Imagine there's doom and gloom today
Pretty crappy performance out in Edmonton, no? Slow or non-existent defensive rotations, sluggish offence, not an over-abundance of hustle. Oh, and what, a kazillion turnovers?
At least they won’t be going into the regular season over-confident, right?
Hands up everyone who figured the season was over when Jermaine O’Neal failed to materialize for the second half? If I know Raptor fans, that little trouble spot coupled with an up-and-down game from Andrea Bargnani and another bad game from the bench had you figuring out TV plans for the draft lottery. Maybe it sent more than a few of you to the interweb to seek out Ricky Rubio highlight videos.
|JIMMY JEONG/THE CANADIAN PRESS|
|Bosh: 17 points in 29 minutes vs. Denver.|
Here’s the thing: If no one got too excited about anything good that happened in the pre-season, you can’t go all sackcloth and ashes on them for a bad game to end it.
It is of no solace to many of you, I’m sure, but it is the pre-season, no one played their regular rotation or minutes, there’s a week to go before the first real game.
Are there issues? Absolutely. Are they season-killing issues before the season actually begins? No, they’re not. Can they get fixed? Sure.
Will they get fixed? They better hope so.
O’Neal’s problem, in case you missed the morning dispatches, was tightness in his right hamstring. Nothing to do with his left knee. They’ve got today off to travel back but O’Neal told anyone who’d listen that he’d be ready to go when they get back in the gym tomorrow.
I’m sure you heard the full TV sked is due out some time this morning; we’ll get it up here as quickly as we can but The Score has the first two and TSN the third.
Of course, there’s still no resolution to the Rogers-TSN impasse over getting TSN2 on the largest cable provider in the team’s home market.
It’s in negotiations but that’s all anyone’s saying.
Seriously, do you have to have like a zillion tattoos to play for the Nuggets?
Here’s one for you:
What if there is no “second unit” most nights?
I’ve been saying since before the season began that I think an eight- or nine-man rotation is the way to go, never 10 on a consistent basis and certainly not 11 or 12.
Well, how’s this (and these are night when no starter gets two fouls in the first six minutes or so and everyone’s healthy):
Usual starters, which I think should be Calderon, Parker, Graham, Bosh and O’Neal.
After about 7-8 minutes, replace O’Neal with Bargnani. After about two or three minutes of the second quarter, replace Bosh with O’Neal. With about four or five minutes to go in the second quarter, put Bosh back in for Bargnani.
Total time: O’Neal gets about 17, 18 minutes, Bosh gets about 17, 18 minutes and Bargnani gets about 11.
Jose plays the entire first quarter and Solomon, or Ukic, starts the second and plays about four minutes and then Calderon comes back.
The wings? Same sort of rotation, only shorter runs for everyone. If Graham starts, take him out after about six minutes, go to Moon for as long as you like, maybe nine or 10 minutes, and then go back to Joey. Or, if Moon starts, simply switch it around.
And I can see Parker and Kapono splitting minutes almost evenly, with whoever’s having the better night finishing.
Now, that leaves Hump out of the rotation and I don’t really have a problem with that. Figure he’ll get some minutes some nights when one of the three bigs gets two quick fouls and maybe a hungry Hump will be more active trying to earn minutes because right now he’s not really doing anything to help him earn playing time.
And, frankly, if Moon’s play doesn’t pick up, I’d have no problem cutting his minutes way back and if they need to fill a few minutes a game, go with Hassan Adams. He’s not as athletic, that’s for sure, but his work ethic’s pretty good.
A roster move question:
Q: So with the Raps having 13 players I understand trades that would involve getting extra bodies back. What happens though if the Raps make a trade and get less players back? Would they have time to sign guys to fill the roster out or it would have to be done before? If we see them signing a guy or two would this be an indication something is happening?
Mike P, Thornhill
A: League rules mandate a minimum of 13 players on the roster but if they were to make a two-for-one deal, for instance, they could simultaneously sign that 13th player; they wouldn’t necessarily have to do it before making the trade.
Okay, here’s the laughable league story of the week:
Andrew Bynum, who has played in a grand total of 163 NBA games and hasn’t played a minute in one that counted since last January because of a knee injury, wants an extension worth about $17 million a year?
That’s simply delusional.
The best part of it? His agent offering some veiled threat about “repercussions” next summer if the kid has to go through this season without a new deal.
The repercussions? He’s a restricted free agent who won’t be going anywhere.
So, I see a headline in the New York Daily News that suggests Eddy Curry is out of shape.
Next headline: Plane lands safely.
A long one to end the day:
Q: Hey Doug, it's been a while since I've written in but it was the offseason, and you need time to relax, right?
I just went through a 7th consecutive season of false hope with our baseball team, and now I have to hear how the "slimmer" roster is going to make everything all better. Last year our strength was our "depth", and this year it's the "tightness" of the rotation, allowing players to play through mistakes etc etc. It's a good spin on things but I refuse to believe it. We are one Calderon, Bosh, or O'Neal injury away from a wasted season. And, I know I'm not a fortune teller, but let's be honest...do you truly believe in your heart of hearts that O'Neal and Bosh will stay healthy? God forbid Calderon goes down, I may have a heart attack.
Now, I've read your column enough to know your response. There is no way to tell, and if O'Neal or Bosh do get injured, let's just hope it's at different times, and they are ready to go for the playoffs. I just don't want to see this franchise and it's fan base start using the mantra "if we stay healthy" because it's a cop-out, and is almost non-existent in professional sports. I, unfortunately, see it coming already. Hopefully I'm wrong. Thoughts?
Mike S, Georgetown
A: Thanks for your opinion, I’m sure it’s shared by many. It seems to me, though, that you do feel like something of a fortune teller and you’d just like others to agree with what you see happening. And it could very well come true.
But it’s also quite possible that, with Bosh healthier than he’s ever been going into a season that he plays 75 games or more. It’s also quite possible that a surgically-repaired knee, if the surgery was done well, will allow O’Neal to play 70 games. And Calderon played 82 games last season, 77 the season before and 64 as a rookie.
Yes, if one of them goes down for an extended period of time, it’ll be disastrous and it will likely be the reason the season goes in the toilet.
But I don’t mind this roster. There are holes, yes, but on the whole, it’s probably good enough for anywhere from 44-48 wins.
There are many who are going into the season holding their breath for good health and, trust me, there are a dozen or more teams chanting the same “if we stay healthy” mantra you see as a cop-out. You don’t think they’re holding their breath in L.A. today after Kobe hyper-extended his knee? Are they worried about Chris Paul's health in New Orleans? Dwight Howard in Orlando?
A cop-out? How about reality.