The mail, with a bit of a preamble
Okay, here’s the deal. Instead of sitting at the computer Thursday night answering mail for three or four hours, a night of fellowship with the one and only Stumpy out here at the Mississauga local was called for.
Soooooo, that means this is about half the stuff from the week, I’ll get to the rest of it in the next day or so.
But there are a couple of things I need to point out. Remember the Fine Ladies Of The Foundation and the ticket auction thing they’re doing? It’s here, in case you’ve forgotten. Take a really close look at what’s available. Seriously, someone can buy me a beverage and be regaled with stories. Or not.
But, come on, what could be a better way to spend a Sunday evening? Click. Spend. NOW.
And, one other thing, here’s what my man Dave W. (subbing for the regular Dave D.) is thinking about the game tonight against that team with that guy.
Now, the questions: -
Q: Hey Doug, Great blog. I have a question regarding the plus/minus stat, and its pretty simple: Chris Bosh in the game against Orlando on Tuesday has 40 points on close too 74% shooting, 18 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 2 steals with only one foul and 3 turnovers. Sorry for all the stats but they help make my point. Chris' plus/minus for that stat line is -7!
What don't I understand about the plus/minus? because that seems like a pretty positive game to me. He did play 44 minutes but I don’t think that would have that big of a detrimental effect on it, or at least it shouldn’t.
Do they factor in that a team lost for this? Because it always seems like the losing team has a lot of negatives for it.
Thanks Doug and keep up the good work
Drew L, Sudbury
A: I think I’ve been pretty consistent on this. I think the plus-minus stat in basketball is entirely bogus. It has to far too much to do with the other nine guys on the court than it does a reflection of that one player’s performance.
Q: Love the conversational nature of the blog, you do the grumpy old sportswriter persona really well. Couple non game related questions.
On the writing front, do you ever read King Kaufman at Salon? He's not sport specific, and some of his ideas are right off the wall, but Salon has been doing the web publication thing for a while, might be worth checking out how they do it.
I know you think it's too early to talk about the free agent bonanza coming up, but there are a few things we know at this point about that, and they are of interest even beyond that event. Specifically, which teams have the stability and competence at the ownership and management level to turn a big free agent signing into team success?
Jim R, Toronto
A: I don’t read Salon nearly as much as I’d like to, there always seems to be something else to read or do.
I think it’s easier to suggest which teams don’t have the kind of ownership and/or management at the moment. I’d put Atlanta (new GM, not his coach, owners bickering for years), Memphis (are the Grizzlies for sale or on the move?), Charlotte (all we hear is Bob Johnson wants out), New Jersey (I believe the move to Brooklyn is now scheduled for about 2025), Sacramento (they need a new arena or moves will be bandied about) and perhaps New Orleans (not sure they are sustainable there in the long-term) on that list off the top of my head.
Q: The Raps have horrific perimeter D and Hassan Adams was brought on to assist in that part of the game, what's going on with him that he can't get in to the game?
Anthony C, Newmarket
A: He’s not as good as anyone playing in front of him. He came into camp out of shape, got hurt, never really established himself as even a possible backup and is now forgotten at the end of the bench.
Q: Hey Doug, something to ponder on. In light of the recent Detroit-Denver trade, and since O'Neal is playing exactly how the Raps envisioned, and TJ has kept the Pacers floating (and recent big numbers from Rasho), is it rare for trades to help out both parties involved, or is the giving away of Vince (for Eric & Aaron Williams) more the norm through out the course of history?
Joey H, Toronto
A: I think, generally, trades in the NBA are good for both teams for a couple of reasons. Because of the financial nature of the transactions, teams can’t move a highly—paid star for a scrub and players who get a new lease on live, so to speak, have a great immediate impact. Of course, the one here was the exception that maybe proves the rule.
Q: Quick follow up to a question I asked last week in regards to the prorated salary a team pays if they acquire a player mid season. With all this chatter of the luxury tax, is the prorated portion or the entire salary counted against the tax when a player acquired in a trade puts the team over. And on your love of barley pop, have you ever had Manitoba's local brand Fort Garry?
