Friday delivery, specially for you
Well, I asked, and you answered. Or I asked and you asked, to be more correct.
Anyway, lots of good ones here and I’ve held over a few to get us through the start of next week.
Thanks for coming through, as always.
Q: I'm surprised to see you casting the Pistons aside so quickly! Especially with your man Walter there holding down the fort and getting some burn (Wednesday) night. If the Pistons don't get Chauncey back, who do you think needs to step up their game the most in the back court - Stuckey or Rip?
Amanda F, Barrie
A: Walter’s great, isn’t he? All crazy hair and weird gait and energy.
Now, for the question. Because the Pistons offence is so, um, plodding and because Billups is so good at getting the ball to the right guy at the right time, you’d think the pressure would be on his replacement if he can’t go, wouldn’t you? But I suggest it’s going to be on guys like Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince to be more creative, get their own stuff, if
Detroit’s going to hold off the Magic.
And I don’t know if they can.
Q: Doug, as frequent viewer of NBA games I noticed something that bugs me a bit, which is players cursing out loud. I understand some of players were really into the game, but dropping S-bombs out loud and mouthing the f-word (the broadcast doesn't have audio on players) might make kids think it's acceptable to swear out loud. And one more question, how tolerant are referees when players protest/discuss against calls, especially in the playoffs. Are they more tolerant?
Kenneth L, Mississauga
A: Yes, 20-something and 30-something pro athletes curse, some of them quite frequently but I don’t see any remedy to that situation. Unfortunately.
The officials do give players a bit more latitude in the post-season, mostly because the intensity level is so much greater than in the regular season and everyone’s wound a wee bit tighter. There are still basic trigger points for technicals – stuff like throwing a head band, openly showing up a ref – but for the most part, the reigns are loosened a little bit.
Q: Hey Doug, can we assume Garbo is going to be healthy and resume being an important piece for the Raps' next season?
Hunter B, Kentville
A: You can assume nothing. When the regular season opens in November, Garbo will have played seven NBA games in almost 19 months, expecting him to come back and be an “important piece” right away is asking a lot.
It’s not that he can’t, or won’t, it’s just that it’s going to take him some time to get back up to speed.
Q: Watching teams like Suns and Mavs make early exits, and both looking for new coaches, do you see the landscape of the West drastically changing next year? Is there finally hope for the likes of Portland or Golden State to get back into the playoffs? I imagine there is no quick fix for the Suns lack of defence, or Dallas's lack of "onions" ... maybe rebuilding years are ahead for both? What teams if any do you see dropping out, or moving up the Western ranks next year?
Caleb H, Ottawa
A: Not drastically, no. I think it’ll be more competitive in the regular season, which may lead to fewer teams with 50-plus wins because I think the Clippers, if Brand’s back, and the Blazers, with Oden, are bound to be better and win more games.
If you’re looking for teams to take a step back, I can see Golden State dropping back a little bit and I do think Dallas will struggle more than they have.
I’ll dispute the Suns defensive issue; if they get a coach who stresses some sort of consistent theme and they actually work on it, I can see them being an average defensive team. Not good, just average. After all, the likes of Barbosa, Diaw and Bell are athletic enough that if they wanted to, they could be okay defenders.
Q: Here's one for the mailbag. You asked the crazies to take a step back, breath deep, count to 10, and consider how their ridiculous trade idea looks from the other team's perspective, so I'd like to pick your brain as to how other teams see the Raps this off-season - some reverse-trade speculation. We're a team that had a mediocre/disappointing season amid high expectations, a quick first round exit, and it's pretty much universally acknowledged that *something* has to be done - BC can't/won't walk into next season trotting out the exact same roster. We're a team with some obvious deficiencies and clearly looking to make moves.
That said, which teams might be looking at certain Raps assets, our desire to make changes, and lick their chops? Houston is probably salivating at the thought of getting Primoz and Joey for the low low price of Yao Ming, right? .....right????????
Who would be most likely interested in who, and what would suit the Raps? Is it time to break out a list, Dougie??
Michael M, Toronto
A: If you’re a rival GM and trying to pick clean the Raptor roster – and you realize that the untouchables are Bosh, Bargnani and one of the point guards – you start by asking about a sign-and-trade with Calderon. I cannot see that happening so if you need a PG, you switch over to Ford, who has shown he can dominate a game at times.
After that, I’d think a guy like Anthony Parker would be attractive for his ability and his contrat, Rasho the same thing if you’ve got lots of money to spend, although at more than $8 million, that’s pretty steep.
Kapono would be next because he redeemed himself with a good post-season but with three more years on his team, there might be financial concerns.
That a good enough list?
