First some mail; then some watching
Not a bad first day of playoffs, was it? Some really good games, some unexpected results, sort of sets us up for a good opening round.
Speaking of, we should probably give this in-game blog thing a shot tonight to see if, or how, it works, don’t you think?
And since I’m in some 5-km walk for MS out here in Mississauga this morning (and, trust me, walking that far carrying a defibrillator just in case is no easy chore), I figure I’m going to need a major afternoon nap. That puts the 8 p.m. Miami-Atlanta opener on The Score as our guinea pig game, right?
So, I’ll turn the machine on around 7:30, I guess (which means I have to wrest away control of the clicker) and we’ll see how things work out.
Until then, read to your heart’s content:
Q: I have a whole bunch of questions that never made the chat, in lieu of filling this form out a bunch of times, I'm jamming them all in one, do with as you please. Please answer this once and for all. Are the teams reseeded or not? You said they are not in your chat this week, though I'm positive I heard they are on one of the BS reports this week. If Shawn Marion is Toronto's free agent, can't they sign him to whatever they want and it not count against the cap, or something like that? Have you heard anything about what Kobe Bryant is going to do in the off-season? I can't imagine him leaving L.A. in a million years, but is there any chance he plays for a team other the Lakers? How much did it hurt to give Ron Artest a compliment in today's post?
Shawn L, Bowmanville
A: Once and for all? I’ve answered about 10 different times and the answer is always the same: They DO NOT re-seed. Ever. The 1-8 winner plays the 4-5 winner and the 2-7 winner plays the 3-6 winner. It’s been that way forever.
Yes, if the Raptors are over the cap and re-sign Marion, that salary does not count towards the cap; it does, however, count towards the tax threshold and, really, that’s all that matters.
I have no idea what Kobe is going to do in the off-season but I cannot envision him ever leaving the Lakers.
And Artest has a great year, for the first time in his entire career he did not cause a huge disruption. The fact he’s a free agent this summer probably didn’t have anything to do with it, right?
Q: Hi Doug, just wanted to say thanks for another great season of your blog. Not to mention the in game blogs because of the whole TSN2 debacle. Two questions: 1. Will you continue your blog during the offseason? At least twice a week to get us basketball heads something to read while we wait for opening night? 2. With the 3pt streak approaching 860, could we be bypassed by Dallas (2nd to us in 3pt streak) if they go far in the playoffs or is the record only for regular season games?
Anthony R, Mississauga
A: The plan, right now, is to go Monday-Friday with the regular morning blog and to do a mailbag on Sundays. That’s how we’ll get through the playoffs, the draft and free agency. As for August and September? I think it might get sort of quiet around here, there’s no Olympics to provide good fodder.
The three-point streak? It’s only for the regular season so no worries about Dallas getting past them.
Q: Bob Ryan on PTI yesterday suggested that the Cavs MIGHT be sitting their best players, despite a chance at the best home record in history, because they'd like to see Boston take Chicago in the first round instead of Philly. I'm wondering if the bulls might have felt the same way: wanting Boston instead of the Magic. Is this match-up better for them? AND, do you think this idea played into the level of effort they put into Wednesday's game?
Paul C, Grassy Narrows
A: I love Bob and consider him not only a friend but one of the very best basketball writers writing basketball today but that’s conspiracy theory run amok. How could Cleveland know Toronto would whack Chicago? Why did Cleveland look so happy on that game-tying shot? So, no, I think Cleveland did what was best for Cleveland and they’re so confident, they don’t care who plays who in the other series.
And it was actually a chance to tie the best home record of all time, not set it.
Q: Hey Doug, haven't written in a while but I keep reading with as much consistency as Calderon's free throw shooting. Here's my question how do you rate the Bargnani draft player wise top 5? And do you think the Raptors would still go with Andrea with his development or would Brandon Roy be a no brainer?
Jean Francois P, Trois-Rivieres
A: I think you can safely say Brandon Roy’s done enough that he’d be the pick (although he was never, ever, ever, ever touted as No. 1 pick BY ANYBODY in '06) but I also think if you asked 28 general managers (not including Portland and Toronto) today, a majority would have Bargnani second, Aldridge third and of other top five picks – Tyrus Thomas, Adam Morrison and Shelden Williams – they’d go with Thomas and then, who cares?
Q: Hi Doug, I tried getting this in the live blog, but you had a lot to deal with. I'm curious about the money that Colangelo received from Miami for our 2010 number 1. Does this money remain with BC and Co. to do what they want (ie. buy another pick)? Or does it go straight back to the big boys and girls at MLSE?
Thomas A, Ottawa
A: First of all, it’s not necessarily for the 2010 first-round pick. It’s lottery protected through 2015. The $3 milion? I have no idea where the beancounters over at Maple Leaf Sports hides that kind of coin (I presume in some closet somewhere) but it’s there when, or if, Colangelo wants to use it. It doesn’t matter where it shows up on the books.
