More mail than you can imagine, or I can carry, Bag No. 1
Lots of themes, and very few questions having anything to do with Jose, TJ, Atlanta scorers or Eric Lewis.
Q: Hey Doug, Chuck said the other day that the 3 people from the Toronto media would get MVP votes. He said that he has one, so I was wondering who the other two are.
Matt T, Barrie
A: I’ve got one but I have no idea who the third is. And I think you all know how mine's going to be filled out.
Q: Great blog. I'm another refugee from hockey fandom, and I've really enjoyed reading your stuff as I get more and more into basketball.
I've got a quick question regarding next season. What do you think are the chances that Jorge Garbajosa will come back next year and give the Raptors the kind of defense and basketball smarts they seem to lack at SF? If Garbo comes back strong, do the Raps still need to trade for an athletic swingman? Thanks.
Tim M, Kingston
A: By the time next fall rolls around, Garbo would have played a grand total of seven NBA games between March 2007 and Novemeber 2008. It’s unfair to speculate and what he will give. The Raptors expect very little at the moment, they are in full-on ‘wait and see’ mode. If he is himself, it doesn’t lessen the need for an athletic swingman but it may diminish the need for a complete remake of the position.
Q: Okay, so I read the article about John Lucas, and I hear Chuck and Leo go on about him every time he’s at a game. But by my account, by the time TJ Ford went to him with little or a non-existent physical injury, worked out with him for the better part of 6 weeks and came back nowhere near game shape and only a month and a half later is looking close to the same speed physically (still absolutely slow on the mental slide). Why are we ringing this guy up like he's some second coming? He just looks like a guy starving for camera time to me and is dying to become an NBA coach...
Dan H, Hamilton
A: John’s a good guy with a track record of being a good trainer and ‘psychological coach’ if you will, to a lot of NBA players. I know T.J. likes and respects him and all I can say is we don’t know where T.J. would be had it not been for the few weeks he spent with Lucas in Houston.
I don’t think he’s a ‘second coming’ by any stretch of the imagination, just another resource that may or may not work out in the long term.
Q: In watching the Phoenix/Denver game on Monday, there was a play where I think it was Nash, hit a 3-pointer and from my view on the couch many miles away it looked as though he had more than a toe on the line. It got me thinking back and I have sometimes seen players hit threes when it looks like their entire foot is over or on the line and the refs still signal three. Same goes the other way when a player looks well behind the line and it is called a two. What I wanted to know is do refs ever blow these calls or are the angles we see on television playing games on my eyes.
P.S. After that home and home a Phoenix/Denver first round match up would sure be entertaining.
Alessio G, St. Catharines
A: It’s the TV angle. Believe me, officials are concentrating right on the feet any time a shooter elevates close to the line.
Q: Bargnani's line-drives: Didn't someone write in last year saying he needed help with his flat shots, and you said, no, no, just look at his shooting, everyone thinks it's perfect form? Not to pick on you, but shouldn't have Colangelo have been aware that this form needed correction sooner than later?
Jonny B, Toronto
A: Last year, his shot was silky-smooth, as it still is on the odd occasion this year. It’s the inconsistency in his delivery that’s troubling.
So, no, there was no need to be aware of a problem that didn’t exist last season.
Q: Hi Doug, I've got a couple of odd questions for you. I hope you will answer them. Here we go. Do players shower during half time or after the game? And from some of the live games that I've seen, it seems that you can hear a swish when the ball goes in nicely, but is it really that loud? Or do they have some sort of microphone that connects to it?
Kenneth L, Mississauga
A: Yes, one of them is very odd, as a matter of fact. Not being in the locker room at halftime, I don’t know but I’d assume no one does and everyone showers post-game.
The noise? Just another way to ‘enhance the experience.’ There are microphones attached to the backboard near the rim that catch that swishing sound. And they’re directed so they don’t pick up all the swearing that goes on.
Q: The other day someone asked: if you were a player in the NBA who would it be? I would have to say Kurt Rambis. Perfect fit. Both uniquely rebellious and both the hardest working in your respective professions.
Luka M, Toronto
A: And we both wear glasses!
(1) Bargnani seems to play more like a 4 than a 5. Why not use him and Brezec as the 4 and 5 on the second unit (like Bosh and Nesterovic on the first)?
(2) Ford looks like he is "back". Why not sign and trade Calderon (NOT Ford) in the off-season (as part of a package) for the slashing guard they so badly need?
(3) Big hops are hard to find! Shouldn't Moon be given the same "developmental latitude" as Bargnani?
Don T, Kincardine
A: Brezec? Why play a guy who has shown little ability to, you know, play; Ford-Calderon is a debate that’s getting very, very, very tiring, it’s a matter of personal preference and the only person who really matters is B. Colangelo; and I’m not sure what you’re take on Moon-Bargnani is but Moon plays more, gets more responsibility and latitude than Bargnani. I think he’s getting far more “developmental latitude.”
