The weekly offering, Part I
Here’s the start of this week’s load, more to come over the weekend (and I will say you seem to have slacked off a bit this week. Getting ready for the real stuff next week, I presume?):
Q: Hey Douggy Doug, looking back, what does the Raptors lineup look like today if TJ doesn't go down in Atlanta? Love the blog btw!!
Brian B, Austin, Texas
A: Excellent question. And no real answer, actually.
But I honestly believe that when it came time last summer to make a decision, they would have decided to re-up Jose long-term and looked to deal T.J. I think they would have wanted the longer-term stability at the position they could get with four or five years of Calderon rather than the two of Ford, especially given the inherent injury risk he presents.
I also think that if T.J. had played out the season without incident, his market value compared to his salary would have been exponentially greater and no one knows what the market would have yielded then.
Q: Who is going to get more minutes, TJ Ford or Jarrett Jack?
Wilson C, Toronto
A: If you go by what they’ve accomplished in the league so far, I’d say there’s no doubt T.J. starts and handles the majority of the minutes. Of course, Jim O’Brien may feel otherwise.
Q: Hi Doug, when you mention expansion and then talk of "all eyes being on Europe" does that mean that the NBA plans on creating an exclusive European league, or that teams from Europe will play in the NBA? I always thought the answer was the first option mentioned, but now I am confused.
Nicholas C, Toronto
A: I believe the plan is to have a European division of new teams, only in cities that have arenas that can generate the revenue needed to be successful. But I also believe the plans are, at the moment, very fluid and nothing is cast in stone.
Q:: Hey Douggie, I'm a 15 year old who is interested in someday being a sports journalist/reporter. Do you got any advice or any tips? What do you think of this occupation?
Abbas I, Toronto
A: This is cold, I know. First of all, never, ever write the words “do you got” again.
I had a college professor who put it like this:
If you can’t use a hammer, you can’t work in construction.
If you can’t use a wrench, you can’t be a plumber.
If you can’t use the English language, you can’t be a writer.
I love the job, it’s an honourable craft. And you need to read as much as you can, write as often as you can and develop communication skills at every level.
Q: A few
1. Nash and a Billionaire will guarantee an NBA team in ANY city in the world they want.
2. Canadahas a lot of Billionaires who like sports, some with a passion for Basketball.
3. Artest will alienate the wrong person soon enough; no more Ronnie. Of course, offering free Basketball tickets might speed up the process.
4. Moon has lost his staring job this week. It will take an amazing performance to win it back, and he needs to be that good this year.
Have a good day.
Richard S, Lethbridge
A: A few:
1. Nash is going to go save the world from itself when he’s done playing, not owning an NBA team.
2. Canada has precious few billionaires, fewer than 50 I believe, and none have really come forward with a burning desire to own a sports franchise.
3. Artest will go on being Artest for a great many years.
4. Nothing he did this week ensures he won’t start, that decision will be made at camp.
Have a good day.
Q: Okay very clearly Vancouver is out; what about Montreal? Is it simply, Montreal is a Club de Hockey town, period? Or is the answer somewhat more textured than that?
(I have little knowledge of the popularity of BBall in Quebecat any level)
M L, Halifax
A: I think all the reasons (except, of course, for the past failure of the NBA in the city) would apply to Montreal. Lack of corporate money, lack of ownership interest and, yes, there is that hockey thing to think about.
In fact, I have never, ever, ever once heard anyone suggest Montreal would be a coveted NBA market.
Q: Yo Doug! Still readin' the articles everyday man! no bull!
Question: Why does a team have to have 15 players on their roster at the start of the season when we all know only 8-9 get to play on a given night? If you put in to account possible injuries, 10 is good enough to have on one team right? Why wont the NBA get more teams so that the other 5 might be able to get more playing time with another team and not get their talents go to waste. Does the NBA go out and solicit possible franchises or they just sit and wait for applicants? Lastly, when will Mo Pete's contract expire with Naw'Leans? Do you think he would consider going back to the Raptors and retire? Now that Moon has secured the SF starting spot, maybe Mo Pete can be his back-up/veteran mentor.
