Light reading on a rainy day
Okay, I can barely keep up to you folks. Lots of good ones here and more than a few left to sprinkle in throughout the regular daily blog, which is a good thing given the dearth of NBA news.
Happy reading on a rainy day, Super Son and I are off to a the Glorious Little League Yankee End-Of-Season Celebration and Bun Toss as a local establishment out here that’s known as Cooper’s Pub. A place, by the way, that know gives me locals in both downtown and the home village so it’s a great, great thing.
Q: Hi Doug. We owe a lot to chickens...human civilization, including the development of writing, a development to which we owe your blog and you enjoy your living, was aided by the domestication of fowl ( reliable food source,helped our ancestors to exist in cities, etc.). I am proud of my statuary chicken collection although the collection has been an issue in the marriage! And now a new fad: people are (again?)raising chickens in modern N. American urban centres! See http://www.culture11.com/node/31701
Q: If Kapono gets more playing time might it be because Coach Mitchell judges that O'Neal provides more defensive backup for when Kapono's man beats him on the dribble? Is this one reason The Raps obtained O'Neal?
Charles N, Toronto
A: Excellent chicken link.
O’Neal’s defensive prowess, and his willingness to take charges, alter shots and anchor the area under the basket is indeed a large part of the reason they obtained him.
And yes, his presence will lessen some of the glaring perimeter defensive deficiencies (they hope) and perhaps allow a guy like Kapono to get away with more lapses and play more significant minutes.
Q: Doug, I was thinking how deja vu your comment was about Kapono being the likely starter. On paper it seems obvious but I have a quirky fact for you. Jason Kapono has never dunked a ball in an NBA game. How does this happen? The guy is 6-8. Can the guy dunk? Have you ever seen/noticed it during warmups/practice? Kapono has said his shot is what defines him as a player but how can a team afford to play a guy who is no threat to take it to the rack, only has 15 career (blocks less than 0.05 a game), and draws zero fouls? Yes he is the best shooter in the league by far, but you have to be versatile enough to make your the defending team respect your options. I really hope he does well but this ain’t football and there ain’t no special teams - you have to have some all around skill to earn minutes.
Ryan L, Calgary
A: Wow, lots of Kapono these days.
Yes, he can dunk. And yes, he is multi-skilled enough to thrive in the NBA. And I’m pretty sure he, and his coaches, know he has to be a threat in other ways as well.
Q: This is the first time I've written into your blog, but I'm a long time reader.. Love your insight, and point of view for all things Raptors and some things Olympic.
My question is in reference to the suspension of Chalmers, and Arthur for violation of the drug policy. Specifically, I'm wondering about your thoughts on the appropriateness of the punishment.
I agree that the 2 are boneheads/ idiots/ mind numbing imbeciles etc, for partaking in these activities at this camp, but I can not rationalize the punishment.
So you are going to send home, the 2 from a mandatory camp, that's sole purpose is to teach you how to live your life in the NBA, ie "life skills, handling finances, the importance of character and image, the difference between NBA and NCAA game rules, legal matters and dealing with media".
You don't think that there may be a topic or two on.. "don't take/ use/ get caught with" drugs??
So they kick them out, this year, suspend and fine them, then make them repeat it next year??
And you don't think that next year, one of them won't lean over to another up and comming Rook and say.. hey, this stuff is all horse ****. I've got stuff back in the room for after dinner..
Sorry about the rant, maybe its just me, but I would have kept them in it, fined and suspended them, AND make them repeat it. (cause apparently they weren't listening the first time).
Anyways thanks for all your insight, and keep on with the great work.
Craig F, Mississauga
A: All good points and that certainly would have been a way to handle it.
But making them go home, fining them $20,000, making them issue apologies to their teams and fans and then forcing them to come back next year and be held up as examples of what happens when you blatantly violate the rules of the program works pretty well.
And I doubt they’ll doing anything stupid next year.
