This and that and another day off
And a fine good day to you all.
Sam Mitchell: Benevolent Dictator.
Not only did he see fit to give the lads the day off Wednesday when they flew back from Edmonton, he’s giving them Thursday off, too.
At first blush, you’d think a team that looked so utterly average in its last pre-season game could use as much practice as is possible but at many levels, the two days off makes much more sense.
They don’t play until Wednesday so there are five days of practice before the opener and they looked horrificly sluggish in that loss to Denver – at least they did on my television set – so an extra day of mental and physical rest was probably due.
And, truth be told, I bet more than half of ‘em find their way to the ACC sometime today to get up some shots, maybe do some weights or get treatment on bodies beaten and battered by a month of camp.
But it does mean that Friday’s practice is going to be a long one. Lucky us, more time standing around the hallways at the ACC waiting to be summoned in.
Wow. How ‘bout those GMs? Really went out on a limb with the old predictions, didn’t they?
Lakers to win. LeBron as MVP. Beasley as rookie of the year? Brand as the most significant acquisition? Yeah, that’s some daring predicting right there, isn’t it?
Of course, they’re probably dead on and I couldn’t argue with any of the selections but let’s just say the Lakers, LeBron and Beasley weren’t in the equation.
Well, how about the Spurs to win it all again, Chris Paul as the MVP, Rudy Fernandez as the rookie of the year and James Posey as the most significant acquisition?
Don’t hold me to it, but it’s gonna ‘cause more conversation that Lakers, LeBron, Beasley, Brand.
Actually, some of the sub-sections are rather interesting. I note Sam got a vote for coach with the best defensive schemes (stop laughing!) and that both Bargnani and Calderon got votes for international player with breakout potential (guess the international numbers might be down).
How about that Jamal Sampson Era? Kinda flew by, didn’t it?
Really, though, Sampson was only brought in as training camp fodder after Nathan Jawai was lost and there was never a serious thought he’d stick. Then he hurt his wrist and couldn’t even practice and it just became a matter of him getting healthy enough to be waived.
The thing is, it’s not as if Jawai’s ready to get back on the court. Was told yesterday there are still no developments in his seemingly never-ending pursuit of cardiac tests that will either clear him to return to action or put on the shelf for an extended period of time.
Read that again: There are no developments. He’s not done, he’s not coming back. They don’t know yet.
Let me get this straight:
Five broadcast outlets.
Three colour analysts.
Almost a third of the games unable to be seen by cable subscribers in the team’s home market.
I don’t know broadcasting as well as many but that doesn’t strike me as the greatest of scenarios.
Now, I suppose five stations showing 82 games is better than three showing 55 or something but, still ….
A Sam question:
Q: I have been searching for a way to get feedback from the media on Sam Mitchell and how terrible he seems to treat the media as a whole.
I just watched another QT Video of him on the Raptors website and his responses to questions from the media were ridiculous. He doesn't appear to respect any of you, and seems to blow off the media as a whole just about every time he is interviewed.
Does he realize that when he is answering the media's questions, he is actually talking to the fans? Does he realize how much contempt he shows? How on earth does he expect to get respect from the media when he isn't showing them any respect either? Does Brian Colangelo recognize that this is part of a coaches job? Does he care how terrible Sam is with the media? Is he getting any kind of coaching on this?
I have seen far more mature responses coming from his players (who are far younger than he is) even in their rookie years (Jose)!!
Maybe the answer is that the media should just ignore him altogether?
I mean how bad does it have to be? I know the media can be a pain in the butt sometimes but shouldn't it be in Sam's job description that he has to be the one taking the higher road? Turning the other cheek?
Sorry, but after this many years I believe the man should be answering ALL of your questions and giving the fans the insight we are looking for!!
Unless he thinks he is above the fans?
Chris S, Burlington
A: Yes, Sam’s relationship with the media is at times contemptuous but – and you’re not there every day to see it all – after he has his little fun, if that’s what you want to call it, he’ll answer all the questions we have. He might be snarky, he might every now and then go with the one-word answers but if you put in the time, you’ll get your stuff.
And, as much as you’d like us to, we can’t ignore him. And I wouldn't want to, sometimes he can be wildly entertaining.
Speaking of the mail, had a couple of people wonder in the last few days why there’s so much, why a lot of it seems redundant and some of it’s little more than thinly disguised rants with “your thought?” tossed at the end.
The way I figure it, the volume comes from the fact you people are nuts (in quite a good way, I mean); the redundancy I can deal with ‘cause if there’s a legitimate question I figure I should answer it if you’ve gone to the trouble to send it and the thinly-disguised rants can be ignored if that’s all there is.
Simple fact: There probably is too much but it’s a monster we’ve created and it’s got to be fed. The fact that it dominates most of my days is something I’ve got to get used to, I guess.
You watch the start of the baseball game last night?
The Backstreet Boys singing the anthem?!?!? How about Backstreet Washed Up Middle-Aged Dudes? My goodness gracious.
Now, this is putting all you anthem people at the Raptor games on notice: The anthem is a song of respect and celebration, it is not – I repeat NOT – something to be reworked or rewritten or used as some sort of goofy demo tape. It’s not to be “covered.” You want to do cover tunes, go to some cheesy hotel lobby bar.
Sing it as it’s written, using the right words, the right tempo, the right tune.
End of rant.
Speaking of the mail:
Q: What’s good Doug? This one isn’t a Raptor related question it has to do with Shaq. A lot people say he ran out of gas, he’s too old, out of shape etc. but watching him play on Phoenix and when he was in Miami is that every time this guy touches the ball he gets double tripled team every time and we all know Shaq is a low post player strictly so its not like were going to see him step out and take jump shots to adjust to a zone defence what do you think about the Shaq situation.
Omar H, Brampton
A: What’s good? A nice cold beer on a hot day (or a cool day, or a rainy day, or a freezing cold day), a perfectly done medium rare ribeye steak, that’s what’s good.
Now, Shaq. It’ll be interesting to see how teams play him this year; there was a move away from automatic double-teams last year, and even a bit the year before that. I’m not entirely sure what Phoenix’s offence is going to look like this year, but I’d bet teams double Amare and leave Shaq to be guarded one-on-one. And I guarantee you every team that plays them will primarily run high screen and roll plays with whoever Shaq’s guarding.
Is he done? No. Is he the old Shaq? Not a chance.