Mid-week mail, and lots of it
Holy smokes, you people are unrelenting. Another week, another few thousand words of mail. There’s more, too, I’ll get to it when I can, that pesky newspaper work and flights are getting in the way.
Q: Just have to say thanks for the blog. Not sure where I'd be without it! I was just wondering who decides who the league MVP is? I didn't know if there was a 'panel' of some sort and if so, who's on it? Is it the same group every year?
Simone S, Toronto
A: Got to this in the paper but if you didn’t see it, there’s a group of 125 voters, I believe; three from every city and a handful of “national” media who vote. And it does change slightly from year to year, depending on which local broadcasters or writers get ballots in which categories.
Q: You linked to Dave D's playoff-elimination article on the Nets in your last post. I like Dave D too, but I was very intrigued by the one bit where he suggests that Richard Jefferson will likely be somewhere else next season. I know he would look good in a Raps uniform, but I believe you've said it's a money issue with him. Is there any possibility with our current roster (trades, sign-and-trades, etc) that he could be a Raptor next year?
Steve W, London, UK
A: I’ve mentioned a few times that I think the Nets will try to move RJ but they’d probably want a small forward in return and I don’t see a fit in a trade. But I think Toronto will call about him.
Q: After watching the Nets game, and seeing how the fans treat Vince, I was wondering about what kind of reaction TJ Ford might get if he were ever traded, as some think might happen. It seems the Raptor fans love themselves an enemy. Do you think he'd be treated more like MoPete or more like Carter?
G M, Vancouver
A: He’d be on the Carter side of that equation, I’d bet. Not nearly as bad, but there’d be more boos than cheers. And, yes, Raptor fans love to let ex-Raptors know how they feel.
Q: Hey Doug, do you know anyone from ESPN? Next time you see one, ask if they ever plan to open an office in Toronto. Or better yet, if they plan to broadcast in Canada? I'm tired of only having puckhead networks and want a more rounded sports network. Heck, I would be first in line to work at ESPN. Marc Stein and Bill Simmons have said they would move to TO if ESPN opened an office. Wouldn't you want to report for ESPN? Although you'll be flying around more and that means less time with Super Son and Super Wife.
MK L, Mississauga
A: I’m pretty sure The Score, TSN and Sportsnet would make sure the CRTC wouldn’t let that happen.
And I love my job, why would I entertain other offers (you’re still reading this, right boss?)
Q: Doug - point blank - could Candace Parker play in the NBA?
Doug S, Peterborough
A: Point blank: No.
Q: In regards to the intro from your last update, I guess we are sort of like a family: you've been ignoring all my questions, so you feel just like my dad. LOL. Anyway, I want to say I totally support your steadfast stance with Andrea -- I wish he were producing now, but it seems so obvious all his issues are mental. Knowing 'when' to make which move, developing confidence, understanding defences/offences, which is all about exposure. And it's not like he's averaging Hoffa numbers - even when he's disappointing, he has the numbers of a more than serviceable big man. So why do you think people are so quick push the panic button with this guy? Are the naysayers just looking for a crease in the finely dressed resume of Bryan Colangelo?
S M, Toronto
A: Well live in a world full of the need for instant gratification, my friend. If you’re not great right away, you suck and should be dispatched so someone else can come in. It’s silly, but it’s the way it is for most people, I’m afraid.
Q: Oh Blogmaster please forgive my protestation;
Maybe I should defend my thought that the difference between this season and last is the absence of Garbo because it may be over complicating things the think otherwise.
Last year there were injuries and even a significant one to CB4. If you recall during the time Bosh was off for 12 games(I think) the Raps actually turned the season around.
Also, at this point you could say the Raps have a pretty good chance at winning 42 games. That means only five games off last year’s performance. Don't you think that having Jorge available at the three would have made a difference in at least five games?
And having five more wins under their belt at this point would have significant effect on where they start the playoffs.
What do you think of that reasoning?
Do you think Garbo would be stupid enough to try playing for the Spanish Olympic team this summer?