Q: I just read a story about Jose and his desire to be a starter. Obviously, no one wants to sit on the bench, and I do feel that he deserves the spot. Do you think this admission spells the end of TJ unless he is willing to take a backseat to Jose?
Maybe I was reading into Jose's words, but he almost seemed bitter about being the backup.
I know BC has the option to match any offer, and has stated he will, but does Jose have to accept the offer? If say "team A" offers Jose a starting role and a wad of cash, while Toronto offers more cash, but the same scenario as last year, Is he obligated to stay with TO?
Is there any chance he won’t be back? That would be a huge set back to say the least
Scott T, Waterloo
A: I think anyone can see that one of the point guards has to go. And I think it’ll be Ford.
As for the contract, there is only one offer. Once, or if, Calderon signs an offer sheet from another team, the Raptors have seven days to match the exact terms, and there’s nothing he can do about it if they do.
Q: In all sports, when the referee blows the whistle after a foul/penalty is called, all action is supposed to stop. In the NBA, the fouled player takes a couple of extra bounces and completes his shot. why is this allowed? In a hockey game if someone completes his shot, he gets a possible misconduct or a face wash from the opposition. Is there a unsportsmanlike/delay of game rule regarding this practice in the NBA?
Gordon G, Vancouver
A: I’m not sure why it’s allowed, it probably shouldn’t be but there seems to be no repercussions. I do know some refs are quicker now to get the ball and stop that kind of stuff but it doesn’t seem to be that big a deal to anybody.
Just one of the quirks of the game, I guess.
Q: Doug I was wondering if you heard anything on Georges Printezis. I know he's playing with Olympiakos Pireus (right?) but how's he doing over there, and is there any chance he could be a Raptor next year? (could he have an impact?)
Steve G, NL
A: Olympiakos is right. Pretty average year, averaging about eight points and three rebounds in the EuroLeague, nothing really to write home about. I know Bryan and Maurizio saw him play a couple of times and neither came back raving about how great he was so I’d be surprised if we saw him over here next year. He could come and play in the Summer League, I guess, which would give everyone a chance to see him against borderline NBA opposition.
Q: I don't really get the Mike D'Antoni thing. He's given permission by the club to look elsewhere, or as Grange says, only to look at specific clubs.
Is this the Suns way of pre-firing a coach, and not having to pay on the remaining contract? And by saying that he can't consider Toronto, doesn't the thing smell worse?
Seems to me the affair says more about the Suns ownership than the coaching...
Peter P, Toronto
A: It’s exactly their way of pre-firing a guy, and to lessen any amount of money they’d have to pay him. I tell ya, the more I read and hear and learn about Robert Sarver, the nuttier I think the owner is.
Q: I wanted to ask your opinion on New Orleans’ success. When looking at them on paper at the start of the season they did not appear to be the contender that they are today. Chris Paul was still young, West was coming on as a stronger player, MoPete decent nothing outstanding, Chandler, a guy who was nothing special in Chicago and Stojakovic a great shooter, but has gotten older and has defensive issues. The bench was certainly nothing to write home about. Is all the success they have had due to Chris Paul? I cannot believe this to be true, as Kobe has shown prior to this year; one man does not make a team. Thanks
Terry D, Kingston
A: I don’t think it’s all due to Chris Paul but I’d say about 90 per cent of their success is. A guy like West having a career year sure helps; Chandler’s one of the more under-rated centres in the league, too.
You know who also deserves a lot of credit? Byron Scott. The coach has devised schemes that allow the players to maximize their talents, he puts them in the right spots to succeed.
Being injury-free, relatively, sure helps, too.
I think this is one of those cases where a perfect storm of health, talent and Paul has created a storybook season.
Q: Hey Doug! Just wondering, which areas does Bosh need to work on to improve his game? Same question for Jose, since he is most likely to lead this team next year?
Zeeshan D, Karachi, Pakistan
A: Bosh has to get stronger, physically, and develop a couple of more post-moves. The spin dribble to a jump hook is about the only really go-to move he’s got down there. And he’s got to rebound better, or at least at the level he did in 2006-07.
Calderon? He should spend the summer working on his quickness and lateral movement because he’s got to be better defensively at keeping his man in front of him.
Q: An easy but uncreative question:
Which one of you is Stumpy??
Doug W, Toronto
A: That’s a pet name Sam came up with for the vertically- and follicly-challenged beat grunt from the tabloid in town.
Q: Doug, from 1 to 5, can you attempt to predict the order of players exiting the lineup due to trades, waivers, etc.
I'm not asking for who is coming back. Just who will be leaving and in what order (just to see if you are really Kreskin-like).
Devin R, Scarborough
A: Man, this is an exercise in futility that will be held against me all summer, I fear. So here goes:
The Gangster’s gone, no doubt about it, so that’s an easy No. 1.
