Go call Mom and then come read this
Happy Mother's Day, Moms.
So, did I miss anything?
Refs blow a call and league admits it (it still doesn’t excuse Dallas for quitting on the play when the whistle didn’t blow), Yao Ming’s done for the year (I get a Mulligan on the “Houston in seven” thing, right), and one of the titans of the coaching ranks, Chuck Daly, passes away.
Tough day to shut the machine down and coast.
Did see a lot of LeBron decimating the Hawks, that’s one the more thorough dismantlings we’ve see in the post-season.
So, not sure what’s left to get jazzed about in this round; kind of hope Boston wins tonight so we can get some juice in that series (I fully expect the Lakers to go up 3-1 and of expect Artest to go for the Thrown Out Trifecta but maybe there’s some hope there.
Oh, and we will be around doing the in-game blog tonight for the Celtics-Magic, check back in around 8 for all the fun and festivities. (I promise we’ve got Friday’s wireless issues worked out here at Casa Doug).
Until then, and before you spend the day worshipping Mom, have a read of this:
Q: Two of Toronto's bigs, Hump and POB, are both top 15 picks and "big" on talent (although different strengths). However, both seem to come up short on work ethic and desire. They also are likely still trying to adapt from being "the guy" in high school and university to being a role player in the NBA. Questions are: a) is this a fair assessment? and b) what is the likelihood - that after a few years of spending a lot of time on the pine - that they "find religion" by accepting to their roles and training hard this off season on rebounding and defense?
Tom L, Toronto
A: Sorta fair. I do think both of them were accustomed to dominating at a lower level and can’t quite come to grips with the fact it doesn’t come as easily up against the men.
I don’t think Hump lacks work ethic, though. He lacks a consistent understanding of just what his role is and every now and then, it looks like he gets it. I know coaches think he can help if he ever figures it out; ever figure out that he’s more Jeff Foster and Michael Jordan.
Patrick? The coaches love his athleticism – he’s a legit 7-0 with about a 7-6 wingspan – and he can do a lot of things on the court. Trouble is, he’s the kind of guy I think needs to be a week-to-week contract; he needs to understand he can’t even coast for a practice, let a game. But the potential is there and if develops that work ethic, he could be a steal. Do I think he can? He’s never shown that he could so I’m skeptical, much more skeptical that the coaches are.
Q: Hey Douglas, you've said you tend to think NBA coaches are over-valued (or something like that). That they get too much credit when their teams win and get too much blame when their teams lose. I'm wondering if you think it's different in the playoffs. That is, is their role more prominent come playoff time? Should they get more of the credit/blame? Is coaching a factor?
Guy M, Vancouver
A: I think there’s a bit more emphasis on coaching in playoff games – and there should be – because of things like managing timeouts, riding the best players for extending minutes and adjusting defences to stop a hot hand become more significant in the result. In a regular season game, a coach may be able to loosen the reins a little bit, to find out what certain guys can do, to let players learn by failing so they can succeed in the future; in the post-season, that’s simply not possible.
So, yeah, I guess coaching does carry an added importance in the playoffs.
Q: As I was laying back last night kicking myself for moving in the middle of the playoffs (it's been 5 days and cable still isn't hooked up yet), I was thinking about the 3-point hand signal Jose does after every 3 pointer. I've seen a lot of other NBA players do it. Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James to name a few, and I was wondering when this all started. Who was the inventor of this 3 point hand signal?
I only started seeing people doing it after Jose coined it, but maybe it was there all along and I didn't start noticing it until Jose brought it to Toronto. Can you recall anyone doing it before Jose's time? Sorry if this question has about as much importance as a Monk's Cafe rambling between Jerry and George but I'm curious to know!
Amanda F, Barrie
A: There were other guys who used hand-signals after big three-pointers – Larry Johnson and Mark Jackson come quickly to mind – and I don’t know if Jose “invented” that finger thing he does but it does seem to have caught on.
Q: Doug, is there any non-American player on the Basketball Hall of Fame? If not, who do you think will be the first one? Yao? Dirk? Note: I know Tim Duncan is from Virgin Islands or whatever, but let's consider him an American for now.