TC W, Toronto
A: I see your point. And your logic. I will counter with this: Maybe it is five, maybe it’s three. Maybe if Garbo played a lot of power forward next to Bosh, Rasho doesn’t get the same opportunity to shine and they still win 41 or 42. It’s impossible to quantify, but it’s fun to try.
And if Garbo’s healthy, why wouldn’t he play for Spain? It’s not like last summer when he was six months removed from surgery, when the Olympics roll around, it’ll be closer to 10. And having watched him in the gym these last couple of weeks, he’ll be fine to play and should go ahead if he wants to.
Q: Doug, just watched AB throw up 3 bricks from behind the arc against Detroit and wondered how long he's been shooting so horribly. I looked it up and he's been under 30 per cent since the All-Star break. Ouch. He doesn't rebound, doesn't defend, and now he can't shoot. At what point do the Raptors coaches tell him to screw throwing up 3 pointers and exclusively start from the block? (Not that he does that effectively either) Or do you think he should just keep shooting?
Nathan J, Toronto
A: I’ll go with the coaches on this one. He should drive the ball more, try to get to the free throw line more often, try to get those mid-range jumpers off rather than settle for three-pointers. And if they can get him on the block, they should. But not at the expense of low post touches for Bosh or Rasho, whoever he’s on the floor with.
Q: Hey Doug, do you think Bosh is falling in love with the 3-pointer too much? I've been watching the past few games and it seems he's been taking way more threes this year than he has in years past. With Kapono, Parker, Calderon already on the team, isn't it wise to let them shoot the threes and to let Bosh stick with the long jumper/post play?
Dave R, Markham
A: Falling in love? All of the three-pointers Bosh has taken in the last three weeks have been open looks in rhythm. He’s smart enough to know that’s the only way he takes them.
And your “way more threes this year than he has in years past” is, I’m afraid, not right.
Bosh has 24 attempts this season, he had 35 last year.
Q: Hey Doug, started off by Allen Iverson, Why is it that it’s mostly high profile players who wear the arm sleeve (i.e Kobe, LeBron, Carmelo, V.C, D-Wade, T-Mac, Rip Hamilton, etc)
It is either a marketing strategy or I guess the normal/role players just don’t need padding for their shooting arm since they don’t get fouled as much. Or both?
But hey if it’s the too much fouling, we should definitely recommend one for Jamario Moon, don’t you think?
Ali K, Thornhill
A: They’ll all tell you the compression sleeves help and they very well could. But I imagine there’s a little bit of fashion thrown in there, too. And simple imitation. Remember when all kinds of guys were wearing those full-length leggings? The NBA banned them with the exception for legitimate injury and no one’s game really went in the toilet.
Q: You mentioned how you feel like you’re getting to know some of us. Getting comfortable with some of us. Is there any one of us that consistently gets on your nerves? Have you ever deleted a message without reading it after seeing who it was from?
CJ L, London
A: No, shockingly, no one over on this side of things ever gets on my nerves. And it’s nice to see the same old names every week. I actually look forward to some of the more challenging question that go beyond who’s getting trade and why don’t they bench that bum Bargnani.
And I have never deleted a message simply because of the sender, even over on the comments side where, how to best put this, more raw emotion seems to emerge.
The way I see it, if someone takes the time out of their day to write, I should take the time to read. And, hopefully, respond.
Q: One of your favorite players in the NBA Carmelo Anthony was arrested for DUI. I highly doubt the Nuggets will do anything because he is needed for playoff positioning and playoffs. Is there any why the NBA could step in if teams do not discipline their own players?
Andy C, Michigan
A: The league has been quite consistent on this. Absolutely if he’s convicted and likely just because he’s been arrested, he will eventually be suspended for at least a game. But the process has to play out before the suspension will be leveled.
Q: Three questions for you:
1) Since we let go Linton Johnson, are the Raps down to 14 on the roster?
2) Why do you think Jason Kapono is not getting enough 3 point attempts?