Q: As you say the season is weeks away but was wondering what you think the biggest story going into training camp will be
- lack of any buzz
- lingering injuries
- will they stay healthy
- greatly improved play
- none of the above
So I guess you can let simmer for 3 weeks and let us know your thoughts.
John P, Fredericton
A: The biggest story, as I see it right now, is how Bosh and O’Neal interact on the court. I’m sure others (Bargnani and back-up point guard play chief among them) will emerge and are already on the list but Bosh-O’Neal tops it.
Q: Can you provide an update on summer special coaching for 2 Raps. Bargs at the "big man" camp and Moon taking shooting lessons. Did they actually take the time and work on their weaknesses. Any chance of improvement?
JD A, Victoria
A: The update is, really, quite simple: They got coaching, on various aspects of the game, they worked on footwork and post moves, ball-handling and shooting. Just like about every single professional basketball player on the planet. They all work on their games in the summer. Are they better? Guess we’ll have to wait until October to find out.
Q: Hey Doug, great job with the blog - it's my daily read now that the Chuckster doesn't check in anymore..
I had a question and a comment:
Q: About the National team - I'm not sure if you answered this before, but why did Dalembert get sent home from the qualifier earlier this summer? He was struggling, but was he not their best big on the team? I'm guessing it was attitude-related?
C: I want to see a retro Huskies jersey too, but I think a Toronto isn't eligible for a retro jersey because they haven't been around long enough. I'm sure they're dying to cash in on those extra merchandise sales.
Bob D, Kitchener
A: Dalembert again? Well, according to the head coach, there were issues with his commitment to the team and his work ethic; according to the player, that’s not right. I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle and we may never find out exactly what it was.
Jerseys? Oh, they’re eligible. There’s no official time frame established by anyone. If they wanted to market and sell them, they could.
Q: I've got a dilemma and would like your opinion. I recently won a Jose Calderon autographed Spain Olympic jersey off eBay.
Here's the link: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&item=320291009398
After the auction, someone who had lost contacted me and asked if I would be willing to sell it to him because he wanted to give it to his son as a Christmas gift. Now this isn't Calderon's regular Raptors jersey. It's his SpainOlympic jersey and I'm sure this can't be found anywhere else. So what would you do? Sell it for say double the price? Or keep it? Thanks for your thoughts.
Ender W, Toronto
A: A moral dilemma and you come to me? Okay.
Well, if you believe in karma and doing the right thing, you’ve got to sell it to the guy for the same amount you paid for it and then hope someone does something nice and honourable for you in the future.
Now, I say that not knowing what your plans are for it, but a kid at Christmas is a pretty big thing.
Q: I enjoyed the Olympic blog, and have been a fan of the basketball blog, so here is a question that combine both. It sounds like you didn't get to see a lot of Olympic basketball, but what non-NBA players impressed you the most? Who could make an NBA team? Finally, what was the deal with Sofoklis Schortsanitis? I have read that the Clippers drafted him a few years ago. He was easy to spot on that Greek team, any chance he is American who faked a Greek passport and his name is actually Sam Short? I mean, it worked for Chris Kaman, right?
Chris S, Oakville
A: I didn’t see a whole lot but I really liked, and have for years, Ramunas Sisauskas of Lithania and his teammate Simas Jasaitis. I’d think Theo Papaloukas of Greece could probably play in the league.
And the deal with Schortsanitis, according to people I talked to in Beijing is that he’s got some dietary issues and weight fluctuations that are really holding him back. The Clippers do own his NBA rights but I can’t imagine a scenario that brings him to North America for years.
Q: I had a question about coaches that maybe you could answer or comment on. A lot is made of the off-season training regimes of players, and rightly so, but I was wondering if NBA coaches had things that they worked on in the off season and how they would go about it. Mike D'Antoni spent the lion's share of his summer working with an American national team that has been lauded for their defense and so maybe we'll see a new system from the Knicks than the one he implemented with the Suns. Maybe not. Did Smitch do anything to improve his coaching ability over the summer?
I hope to have a chance to talk to you when you're in town. If not, I hope you enjoy your time in Ottawa.
