Some bonus mail for you
A little bonus for you all, since there’s been some quiet time around L.A. lately and the inbox was getting full.
More around and they’ll get answered later
Q: Just a comment. I wanted to thank you Doug for talking about the WNBA in your blog (Thursday) morning. It is great basketball and I know everyone thinks that male basketball is the best but I have seen some WNBA games when I lived in New York to say those games are just as entertaining as the male games.
Marcia K, Toronto
A: You’re quite welcome. I know the WNBA gets absolutely no ink back home (I’m not even we run standings) and I think that’s wrong. Standings, boxes, maybe roundups might serve a portion of our readership something they get nowhere else in Canada.
It is a good game, it’s a different game than many Canadian basketball fans are used to seeing but that doesn’t make it worse. It just makes it different.
Young women who play ball in the area need role models and I think WNBA players fill that roll.
Q: I have major bone to pick, which is especially prevalent given last night's come-back. Of course I missed the best darn comeback in NBA finals history because the game started so stupidly late?
Bill Simmons made a great point the other day. There aren't any MLB fans under the age of 20 because the playoff games the last 10 years have started so late. Why is Stern taking a page out of the playbook of the second worst commissioner in professional sports history? With the extended time-outs during the playoffs for longer TV commercials (including the spooky one with Magic and LB), the second half starts well past most peoples' bedtimes.
Why not start the games at 8 or 8:15 and let them finish at a decent time?
A K, Richmond Hill
A: They don’t because the TV people will tell you ratings spike the later games go, usually at their highest between 11 p.m. and midnight. It bites, especially for guys like me on deadline (it’s always all about me, if you hadn’t noticed) and I’m pretty sure it’ll never change.
Funny thing is, I can sort of understand it. The kids who aren’t actually watching games are becoming fans in ways we can’t imagine, like on the internet, or youtube or somesuch.
Q: Another list. In consultation with my fellow fanatics, Charles N., a regular contributor to your blog, and Mike K., a noted coach and aficionado, a list of the top 10 Jewish contributors to basketball:
1. Red Auerbach 2. David Stern 3. Dolph Schayes. 4. Eddie Gottlieb 5. Nat Holman 6. Red Holtzman 7. Maurice Podoloff 8. Nancy Lieberman 9. Mendy Rudolph 10. Abe Saperstein
Honorable Mentions: the South Philadelphia Hebrew Academy (SPHAs), Art Heyman, Lennie Rosenbluth, David Blatt
Inspired by Red on Youtube.
Doug, your comments are appreciated.
Love the blog and your analysis.
Frank Bialystok, Toronto
A: Dude, or dudette because I’m pretty certain you’re not really Frank Bialystock, that’s the definitive list. A Mount Rushmore of Jewish contributors to the game and I cannot think of anyone who could replace anyone on there.
And I’m very impressed with the inclusion of Nancy Lieberman and Ape Saperstein.
Q: I feel like you keep trying to defend the drafting of Bargnani instead of someone else, and you keep saying he is a young big man, so be patient. He is the same age as Darko Milicic! Is Darko not a bust? Both are skilled 7 footers. Darko is a better shot blocker and rebounder, Bargnani the better shooter, both show enough potential to drive a coach crazy, but I don't think either has the drive to be great. And Bargnani is close to the basket on defence (or supposed to be), and most rebounds are defensive, so I can't buy the constant defence (not by you) of him by many as a 3 point shooter so that is why he does not get rebounds. How does a 7 footer get fewer rebounds than TJ? So the question is, if you were the GM and could do the draft over again, would you really pick Bargnani over Roy, Aldridge or Gay? Or would you still pick the Italian kid with the "deer in the headlights" look on his face? I know they can't trade him for anything of value now, but can't you just say Colangelo made a mistake? Or are you not allowed to?
Marv V, Brampton
A: This was pretty much same old, same old and I was going to leave it be until that last sentence. Allowed to? I’m allowed to do anything I want. You think I have to get someone’s approval to form an opinion? Come on.
And if you’ve been reading here for the past, oh, I dunno, maybe the past year, you would know I’m simply not ready to label a 22-year-old 7-footer with jump shooting skills a bust. Sorry if that doesn’t match your opinion on the matter but I’ve been pretty consistent and you’re not going to change my mind. I would have made the same pick.
Maybe, at the end of the career, I’m wrong.
Maybe, at the end of the career, you’re wrong.
Q: I have a question about you, and specifically with other reporters... outside of the ones here in Toronto, which reporters are you friends with? You always mention Dave D'Alessandro in NJ and you always talk about your glowing respect for Michael Wilbon.
