Of moods and minds and all-star snubs
All’s right in the world when your 19-28 and winners of three in a row. At least that’s the prevailing mood around these guys these days and, actually, you can’t blame them.
There’s been some slippage – defensively they’ve been so-so and the energy level has been a bit below acceptable at times – but confidence and momentum are huge and they truly do feel they are at least approaching a corner, if not already in it.
We’ll see, of course, we know they have the capability of throwing up on themselves without any notice but there’s no reason they shouldn’t come out tonight and roll.
There. Feel jinxed?
As some may recall, I was a bit dubious about the need for, or value of, a sports psychologist for a team sport. And then you all saw today’s story about Dana Sinclair and the Raptors have obviously not paid one lick of attention to my opinion. (not an odd occurrence, by the way).
Anyway, now I’m figuring what the heck, if they think it works, go ahead and do it. I’m not paying the freight, another resource can’t be a bad thing and, here’s the funny thing, I now recall having met. Dr. Sinclair at the Sydney Olympics way back in 2000 when she did some work for the Canadian Olympic Committee. I also recall her working with a couple of members of the women’s basketball team back then and them being highly complimentary so now I’m okay with this (as if that mattered).
And Bryan C? Well, he had this to say about a sports psychologist working with a team rather than an individual
“It’s about individual performance and how it relates to teams in this regard but clearly …each player in the NBA has a different psychological profile and whether or not they’re getting the most out of their ability i9s something you want to try to determine.
“With respect to the players, this is not so much about curing a problem, it’s about helping people achieve best results.”
I’d like this story an awful lot more if someone from Rogers or Maple Leaf Sports or TSN actually said they’d do something about this fiasco.
My man Tom Enlund isn’t making the trip up here tonight (I believe that’s allowed at least one extra Harbour Sports Grille server to get a night off) but he does provide this in our look at what’s up with the other team.
Just in case he misses, let’s get this one out there:
Q: With Jose's recent brilliance at the free throw line (perfect for the season), I was wondering if you could tell me if Dave Hopla, shooting coach extraordinaire, should be given a ton of credit for helping Jose develop such a stellar shot? I assume Hopla spent time with Jose working on his shooting mechanics when he was an assistant a couple years back.
Miles V, Kitchener
A: No. He shouldn’t. The credit should go to Jose, who went home between his rookie and sophomore seasons and worked like crazy on his new shooting form. He was given tips (tips that even a dope like me could see were necessary, like keeping his right elbow in closer to his body) and exercises as much by Jay Triano as Hopla but it was he who did the work.
Hey, six out of seven all-star backups in each conference? Can a guy get some love?
Seriously, putting Rashard Lewis on the East team instead of Mo Williams is fine with me (makes the East bigger, gives them another shooter) but David West over Al Jefferson in the West is, to me, a bit perplexing.
West’s team is okay, sure, and Jefferson’s isn’t, except for the fact the Timberwolves are like the hottest team in the league in the last two weeks or something.
I think the Western Conference coaches blew that one.
But, since I’m not going to be in Phoenix, I really don’t care all that much.
A question of styles:
Q: Short and sweet - who is the better defender right now, Bosh or Bargnani? And who do you project will be the better defender when it's all said and done? There have been stretches when Andrea has played exceptional team and individual defense, and I would argue he is more physically equipped (length and relative strength) to guard opposing bigs.
Jack C, Ajax
A: Short and sweet? Not so much.
Bosh is a better help defender, Bargnani’s a better post defender. Together, they’re all right.
But, really, all this chatter about who’s a “good” defender and who “sucks” as a defender is, in a lot of cases, ridiculous.
NBA defence is always team defence. No one can stop anyone one-on-one in the league, it’s more about schemes (turning your man to help) and scouting (forcing him to his weak hand, or a spot on the court he can’t shoot from) that one guy stopping one other guy.
So they announced the all-star subs around 7 p.m. in these parts, the Magic get two and the Cavaliers get none and then Orlando goes out and whacks Cleveland with Jameer Nelson wildly out-playing Mo Williams and Rashard Lewis getting 19 or something like that.
And all of us who originally thought the East was just a two-team race were, apparently, dead wrong.
Now the premium for finishing first in the East is even greater. Not only is it homecourt through the conference finals, it’s avoiding the third team in the second round.
I believe we are in for a great, great finish.
You know how stinky this winter’s been in the parts? You walk outside about 7:20 in the morning so Super Dog can have it’s morning constitutional, it’s about minus-9 and you go, “hmm, nice day.”
The last word:
Q: Hey Doug. I hope you answer this one as I've written before and I'd love to get your take on it. Is there anyway on God's green earth that we ever...ever...ever see Vince back in a Raptors jersey? Ever? If not, would you like to see it? Thanks for your great work Doug.
Paul G, Aurora
A: A wise man once suggested I never say never but I will say, unequivocally, that you will never see Vince Carter in a Raptor jersey again. Ever. Never.
They won’t trade for him, they won’t sign him as a 34-year-ol free agent when this contract’s up. That ship has sailed.
Would I like to see it? No. It would be far, far, far too much work for me.