3) I heard that the Bucks have some chemistry issues and some problems behind the scenes. Do you know the specifics as to what the issues are for them?
Rob F, Toronto
A: Yes, they are at 14 on the roster; Kapono doesn’t shoot three because he doesn’t step back beyond the three-point line with the ball often enough, he doesn’t play an awful lot and when the point guard turn the corner, they look for other people instead of him. As for the Bucks? I honestly can’t answer that. I hadn’t heard it, I’ve only seen Milwaukee twice this season and don’t have enough information to make an informed comment.
Q: Since March 30th Jose has 70 assists and 2 turnovers.... yes, 70 and 2.... a 35 to 1 assist to turnover ration.... UNREAL!!!
This question has nothing to do with the NBA but did you ever play basketball in the good old days? And I don't mean recreationally, did you play in college, highschool maybe? If so, what position did you play?
Ed C, Toronto
A: I didn’t so much play as I was on the team. At glorious Stamford Collegiate and Vocational Institute and, as I’ve mentioned, the University of Welland. I was non-shooting, non-slashing, non-defending guard. Which is why I was more on the team than a player.
Q: So I look in the box scores today and see Ramon Sessions of Milwaukee had 20 points and 24 assists! I couldn't believe it. What is the all time record for assists in a game, and was Sessions' 24 the highest total of this season?
David C, Aurora
A: That must have been one of the wildest games in years. Yes, Sessions’ 24 assists is a high in a game this season; the NBA single-game record is held by none other than ex-Bulls coach Scott Skiles, who had 30 one night while playing for Orlando and tossing the ball to that Shaquille O’Neal dude.
Q: I have two questions, I've always wondered how you receive the question we send to you, is it like to your email address inbox or is it to somewhere else I'm curious? My other question is that the Magic have a very tall backcourt. Do you think that Moon can match up to the heights of Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis? And lastly I saw Maurizio Gherardini watching the Raps vs. the Heat and I thought it was you for a while. You both look so similiar.
Chaz E, London, UK
A: I’m pretty sure Maurizio would dispute that last point.
The e-mail goes to a catch-all mailbox, my own personal Star one doesn’t get out there. I like to keep that for more private conversations.
And Moon’s going to match up with Turkoglu; they use Lewis as the four sometimes and that’ll be a challenge for Bosh.
Q: Surely the playoffs are a time when results depend in no small part on what goes on "above the neck" -- being confident, staying cool, making wise individual and team adjustments, etc. Experience is a matter of age and time. Not much one can do about that right now. But what do teams do to encourage players mental acuity and confidence during the playoffs: extra meetings? dinner together? having some fun with swagger? coaches offering "5 good things for every 1 correction"?
Charles N, Toronto
A: They spent a lot more time in study sessions, watching video of past performances, their own and the opponents. And as Sam mentioned the other day, they generally try to show three things well done for one done poorly. That’s the kind of positive reinforcement they use. There is also a lot more specific instruction during practice sessions.
As for “bonding?” I would imagine, given the schedule, there will be some kind of team meal on Saturday night and, if Monday is the only off-day in Orlando, I’d think a large group of players might just go hang out and eat together and discuss what went on in Game 1.
Q: Hey Doug, if we have an advantage against Orlando it's that they are the Raptors of last year (young and inexperienced). We still are, too but how many playoff games have Magic players played vs. Raptors players?
Doug S, Peterborough
A: Well, let’s hold on just a second.
There are 138 games of playoff experience on the Magic roster, 136 on Toronto’s.
Q: Doug, comment/question on 24 second shot clock violations. I was watching the Heat game when the raps forced a 24 second violation, the ball missed the rim and a Raps player (I think Delfino) grabbed it out of the air. The clock had just expired and the play was blown dead.
For sake of keeping the game moving, could the league not look at changing the rule so that a violation only occurs if the offensive team remains procession after the shot clock has expired?
Travis S, Waterloo
A: I remember that play, too, and there was split second between the shot clock expiring and Delfino grabbing the ball. I suppose the NBA could change to something like soccer’s play-on rule but steals can happen so quickly, it’s probably best they blow the play. What if Delfino took one dribble on that play and had the ball stripped?
