Mail's in, better late than never (or so they say)
Yeah, this is a couple of hours late but a confluence of a flight, a nap and an excellent surprise birthday party for a friend last night kind of got me behind.
And it’s a wee bit smaller than usual because the entire week was filled with “they suck, blow up the season, trade this guy and fire that guy” comments that go with a seven-game losing streak.
Q: It was interesting to read your comment about Triano and Kevin O'Neil's relationship not being very good. Can you please elaborate on what their differences were? Were they mostly differences regarding the X's and O's of basketball, personality differences, or a combination of both?
Nilanka L, Oakville
A: Well, it wasn’t like they detested each other or fought openly; in fact, they had a not bad professional relationship.
But it came to light after Kevin left that he had concerns – in his own little paranoid way – about not having hired Jay in the first place and there were some misguided concerns about loyalty.
But they kept it professional in public and in their dealings with us.
Q:: Hey Doug , I am a Raptors fan and I think that B.C made a huge mistake by letting Carlos Delfino go. Do you think Carlos would have been a big impact on the team and is there any way we can get him back or at least try.
Maria A, Toronto
A: I’ll tell you this, Carlos Deflino has gotten a whole lot better since he’s been gone, hasn’t he? People seem to forget his inconsistencies over the year he was here.
But, yes, they miss him because, even with his ability to disappear for long stretches, his contribution nightly would have been better than they’re getting from some of the guys here. And his versatility as a backup point guard would have been huge at times.
And yes, I think they’ll try hard to get him back this summer, whether or not the money works remains to be seen.
Q: Human interest / talent show question with minimal basketball relevance: You have heard hundreds of anthem singers at the beginning of basketball games over the years. Were any of them so good that you paid attention to who it was in case they became famous or recorded something you would buy the LP of (or download from iTunes)?
Richard Y, Kincardine
A: Most anthems are a blur and, no, I can’t remember and up and coming starlette that I kept tabs on. I recall two from way back in the day in Toronto, one good, one bad and I think I’ve spoken of them before.
But, in case you missed it, the best ever at a Raptor game was the Bare Naked Ladies at the first game, a day or two after a narrow win for Canada in a Quebec referendum. The fans cheered when they sang a stanza in French and I got goosebumps.
The worst? In a shocking display of disrespect for which he should be banned from ever playing the anthem again, that fiddler guy McIsaac broke into Sweet Georgia Brown while he was playing O Canada and I wanted to throw something at him, or charge the court and slap him upside the head.
Q: Hi Doug. I see that Roko is a .824 free throw shooter. What makes him such a poor shooter from the field?
Ryan G, Toronto
A: At the line, you’ve got time to think about form and follow through and keeping your elbow in; in the flow of game, players revert to past form.
Q: Nothing like a win to fix all that ails us. If this team was a body, I think it just got its brain and heart back. A couple for the mailbag: Any idea where Hassan Adams went? Not that he's missed around here, but I'm curious whether he'd sniff around for a 10 day, D league or go grab some overseas cash. Or just go home and sit. Crystal ball time. 10 or 15 years from now, who on this Raptor squad is a coach and at what level? Is Jose is coaching in the Euroleague championships and maybe AP is an NBA head coach. And is Joey coaching a very athletic jr. high squad that leads their league in offensive fouls and continually suffers mental lapses on defence. Keep up the great work on the blog. I now watch games at home with a laptop beside me for your in-game insights.
Wilber L, Toronto
A: No idea where Hassan went, I presume home to relax; all the European teams of note have their rosters set so are no jobs there and the D League is more about kids than it is guys Adams’ age.
I don’t think there’s a coach on this roster. AP would be a good one, I bet but he’s never once suggested it’s something he wants to do. I can see a guy a few of them – Jake, AP maybe – helping out with their kids’ teams but no one that I’ve spoken to wants to be in the NBA or anything like that.
Q: Hey Doug, any idea when Blackberry users will be able to follow your in-game blog??
Adu M, Toronto
A: I’m told it could be as early as Wednesday’s game in New Jersey and I’ll let you know as soon as it’s a done deal.
Q: When do they announce the participants for all-star weekend's activities? And do you think Jose should get an invite to the skills challenge? (D. Will already declined).
Steve G, Grand Falls-Windsor, NL
A: They usually parcel them out one a week and we got the dunk contest fan-vote winner last week. Not sure which one we’ll get this week but I don’t think Jose will, or should, get an invite. Hasn’t played enough lately and the generally put people in the skills contest who are already scheduled to be in the all-star city.
And, besides, with his hamstring, I’m sure all Jose wants to do that weekend is go somewhere warm and relax.
Q: Doug, Jose's game was incredible Friday night in Chicago, Kudos to him for that game and we all hope he keeps shooting. But Bargnani has been so active on the court. He's all over the place, defending better then people realise and spreading the court with his offense. I know it's early to suggest this, but would he be in the running for most improved player this year?