Nik W, Ottawa
A: I’m not sure how Sam spent all of his summer but I do know he spent a chunk of it trying to figure out the best way to utilize two players the calibre of Bosh and O’Neal. How that translates into what the Raptors do on the court in the coming season really remains to be seen.
Q: Hi Doug I’m glad you’re back, this blog is the best out there for basketball fans hands down, thanks for your the time you put in for our entertainment. I was just wondering and please answer this question-I'm going to Vegas Sept 20th for 7 days, is there any chance I see any of our players there? and where?
Great coverage during the Olympics by the way, Maybe they should have you cover the Film Festival too lol.
Nick dO, Scarborough
A: Oh, they don’t let me anywhere near anything as high-falutin’ as the Film Festival. That’d be a big fish out of water thing, but thanks.
As for Vegas, I’m afraid you’re likely to be out of luck. I think all the guys who had been there working out over the summer will either taking a week off before camp or already be in their winter cities.
Q: Call 'em Thunder whatever. I hate them. I remember Lenny Wilkens, Spencer Haywood, downtown Freddy Brown et al. I pray they go in the tank and bankrupt the new owners. Who the hell wants to live in (let alone play) anywhere in Oklahoma. Tom Joad where are you when we need you (ok, I kid but I still hate it).
David P, Ottawa
A: Okay, I’m guessing you won’t want me to forward this to the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce? But you’re right, second worst trade in the history of the NBA. Right behind Memphis for Vancouver.
Q: Question about Andrea, you have stated many times that you still think Andrea can still develop. What do you think his ceiling is stats wise? Also if Andrea does not perform up to expectations do you see him moving back to Europe?
Chris C, Markham
A: It’s really hard to guess at a stat-line but what the hell. How’s 15 and 7 sound? That good enough for a guy coming off the bench and still developing?
I think when his contract’s up, if he isn’t any better, then, yes, I can see him going back to play in Europe. But we’re not near that stage at all.
Q: What stopped the Raptors from going after Damon Stoudamire to be a backup PG for the Veteran's Min. Salary? Would Damon have demanded more than $1Million/yr? Is it his character? It would've been nice to see #20 back in the fold, being a more mature player who started his career with the Raps. Is Damon known as a sour apple around league execs? Who would you like to see back in a Raptor uniform, even if it's just for locker room quotes (besides the Oak. He'll always be a classic!)
Naoto Y, Calgary
A: Seeing as they got a third PG who’s younger and hundreds of thousands of dollars cheaper and probably just as good, I don’t blame ‘em for doing Solomon over Stoudamire, who wasn’t satisfied with being the third guy in Memphis a year ago.
And actually, Damon’s known around the league as quite a good guy.
Outside of Oak? I’d love to see Alvin back, Dell Curry, Tracy McGrady. All good quotes and interesting guys. I’m sure there are others but those three come quickly to mind.
Oak, of course, tops the list.
Q: I didn't have internet access during the Olympics so I had to read your blog at the end of the month. It was great, I thought I was reading a food column.
On to the Raptors: What changes do you think we will see from the head coach this year. I know he will still be grumpy Sam but I'm wondering about strategies and rotation more than anything else.
Kevin M, Maple
A: Food column? Hmm, another avenue to explore. Thanks.
Oh, he’ll be Grumpy Sam. And Engaging Sam. And Infuriating Sam. And Recalcitrant Sam. And Funny Sam. And All The Other Sams.
But on strategies and rotation? I honestly don’t know. I do know he’ll have fewer players at his disposal, which should tighten the rotation; I believe you’ll see a lot of high-low post offence with O’Neal and Bosh and I think you’ll see more running because they should be a better defensive rebounding team and that’s what always ignites fast breaks.
Q: Hey Doug, if I make into the blog again could you make me the promise of spelling my name right this time? No hard feelings, just people always type Johah. It gets old.
So this time my question is a non-Raptors question. It has to do with the Thunder. There has to be a veto committee by the league on this type of thing to uphold the professional image of their teams. My apologies to Oklahoma City, but the team logo looks like it could belong to a York Region minor league team. Just throwing that out there.
