Of Canada and a bunch of other wildly interesting stuff
Thanks for the wee respite yesterday, it’s nice after back-to-back losses for them to not have a game ‘cause it calms everyone down for a 24 hours or so. Don’t imagine it lasts, though.
Since we know the local pros have those rebounding issues and no one got traded or fired or benched yesterday, a little focus on Canada Basketball might be a novel idea.
Am sure you’ve all read or heard about the new deals for Leo Rautins and Allison McNeil and the “Council of Excellence” that they’ve put together (if you haven’t, read here) and it strikes me as a pretty good thing to do.
I’ve long been a proponent of exactly that kind of oversight committee, a bunch of highly-accomplished former players and coaches, some who had been disillusioned with the way things are going, being brought back into the fold. And having Maurizio at the helm of the men’s team gives them a guy with no ties, no past, who can sit back and provide a unique perspective.
I hope, really hope, that the committee members can put the past and any petty jealousies behind them and actually do some constructive work. I know them all and think that’s possible but it will be something worth watching.
Now, the contracts.
I have no problem at all with giving the two head coaches another year under this new structure to see what they can do. I’ve always thought the system, and the structure, was as much an issue as game-to-game coaching and going with two-year contracts (and a second year only guaranteed if they qualify for the worlds or the Olympics) makes entire sense.
The game, and the pool of players, is so fluid, anchoring a program – men’s or women’s – to four-year coaching cycles never really made a lot of sense to me. You qualify, or you move on. It may be a bit unfair but there are so few chances for Canada to make any sort of impact on the world stage that quicker change is necessary.
The one minor criticism? While it’s great that they made Maurizio the managing director of the men’s program, they should do something equally bold on the women’s side to give Allison as much support as the men get.
Trust me, I think the women, at this point in time, have a better shot at accomplishing more than the men do in the next three or four years.
The Raptors are in the middle of three games in four nights, they have three-in-four out west starting Friday, a couple of days for the holidays and then three-in-four more out west again.
So what do they do yesterday? Have a bit of a free-for-all.
Here’s Jay on the drills:
“Guys in the lane, guys in the perimeter, throw the ball up, go get ‘em, box ‘em out. We did a little bit of three-on-three, we had a scrimmage, we stopped the scrimmage if we didn’t have fours and fives going to the basket. It made it a huge point of emphasis today.”
Wonder how they’ll do tonight?
Oh yeah, I guess those Sam Dalembert “Canada” jerseys are a keepsake now, aren’t they?
From the mail:
Q: I know officiating didn't cost the Raptors the Nets game as much as the continued failure to rebound (though your account of the phantom shot-clock violation gives some credence to such an argument.) My question though is, are the performances of the officials reviewed by supervisory personnel after each game? For instance the calls that led to the two technicals were just bad. Bosh was definitely hacked by Carter and the foul given to Kapono on Harris was atrocious - and with Jay standing right there, you could see why he was livid. I know you continually preach that NBA officials have the toughest job in sports, but that crew last night had as big an off night as the Raps did! (The television commentators of the Suns/Knicks game later that night also said that crew were stumbling as well. This leads to a follow-up question - is NBA officiating weaker this year than in years past?)
Joe S, Kingston
A: Every game, every call, is reviewed by someone. There’s a supervisor-monitor at every game, the video gets back to the league office every night and officials often go over their calls when they get back to their hotels immediately following the game. So, yes, they are watched. Closely.
This year? I’m not sure if it’s weaker this year, I don’t think so. I do think there are a handful of young officials still very much learning the ropes of the NBA who have a tendency to make calls that make you scratch your head.
But, yes, in my opinion it’s the toughest officiating job in all of professional sports.
The big name being kicked around in trade rumours around the league is Shawn Marion, which should come as absolutely no surprise. It’s really not working for him down in Miami, the Heat are bumbling along and they aren’t going to sign him long-term.
Yes, the Raptors have talked to Miami and I’ve been assured by a few people that Marion’s name has come up.
But I’m not sure there’s a fit unless it’s for Jermaine O’Neal because there’s no way the Heat can do three- or four-for-one, which would be necessary to make the money work in a Toronto deal.
Would that work for the Raptors? Well, it’d move Bargnani back to the starting role and the front court would be him, Bosh, Hump and Jake Voskuhl. You’d have Marion and Moon and Joey at three (that’s a glut) and Kapono and Parker still at the two.
It’d be a rebounding upgrade – Marion averages about 10 a game for his career – but he’s not a great shooter, doesn’t really create his own shot all the well, and thrived mainly next to Steve Nash, who doesn’t play here.
But the talk is legit and that’s got to make some people happy.
This is almost Ding! Ding! Ding! Worthy:
Q: Is there anyway or anyone that we can petition in order to remove Gary Payton from the NBA TV broadcasts. Him, Rashad, and the time-out dude were starting to give me a headache. Just a Christmas wish.
Michel G, Mississauga
A: I’m only signing that petition if they replace him with Sam, who lives in Atlanta, where NBA TV is located and would sooooooo good on TV, I think.
Check out today’s Dallas stuff.
It’s been what, almost a day since an NBA coach got fired? Guess the GMs must be taking naps.
Q: Dearest Douglas: I think we all know what's going on here. I've been quiet long enough, hoping Management would make the right moves to turn this thing around, but I can't take it anymore. That schlocky "In the Ayer" video intro is to blame. How can The Raptors act like stone cold killers with that ridiculous Entourage Meets Happy Days mess? Colangelo fired Sam, now let's see him fire the entire A/V staff and get this team back above 500. On the upside, I thought Andrea's hair looked nice last night. And your tie was stellar.
Katrina W, Toronto
A: Ding! Ding! Ding!
- Okay, off to shovel stinky snow. It's far too early for the crap, in my humble opinion.