, who presides and what are some of the things players get "fined" for?
Colin W, Toronto
A: Nah, there really isn’t any of that tomfoolery stuff in the locker room. In fact, I don’t hear about it with any team in the league.
Q: Doug, Having watched Charlie V play during his short time in the league, and having seen flashes of sheer brilliance like (Wednesday) night, and remembering his pure instinct for the game (the way he would automatically fill the lane whenever Bosh got doubled back when he played for the Raps, for example -- a simple thing, but none of the other Raps ever did), remembering all that, it got me to thinking: what other former Big East player back in the 80s went on to a career that mirrors Charlie's almost to a tee? And then I remembered: Derrick Coleman. Another guy who just reeked of potential coming out of Syracuse. Another guy who could score almost at will, but never played dee and never had the drive to make those around him better. Another guy whose lack of work ethic resulted in excessive weight gain and unrealized potential. A Sports Illustrated reporter once remarked that "Coleman could have been the best power forward ever; instead he played just well enough to ensure his next paycheck". Sound familiar?
Lee Z, Ottawa
A: Believe me, the Derrick Coleman comparisons are frequent when the topic is Charlie V. I hope, really hope, that Charlie finds the consistent work ethic and intensity he’s missing ‘cause if he does, he can forever put that Coleman talk to rest. But I wonder if he can and fear he’s always going to be permanent potential.
Q: Hi Doug: Good job with the blog. I feel the Raptors have underachieved at 39-39. Clear weaknesses, Bosh's injury, point guards controversy and all, I feel they should have won 46,47 games this year. I actually agreed with you when you mentioned that the Raptors were better this year than last year. When teams underachieve you review the players but you also take a hard look at the coach. At what point do the Raptors do the same? say .500 mark by mid-January next season?is that what it will take?
Leo S, Calgary
A: I think if you read Bryan’s comments in the various papers today, the review of the coach – and all of the players – is going on now.
But to pick a point? You can’t do it. Everyone is being reviewed every day.
Q: If New Orleans wins the West, how can they deny Chris Paul the MVP? Might as well change it to the LAA (Lifetime achievement award).
It now seems the only reason Kobe would win it is because he's "due". If that happens, then you might as well just stop giving the award out.
Mike S, Georgetown
A: Hey, I’m one of “they.” The argument is legit, which guy is better on his own or for his team. I can make the case for Bryant’s transcendent skills just as you can for Paul’s team success. Kobe, if he wins, wins because he’s the single most talented player in the game.
Q: Just wondering is the LA WNBA team draft pick of Candace Parker close to the Cavaliers draft luck of LeBron? Is she the next big one for that league?
Ben S, Lakefield
A: I’m far from an expert on women’s basketball, although I do like the game and covering the Canadian national team is always a delight, but I’m told she’s got a chance to be the best player on earth. Having her in such a huge market and with Lisa Leslie returning isn’t going to hurt the league, either.
Q: I few months ago I suggested Sam Dalembert in a Raps uni and your response was not to be too impressed by a guy racking decent stats on a bad team. Now that Philly is ahead of the Raps and Sam D. being very much a part of that has your stance soften a bit? I think he would be a great fit here to anchor the defense and a solid compliment to CB4.
Ed C, Toronto
A: The problem with Sam was always the contract and that’s still an issue to me. But his game has really come around.