Steph R, Glencoe
A: Maybe, possibly, perhaps, if he finishes the season playing as well as he is right now, he’ll crack the top four along with David Lee, Danny Granger and Devin Harris, who are the three overwhelming favourites at the moment.
Q: Love the blog, who in your opinion are the top 5 Jump Shooters in Raptor history/on this team? Does Bosh come close to cracking the list?
Rahil S, Toronto
A: I’m not sure Bosh makes the top 10 when you consider Dell Curry, Walt Williams, Vince Carter, Morris Peterson, Dee Brown, Donyell Marshall, Tracy Murray and Jason Kapono.
Q: Hey Doug, I'm a big fan of the blog, keep it up. So does/should 'Zo make it to the Hall of Fame? His numbers might not warrant it, and he got his ring as a backup, but he's a 2-time defensive player of the year, 10th all-time for blocks. His numbers would have been way better if not for his many health issues, and a huge part of his appeal are the multiple and inspiring comebacks he made. Should he get in, not on sympathy, but partially for acknowledging the hard work and perseverance to come back and play at a high level after all he played through?
Jeff S, Prince George
A: NBA champion, Olympic gold medallist, great shotblocker. Yeah, he makes it, I think. Not a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he’ll get in on his basketball merits.
The other stuff? It’s part of it but even without the kidney issue, he’d be okay.
Q: Doug, when talking about Colangelo today, you suggested that he would agree with your assessment that "his gamble on the O’Neal trade really hasn’t paid off." I'm curious to hear more of what you mean by that. Do you think the Raptors would have been in better shape this season had the TJ-JO trade not been made? Do you think there was a better deal out there to be had?
Rob E, Scarborough
A: No, I think he made the right trade under the circumstances but O’Neal’s injuries meant the trade – to this point – hasn’t worked as well as he wanted.
Q: I'm writing as you said your mailbox is empty. Jose or Bosh? Lets say Bosh misses the last 10 games and Jose plays? Do they win more or they lose more? I said from the beginning of the season that a prolonged injury to Jose effects this time more than a long-term injury to Bosh. Your thoughs?
Aaron J, Markham
A: I remember saying in Ottawa that their most important task was making sure Jose didn’t get hurt. Now, I can’t say they would or wouldn’t have lost seven in row with Calderon and without Bosh but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they would have won at least a couple of them. It’s been obvious they need that steady hand.
Q: "It's getting better," he said of Ukic's jump shot, which is being reconstructed by the Raptors coaching staff.' How much is Kapono involved (if at all). I remember watching a clip of Sam teaching Ukic the mechanics. While Sam has a lot of skills, shooting wouldn't be near the top. Jay's likely much better, but you have one of the league's best in the same locker room.
Tom L, Toronto
A: Not at all. Except for maybe offering some quips when they are doing shooting drills. The reconstructive surgery is being conducted solely by the coaches. And Jason’s so good at catching and shooting without thinking, I’m not sure how much technical advice (keeping the elbow in, following through, jumping straight up) he could provide.
Q: Thanks for your voice of sanity in the middle of the roller-coaster ride that is this Raptors season. I have a technical question and hope you can get an answer. Assuming that revenues go down in 2009-10 and the salary cap goes down as well, is there any financial advantage to Chris Bosh to sign a max contract with the Raptors this summer (instead of waiting for 2010)? In other words, is the salary fixed at the time of signing or does it vary according to league revenues? If it's a fixed number then it would make considerable sense for Bosh to re-up with Raptors this summer, wouldn't it?
Olga A, Toronto
A: The salary is indeed fixed at the time of signing and is not related to future revenue percentages so in the scenario you paint, yes, he – or anyone -- would get more money signing early.
Q: Have you been getting many "Barg's sucks" emails lately? With his seemingly consistent and impressive play is a trade imminent? When is the trade deadline? What does adding a more effective wing player do to this team’s playoff chances?
Michel G, North Bay
Q: Doug, the only game on right now involves the 76ers. I looked at the score thinking "I think I'm a mild basketball fan, but that team name doesn't make any sense. Where did it come from?"
Adam G, Saskatoon
A: Check your American history. Do a search of Philadelphia and 1776 and you’ll figure it out. The switched from the Nationals, as they were known in Syracuse, to the 76ers in 1963 when they moved, I’ll give you that much.
Q: I finally caught a game with AP at the point. It gets him more involved. He seems more easily able to score when covered by point guards - giving his game and what is presumably the second unit better production. He takes care of the ball, if lacking the penetration skills of Ukic. And he does all of this without getting caught up in his 1-on-1 match up. Is AP as the back up cemented for the year?
Geoff H, Toronto
A: As the primary backup, yes. But I do think you’ll see Ukic for a very few minutes each night to help Jay with his PG-SG rotation.