Of all-stars and ex-coaches
Quiet day around these guys yesterday, they didn’t lose.
And that means some of you had a day off, too; much less angst than normal as the day wore on, it was nice not to see dozens of “they suck” comments after I got off the flight from Detroit to Chicago.
But we must soldier on here and soldier on we do:
So the fans screwed it up. Big whoop.
I have no problem, generally, with letting fans vote for all-star starters but if you let them vote, you have to expect a screw up.
And Allen Iverson starting for the East is a huge screw up.
Everything else is quite understandable and I don’t think you can make an argument with any of them but Iverson?
Seriously, what a waste
Nothing against him personally, I’ve been a huge fan for years, but this season? This season he’s been quite average with gusts below. Both in Denver and Detroit.
Should have been Jameer Nelson, or Devin Harris, not Iverson.
And I can only hope the coaches get it right.
Speaking of the all-stars, here’s something you may not have known.
When coaches go to vote for the seven reserves, they really don’t have to pay any attention to specific positions. They don’t have to follow the ballot when it comes to centres, guards and forwards and that’s of particular interest in the East.
Because look at that list of other centres on the ballot -- Kendrick Perkins, Rasheed Wallace, Samuel Dalembert, Andrew Bogut, Jermaine O’Neal, Al Horford, Brendan Haywood , Ben Wallace, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Emeka Okafor – and find me some all-star worthy. There isn’t one.
But coaches are told they don’t have to pay any attention to the ballot and should pick players who give their conference the best chance to win.
It’s still a couple of weeks before the coaches ballots have to be in and that means we’ve all got some time to think about it but, today (and this is open to revision as the next couple of weeks unfold), I’d take:
Jameer Nelson, Devin Harris, Joe Johnson, Hedo Turkoglu, Danny Granger, Paul Pierce and Chris Bosh.
And speaking of the all-stars, we’ve got this:
Q: Given the all-star game is being held in Phoenix this year, it would seem only natural that Steve Nash be selected by opposing coaches and GMs as a reserve (if only for sentimental reasons). The problem is that I can count at least three point guards in the west (Deron Williams only not included due to injury) as way more deserving this year: Chris Paul, Tony Parker, and Chauncey Billups. Do you think coaches and GMs will give Nash a home town discount and vote him in over any of the above mentioned? Would you?
Blake V, Vancouver
A: As much as I love Nash, I’d be shocked if the coaches voted him to play. I bet he’d like the weekend off from playing, too. He told us last week he’ll be in Phoenix as some sort of unofficial “host” of the weekend and maybe does that punt, pass and kick thing on the Saturday night but I’m betting he’s got the Sunday night off.
I applaud you for your restraint.
I had only a couple of e-mails overnight suggesting Marc Iavaroni’s firing in Memphis gives him the inside track on the Toronto job.
I’m pretty sure I’ll have to repeat this more than a few times but let’s get started.
Marc Iavaroni will not coach the Raptors.
Bryan Colangelo could have hired him in Phoenix and he didn’t.
Bryan Colangelo could have found a way to hire him Toronto and he didn’t.
Marc Iavaroni, while a nice enough guy and a pretty good assistant, was a washout as a head coach and the last thing this Toronto team needs next year – if, in fact, there’s an opening – a guy who failed as miserably and as quickly as Iavaroni did.
It’s not going to happen.
Please put it out of your mind.
Check out the reports in Chicago today from the fine grunt K.C. Johnson. Seems things aren't all that sweet around these parts.
This would have been up earlier but I was sitting at my computer for a long, long time trying to come up with my favourite memory of Alonzo Mourning as a Raptor.
Those were the glory hours, weren’t they?
Let’s do this one now because I think Jose plays tonight and this may be old by tomorrow:
Q: Hey Doug! Will you be starting a Doug Smith Hotline to provide emotional support for the depressed Raptors fans? I think there's a few people who could use it. Moving on …
I think it's pretty obvious that the Raptors aren't going to get on any sort of roll until Jose comes back. Subbing in Anthony Parker has helped a bit, but not having a true PG at the end of games has in my opinion really hurt their half-court offense and is likely why they lost so many of those close games recently. My question is, as important as having a solid slashing/attacking 2 or 3 is, isn't having a pass-first PG (who can take over offensively when needed to) just as important? Of course my argument is irrelevant if you have LeBron or Kobe on your team. Your thoughts?
Amanda F, Barrie
A: All arguments become irrelevant when you’ve got Kobe or LeBron on your team. But I digress.
It’s not so much a pass-first PG that’s important, it’s a guy everyone’s comfortable with and Bosh hit it on the head yesterday when he said:
“We find ourselves looking at the bench a lot instead of just flowing into the game. Jose pretty much knows all the plays and he know what to run and at what times. He’s a sparkplug for us out there.”
Jose’s leadership abilities – on the court and on the bench – are sometimes forgotten and his calmness on the court at key moments is huge.
I’m not saying he’s the answer and all of sudden they win eight of 10 or something silly like that but there will be a sense of normalcy when he’s back in the lineup that’s important.
While we’re all sitting around waiting for Pat Riley to make up his mind on the Jermaine O’Neal-Shawn Marion deal, maybe it’s time to look back on the O’Neal-Ford-Nesterovic transaction in the summer.
I know everyone’s slamming it but here’s what it was: A gamble.
And sometimes gambles don’t pay off.
One thing was for certain, the Raptors – rightly or wrongly, and rightly in my opinion – felt they had to deal T.J. Ford because he and Jose Calderon weren’t going to co-exist in the backcourt and, as T.J. himself made clear on his first visit to Toronto, it was apparent T.J. and Sam had some issues that were masked last season.
And with two burning issues – interior defence and athleticism on the wing – and taking into consideration financial flexibility in the next couple of summers, Bryan decided to take what he saw as the best offer. Which was O’Neal.
Everyone knew it was a gamble, trades always are and trades for guys who’ve been hurt are especially so.
But the GM had to do something and he rolled the dice.
Maybe it didn’t work – although there’ve been stretches this season where O’Neal hasn’t look bad at all – but it had to be done.