Tobi B, Markham
A: You’ve been busy this week, this is like questions four through six, I think.
Okay, a team doesn’t have to have 15 players, it can have as few as 13. The NBA doesn’t want more teams and the talent pool is diluted anyway, those guys are at the end of benches for a reason.
Mo’s got this year and two years left on his deal and I can’t envision a scenario that has him back in Toronto at the end of the 2011 season. But I also don’t imagine there’ll be a raft of teams waiting to sign him then, either.
Q: Hi Doug, I couldn't help but ask this: Do you think that O'Neal will have some type of celebration of his first basket as a Toronto Raptor? (something along the lines of holding up a finger a la 'the gangster?') By the way, what is the gangster up to this season?
Louis F, Fredericton
A: I think that basket will be just like the other 3,979 he’s scored in his career, nothing special at all.
The Gangster? He’s spreading his unique brand of cheer in Rome this season.
Q: Here’s one that’s been bugging me all summer long, can you please help me understand the logic behind the Andrew Bogut signing this year. He received a 5 year 72 million dollar deal. In my opinion he is not worth that much, especially considering where the Bucks have placed over the years he has been on the team. Is there something I am missing here and do you think this was a good signing!?
Mario A, Toronto
A: That’s the one move this summer that perplexed me more than any other. It’s unfathomable to me that Bogut got that kind of contract given what he’s accomplished so far and it might very well been a case – as has happened here in the past – of a team over-paying just to keep one of its recognizable names in town.
Q: Hey again Doug! Had to write you again coz I just read, literally seconds ago, that Hedo Turkoglu will opt out of his contract in 2009. Putting the financial part aside, will Turk be a good fit for the Raps? They probably would have cap space to acquire him, and possibly set the stage for a wicked 2009 (Hedo, JO, Bosh, Calderon, Moon - possibly James? hahaha). What do you think?
Tobi B, Markham
A: Sure he’d be a good fit but it’s not going to happen. They won’t have enough cap room to make him a legitimate offer next summer; in fact, I’d be shocked, given how teams are hoarding cap room for 2010, if Turkoglu signed anywhere except Orlando next summer.
And you can’t say “financial part aside” because that’s what drives nearly every NBA transaction.
Q: I’m curious about NBA rules relating to franchise names... The NBA seems to be much more of a stickler when its franchises move, as the Jazz, Lakers, Hornets are still the Jazz, Lakers and Hornets. Whereas the other big 3 North American sports seem to be much more flexible, i.e. the Hartford Whalers, Winnipeg Jets, Houston Oilers, the list goes on.
I’ve been wondering this for awhile, but its just come up again with the Oklahoma team being granted a name change, so what gives? Any insight?
Tim M, Sydney, Australia
A: There aren’t any hard and fast rules, it seems. I think the league, and the owners of the moving franchises, decide on a case-by-case basis what works from a marketing and historical perspective.
And, in the NBA’s defence, there wasn’t the same kind of marketing issues to think about when the Jazz or Lakers moved.
Q: Has any non-roster invitee ever made an NBA team and become an all-star?
Shawn L, Bowmanville
A: Without having looked at every training camp roster for every team every year, I still feel safe in saying, no.
And that comes from having looked at all-star rosters.
Q: With regards to your question on Canadians trying out for the Raptors and I promise I have not researched this as I don't know all the candidates but I can say with certainty that my buddy James Gillingham did try out for this team. He went to Bradley and had, I believe two tryouts with the team. Also, Denham Brown went to the ACC for a tryout but was not picked up and went late second round to Seattle.
Justin D, Guelph
A: Your buddy may very well have had a tryout, or been part of some pre-draft workouts, but I can say with certainty he was never in training camp. There’s a difference.
Q: I know ... I know ... we're happy with 13 cats at camp. But, wouldn't a dash of Damon Stoudamire be the cherry on top? You know Darrick Martin is going to find his way into some games some how. Why not shore up the line-up with a veteran point guard who has got some dance moves? Take a little pressure off Roko...
