How’s everyone feeling today?
Sorta empty? Angst-filled at Bryan’s comments about Sam? About to list the TJ replica jersey on some auction site?
|FRANK GUNN/THE CANADIAN PRESS|
|Nobody knows what colour shoes T.J. Ford will be wearing next year.|
Lots to digest, wasn’t there? More than enough to keep this little thing rolling this week and then we’ve got to figure out what to do through the rest of the playoffs. Any and all suggestions welcome, you know where to reach me.
Speaking of reach, you folks went bonkers in the mail, I’d say about 90 per cent of it rants of varying degrees but all quite fun to read. Have siphoned off more than a few that we’ll put up in the usual Friday mail bag.
And tomorrow, because a bunch of you have been calling for it, we’ll do a player-by-player assessment.
Yes, Bryan did say it’s “ludicrous” to think of a Mitchell-D’Antoni swap. And it is, not only because both are still very much under contract, and both were very much working in the playoffs when the speculation mounted.
You all know I think he should be back because I think he’s the guy who coached the team to 47 wins, not the one who got ‘em to 41 this year.
If you put your scrutiny on every coach in the league like you did Sam this year – substitution patterns, post-game comments (as if they have anything to do with anything), lineups – everyone’s going to come up short. A lot.
The fact is, they’ve been in the playoffs two years, the players play hard for him and he does – despite your opinions – know what he’s doing tactically. I'm pretty sure many of you missed the fact they did things like change coverages on pick and roll a couple of times a game to throw the Magic off (going under fo ra quarter or so, a hard shot for the next quarter or show, pre-rotating every now and then). That's the kind of small thing that goes unnoticed too often.
Sit back and make an honest, honest assessment of the roster and tell me, as it turns out, that this was more than a .500 team no matter if Red Auerbach coached it.
Besides, what will you fill my inbox with all next season?
Since this whole “Best Playoffs Ever” crap has gone out the window (a terrible first round), let’s start hyping “Best Off-Season Ever.”
There’ll be big changes in Dallas and Denver, I assume, Chicago has some major issues to deal with, I think Joe Dumars might realize this is the last run for Detroit and I imagine John Hammon in Milwaukee’s going to make some moves.
Could be a very cool summer.
How much do these guys get involved? I’d say lots. But when?
"The process began at the beginning of training camp and it’ll end probably some time in mid-July or sometime later,” was how Bryan put it yesterday.
Guess that’ll keep us busy.
"You already know me, everybody was asking me about the starting lineup with 12 games to go and I was in my finishing last year of the contract so I think it was a big step for me. I’m ready to sacrifice for the team for sure.”
"I don’t know. I don’t know. I think where I’m at right now in my NBA career, I consider myself a starter and I don’t see myself coming off the bench for 82 games.”
Who said what?
Speaking of the summer, they’re going to have the mid-level salary cap exception to spend, about $5.6 million to start.
The Raptors will have the so-called mid-level salary cap exception (likely about $5.6 million) to spend this summer on free agents. Here’s a look at some possibilities:
Who do they get? Probably not an all-star but likely a viable piece.
A generic mailbag query:
Q: One of the main themes coming from yourself and others during the Raptors tailspin to end the season was that they would be judged based on what they did in the playoffs. So, what your verdict?
Greg W, Toronto
A: Well, that’s easy. It’s a failure, a disappointment, a step back.
The reasons are there for all to see and some are mitigating factors.
Injuries to T.J. and Bosh hurt, not having Garbo was crippling, Bargnani’s regression was costly.
All of those are relatively easy to overcome so the future’s not entirely bleak.
But this year? This was a bad year.
You know who’s smart? Anthony Parker’s smart. Everyone knows that changes are coming and with his contract expiring at the end of next season and his steady production coveted by teams looking for a solid player and good citizen, it’s entirely possible he’s played his last game as a Raptor.
And when asked about it, he was forthright. And we appreciate it.
"It’s a business. It’s a business first. I love the organization here: The people that work in it, the team that I play for, and the coaching staff. I love coming here and it’s not something that I dread. I know a lot of situations aren’t like that. There are not a lot of situations like this in the NBA. But it’s a business. Like you said, maybe my situation might be attractive to somebody. Mr. Colangelo, if it makes the team better here in Toronto, I expect him to do his job.”
List time (remember that?)
Five best wins:
At Boston, they shot the lights out
At San Antonio, best defence of year and Bargnani finishes the game guarding Duncan
At New Orleans, heckuva way to end the calendar year.
Vs. Portland, double-OT thriller maybe most exciting home game of the year
Vs. Detroit, about the only “quality” win of the last half of the season.
Five worst losses
At New York, Jamal Crawford goes off, they have no clue
At Seattle, bad team, bad effort.
Vs. L.A. Clippers, one of many at home that got away
At Atlanta, season really turned the night T.J. got hurt
At Washington, can’t take advantage of injury-ravaged opponent.