Jonah G, Guelph
A: Sorry ‘bout the name thing, dude.
Yes, every logo, uniform, item of merchandise, name, colour scheme has to be approved by the league and they would have seen everything the good people of Oklahoma City wanted to do before they did it.
Q: Hey Doug. Thanks again for the extra info during the Olympics, I'm not sure what I would do at work to pass the time without it...except maybe working. I know you're going to slay me for this but we (The Raps) have still failed to address our wing predicament. Do you think a trade of Kapono for Outlaw (Blazers) would address this issue? I know Kapono's stock isn't exactly sky-rocketing right now but he has to be worth something, right? I like his shooting touch but even O'Neal/Bosh help-defence can't bail this guy out every trip down the floor. What are your thoughts?
K Wright, Vaughan
A: Slay you? Nah.
Travis Outlaw was/is a pretty good backup on a good young team. No question.
But, if you have him and Moon, isn’t that almost a duplication? Isn’t Kapono-Moon a better duo at that spot, each with unique skills?
And don’t they really have to wait at least half of this season to see whether the Playoff Kapono or the Regular Season Kapono emerges?
So, no, I don’t do that trade, or even propose it, before Christmas at least.
Q: So, me and the boys are in the midst of figuring out how to split up our pair of season tickets for this year. And it got me all riled up at MLSE once again, for one of their (many) boneheaded non-fan-friendly policies. I'm curious to see what you think - am I right to be frustrated, or is this par for the course with NBA teams: it used to be that buying a season ticket got you first right to play-off tickets for that seat for that season. Now, the only way to get guaranteed access to play-off tickets is to commit to a season ticket for the following season. It used to be a reward, but now they're using it as the carrot to get you to part with your money once again, for the following year. Is it me, or is this a brutal policy?
Rob E, Toronto
A: It seems like a very bad policy, as a matter of fact. But the business practices of MLSEL have been a mystery for a decade in many regards. Unfortunately, I can’t see that changing.
Q: I'm a long-time reader of yours and I always enjoy your spurt appearances on the Fan590. A few questions that have been simmering in the gray matter:
a) Gazing into your crystal ball, what kind of playing time and impact do you honestly foresee with Roko Ukic?
b) Do you think Giorgos Printezis has a legitimate shot at the NBA this year? Any year? The reason I'm asking this is because I'm concerned that Jamario and Kapono don't have the strength between them to defend the 3 over the long haul.
c) Who would you say was the brightest Raptor you ever met in terms of overall intelligence and "life smarts".
Florin B, Baden
A: If Ukic can give them 13-15 solid minutes a night, I’m pretty sure everyone connected with the team will be thrilled. I’m guessing 10-12 to start, though. And typical rookie PG struggles with decision-making, shot-selection and the speed of the game.
No, Giorgos Printezis is not nearly ready for the NBA, which is why they’ll leave him in Europe for at least a season, and maybe two, to improve. First thing he’s got to do is playing significant minutes on a good Euroleague team.
Life smarts? Overall intelligence? Hmnm, lots to choose from and off the top of my head, I’ll give you Hakeem Olajuwon and Dell Curry.
Q: Thanks for keeping the Blog going, you are the only place where I can get a daily fix of different news along with interesting fodder as it relates to the NBA, Raptors and just trivial basketball stuff.
I read your blogs from the Olympics and was wondering, did you interact with the Chinese media very much and if so what was that like? Did they ask any questions of you? Any regarding the Raptors?
Tom B, Uxbridge
A: There wasn’t a lot of interaction, I was mainly doing team sports that didn’t attract a huge Chinese media contingent. But did speak to a few and they were as you’d expect, bright, inquisitive and knowledgeable about the sports they were covering. No questions about the Raptors from anyone I talked to except one fellow who wondered how Mengke Bateer made out over here.
There were several Raptor-centric conversations with a bunch of European friends and colleague, most of whom wanted to know what I thought Garbo had left.