Q: Doug with our off-season unfortunately here, can you please explain the rationale and significance of Base Year Compensation? Thanks for an interesting season of reading!
Mike K, London
A: Basically, it sets the first-year value of a new contract – for trade purposes only, not for cap or tax calculations – at 50 per cent of the value of that year – a guy who makes $9 million is only worth $4.5 million in trade currency for his first year.
It’s in place to close a cap loophole that would allow a team that otherwise couldn’t make a trade because of the salary rules (matching with 125 per cent plus or minus $250,000) to simply sign someone to the necessary contract to allow a trade to go through.
I’m sure that’s convoluted enough?
Q: Do you think Jose can be a starting point guard on this team and the team be competing for a championship. I guess what I'm asking is does he give up too much defensively and lack creativity offensively for that to be possible.
Dan K, Montreal
A: Yes, I do. Not by himself, of course, as I’ve noted about a billion times. But tell me, in all honesty, are Derek Fisher or Mo Williams (the two point guards most likely to be in the final in the opinion of many) better than Jose? Different? Maybe. Better? I don’t think so.
So people need to stop killing Jose, he’s not nearly as bad as many of you think – and I guarantee there were those who kill him now who loved him a year ago – and surrounded by the right cast, he could absolutely play for a title.
Q: Doug, you stated that this team could "make a very valid claim to being the fifth-best team in the conference." REALLY??
Are we talking about the same team that half-a**ed 3/4 of the season and showed up half a dozen games during “contract time” at the end of the year when nothing mattered?? I wouldn't put this dysfunctional group ahead of the Wizards (who shut it down early without their star.)
Could you please elaborate on why you think this team is better than the Bulls, Sixers and Pistons who have MUCH better records (and players?) I usually agree with you, but this one has me stumped.
Chris U, Toronto
A: MUCH better records? Well, two had eight wins more and one had six, that’s a bit of a stretch. And, I’m not sure how much you saw of Detroit, Philly and Chicago down the stretch, but I have no qualms saying Toronto – in the last three weeks of the season – was as good any of them and I didn’t see much of Miami but talking to people whose opinions I respect say they were hardly championship contenders.
So, with a couple of pieces and the same kind of good health experienced by the Heat, Sixers (better without Brand) and Detroit, I’d say these guys will be at least be as good and probably better.
Q: Hi Doug, Is there a reason that you don't plug your radio/TV appearances in the blog?
Mark B, Brampton
A: CRTC regulations? No, I joke. Most of ‘em come up at the last minute so it’s impossible to give fair warning. But if you care, the round table at 6 p.m. Monday on The Fan in Toronto should be a doozy.
Q: Doug, for a player like Bargnani, what's better for his off-season growth: a tour with his national team or working at big man camps like he did last summer? Raptors will likely have the 9th pick in the draft. Would James Harden be available at that pick. I've read that he's probably the best shooting guard coming into the draft.
Joe D, Mississauga
A: Why can’t Bargnani do both? I presume if he doesn’t go to a big man camp (and the guy who ran it, Pete Newell, sadly passed away during the season), Bargnani’s going to get more than enough instruction from the Raptor coaches who see him.
And I’m not player-specific draft questions until both the early-entry deadline and the lottery are held. Sorry
Q: End of the season and things on the blog might slow down a little. Thought I'd leave you with a multiple choice blog comment to get you through the summer. --------------
Dear [Doug/Dougie Boy/Smith/Smitty/Idiot],
Your [last/first/every] blog really [sucked/was amazing/hit the nail on the head/demonstrated your incompetance]. I absolutely [agree/disagree/don’t understand] with your [thoughts/opinions/rants/drivel] about the Raptors.
You really need to see things more like [me/Bill Simmons/M. Grange/Feschuk/Every poster on Hoopshype, raptorblog & RealGM].
Bryan Colangelo is a [basketball god/Richard Peddie puppet/daddy’s boy/solid gm] and it’s time he [traded for Kobe Bryant by offering Jason Kapono, 4 members of the dance pak and a dozen Nik Antropov jerseys/Signed Jake Voskuhl to a max contract/went back to the desert/continued what he’s doing to improve the team].
He should [rehire Jay Triano/fire Jay Triano/rehire, extend, then fire Jay Triano] or even bring [over Ettore Messina/back Sam/back Butch/back Kevin O’Neill].\
Can’t you see he needs to bring back [Delfino/Garbo/Will Solomon/Oak/Acie Earl] as they are just what this team needs.
Jose Calderon is [overpaid/amazing/overrated/our point guard for the next five years] and I hope he spends the summer [sleeping/playing for Spain/sipping mimosas on a Spanish beach with a Dr. Ho machine strapped to his hamstring].
Chris Bosh should be [maxed out/traded/reminded how condoms work] and the sooner the better. And he needs his [own TV show/camcorder taken away/knees iced from now until October].