If I had to guess, and this is only a guess mind you, the top five would play out like this:
Ford, Delfino, Joey and, oh, I dunno, one of Kapono-Parker in a trade.
Q: So Doug, in light of all the crazy coaching swaps flying around these days, here is an NBA head coach related question. If you were to choose any five coaches to lead your team to the promised land, who would it be?
Nigel S, Toronto
A: Current coaches? That’s a pretty easy list. It’d be Gregg Popovich, Larry Brown, Byron Scott, Jerry Sloan and Stan Van Gundy.
Q: I have a hard time with people laying blame for Bargnani's difficulties on Sam Mitchell, and I hope Colangelo isn't doing that to save face. In what ways can a coach negatively affect a player's development, particularly one that's regressing from a strong rookie season?
Matt P, New York
A: The biggest way? But being a bad psychologist. So much of coaching these days is dealing with personalities that if a coach handles a player the wrong way, he runs the risk of ruining his confidence and his ability to handle the mental aspects of the game. A players’ talents will show through a lot of things, but if his mind’s gone, that’s trouble.
Q: Perhaps this could be filed under CBA 101. Why didn't/couldn't the Raptors resign Jose during the season this year? I seem to recall (and I could be mistaken) that BC extended Ford at some point during the regular season last year. If I'm Jose (and if you've ever seen my paycheque I can assure you I'm not) I'd welcome an extension sooner as opposed to later for comfort and insurance against possibly blowing out a knee or some other career-ending injury. My apologies if this has been asked before.
Now I'll go where I swore I would never go and ask a TJ-Jose question. Do you think it's realistic or probable that the Raps could stick with TJ and do some sort of sign & trade involving Jose? I would assume he may be a more valuable trade asset at this point. Thanks again.
Gord P, St. John’s, NL
A: I’m going to give you the direct quote from the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement 101 that we have:
No player contract may be renegotiated until the third anniversary of the signing of the contract, or until the third anniversary of any subsequent extension of the contract.
The exception being, of course, rookie scale contracts, which is how they were able to extend both Bosh and Ford last summer.
So, they couldn’t extend Calderon last summer or during the season.
On the trade front, I think it’s much more realistic that they move Ford although I guess a sign-and-trade involving Calderon isn’t impossible. Just highly unlikely in my mind.
Q: My question is draft related because that is all Raps' fans have to look forward to now.
Settle a bet for me - who would you, the oracle of Toronto Star basketball, take if you could have either at 17 - Brandon Rush or Chris Douglas Roberts?
And aren't both Danny Granger type talents? I have a feeling this draft is a deep one.
Doug E, Toronto
A: At 17, I don’t think they could go wrong with either of them. Personally, and I don’t have the wealth of knowledge that some of you do because I barely watch college basketball, I’d probably take Rush first.
And this is a deep draft, I was talking to an executive over the last couple of days who’s sure Toronto’s going to get a good player at No. 17 but, from talking to people in the organization, I think they’ll look for a big man first.
Q: Last week, you referenced someone that suggested that Corey Magette's basketball IQ was similar to Joey Graham's - and that was a bad thing.
I'll agree with the assessment that Joey frequently seems lost on the court, especially on defense and despite his physical talent. However, didn't he have a pretty good college career? I remember most analysts agreeing that picking him the draft was a solid choice.
Does that mean that NCAA basketball allows guys to get away with lesser basketball brains? Is it because of the high degree of control and structure? Or the fact that they're all so young?
Why does "basketball sense" become such a big factor in the NBA?
Jamie G, Mississauga
A: The single biggest difference between college and the NBA is the depth of talent and a guy who can get away with great athletic ability and little basketball sense can thrive in college and get lost in the pros.
You have to know how to play, how to read situations, how to play to your strengths and exploit an opponents’ weaknesses and that’s as much brain power as it is pure skill.
Everyone in the NBA is a great athlete, the good players know how to use their athleticism to their advantage.
Q: Do the players not still involved in the play-offs watch some of the games and if so, would they be rooting for one team over the other?
Penny D, Fredericton
A: It really varies from player to player. I was talking to Anthony Parker yesterday and he said he’s trying to see as many games as he can; I’ve spoken to other players who don’t watch a minute of any game.
And I don’t imagine they root for teams as much as they root for friends or former teammates.
Q: Hey Doug - what's the scoop with Andrew Bynum? I thought he was supposed be back now (not that the Lakers even need him).
Doug S, Peterborough
A: Last I heard, and this was the day
got his MVP award, I believe, Bynum was in New York seeing doctors about his knee. I guess it’s a lingering thing that hasn’t taken to treatment and I’d be shocked if we saw him again this season. Doesn’t look like the Lakers miss him, does it?