Q: How did Chicago go from finishing with the 3rd best record in the east to being so dismal this season with essentially the same team. I still can’t figure this one out.
David C, Toronto
A: A bad combo of players tuning coach out, the diminished skills of one B. Wallace, the sudden inability of Kirk Hinrich to, um, be good is a perfect recipe for a fast and shocking demise.
Q: Here is a question which doesn't relate to basketball but was discussed during the game on the Bobcats broadcast. Since you are on the road very frequently I thought you could end the debate, who has the better ketchup? Canada or the States?
Timothy S, Markham
A: I don’t do a lot of ketchup, except when it’s mixed in with other spices in a barbecue sauce so I’m no expert. But I’d say Canadian is better, sweeter, I think.
Q: Ive never had a question published in which I praise you for your terrific blog, so Im going to try the opposite today, see it that works.
You suck! You put KG 2nd on your list on players that make their teams worse when they are injured or not playing.
You call yourself an expert?! pfft, Paul Pierce has been Bostons best player this season, KG has been there most valued. But we've already seen them without KG this year and it wasn't bad, not even close. I'd put 10-15 guys ahead of him, including Bosh (did you not see them when Bosh was out?!?! A stat I heard - without Bosh Toronto give up 109ppg, with Bosh 92ppg). When those guys get injured its like for thsoe teams...where do we go now? For Boston its like where do we go now?...OH THATS RIGHT our OTHER 2 all-stars
Your a joke, was that mean enough?
Mike S, Adelaide, SA
A: You have no idea how to use punctuation. Or spell very well.
Q: The picture on your blog appears to show TJ admiring MoPete's new arm adornment, with Rasho in the background. This is so not a basketball question, but which team has the least number of tattooed players? Besides Jamario and Carlos, could it be our darling Raptors? Or are there adornments best seen in the locker room? And of the heavily inked Spalding warriors there has got to be a mindset that ink = toughness. Maybe Andrea could try on some henna?
Akiko C, Barrie
A: How do you know there aren’t more Raptors with tats? Don’t forget TJ, for instance? But I would suggest there are few teams with fewer than Toronto has.
Q: Hey Doug, Slightly off-topic but figured its always good to break the mold every so often. What do you think of Slamball? I watched some on youtube the other day and man it’s amazing.
Jamil B, Sydney
A: Just took a look at it and as far as contrived sports go, it’s certainly one of them. Can’t say I’d ever take another look.
Q: Now that Joel Anthony has "cracked" the 13-999... Miami lineup, who is the next Canadian to make the NBA?
Andrew C, Toronto
A: An unanswerable question, really, since no one saw Joel Anthony coming at all. My initial reaction is whoever it is might be in high school now.
Q: Doug, what playoff matchup(s) are you most looking forward to seeing this year?
Sam S, Toronto
A: Seeing how they’re not yet set, it’s really difficult to answer. I will say that the No. 1-8 series in the West is going to be great. And I want to see how Chris Paul and David West do in their first-ever post-season appearance.
Q: Any chance the NBA would change the jump ball rule to match high school and NCAA with the possession arrow? I'm a small player myself and I feel it’s such an injustice whenever TJ or Caldy work to tie up a ball on defense and then have no chance to win the jump.
I don't think it's fair and I don't see why it wouldn't make the game better to change the rule.
Paul C, Grassy Narrows
A: Goodness gracious, I hope not. I hate that rule.
Let’s say TJ or Jose tie up a bigger guy with some huge hustle play no one sees coming. Wouldn’t you rather have your team get a chance to steal the jump, maybe with some quick move around the circle, rather than turn the ball over because it’s not their turn to have it?
I really, really, really hate that rule.
Q: Based on their needs, if you could magically pluck out any Atlanta Hawk and insert him into the Raptors roster without giving anyone up, who would it be?
Phil K, Singapore
A: Joe Johnson, not even close.
Q: Doug, I know the NBA did away with the illegal defense rule a few years ago so I have a tactical question about the last play in regulation last night. With the Hawks down 3 and only 3.8 seconds on the clock, why didn't the Raptors position all five defenders spaced evenly just inside the 3-point line? It would almost ensure any outside shot would be contested (provided TJ made an effort to get there!). They give away an easy 2 and then play the foul game to win.
Jason H, Ottawa
A: Bet lots of people out there think that sounds silly. We asked Sam that very question on Thursday. He said:
"We’ve talked about just putting five guys in five different spots. It sounds stupid but we may try it. Everybody’s got 10 feet of area … we may try it. It’s amazing all the things you think of after the guy hits that shot.”
Of course, the way these guys execute, they might all bunch up in the same 10-foot area but maybe it’s worth a try.
Q: Do you think that the Raptors will target Rony Turiaf in the off-season? Rony will be a free agent and the Lakers have a lot of bigs.
Do you think that he would be a good fit for this line up? I think that his energy, toughness, and rebounding would make him a commodity to look closely at obtaining in the off-season.
Norm M, Trail, B.C.