Rahulan S, Winnipeg
A: The total annual value of the contract is what’s used to in tax and cap calculations. A team may only have to pay half a year’s salary but the cap and tax hit are on the complete value. And, no, I’ve never sampled a Fort Garry. If I see it anywhere, I may give it a taste.
Q: Keep up the good work! Seeing as though you are so into 'Dancing With The Stars', I'm wondering which current Raptor would do well on the show.
As a matter of fact, let’s open it up to whoever has ever played for the Raptors. And watching how good Warren Sapp is doing, would you consider going on the show, cause you know, you both have the same fantastic athletic bods!
Zeeshan G, Mississauga
A: Current? Wow, that’s a good one. I don’t really know. I’d bet Kapono could handle the technique and he’s got the personality for it. I’d bet on him. Maybe Jose, too. All time? Well, I don’t think the called Alvin Williams “Boogie” for nothing. Although I’d pay big bucks to see Oak or Kevin Willis out there.
When they hold Dancing With The Stars: Old Grumpy Frumpy Sportwriters Edition, I’m in. As long as there’s a defibrillator next to the stage.
Q: Going back to the 2003 draft, and considering all the players' performances over the past 4 and a half years, would you still take Bosh at number 4 assuming Cleveland still takes LeBron, Detroit sticks with Darko and Denver picks Carmelo? Or would Wade be a better choice considering the Carter saga?
Moe S, Toronto
A: They needed a big back then. There was no question it would be Bosh over Wade. In hindsight? Well, Wade has won a title next to Shaq and Bosh hasn’t won a playoff series. Not sure what to make of that, though. Is Bosh a better player today than Wade? Tough to say, since they play different roles and if you asked 30 GMs who they’d rather have, I bet Bosh wins.
Q: Okay, not game-related (as per your request): Reading your in-game blogs (esp. the ones written from the comfort of the Lazy-Boy at Chez Smith) makes me appreciate your commitment to the game, your job and your readers but also makes the "technician" in me wonder: Just how many words per minute do you type?!
Stephen B, Burlington
A: I wish I knew. I only know that it’s lots. And most of them are typed correctly. And as long as all of them make sense and they get filed on time, it’s no big deal.
Q: If I remember correctly, during the offseason, you suggested that the Raptors would/should sign a third point guard for the veteran minimum just prior to training camp - depending on who was available as the free agent period unfolded. Then they surprisingly signed Solomon in July. I know its still earlier, but in hindsight, would you say that the Raptors jumped the gun in signing Solomon considering the other options available?
Rob J, Toronto
A: Yeah, they probably jumped the gun but both Bryan and Sam were in agreement that he’d be worth the one-year guaranteed deal. Me? I probably would have waited.
Q: Have you seen the sports coat/blazer that Shane Battier has been sporting at the end of the Rockets bench lately? It is team red and has a white "H" logo on it. He has worn it during every Rockets game so far this season. Is that trademark NBA gear or something exclusive to the Rockets team? I haven't seen any other teams with a similar sports. It might make sense for all teams to have to avoid violations of David Stern's dress code. What are your thoughts?
Solomon O, Toronto
A: I saw it the other night. And here’s the inside dope: He’s toying with everyone. Knew he had to wear a blazer to sit on the bench, had his tailor make a red one, found an old Rockets hat with a white logo, cut the logo out and had it stitched on the jacket. It’s known as The Battier Blazer around the Rockets. Man, the stuff you learn here.
Q: Just wondering if you saw Chris Bosh and Baron Davis's youtube clips in their challenge to see who's funnier. Both clips are quite funny actually, but I'd have to give my vote to Bosh just because of Cabbie's cameo!
Dave R, Markham
A: Baron loses the second he orders the filet medium well.
Q: I know the team obviously has someone in charge of all the travel arrangements, etc., but do you? When you go on the road do you have to book your own flights and rooms? Or do the Raptors personnel take care of that?
Doug B, Toronto
A: Oh, no. We don’t have peeps. We beat grunts do all our own travel.
Q: I know big numbers on a bad team is far easier to come by than good numbers on a playoff club, but John Salmon's stats are pretty impressive this year. Don't you think that if he hadn't backed out of his deal with Toronto, that he would have been a nice fit here and a good complement to transition out of the AP era?