Q: Doug, a question and a favour to ask. First the question: is there, or has there been, and one Raptor that was really disliked by his entire team to the point where it has been visible to the grunts and distracting to the play of the team on the court?
Now the favour (and it's a big one).....the next time BC holds court with the writers, could you remind him of a promise that Mr. Grunwald made way back in 2003 to return to my cold, wet city for a pre-season game? It would appear that some at MLSE must have forgot.
Gord P, St. John’s, NL
A: I believe there was some dislike towards Carlos Rogers way back in the day and I’m pretty sure Keon Clark and Vince Carter never shared a meal. Those were the two most glaring examples, I’m sure there were others (I’m not certain Jalen and Rafer were bosom buddies) but it never really carried over on to the court.
I believe the memory banks at Maple Leaf Sports are indeed lacking and reneging on a promise like that, no matter who made it and who’s now in charge, is shameful. Consider them reminded.
Q: Hi Doug! Good blog. Love your style of writing. I recently read "Seven Seconds or Less: My Season on the Bench with the Runnin' & Gunnin' Phoenix Suns" by Jack McCallum of Sports Illustrated and I enjoyed reading the locker room tales about the Suns. I'm sure it's what readers are looking for. Is there a chance you could write a book about the Raptors too? You'd be perfect to write that kind of stuff. Sure they're not in the same level as Phoenix right now, but they've emerged as a better franchise the last couple of years. And it would be nice to read about the Raptors' off-court stories. Anyway, just wondering. Thanks for posting this. :)
Tiara B, Toronto
A: I’m pretty sure I couldn’t do as good a job as Jack did, that’s an excellent book. The access would be great, but I’d probably have to take a year off from The Star to do it and I’m not sure my bosses, or my bankers, would appreciate that.
Q: What would be your defensive strategy for guarding each of the Magic starters? Defensively, which Raptor player would match up best against them?
Shawn R, Toronto
A: We’re going to get into this in much, much more detail later in the week (we’re hoping to pull off a really special web-only thing) so I’m going to do this really quickly:
Jameer Nelson, ball pressure with either PG.
Evans, just guard him straight up with Parker.
Turkoglu, get the ball out of his hands, make Moon crowd him.
Lewis, don’t give him shooting space, a toughy for Bosh.
Howard, meet him early, don’t let him get post position, Rasho does it well.
Maybe – just maybe – they switch Parker and Moon.
Q: It’s not quite report card time YET.... but I'd love to hear your thoughts on a few Raptors who showed such promise earlier in the year.
To save you further stress, I'll leave out Bargs (dissected thoroughly) and TJ (discussed TOO much).
I know you're "over him" as the moniker Good Joey/Bad Joey indicates, but (in your opinion) WHERE did it go wrong and do you think it is salvageable?
All players (especially young ones like Moon, Bargnani etc) get 'developmental leeway'; where is Joey's?
The only reason why I bring this up is the Rap's well noted problems defending athletic swingmen.
Joey is regarded as being one of the most athletic players we've ever had (up there with Moon and Voldemort) but possesses a size and freakish strength that neither did
Coming out of training camp he showed flashes of brilliance (i recall a dunk over a player during a scrimmage that BC called one of the best he'd ever seen)
A strong, rugged 3 with athleticism. Can nothing be gleaned from this? Do you think its time to 'give up and move on'? Or can he blossom into a valuable player based on his physical skill set?
(If this gets printed, why do I foresee a simple "nope" reply from you, LoL)
Let me know your thoughts!
Jawad R, Unionville
A: Joey Graham’s has three seasons of “developmental leeway.” People gotta get out of his fan club, he’s had his shot repeatedly and never been able to hang on to a job. Sorry. Everybody’s gotta get passed it, though.
Where did it go wrong? Where to start. Repeated blown defensive assignments, being in the wrong place on offence, being not as good as the guys ahead of him. Take your pick.