Holy crap. You know how much of a pain the butt it is to replace a cracked backboard on one of those portable baskets everyone’s got in their driveways now?
Oops, sorry, I digress.
Well, it’s a huge pain in the butt but it’s done, the deck and yard are almost ready for the incoming horde of budding baseball journeymen and their families so, too, is the mail.
Have at it now for the weekend because my friend Stella and I are hanging out around the house the rest of the day and I may be tad, um, worn out in the morning.
Remember, though, we’ll be back at 9 Sunday night for Portland-Houston Game 4 to do one of those in-game bloggy thingies.
Q: What age do you have to be, before you can bypass being in the NBA draft and just entering the league as a free agent? Ricky Rubio still has a few years left on his contract, if he bypassed this year's draft, and played out his current deal, would he still have to go in the draft? I remember a few years back, Isiah Thomas signed a player near the end of the season from Kentucky I believe, he was still relatively young, yet came on as a free agent. Do you have to be in the draft and not get picked?
Shawn L, Bowmanville
A: As I read the NBAPA guidelines, you have to get old to bypass the NBA draft.
Eligibility rules say, for North American players, at least one NBA season has to have passed after the year of high school graduation (or on NBA season after a non-graduate’s class graduates) and for international players, they have to turn 19 in the calendar year of the draft.
For North Americans, if four years pass from the time of high school graduation they are no longer deemed “draft elibigle” and for non-North Americans, that occurs when they turn 22.
Q: What do you think separates a guy like AP from some of the better 2's in the league? I've heard that he's got great basketball IQ and is a pretty good shooter. What differentiates him from someone like, Joe Johnson or someone like that? And I think at the beginning of this year or last year Sam used AP off the bench (started JK?) and he struggled to fit the backup role, How do you think he'll handle a backup role if he's brought back next year?
Matt U, Toronto
A: Athleticism, speed, quickness, youth. Smarts and jump-shooting are one thing but it’s the ability to do other things that separates players.
And, actually, Sam thought about starting Kapono over Parker but never did; that said, I have no doubts whatsoever that Parker can handle a backup role if he knows that’s what it’s going to be from the start of the season.
Q: Doug: Would you agree that the international basketball scene is important context even for died-in-the-wool NBA fans? If so, then I think you could make a case for your attendance and reporting at Eurobasket 2009 in Poland, this coming September. Having watched a good part of the 2007 event via internet streaming, I would certainly support the use of TOStar funds to send you there - it's good, spirited basketball and I, for one, would enjoy your observations. Besides which, it would appeal to the international makeup of the readership, and it could help us to understand the significance for top athletes to play for their country even if not Canada or the U.S.A.
Alfred D, St. John’s
A: Boss? You reading this? I’m all for it.
Q: Hey Doug, during the in-game blog the other night I had asked you if you are a fan of the Lakers and you replied that you are not a fan of any NBA team seeing as that would be unprofessional. Do you think that play-by-play guys, specifically the local teams' play-by-play guys hold themselves to the same standard, and if not do you think they should?
Ben E, Thornhill
A: I think there’s a different dynamic for employees of the team, which broadcasters are. I think lots of them are fans and that’s entirely cool with me. So, no, I don’t think readers, viewers, listeners should hold them to the same standard.
Q: What is the greatest basketball playoff game or games you have ever seen? (list?) What about the greatest baseball game?
Jeffrey M, Beijing
A: A quick list, in no particular order, an immediately off the top of my head: 2008 Olympic final, US-Spain; 1998 world championship final, Russia-Yugoslavia; 2000 Olympic round-robin, Canada-Yugoslavia; 2002 world championship gold medal game, Argentina-Yugoslavia; 1992 Tournament of the Americas, US-Cuba (historical significance rather than competitive nature).
Baseball? I don’t really have one. Craziest game I was ever at was Blue Jays 15, Phillies 13 in Game 4 of the 1993 World Series.