Vanlang N, Orleans
A: If you work in the same business (NBA beat gruntdom in my case) for more than a decade, you make lots of friends. There are people I read all the time and guys I have dinner with on nights off at things like the finals or the all-star game. I read the web guys at SI and ESPN, hang with my boy Phil of Philadelphia a lot; the wire service dudes are cool, this is generally a beat full of very good guys and gals.
Q: What’s with all this "let's trade AP" talk. Can't we consider him a veteran now and give him a little more respect? I don't know about you, but I would WAY rather have Anthony Parker (33 or not) than the 17th pick in the draft. The guy was 15th (out of guards) in the league in fg% and 4th in 3pt%, and I demand he gets more respect!
Andrew R, Toronto
A: It’s not that anyone – including me – wants to see him traded, it’s that if you look at it logically, he’s got a lot of attributes other teams may want to acquire and in trades, you have to give up something good to get something back.
I’m sure they aren’t actively shopping him, but when they talk trade to other teams, I’m sure he’s asked about.
Q: I am wondering if you can tell me why more value is not put on Humphries' head? He's only 22 (only months older than Bargnani) and if he can be coached into sticking to his role, I think he can as good, if not better than a Millsap. Is it because everyone believes he has already reached his ceiling? I know how you feel ("Shot-Happy Hump", I believe) but you often preach of how young Bargnani is, and that bigs need time. Give me an objective thought.
Dave B, London
A: You pretty much hit the nail on the head with “if he can be coached into sticking to his role.” If he can do that, there’ll be lots of value placed on him; he hasn’t quite yet but he is young and may learn. But on a team with Bosh, Bargnani and Nesterovic, he is going to be what he was last year, the fourth big.
Q: Hi Doug, I am hearing a lot of rumor of T.J. or Jose going to the Clippers for Corey Maggette is there any truth in that? Or like what it is A RUMOR! Any thoughts on that
Steve X, Maple
A: Of course it’s a rumour, Maggette to the Raptors has been around since before the February trade deadline. It’s a logical rumour since the Clips could use a point guard and Maggette has some of the attributes the Raptors need and I’m sure someone in the Toronto front office has thought the same thing.
Whether that’s too high a price for the Clips to pay for Ford, I don’t know.
But we’ll be watching it as we go along.
Q: I don't know if you get to witness this atrocity or not (since you get to watch the games live and we in TV land have to watch on ABC) but how bad are the advertisements during commercial breaks for Will Smith's new movie? Why are they playing the movie trailer multiple times during each game? Has NBA advertising reached an all time low, where it is willing to air anything, as long as they are getting paid enough to do it?!
A P, Toronto
A: I saw more than a few of those ads watching Games 1 and 2 at home, I didn’t find them horribly objectionable. But it’s not the NBA that sells the ads, it’s ABC and I figure that if someone wants to buy time on a show and the product isn’t illegal or anything, the network is more than willing to take the money.
Q: Doug at or near draft time, what kind of pressure/inducements do BC and his counterparts receive from agents of some of the 1st rounders or does the league put a big clamp down on this sort of thing?
Terry S, Whitby
A: Oh, none at all. The league isn’t about to let that happen, and agents aren’t going to do that, either.
The only thing that sometimes happens is that players let it known they might prefer to be drafted somewhere other than by a team that might want them but teams don’t seem to care much about that, as we saw last year with Yi and Milwaukee.
Q: With Gilbert Arenas opting out of his contract, what teams do you think might make a run at him? Keep up the blog bud!
Karl L, Sydney, B.C.
A: There aren’t a lot of teams out there with cap room to make a significant offer, which makes it sort of strange that he’s opting out, in my opinion. But I presume Philadelphia will make a call; Atlanta might depending on what they do with the Joshes (Smith, Childress) who are restricted free agents.
But I think at the end of the day, Agent Zero’s back in Washington.
Q: I really liked Garbo as a player and am disappointed that he is going to be an ex-Raptor. Is the decision to buy him out because he cannot play at the NBA level any more due to the injury or because he seems to put the Spanish National Team ahead of his professional career?
Gerald R, Toronto
A: If there is a buyout – and it’s being negotiated, not done – there are several factors that play a role. It’s his health, yes; the relationship with him and the Spanish federation and the lawsuit is in there a wee bit; so is where the Raptors are going in the next year.
You can’t just say it’s one thing, it’s pretty complex with lots of factors playing varying degrees.
Q: I have been reading your blog, and you are continually asked "could we get "all-star player"?" Which you of course respond to with "no" or "stop dreaming" or "not a chance".
We obviously want a player like LeBron and Kobe, we'd settle for a player like Maggette, but even getting a player like that is challenging at best.
