There will be no bodies arriving soon
Good weekend everyone?
|RICK EGLINGTON/TORONTO STAR|
|No roster moves coming for the Raptors - unless they get off to a shaky start.|
Things are picking up quite nicely around here, aren’t they? Must be a real game coming up or something. We’re scratching our heads trying to figure out ways to enhance coverage, people are writing just to chat (which, for the most part I certainly don’t mind) and even when we go to practice, the players seem a bit more anxious.
Good time of year, isn’t it?
Darius Miles. Ruben Patterson. Damon Stoudamire. Dan Dickau. Lindsey Hunter.
No. No. No. No. No.
Why? None of those are real “difference makers” are they?
Miles has health questions, Patterson’s 30-something and couldn’t beat out Juwan Howard for a job in Denver, none of Stoudamire, Dickau and Hunter is appreciably better than either Ukic or Solomon.
No, if the Raptors do something – and I don’t see anything happening for at least a month or six weeks, and only then if things are going very, very bad – it’s going to be far bigger than signing a guy who’s an end-of-the-bencher or a backup at best.
And I don’t even think a guy who’ll have a far bigger impact than any of those is going to be around.
Is this roster flawed? Absolutely. Lots in the NBA are. It’s going to take continued good health for the three key players and internal growth from guys like Bargnani, Graham and Moon for them to reach their potential as a team.
Is it possible? Certainly. Will it be interesting to watch? Sure.
And that’s why you do watch.
Remember last week there was a question, having to do with an ESPN survey, about whether Sam could dunk?
Asked him about it Saturday and he thinks he could:
"It wouldn’t be pretty but I could get it in there.”
Then he proceeded to waltz over to a basket, stand under, take a quick leap and grab the rim.
Maybe he could.
First mail thing:
Q Hey Doug, last week some guy in Holland asked about Dutch players in the NBA. I can't believe you didn't mention the Raptors' own Remon Van de Hare.
Just how bad is that dude anyway?
Joel S, Toronto
A: Re-read your question. “Dutch players in the NBA.” Closest I can tell he ever got to the NBA was watching it on TV.
How bad? Who knows? No one ever laid eyes on the guy. A second-round pick gone awry.
There’s this guy, Jawad R., who you may know from the mailbag and he does some pretty good things for the Raptor foundation.
The lovely women who run that end of the franchise have asked to get the word out about this auction so there you go.
Now, if they were to throw in post-game cocktails with a haggard beat grunt, I bet the interweb would blow up with all the $25 donations.
But this should be pretty good anyway.
Bid early, bid often.
This is part of the reason we like Sam.
We show up at practice Sunday scratching our heads trying to figure out what the day’s story is. We’ve all got a bunch of stuff to do for NBA previews (you’ll read a lot of Jermaine O’Neal takeouts in the next couple of days, I believe) and it’s tough to figure out the daily missive for this morning’s paper.
It’s the third of five practices before the season starts, there’s going to be a gaping 650-700 word space in the paper to fill and there is no true burning issue. We’ve written just about all there is to write about Joey-Jamario, Roko-Will and the injury story was Saturday’s.
So, what’s to do?
And that’s where Sam comes in. I’m sure you’ve all read the various glowing tributes to Bosh in the daily fishwraps this morning and here’s how it came about: One of us, searching for a story, asks Sam about AP and his apparent lack of ego and how good it is for teams to have guys like that.
Sam gives us one sentence on AP and launches into an unsolicited soliloquy about Bosh and how great he’s been and all that stuff you see in the papers.
Presto! A story. A good off-day story.
No idea why he did it. Maybe he wanted to throw some love Bosh’s way since he’s flying under the radar in a lot of league-wide publications or maybe he knew we were struggling and being the helpful soul to the media that he is, he wanted to help out.
But, whatever the reason, the coach was absolutely effusive in his praise and since that doesn’t happen to often, especially without prodding, you’ve got to think he really means it.
"I’m really proud of him. It’s been a pleasure for me just to watch him grow from where I had him when I first got here to where he is. It’s amazing.”
Another one from a fine regular on how we do things around here:
Q: Hi Doug, I realize that this is your blog, but do your bosses tell you that you have to have a certain amount of blog entries per week? Or is it your call?
Sam C, Kingston
A: Nah, they don’t put any limits on it, actually. I think, and hope, they like that it gets updated regularly because I think that’s what these things are for, relatively constant contact with you lovely readers, but they’ve never said I had to do this much on this number of days a week. It’s kind of nice, actually.
So, what do we need to find out in the last two days before the season starts?
Sam won’t say it, but if I had to bet I’d wager Moon starts and Ukic is the first guard off the bench but other than that, there’s nothing.
And, as perhaps I’ve mentioned, that’s going to make it challenging to find any news between now and the start of the season.
Hope Sam’s in a chatty mood later on today.
And a last dip into the mail before we start another day anew:
Q: Hi Doug, good work on the blog. How much practice time do the beat grunts actually get to see? With Hump and Moon continually jacking up shots that they should not be taking, does Sam work with them on this to cut it down? Sam repeatedly had stated that if Hump focuses on his role (defence, rebounding), he can be effective. So how do both Hump and Moon continue to get away with jacking up shots in games with no repercussion? Thanks
Jeff B, Milton
A: Actually, we get to see very little practice time. Some shooting drills, some informal one-on-one tournaments sometimes, coaches working with individual players on a good day.
But, trust me, I know Sam and I can absolutely assure you he works with them – quite vociferously – on doing what he wants them to do.
I had someone tell me the other day that Hump came in for some Special Sam Attention at practice and I can only imagine how Special that really is.
How do they get away with it? Mental blips. That’s about the only explanation because, believe me, they are reminded what they should do quite regularly.