The cards and letters came flowing in
So, I had to go and open my big mouth.
Well, at least answering mail got me out of the lobby bar early. Thanks
Q: Love the blog Doug and I hope you will enlighten us with the same analysis during the Olympics. Quick question: At what point to you stop Andrea experiment and pull the plug to go in a different direction? I think the fact that since BC thinks he's still gonna be a cornerstone of the franchise, then our moves going forward in the off-season will be compromised.(ie Bosh will never get the Centre he deserves)
PS. Where do you think we would have been right now in the east had we drafted Aldridge? Would we still have a chance in the Magic series?
Nitin V, Waterloo
A: There’s no way they will, or should, make a move on Bargnani for at least another year. You don’t give up on a young 7-footer who’s shown flashes after only two seasons, that’s ridiculous.
And the Aldridge thing is unanswerable, as you well know. So I’ll say they would have been swept by Orlando if he was here because that makes as much sense as suggesting they’d have won 50 games and been third in the conference. Happy?
Q: With so many of the Raptors being inconsistent (eg, Delfino, Bargnani, Kapono, Ford) for the majority of the year and the Raps lacking the toughness & rebounding all season, why wasn't there any deals made before the trade deadline to correct these shortcomings?
P.s. If this team was consistent they'd be dangerous!
Aaron J, Toronto
A: You don’t think Bryan Colangelo didn’t try to address the issues at the trade deadline and maybe didn’t have the pieces to offer to put a deal together? Just because you think they should have made a deal doesn’t mean there was one out there that made sense.
Q: Hey Doug, long time reader first time writer. Just thinking, the Raptors need a SF and Andrei Kirilenko could fill that spot. He has wanted out of Utah and his value can’t be too high, do you see the raptors making a run at him?
Chad J, Mississauga
A: I know Kirilenko will be on the list of players Bryan Colangelo calls about in the summer but with the way things are going in Utah, the Jazz may not want to move him and whatever issues he had may be resolved.
Q: It's very weird that no one is writing you. Though that game exposed the very issues that you have been mentioning for months, like lack of an athletic wing. I have a basketball 101 question if a player is fouled on a shot and it doesn't go in, is it considered a shot attempt? What happens to you if the Raptors are eliminated? Do you get to cover another series up close or will you watch the playoffs from afar?
Keep up the great work!
Peter S, Hamilton
A: No, that’s not a field goal attempt, which saves the shooter’s percentage.
Me? I’ll likely pick up the conference finals at some point and do some of the finals so I’ll get my share of live basketball in the next 10 weeks or so. And that’ll give me access to teams and players to keep this blog thingy going.
Q: Hi, Doug, I'm just one of those fans who are frustrated by Bargnani's performance throughout the year.
My question is:
Do you think Bargnani can be any better than Villanueva? I mean, if Bargs hit some 3s, we are pretty happy with him, but couldn’t CV do that more often (even though we weren’t that happy with him making 3s then)?
John L, Toronto
A: Everyone’s frustrated by Bargnani’s play, why wouldn’t they be? And this’ll get ‘em all riled up but I still say at end of their careers, Bargnani’s better and plays a more significant role on a winning team than Charlie will.
Q: Do you think Jamario's injury in the second half of Game 4 hurt the Raps' chances for a victory? He seemed to provide the zip that characterized the team's play in Game 3, and it felt (to me) as though the Raps were much better before he left the game. Was he a big factor in the Magic's steady stream of turnovers (which, coincidentally, tapered off significantly once Jamario left the game)?
Kevin R, Winnipeg
A: I don’t think it was the determining factor but not having Moon available sure figured into the outcome. You would have seen him on the floor in the final three minutes after Delfino fouled out and maybe his length and athleticism would have helped.
Q: Question for you - with an afternoon game, do you get to take a breath with a longer deadline? You know...maybe visit that watering hole on the 300 level?
Keep up the good scribing!
Greg G, Ottawa
A: Not exactly take a breath but you do have the luxury of time to write a game story. Trouble is, sometimes you tend to “think” too much rather than writing, deadlines can be like air, they take up all the available space. It’s best to gather your stuff and write what you think as quickly as you do normally.
And I’ve been to a watering hole on the 300 level. I presume it’s cool place to be.
Q: Who would you say is more important to their teams? Tony Battie to Orlando or Jorge Garbajosa to Toronto? Would a healthy Garbo have made a difference in this kind of series?
Naoto Y, Calgary
A: I’d say Garbo is far more valuable to Toronto than Tony Battie is to Orlando. You’re talking about a starter as opposed to a guy who’d play eight minutes backing up Howard.