Do the Raptors just not have the talent on the roster to be enticing to other teams? (besides Calderon and Bosh "the untouchables")? Are the other Raptors to one dimensional and just not good enough to get a quality player?? (and Maggette would the lowest quality player I would accept.)
Sean P, Toronto
A: Turn yourself into another team’s GM and look down the Raptor roster. Who, besides the two you mentioned, do you think anyone would give up an “all-star calibre” player for? Yeah, I thought you might find that hard to do.
What’s got to happen is Bryan has to pull off a deal for a young up-and-coming player ready to break out or take someone who’s contract may be considered bad by his current team but a deal the Raptors can live with. Or maybe do a two-for-one or three-for-one swap.
Q: I know the fast paced offence didn't work two years ago but is there any chance the Raps could try to implement it? I think it would help to exploit Bargnani's strengths rather than try to force him to be something he’s not in a more normal paced system. Also, why is Donte Green not considered a top 10 pick? He’s a 20-year-old who averaged 17 points and 7 boards as a freshman. Just for reference, Thaddeus Young 14 points and 5 boards in his freshman year and look how he turned out. Green seems to be a versatile athlete with a shot and I'm sure you're going to see that in the raptors pre-draft camps.
Evan G, Thornhill
A: I don’t think anyone equates Bargnani with fast-paced, actually. The Raptors would love to run a bit more but until they addressed their horrific rebounding, it’s not going to happen. Hard to run when teams are getting a couple or three shots in a possession and then Toronto’s taking the ball out of the basket.
As for Green? I presume the reason he’s not considered a top 10 pick is that the consensus among people who scout and know these things, there are 10 or 11 players better than him.
And you cannot compare stats of college kids. What Green did can in now way be judged against what Young did.
Q: I watched Robin Lopez play a bunch of times at Stanford and was intrigued by him as a potential pick for the Raps But I didn't realize his offense was that bad (then again, when you're 4 inches taller and athletically superior to most of your opposition, it may not be that hard to look good).
So two questions based on what you saw of Robin Lopez:
One, did you see anything to make you think that he couldn't contribute offensively via JUST dunks, put-backs and lay-ups?
Two, if that's all the Raps were to get out of him offensively (dunks, put-backs and lay-ups), are his defensive and rebounding talents good enough to make up for it?
(I.e. A player that wouldn't score much on offense, but who will rebound well and play great defence). Say a poor man's Anderson Varejao.
Lots of guys have been able to contribute in the NBA and have been terrible offensive players -- Ben Wallace is one recent example.
Could Robin Lopez be that type of player (not a Ben Wallace, but a rebounding and defensive machine)?
John J, Toronto
A: As I said about Lopez when we saw him work out. He’s an energetic rebounder with, at the moment, no shooting range whatsoever. I know the Raptors brass liked him and if they can live with his shot, they’ll take him if there’s no one they like better left on the board. My bet right now? There’ll be someone left who does more things better than Lopez.
Q: My first question to you will be brief and to the point: (I hope I haven't ruined the effect by putting in this intro)
Can we get a list of the best 17th picks from the draft in recent history?
Wasn't that guy LeBron picked 17th overall? ;)
Dug L, Agincourt
A: Here’s the last 10 years: ’07, Sean Williams, New Jersey; ’06, Shawne Williams, Indianapolis; ’05, Danny Granger, Indy; ’04, Josh Smith, Atlanta; ’03, Zarko Cabarkapa, Phoenix; ’02, Juan Dixon, Washington; ’01, Michael Bradley, Toronto; ’00, Desmond Mason, Seattle; ’99, Cal Bowdler, Atlanta; ’98, Rasho Nesterovic, Minnesota.
Q: I've always hoped that Joey Graham would be a solid contributor for the Raptors because of his size and athleticism but now I am starting to lose hope. Is he still viewed as a project player? Is it the coaching or lack of playing time that has hindered his development? Speaking of development I was reading that Andrea Bargnani is going to attend a big man camp this off-season. Now, I am not familiar with big man clinics so my question is has there ever been a player who has found success by taking part in such a camp? After watching Bargnani guard Dwight Howard in the playoffs I think he's got a defense upside, too. He's got so much potential so I have no idea why everyone is willing to write him off so soon.
Leroy B, Lethbridge
A: The only thing that held Joey Graham back was Joey Graham. They coached him, they let him play, they started him, they tried him at both forward positions and every single step of the way, he played himself out of his job by a lack of focus and basketball IQ. Good kid but, frankly, his time has come and gone in Toronto.
As for big men camps, they are not some magical session that automatically turns average players into above average ones and shouldn’t be seen as anything more than extended practice on specific things like developing a post move or two against players of similar size. And Bargnani can use all the practice he can get.
But not knowing specifically who’s attended what camps over the years, I cannot give you examples.