A: I love Rony Turiaf’s game and so do the Raptors, I understand. But so, too, do the Lakers and seeing how he’s a restricted free agent, I can’t imagine they ever let him get away.
Q: Okay, I agree that was an excellent game-ending play that the Raptors ran against Atlanta. However are you really certain it was Sam that drew the play up or was it one of the assistants? I'm not trying to draw any praise away from Sam. I think he's a great coach. Being an ex-coach myself I think it's the primary responsibility of the head coach to communicate and motivate the players. Thus he makes sure they're operating on the same page and is the one that holds the team together - a big responsibility by the way, especially when it comes to handling players like TJ. I would think that the assistant coaches would handle a lot of the x's and o's, especially when it comes to specialty plays. My thinking is to give the assistants some responsibility, after all they're not just dummies. Could you use your inside contacts to ascertain as to who was the originator. It might have been Sam, different coaches assign responsibilities in different ways.
Bill H, Ailsa Craig
A: I know it was Sam’s play because players and coaches told me Thursday it was, drawn up in the timeout. And the people I talked to have never lied to me before and would have no reason to start now.
Q: Okay, 2 questions.
1. I read Cousin Sekou's piece and though he asserts it was the on-court official's error, he does not elaborate on how he knows this. Did the official confess his error to him?
2. If the clock can be started by any 1 of 4 officials (3 refs and the timekeeper), what is the rationale behind multiple clock-starters? Logic leads me to believe this type of system would be to eliminate any "1" individual from independently controlling the clock.
Please enlighten, Doug?
Richard E, Toronto
A: There’s an electronic fingerprint on the call, that’s how we know it was Lewis who started the clock.
Multiple clock-starters are necessary so that if one guy’s view is blocked, another can see the play.
Q: Quick question, how would you rank the all-time Raptors coaches?
I'm thinking 1. Butch 2. Brendan 3. Sam 4. Lenny 5. Darryl 6) Kevin.
Raymond Y, Toronto
A: I’d concur, although I could make the case for Brendan, Sam and Butch as the top three because of the deteriorating relationship Butch had with his players. But as an Xs and Os guy, he was excellent. Trouble is, there’s more than that to coaching.
Q: Had a quick question, does the player throwing the ball inbounds get as assist
Sunny R, Woodbridge
A: Yes, he can. Childress got an assist on Bibby’s basket, for instance.
Q: Since Darrick Martin has stopped playing, is there a possibility that if the raptors wanted to make a trade, they could sign him to a one-year expiring contract to make the salaries match (ala Keith Van Horn, Aaron McKie)?
Evan G, Thornhill
A: Indeed they could, as long as Darrick hadn’t filed official retirement papers.
Q: To take my mind off of the excrutiating exasperation of following the Raptors this year, I'd like to ask a quick B101 question. Down at the ACC, when they take a moment away from ads to put some stats up on the big ribbon boards, there's one that I can't figure out. What does 2CP mean?
Howard P, Toronto
A: Second-chance points. A terrible abbreviation but I don’t see what else they could use.
Q: It’s me again. All right basketball 101 question when players need to pass a physical before they get traded or signed what does that mean. Like do they have to do ‘x’ amount of pushup. Please enlighten us
Chris C, Toronto
A: You again? Where’ve you been? No, not a test of physical fitness like you’re referring to. When a player’s traded, think of it like they’ve got to go to the doctor’s for a check-up. Like they have to make sure all the joints work and the vital organs are strong.
Q: Making known my deadened words on a weekly basis since the early days of this blog, it was just once that you failed to reciprocate my questions with your well of knowledge. For that, I am deeply grateful, Doug. However, as a consequence, my love life suffers and the wife complains that I'm giving more attention to this blog than hers, so I promised to limit my questions to one particular topic. Here it is:
I'm long been appalled by this so-called "matchup-driven" experiments that Sam rationalized for tweaking the Raptors line up. Would it not be better for the Raptors to improve cohesion if there is a definite set of starters and subs (as perennial successful teams like Pistons and Spurs) for most of the games? If injuries were the only basis for changing the line up, do you think the players might have performed more consistently?
And, (what the heck... I'll just give my wife a massage tonight for breaking my promise) 2) Do you know if BC has interest to acquire my and your man Walter who is just getting buried to the bench in Detroit?
Rikki C, Burlington
A: After the Bargnani for Rasho switch before Christmas, which came just after T.J. got hurt and before Bosh was injured, they were pretty consistent. Until the last two changes, that is. But, yes, I think a set rotation is the way to go for as many games as you can; I see why Sam tinkers with the substitution patterns with the shooting guards and small forward each game because he needs to find two who are going to play each night and that’s no mean feat.
And, while I’d hate to think of your wife transferring her anger to me for answering multiple questions from you, I can’t let a Walter query go unasked.
Herrmann’s an unrestricted free agent and depending on what happens at the end of the roster, Bryan may very well make a call. But I’m thinking Walter’s going to make more money heading back to Europe.