Pete K, Ottawa
A: There’s an entire wing of the Hall of Fame dedicated to international players, coaches and builders.
Q: Hey Doug, last week you said that no way in hell T Mac and Vince gets into the Hall of Fame, in your opinion what kind of numbers a player should have to make it there?
Abbas S, Maple
A: Numbers don’t mean very much at all so it’s silly of me to say it takes career averages of 22 and 12 or something like that. It’s impact on teams, success including championships, longevity and things like that that separates Hall of Famers from others. There is no one thing.
Q: Hi Doug, is the NBA grooming anybody to replace David Stern, and who might that be? What do you see as the next step for the NBA? International growth, relocation of teams, contract amendments, revenue growth, rule changes etc..? Does the NBA need a better affiliation with Europe and the NCAA? What team do you think will need to relocate? I think New Orleans, maybe Charlotte, the Clippers need to move to their own arena, what are your thoughts? Thanks as always
Steph R, Glencoe
A: Not sure if “grooming” is the right word but there’s a guy by the name of Adam Silver, who is the deputy commissioner and COO who many think might be Stern’s successor.
The next step? Figuring out the changing economic times and how it impacts revenue, collective bargaining and avoiding a work stoppage in 2011 is absolutely paramount and the first thing that has to be dealt with.
And, frankly, the affiliation with Europe and the NCAA is perfect for the NBA, it costs them nothing to have players trained. And if I had to pick one team to eventually relocate, it’d be a tie between New Orleans and Memphis.
Q: With the news that Pierre McGuire might be taking over as GM of the Minnesota Wild does it have you starting to dream about the possibility of you taking over an executive position in the NBA? If you were to apply for a GM position this offseason which team would it be with and why?
Rob R, North York
A: I couldn’t take the incessant prying of the 24-7 media. (I kidd, we’re great!) But if you were a budding GM and could get one gig, why wouldn’t you look at Oklahoma City, excellent young team, adoring fans who come out in droves and a bevy of draft picks? After Toronto, of course, because the fans and media that follow the Raptors would make that an absolute dream job, no?
Q: Just curious...has there ever been thought given to sliding Roko into the 2 spot? One of his weaker skills seems to be passing the ball / finding open men. If he could get his field goal shooting % up, he seems to me to be more of a natural SG. Thoughts?
Conas A, Halifax
A: Roko doesn’t shoot nearly well enough to be a two-guard right now. Maybe one day, we did see he and Jose on the court a very little bit at times last season, but Roko’s not a good enough shooter yet.
Q: Doug, Georgios Printezis has had a great season with Panathinaikos, finishing 4th in Euroleague. During the season, he averaged around 60% from the field. Upon review of the classic match between the two Greek teams in the final four, I noticed Georgios played the same minutes as Josh Childress and far more minutes than Jannero Pargo. He was extremely effective which makes me wonder why he isn't ready to be on Toronto's bench. He's 6'6" so he could be a back-up wing. But wait, there’s more! He's still young enough (23) that he could take Joey Graham's spot as the "work in progress". Thoughts? Also, utilizing your journalism skills, I was wondering if David Andersen and Chris Andersen had any relation? Thanks!
Dan D, Thunder Bay
A: Okay, first off, Printezis has an okay season, not a great one according anyone I talked to who saw him play more than once or twice. He’s an intriguing prospect off one season at top level European competition but that’s it. He’s a 23-year-old prospect and if they bring him over to training camp, they either have to sign him or lose his rights forever, I think there’s a case to be made to let him get another year of seasoning before they have to make that call.
I’m not sure, given the plethora of players they’ve already got under contract and the needs they have, that there’s even going to be room for him but I guess that’s what Bryan’s got to take into consideration when he’s making signings and trades this summer.
But to expect a kid who’s never as much as seen an NBA practice to come over and contribute significantly right away is asking a lot.
