Some this, some that, and a blast from the past
Miss me? It was nice to have a weekend off, even if it was spent battling a stoopid end-of-season cold. We’ll keep trying to go Monday-Friday through the playoffs ‘cause there’s still lots of good basketball left, even if there’s scant Raptor news to worry about.
|AP FILE PHOTO|
|May 4, 2001: It was a good day.|
Before we start, can I just say one thing: You people are indeed imaginative. The mailbox and comments section are full of trade suggestions, some of which make sense, some of which are so over the top I chuckle when I read them.
But one thing I can’t do is respond to every single one of them. Takes too much time, the ones that have no hope of ever happening aren’t worth the effort to explain why. Sorry. You can keep sending them but I’m not going to comment on every single one.
What a letdown
Guess those Celtics showed just what home court’s all about, didn’t they? Can’t imagine a less suspenseful Game 7 then that dog of a game.
Quite aside from the fact the Hawks couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean from a boat, the kind of defence Boston threw at them yesterday is the kind of defence that wins championships, easily.
And here’s the thing: It’s not so much schemes as it is effort, they swarm the ball, have the Basketball IQ to figure out where a guy wants to go and then there’s a second guy there waiting for him.
Not sure exactly why they’ve bought into giving that kind of consistent effort but they have all year and that’s what’s made them stand out.
Now, can they beat Cleveland?
In a nanosecond. Cleveland has LeBron, who can maybe win a game or two himself against such a stacked defence, but the other Cavs aren’t the kind of explosive, athletic scorers that cause Boston trouble.
The way the Celtics swarm the ball and still get out on shooters will expose the Cavs.
Boston takes that one in six, maybe five.
A coincidence? Maybe not
Oh, watching Marvin Williams tackle Rajon Rondo, and remembering Al Horford on T.J. and seeing the other hard hits in the Boston series, I’m wondering if the Hawks are a really just a bunch of good guys who make mistakes in judgement or whether that’s a dirty team.
Here’s one from the mail:
Q: Question about the MLE. A player like Antawn Jamison is an UFA and makes about $15-16M right now. Can teams like the Raptors sign him using the MLE in his first year but backload his contract so the average salary would be somewhere closer to his market value? Or does the NBA do the same thing as the NHL and count the average salary of the contract?
Brad W, Waterloo
A: No, they can’t. If they offer a guy like Jamison a contract, any raises in subsequent years are limited to eight per cent. No back-loading.
Did anyone catch any of the Euroleague’s Final Four on the weekend?
Bryan Colangelo did. He and Maurizio were in Madrid for the games but, as we’ve said quite often, Europe has been pretty picked over and they aren’t going to come away with a Garbo or an AP free agent.
Been pretty gloomy around here, has been for a week now. But here’s a trip down memory lane, a story from this paper on this date in 2001.
Q: This is kind of un-basketball related, and with the season winding down, I figured if I waited any longer with the season over, I may not get an answer. So here goes. Your articles are insightful, helpful, and have a touch of humour. I would say I enjoy reading them each morning. Another writer for your paper, to my knowledge, has always written about the doom and gloom surrounding everything. From Vince dropping 50, to real doom and gloom like bowing out in the first round. The negativity makes me not want to read.
Sorry, a bit ranty. Question: Are you told what type of article to write (ie, happy, sad, doomy, gloomy? The over all mood?) Or is it up to the particular writer to find their angle/mood?
Thanks, and please keep up the great work. The blog is an official part of my morning.
Dean O, Toronto
A: No, I’m given pretty wide berth in story angles. It’s really dictated by the news of the day and, in the absence of any hard news, it’s up to me to come up with the “right” angle, the topic that will drive discussion, inform and entertain. Some off-days, that’s the hardest part of the gig.
A post-script: I wouldn't cover any other writers, or myself, with broad strokes. Fair comment is fair comment and I know our guys to be fair and to offer genuine opinion.
Time to settle an argument:
Edward C of Toronto writes:
Mr. Smith, I would be very interested in your opinion on a heated debate I'm having with a friend of mine.
Overall, who is the better player? Pau Gasol or Tim Duncan?
Today, I’d say hands-down Duncan. His disappearing act in Game 1 against New Orleans notwithstanding, I’d say he’s a better all-around player, more shooting range and as good as, if not a better, defender and there are all those championships he’s won.
I’d say Duncan’s the best power forward in the history of the game, and Gasol’s not even in the conversation.