A welcome break
So the break is officially upon us after all the three games last night; the world is descending on Phoenix (at least most of the world, I’m firmly ensconced in Hazelville with a foray as far as Toronto the extent of my travel) and most of us can sit back and take a deep breath.
Where are we?
For most of the league, about where we expected to be, with the Lakers, Boston and Cleveland the cream of the crop and the rest of the pretenders trying to figure what they have to do in the so-called second half of the season.
I’ve got today and tomorrow to figure that out, you’ll want to be here in the morning to see what my little mind came up with, but for now, some dribs and drabs:
(Oh, first a schedule note: A first-half recap tomorrow with some fun stuff; a special post-Saturday night all-star weekend thingy on Sunday and the usual mail and, if you think it’s a good idea, I was thinking of turning on the live blog Sunday night to watch the game with you. Can’t do it Saturday, have plans afoot. Sound good?)
Okay, let’s say Bryan doesn’t get anything done before next Thursday at 3 p.m. and exactly the same team post-deadline goes to New York to play the Knicks on Friday.
Is that a bad thing?
I’m not sure.
I honestly think there are only two things he should be contemplating doing (at least things that will have a legitimate impact, nothing like an absolute nothing-for-nothing deal like The Gangster for
Fred Jones Juan Dixon -- I have my inconsequential Raptors mixed up --last year):
1. Move Jermaine for Marion because it gives him more financial flexibility sooner. I’m not sure it makes Toronto a much better team, although it does move Bargnani back to the five and that’s not a horrible thing. And it does give them more rebounding at the three and Marion, some think, is more a four than a three so he can move into that spot some times.
But what it does, as we’ve said a kabillion times, is open up more possibilities for improvement in the summer.
2. If – and this is a big “if” – he can get someone for Kapono who has a year less left on his deal he probably should do it. Jason’s been good for two games, and Lord knows us grunts would miss him in the locker room, but if there’s a way to lessen the financial load and get someone more athletic, the GM should do it.
Other than that?
|AP FILE PHOTO|
|All weekend in the blog: Great Moments In Doug’s All-Star Memory Banks.|
I think the overall value of Parker and Graham – what they bring on the court and with their contracts – makes them too valuable unless he can deal them for exactly the same money and skill and why do that? Moon, with his $711,000 deal is unmovable for anything of equal value and Hump’s hurt and no one’s taking him right now. The rest? Either virtually untouchable or untradeable.
Ah, the all-star memories.
Atlanta, 2003: The great Will-You-Know-Who-Give-Up-His-Starting-Spot-To-Michael-Jordan non-story.
One of the great “who cares” moments I can remember, breathlessly waiting for a day or two to find out if He Who Shall … would cede his starting spot to a washed-up great playing out the string.
It was only eclipsed by the fawning, Marilyn Monroe “Happy Birthday Mr. President-esque” halftime tribute to Jordan.
And the traffic gridlock in Atlanta that forced me, The First Lady Of The Beat and a handful of others to abandon a bus in the middle of the city and walk to the arena. Gotta love Atlanta.
We’ll parcel out more Great Moments In Doug’s All-Star Memory Banks as the weekend progresses.
I liked it way better when it was The Phenoms vs. The Sensations instead of Rookies vs. Sophomores in the single-greatest waste of time at all-star weekend.
I’ve got Kapono in the three-point shootout (gotta stick with the proven winner), San Antonio to repeat in the girl-guy-old dude shooting contest (mostly because the thought of seeing Bill Laimbeer in a tight sweat suit burns my retinas) Derrick Rose in the punt-pass-kick thing and I’m going with Howard in the dunk contest ‘cause the judges love him.
I’m taking the rookies to beat the sophomores and I’m looking for Luke Jackson to lead The Red Team to a glorious victory over The Blue Team in the D League all-star game.
A question about the future:
Q: Everyone keeps bringing up the fact that the Raptors have a favorable schedule in the second half of the season, can you justify it? I heard the other day how 70% of the games after the all star break are at home. Apart from that is there anything else that makes their schedule 'favorable' or is it just to create optimism so that we don’t stop watching the Raptor games?
Vaibhav D, Markham
A: Favourable is all relative, of course, but as I mentioned in the story in the paper today there are 16 games against teams that are below .500 now, 11 against teams that are between them and eighth in the East right now, only four back-to-backs and 16 of the 27 are at home.
Considering what they’ve just gone through – 21 games in 43 nights – that’s a holiday.
Now, far be it from me to suggest this is a virtual lock that they’ll get in a playoff race but the possibility certainly exists.
Totally off topic but am I the only guy who’s already tired of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics?
If Shawn Marion’s done in Miami, he left with in a blaze of glory, a game-winning dunk at the buzzer to beat Chicago and move the Heat into fifth in the East at the break.
Q: Doug when the team is so shorthanded why not use Solomon. Last night the team played tremendous but it the few blowouts against us recently Will has been on the bench. Has he had a confrontation with management or is his hurt. He quite readily played 10-12 minutes in blowouts surely to give guys a break.
Gary B, Dundas
A: Ah, Will, we hardly knew ye.
Here’s the deal: They don’t like the way he runs the team on the court (busts plays, looks for his own too much), they have no intentions of him being back next year so there’s no need for him to get playing time to “develop” and they are convinced Anthony Parker and Roko Ukic are better point guards. So am I, actually.
So unless there’s some huge emergency (and obviously there wasn’t in the San Antonio game) you won’t see Solomon unless it’s absolute garbage time in games.
Once more into the memory banks:
All-star game somewhere -- maybe Denver? -- and TFLOTB and I are at the FanFest thing looking for souvenirs for the offspring. Music, or something that passes for music, is playing somewhere in the cavernous convention centre:
Her: “Hey, that’s Nellie!”
Me: “Don Nelson sings?”