Q: What’s up Doug, this one is a Raptor related question addressing their small forward issue and one name that popped up in my mind was Gerald Green. Now I’m fully aware he’s hasn't nowhere near blossomed but the kid’s been buried on the bench for so much different teams and its a shame too with his athleticism, I think if he got his 28-30 minutes per game he would really break out plus I know his contract cant be something overwhelming so to sum it up would he be a fit for the Raptors?
Duane H, Brampton
A: Don’t you think the fact Gerald Green has now washed out in four different organizations that maybe he just doesn’t have what it takes? I do.
Q: I've read that the style today's young point guards play is dictated by speed and offensive production (their own and the players they get the ball to). Defence is secondary and in fact, given said speed and skills on offence, they can't guard each other anyway. If we look at the battles between Rose and Rondo in this year's playoffs, and at young PG's like Devin Harris and Chris Paul, it does seem to be all about offence. They're all too fast to guard effectively. If this is so, are Calderon's critics being too hard on him?
Joe S, Kingston
A: Uh, yeah, I’ve been saying that for months; not getting through to many people but saying it nonetheless. I assure you that when Calderon is fully healthy and able to move laterally with his regular speed, he won’t be the best defender in the league but he’ll certainly be better than he was in the middle of last season. Will that quiet critics even a bit? No way. Will it make Calderon a better player? Absolutely.
Q: Hey Doug, a non-basketball related question (I'm a regular at the blog btw, love your work) - When you're in "the office" is it strictly a sports establishment? Or do you regularly see/ interact with non-sports writers and columnists at the star? Just a curious thought, thanks
Harut S, Toronto
A: We’ve got a pretty open concept newsroom so we see each other and there is a bit of interaction but they pretty much leave us sports guys to ourselves, we’re stuck in the far back of the room and tend to keep to ourselves. My little nook has me, Perk, Dan Girard and Garth Woolsey with Chris Zelkovich just a desk away so we’re pretty much goofing on each other, the news of the day and, yes, other sections of the paper when we’re all in the office together, which is rarely. We’ve very much the kids-in-the-back-row-of-the-classroom.
But it’s rare that we’re all in there together, I tend to avoid the place like the plague.
Q: Doug this may sound like an obvious question but I don’t think many young people who have never watched MJ play (including me) know exactly why Michael Jordan is viewed by many as the best player to ever play basketball, what exactly made him better than players such as Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird, or for modern day basketball, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
In my opinion LeBron James (with titles) seems like someone who could surpass Michael Jordan, but I remember you saying (along these lines, not trying to put words in your mouth) "no-one will ever be a more complete player than Michael Jordan" why is it that you feel a player like LeBron James or even Kobe Bryant could not be that guy eventually?
Chaz E, London
A: Here’s the one thing I will point out, which your own words: “LeBron James (with titles) …”
Yes, if he gets six, or even three or four, he might get in the conversation; right now, he’s a brilliantly-skilled 24-year-old who hasn’t won a championshiship yet.
That, and Jordan’s unrelenting competitive nature (and Kobe and LeBron take more stretches of more games off than Jordan ever did at the moment in their careers) make him stand out.
The physical gifts are very close. The mental approach to the game and the ultimate reward (championships) are the difference.
Q: No response to the "Bosh for Beasley" rumor? Really? Come on, indulge us... Tell me how it’s a ridiculous trade for Toronto and how the guys in Miami are getting to much sun.
Lex C, Victoria
A: Of course no response. It’s preposterous to think about at the moment, seems to be the musings of writers rather than anything legitimate and, frankly, not worth my time.
Q: Gotta love those black and white 'Where Amazing Happens' commercials. If they were to make one for Bosh, Calderon and Bargnani; and asked you, as the respected Toronto basketball sage that you are, which plays to include which ones would you pick (off the top of your head)?
David S, Toronto
A: Surely to goodness you don’t expect specific plays? I’d have Calderon coming off a screen and making a 20-footer; Bosh pump-faking a big, driving and dunking, and Andrea hitting a one-dribble, pull-up 15-footer or a baseline reverse dunk. Which is pretty boring and likely why I’m not in television production.