Jack C. Toronto
A: John Salmons is having a very good year on a pretty bad team. If he was here, who knows what would have happened. Things certainly wouldn’t have unfolded as they did, so there’s no use worrying about it. You would never, ever have had Bosh, O’Neal, Calderon, Salmons and Bargnani starting because I don’t think they would have had a chance to make the O’Neal trade if Salmons had been here. An exercise in futility and ‘what-ifs.’
Q: Christopher Wesson Bosh = Best Power Forward in the NBA? Or am I just a raving homer?
Sean K, Ottawa
A: Stark raving homer. Bosh is great, playing out of his head, no question. But as long as that Duncan fellow and that Garnett dude are out there, he’s in the discussion only, not leading it. And if the Cavs keep playing LeBron at the four for about 12 minutes a game as they’re doing now, the conversation is even more muddled.
Q: Notes from the Orlando game: When Jose is looking into the post for Bosh or O'Neal on either side of the block, is it part of the play for the three players on the opposite side to stand motionless beyond the three point line? I understand the need to spread the floor and let the post men do the dirty work before crashing, but it looks like they are having a latte and a cruller waiting for the kick and the three point glory. Shouldn't they be cutting and moving more, or would that crowd the lane?
Jason G, Toronto
A: They need to let the bigs have some room to operate, yes. That said, someone has to dive on every possession, just to create movement among the defenders. Whether that’s the other big or a small forward depends. But someone needs to be diving.
Q: Do you know anything about Golden State's situation with Al Harrington right now? What do you think about them putting Marco Belinelli on the block with him? In addition, what do you think of this kid Anthony Morrow who is lighting it up right now going for 37 and 11 in his first start then following that up with 25 pts on 8/12 shooting from the floor (going 4/5 from downtown in both games)? Could this kid be the next undrafted gem that came out of nowhere? I bet Colangelo is kicking himself after letting him slip by in the draft.
Jeff S. Victoria
A: As I read the dispatches this morning, looks like the Harrington issue is resolved. I think Anthony Morrow is a wonderful story after, what, a handful of games? I hope he has a long and brilliant career and I assume there are 28 other general managers besides Colangelo feeling a twinge of regret. But let’s wait ‘til the end of the year to see if they’re kicking themselves.
Q: Hey Doug, any news or rumours or pure speculation with Big Nat? Since he left training camp there hasn't been a peep about him.
Josh S, Toronto
A: “Hasn’t been a peep?” Come on. Here’s a little assignment for you. Search this blog, this mailbag and the whole world wide web.
Q: Occasionally you mention a Raptors tendency to consistently make the same play. Do you ever point these out to the players so they can modify their game style and not be so predictable?
CJ L, London
A: Um, no. That would be, as Sam says, far above my pay grade.
Q: Hey Doug, it’s been awhile since I've sent a question in, all the other readers are doing a great job asking for me. However, there's a few that has not been asked so here we go.
(1)What are those dots stuck on the Raps players? I saw one on JK's shoulder and one on JO's chest.
(2)What is the reason behind not starting your best five players in the beginning of the fourth quarter to set the tone early (ie. last night).
(3)What is the secret to getting the wife and kids to leave you alone to watch a game at home in peace?
Thanks Doug, keep on the doing the TGOTG's!
Jason R, Toronto
A: Dots? Sorry, I haven’t seen any dots. I’ll check Friday if you check your TV. A lot of teams play their starters for the first nine or 10 minutes of the third quarter, given them the only five or six minutes they’ll get off in the half and then have them fresh to finish the game.
Secret? Find a family not all that interested in Game 11 of 82. It’s not that hard.
Q: It seems that this year’s Raptor team is set up so that every game one player goes off and has a great game, usually Bosh or Calderon, but with O'Neal's play improving and with Bargnani becoming more consistent chances are one of the four of them will go off and have a great game. Last year it was only Bosh and Calderon. It just seems to me that this year we are relying less on Bosh and Calderon (which I think is good). Your take?
Blake H, Provo, Utah
A: Yes, I agree that the only way this team will ever be good is if more people play well each night.