It’s obvious that Andrea Bargnani is [a stud/a flop/a solid NBA pro/really struggling to grow a beard] and he should be [traded/extended/shipped back across the pond] right away.
I look forward to seeing Joey Graham and his new [contract/airplane/Oklahoma City Thunder jersey] Next year this time, I suspect we’ll all be marveling at Pops’ [6th man award/D-league stats/youtube clip of him being stripped by guards in the paint]\
All Raptor fans are [passionate/informed/idiots] but at least we’re not puckheads.
Next year I’m convinced this team will win[52 games/31 games/the Larry O’Brien trophy/the draft lottery]. Remember, I told you first.
And TSN/Rogers really [suck] (no options here. They just do.)
There you go Doug. I’m a [fan of the blog/know-it-all armchair athlete/hater of the blog, yet still willing to take time to read it and post nasty comments] and really think you should [give it up/quit/blog more often/enjoy your summer].
[Thanks/You Suck] A Doug Smith Blog [fan/hater]
AKA: Wilber L, Toronto
A: Ding! Ding! Ding!
Q: Doug, is it possible & does it make sense to extend the regular season by 2 weeks and eliminate 'back to backs' The players win by getting rest and avoiding injury, the club wins by avoiding the costs of injuries, the fans win by seeing better ball and not the usually poor second game. The league wins by an upgrade of the product at a time when interest is under pressure. i.e. Charlotte, Seattle etc. I don't get it?
Geo G, Vancouver
A: That sounds nice but with TV and arenas and the fact many think there are too many days in the season as it is, it’s not going to work. I’d be for the same length of time and 12 fewer games but that’s not going to happen, either.
And I’m not sure if this is worth noting or not, but the next time anyone tells you how grueling an NHL season is, point out that basketball players have the same number of games in about 30 fewer days. The NHL season starts around Oct. 1 and finishes mid-April; the NBA starts about Nov. 1 and ends at practically the same time.
Q: Hey Doug, long time reader, first time writer. This question has to do with the “coach’s tape” that Triano and Co. watch before every matchup. Are they the same as the broadcast feed or is Micah Nori camouflaged in the practice facilities walls holding a camcorder as the visiting team goes through their motion (Bill Belichick styles). Enjoy the golf, how’s your handicap?/PGA comparison?
Benoit B, Toronto
A: Ha, I can just see Micah at the top of the stands in dark glasses and fake beard taping shootaround! No, it’s actually TV feeds they use, edited, of course, and without sound. What they can do in the magic that they use is separate every player –- using a couple or three games – to get a look at tendencies.
Q: How many draft picks does Toronto have this year (2)? What do you think Portland will do with all their picks (5 I think)? Can Portland really want to get younger? And Miami as well(4 I think)? Thanks,
Jesse P, Toronto
A: Toronto currently has its first round pick and none in the second; and the teams, right now, with multiple picks in the first round are Oklahoma City and Minnesota with three each and Chicago, Memphis and Sacramento with two each.
Q: Any chance you catch up with "The Chicken" in the offseason to talk with him about the team, and his job and what's changed since day one? I know it's not exactly sports related, but it is Raptor related, and you and "it" have both been around since day one. I think it'd be interesting, and seeing as we have no playoffs to talk about, there's probably some time to do something like that. Maybe nobody else is interested, but I would be. Thanks!
Peter L, Toronto
A: I think The Chicken spends a lot of time working on his golf game (and that tail really gets in the way of a smooth take-away) but I’ll see what I can do. It’s a shy little stuffed animal, though.
Q: Great work on the blog, even through this tough stretch of the season. Me and my brother were arguing over what defines a wing player? Does it have to be a player at the SF position like LeBron, Gerald Wallace, etc., or can it even be an SG who can still get to the rim when need be like Kobe, Joe Johnson, etc.? How would you determine what a wing player really is?
Zayr A, Mississauga
A: The way the game is evolving, there really are only three positions, in the estimation of most execs: Point guard, wings and bigs. Twos can be threes; threes can be twos; fours and fives are often interchangeable. That’s sort of become the vernacular now.
Q: Hi Doug, as the season wraps up and the evaluations take place, I'm wondering if you've heard anything about this. My father is a doc, and I remember when Jose first came back from his hamstring injury, he said, "that's crazy, there's no way he has healed." He still talks about it today, as a big mistake from the trainers and team docs. I know no one can help when a player gets injured, but have they taken any heat/responsibility or at least questions about whether they brought him back too soon? If everyone in the organization plays a role.
Stephen C, Mississauga
A: It’s always a situation of risk and reward when you’re talking about any player coming back from any injury, especially one to a muscle. And the Raptors – and it’s a collaborative process – obviously decided he could play because they needed him so badly. But don’t think it’s just trainers and doctors, the players are absolutely consulted and, quite often, it’s their decision that carries the most weight.