Peter K, Toronto
A: Sorry, not only is it not going to happen, it shouldn’t. Not only doesn’t it work financially, if the difference between winning and losing rests on the presence of a veteran, third-string point guard, the roster is so flawed it doesn’t even matter.
This is a pretty good team as it is, with a chance to be very good, so they’re quite okay with what they’ve got.
Q: Great blog!
Speaking of Garth Joseph. I think he was my favourite camp invite ever. Do you remember that pre-season game where Oak was out of bounds on the other side of half court for a throw in and he threw a 60' lob to Carter for an alley oop? Best Raptors play ever. GarJo was the man in the paint setting the huge pick to make it all happen. Too bad he wasn't a bit more skilled. He was always very entertaining (on and off the court).
Still can't believe there wasn't one good camera angle of that play. No one expected it I guess.
Jamie L, Toronto
A: I remember Oak throwing a lot of zany passes, a 60-foot lob to Carter off a GarJo screen is not one of them.
But GarJo was one of the all-timers around this franchise, just listening to him growl was worth the price of a courtside seat most nights.
A bit more skilled? That’s putting it nicely. Tells you how, um, talent-starved that team was.
Q: Hey Doug! Long time reader, first time questioner. I really enjoy the blog every day. Just wondering, do you know what the Raptors intro music will be this year. Many fans would love to know. Thanks!
Martin A, Thornhill
A: We don’t know but I think we’ll find out Monday at media day ‘cause that’s generally when they do the filming of the players for the introductions.
But I’m 1,000 per cent sure it’ll be different than last year.
Q: Love the Column. Been really enjoying all your off season 'filler' blog entries. I'm sure I'll miss your best-of/worst-of lists once the season gets into high gear.
My question - Can you give dig back into your archives and give me a rundown on what happened when Alonzo Mourning was traded here, and then said "No Thanks" only to show up in Miami shortly thereafter. Was he not under contract to Toronto? How was he allowed to just leave?
George B, Almonte
A: Oh, this will raise the bitterness level among some readers to all new heights. I thought the ‘Zo stuff had died down.
Okay, what happened was the Raptors knew when they made the trade that Mourning was never going to report, and that the team doctors probably wouldn’t clear him to play anyway because of his kidney condition. He was put in the trade solely to make the salaries match and there was never, ever a chance he’d wear a Toronto jersey.
It was a mutual “no thanks” actually. And, not only was he “allowed to leave” he was allowed to leave with a lovely parting gift of about $10 million on his contract.
Q: Hey Doug, love the blog, good work keeping us interested and informed over the summer! What are the odds that Jawai is starting over O'Neal by the end of the season?
Stew M, St. Thomas
A: Zero. Less than zero. A shade below infinitesimal. Word out of the workouts is that Jawai has good footwork and shooting range that extends to about dunking range. The young fella’s a project, a long-term project.
Q: Hi Doug. Love the blog. Can you please explain why Canadian broadcasts of NBA are being targeted to an audience that apparently doesn't understand anything about basketball? I feel like we're the only team that feels compelled to have our play-by-play guy, Leo Rautins, in his "ask the expert" segment, to explain what a traveling call is. Like, come on. When I was a kid I watched games on NBC every weekend, and Marv Albert, Bill Walton and Trapper Jones never dumbed anything down. In fact, most of the colour commentary was just Bill Walton calling various players stupid, while Trapper Jones found clever ways to frustrate Walton. Do you know what I mean? If you want people to keep watching, make it more entertaining, not educational. You learn the rules if you're interested, not because they're being explained to you.
Also, any idea who the new play-by-play guy will be this year? I'll miss Chuck.
Umar S, Toronto
A: This is almost too easy.
Snapper Jones is pretty good, Leo Rautins has been doing colour commentary for more than a decade and will keep doing it. Matt Devlin got the gig as the new play-by-play guy months ago.