I don’t know if Garbo makes a difference in this series, although he’d probably be able to defend Turkoglu well.
Q: I was at the game on Saturday and it was an incredible atmosphere to take in. I found that the game really changed once Delfino fouled out. At the time he was guarding Lewis and when Mitchell decided to put in Calderon and have Kapono guard Lewis it just went downhill from there. I think Mitchell really dropped the ball having Kapono guard Lewis. It was an absolute mismatch. Was this just in my eyes or do you feel the same way?
Robert M, Toronto
A: It did change a bit, yes. But, as I said in the comments, with Moon unavailable and Bargnani awful, there weren’t a lot of options. They needed to score, being down three at the time, so Rasho wasn’t an option and, yes, it was a mismatch but sometimes they happen and you hope Kapono can make some defensive plays. I don’t think it killed them, Lewis got his big three-pointer off a slow rotation.
Q: Do you think that Chris Bosh is the most underrated PF in the game? I started thinking about how well he plays, and even with his skinny frame he continually attacks the rim and finds ways to score despite the amount of defensive attention he gets. Consider that, and now consider every great big man in the game has one or two legit scoring threats or all-stars to create space for them. Duncan has Ginobili and Parker, Amare has Nash, Shaq, and shooters, Howard has Hedo and Lewis, KG has Allen and Pierce, Yao has T-Mac and shooters, Jamison has Arenas, Butler and Stevenson etc.
Bosh does everything on this club and doesn't have that luxury of open space on the court. If Toronto can nab a scorer capable of 20ppg (Maggette mould), I believe it would be enough to bump Toronto up to serious East contenders as Bosh's game would thrive, thus opening up, and taking pressure off everyone elses game. Do you agree?
Mike S, Adelaide, SA
A: I guess you’re not in the group of people who want Bosh traded or think he’s not a “franchise” player. Good on ya.
Yes, you can make that case for him being under-rated by everyone except other players and coaches, who love him. As well they should.
Q: Since the Raptors were outscored in the first and third quarter but did dominate the second quarter why would Mitchell bring Ford back with 5 minutes to play when the Raptors were still in the game. All Ford did was jack up shots and completly forget that Kapono was on the floor. Calderon got Kapono going in the second and although Calderon was not having a great game he is a winner and will make the right plays as well as outplaying his opponent in crunch time--last two minutes of the game. This situation is like two quarterbacks--one who lobs the screen pass that goes for a touchdown and the other who throws a bullet screen pass that results in a one yard loss.
Don W, Cameron
A: Ford actually came back with 3:10 left in the second, not five minutes; Toronto was up one when he returned and finished the half up five. Pretty good substitution if you ask me. And you did.
Q: Hey Doug, just wondering, if you had to pick one player in the league to start a team around, who would it be? And to take it one step further, if you had to nominate one person at each position to start a team around, who would each of those be?
Geoff A, Toronto
A: Pretty good question.
If I had to pick one guy? I guess it’d be LeBron over Kobe? Or Kobe over LeBron? I don’t know, let’s go with Kobe, better free throw shooter.
One from each position:
PG: Chris Paul, young, great future ahead of him.
SG: That Bryant fellow, by a mile.
SF: That James guy, he’s pretty darn good.
PF: Kevin Garnett, he can guard anybody and makes everyone better.
C: I’m seeing a lot of this Howard guy from Orlando lately, he looks like a keeper.
Not a bad teamk is it?
Q: Just finished watching (Saturday’s) Game 4. Don't really know whether the Raps deserved to win or lose but I have a couple of questions and a comment.
1: Kapono enters the game and plays and shoots extremely well and then sits for what I think was an excessively long time. Comes in again and is not nearly as effective. Why does Sam take out the hot shooter for such an extended time?
2: Nesterovic and Bosh are dong a great defensive job working together. Raps are dominating-out goes Nesterovic and in comes Bargnani who contributes nothing from a defensive point of view. Why does Sam change the momentum of the game with these substitutions. These games are do or die and I don't think the players that are doing the job would mind staying in for extra minutes to keep the momentum going.
Gerry T, Brampton
A: I don’t know you’re getting at with that first question. Kapono came the game with 3:28 left in the first quarter and played until halftime. He came back with seven minutes left in the third quarter and played the rest of the game.
One more time with the matchups: They don’t’ want to use Rasho and Bosh together too much because they want to force the Magic to use Howard on Bosh and seeing how Bosh had those 39 points in Game 4 it seems to work. Bosh goes and sets high screens, which moves Howard away from the basket. With Nesterovic in there, Howard seldom has to leave the paint and Orlando puts Lewis on Bosh, which is a less than ideal matchup.
It’s about the offence, not the defence.