JK a two and a look into Sam's world
You people are cool. By “you people” I mean all the lovelies who’ve written with restaurant and cocktail lounge suggestions for the nation’s capital, even when you’re all atizzy with debate fever.
Speaking of, they should let us do the questioning, it’d be way more entertaining.
Anyway, solid evening last night, with the traditional Bryan Takes The Media To Dinner dinner. Much conversation (little suitable for here), wine flows, food’s great, fellowship fun and it’s a nice tradition we have to uphold.
And maybe we can hold it over Sam’s head and get a dinner with him, too.
So, Jason Kapono as a two-guard? Didn’t cause a lot of angst among the faithful here so I guess everyone’s okay with it? As we’ve been saying for a month, the culling of the roster is going to reduce the number of rotation decisions Sam has to make and moving Kapono behind Parker is only logical.
There really isn’t another experienced two on the roster (I’m told Hassan Adams isn’t quite the answer) so who else?
But there are concerns. Here’s how a private conversation with a guy in the know went the other day:
Inquisitive Beat Grunt: “Jason a two? Can he guard twos?”
Person In The Know: “Could he guard threes?”
We all know Sam’s been in mid-season form since media day Monday. We’ve seen Snarky Sam and Funny Sam, Caustic Sam, a bit of Grumpy Sam and some Good Sam.
Yesterday he was on fire.
One thing he really doesn’t like is questions that include vague references to criticisms or comments; he figures if you want to ask a question, ask it directly, don’t allude to things without being specific.
So, when someone started a question about Kapono with something like “last year, people said …” it got his blood boiling a bit.
In a good way, that is.
"Now, if one of you have a question about something I did specifically, you ask me and stop saying ‘other people.’
"'Other people’ told me that some of you suck as a reporter. I can come and tell you that every day. So don’t come ask me that. Be a man and tell me, “I thought Jason could have been used differently” and then we’ll talk about it. Don’t come and give me ‘the fans’ or ‘some other guys in the reporting pool.’”
First mail and there’s lots to come tomorrow, too:
Q: Heading into this season there seems to be a great deal of optimism concerning this Raptors team, especially with the arrival of O'Neal and the new full time starting role at PG for Calderon. However, the team still possesses significant flaws: a thin bench, lack of a slashing wing player, toughness, no true centre etc. What would you say the Raptors' greatest weakness is regarding this upcoming season?
Nick L, Montreal
A: The weakness? I think the biggest is going to be the bench, specifically in the backcourt. We have no idea how Will Solomon or Roko Ukic are going to handle the backup point guard role and if Jason Kapono and Anthony Parker are the only guys who are going to play the two-guard spot, there’s got to be some defensive concerns there.
Too bad about Joey having to sit out a couple of days with a tweaked groin.
Really, this was going to be his year and now it’s off to a slow start.
If there was any wee bit of news last night, it was that Jermaine O’Neal took the end of the scrimmage off after he started to get leg cramps.
Nothing serious but they shut him down as a precaution.
Oh, so we arrive to our little curtained off enclave at the Ravens’ Nest yesterday – wait, our luxuriously-appointed, comfortable, best-damn-curtained-off-enclave-in-the-history-of-curtained-off-enclaves – and there’s stuff for us there.
Coffee. Donuts. Good stuff.
I tell ya, mention something’s not up to snuff even in a joking manner and things get fixed.
Q: Do you know if the NBA TV Real Training Camp program will be running again this year?
Stu T, Oakville
A: As far I know, after asking a couple of people, there are no plans to come to a Raptor workout and no one I speak to thinks NBA TV’s going to do for any club this year.
But those things are fluid and it could change as we get more into the pre-season.
|THE CANADIAN PRESS|
|Who said watching Raptors practice was boring?|
I think you all know that, unlike other sports, writers and reporters don’t get to watch entire NBA practices, the policy (league-wide and one that’s been around forever) is that we’re supposed to get in for the last half hour of a workout. Trouble is, most days, that gets us to watch stretching and free throw shooting which is almost boring enough to make us gouge our eyes out with our pens.
Well, when we mentioned this to higher-ups around Raptor land, all it took was one check with Nice Friendly Sam and we’re told tonight we’ll get to see a full scrimmage.
That’s good, even if it is just the third scrimmage of camp and is hardly going to representative of what the team will become.
The thing is, while a lot of people think it’d be great to see a full practice, I’m here to suggest it’s a case of “Be Careful What You Wish For.”
Back in the day, Brendan Malone used to let us watch the whole practice because there were concerns that in the new market of Toronto some people might not have known whether the ball was blown up or stuffed and every bit of education about the game was a good thing.
Trouble was, Brendan’s practices were long, long, long. Lots of teaching and sitting around for sometimes three hours watching from the stands while coaches walked players through sets and defensive schemes was, at times, mind-number.
Sometime around December of that year, a couple of us wanted to run out of the gym like our hair was on fire every time they started a three-man weave or a layup line. Fun? Not so much.
Q: Hi Doug, from what I recall hearing, part of the idea of having Andrea come off the bench was to give him some consistency in his role and some of the starter's pressure off him. Now, assuming that at least one of either JO or Bosh misses some time due to injury, who do you see replacing them in the starting lineup? Does Andrea get the nod, or in an attempt to keep roles consistent, do they try Hump there first to see if he can handle it?
Jason C, Port Perry
A: I understand your point but if either of the bigs go down, I’m almost 100 per cent certain they’d start Bargnani. It would change his role but it wouldn’t change the position they want him to play (which is an interchangeable four-five with Bosh and O’Neal) so they’d be okay with him starting rather than remaining a backup.