Of Bargnani and the three
|DAVID COOPER/TORONTO STAR|
|How will the ball bounce for the kid this year?|
Boy, apparently a lot of people listen to the Fan when Bryan Colangelo’s on.
He makes a comment about Andrea maybe playing some three this season and the in-box is filled with comments and questions.
Bargnani a three? Why? Why now? Why consistently? I can see the odd – very odd – occasion when it might work but as a matter of course? I don’t think so. Never have. Can’t imagine I ever will.
Look at it this way: If they are planning to run an offence around the unique high- and low-post skills of Chris Bosh and Jermaine O’Neal to create perimeter space for shooters, who do you want taking those shots?
Andrea Bargnani? Jamario Moon? Jason Kapono?
Seems a pretty easy question to answer from this angle.
Kapono’s a better shooter than either of those two right at the moment – I don’t think anyone out there can debate that – and the benefits of having him on the court alongside O’Neal and Bosh in this case seem to be enormous.
Wouldn’t it make more sense right now to tell Bargnani:
"Hey, big fella, you’re a backup four and five; get in there and create some matchup problems, get your shots when you can and we’ll run a bunch of second-unit offence through you.”
Or, how about:
"Okay, you’ve been a rather abysmal failure as a three already – with the whole transition defence thing going against you – so we’re going to try it again and if it doesn’t work, well, you deal with the blow to your confidence. Oh, and the fans will continue to love you, too, won’t they?”
Me? I’d rather hear the first thing.
Hey, how ‘about this.
I’m looking over the list of Raptor all-time assistant coaches and trying to come up with the most obscure.
It’s a difficult task, given there’s been two dozen of them over the years, and that doesn’t include current assistants for basketball development like Eric Hughes and Gord Herbert.
So, who wins?
Is it Brendan Suhr? Who worked half a season in ’97? How about Bob Kloppenburg? Who was going to revolutionize the defence under Butch Carter?
Both good choices.
But I’m going with Dick Helm, who worked with Lenny. Dick was, um, how to put this nicely? Well, Dick was a tad removed from being right on top of things. One night, he’s looking down the bench yelling, if memory serves, “Jermaine! Jermaine! Jermaine!” to an increasing befuddled group of backups.
Soon enough, Jerome Williams got up and went to the scorer’s table and, apparently, that’s who he meant.
Ah, the good old days.
Anyway, the list is long and intriguing and stories abound.
"Close out! Close out!” on shooters (he’d yell it all the time). And when a shooter invariably got a wide open look (that happened an awful lot in that 16-66 season), he’s get all ticked off, shout “(excrement!)” and take his seat back on the bench.
The start of the mailbag:
Q: Hey Doug,
Other than Bosh, who can clearly thrive with a microphone in his face, who's your go-to guy going to be this season for a great quote or game analysis. I've heard the press guys always loved Oak and Jalen Rose for their honesty and controversy; what other Raptors have made your job easier? Which ones are difficult to get a useable soundbyte from?
Paul C, Grassy Narrows
A: Well, again, we’ll need training camp to figure it out, and get everyone trained, but personally, I’m counting on Jermaine O’Neal to give some insightful quotes this season. I’m told by people who’ve covered him for years that he’ll be available every night and answer whatever questions we have insightfully and honestly and that’s all we can ask.
T.J. used to be great, he’d get dressed, turn around and stand there, saying, “you guys need me?” And then he’d answer whatever we wanted.
Carlos Delfino, if you could hear him (he’s a real soft-talker) would answer forever and never minded taking responsibility for any mistakes he made.
In the past? Well, believe it or not, Keon Clark was pretty good with a quote. And Tracy McGrady would have to be on the list of all-time good quotes, too.
There’s apparently a report in the Spanish media today (in Spanish so I’m using very rudimentary translation skills) that says Jose Calderon, “if he’s okay”, will play next summer for Spain at the Eurobasket.
This comes a day or so after Pau Gasol said he wasn’t sure if he’d play next summer.
The Calderon news should hardly be surprising. If he’s healthy, and the NBA season doesn’t take too much out of him, I have no doubt he’d want to continue a national team career that’s been brilliant over the last three summers.
The Raptors will likely hold their breath, but I fully expect them to let him play if he likes. After all, in Beijing, when Calderon suffered that minor groin strain (and it was minor, it’s fully healed, he’ll be fine for camp so quit hyper-ventilating), he sat out the two most significant games of the summer rather than risk anything.
That has to ease some minds over here.
One last one from the mail, for now. Will be back tomorrow with a full mailbag:
Q: I'm not sure if this has been asked but I was wondering if during the Olympics Roko Ukic had a chance to not only meet but hang out and talk with Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon? Thanks!
Matt B, Oakville
A: No, not chance at all to hang out. That’s what training camp’s going to be for.