One job done, more still to be done. Eventually
|RICHARD LAUTENS/TORONTO STAR|
|Triano has the ear of his players, and that's a good thing.|
Okay, so they’ve got a coach, the expected news finally happened and everyone got their fix of Raptors stuff, right? Hope so because outside of the possible hiring of assistant coaches we’ve been talking about for months, there’s no news until the lottery in a week’s time.
Until then, though, the good teams continue to play. And tonight could be great with the Celtics-Magic and Lakers-Rocket doubleheader providing the possibility of two gems. We’ll be here, of course, with the in-game blog off the 8 p.m. Boston-Orlando thingy. Well, not “here” exactly because I’m at home and home doesn’t have TSN2, which has both games but we’ll be somewhere. And you’ll be here, right?
And now, we bring you …
Quick answers to persistent question: Expect Marc Iavaroni to be here in the next 10 days or so at the outside as Jay’s lead assistant.
Would be surprised if either Alex English or Mike Evans are back but one could be and I’d suspect from conversations I’ve had, there’s a better chance it’s Alex.
Can’t get a read on the future of Gord Herbert at the moment.
A Professional Bum in Atlanta is not surprised at all by the news. Off the record, of course.
The third year of Jay’s deal is not guaranteed.
Not sure of exactly the financial value but if you guessed $1.6-$1.8 million for the first year and $1.8-$2.0 million for the second, I don’t think you’d be too far off. And, because Lionel Hollins is in Memphis, the lowest-paid coach in the NBA does not coach the Raptors.
They have had conversations about some kind of basketball development-assistant coach-behind-the-bench role for Alvin Williams. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if it happened inside a month.
Am sure there will be more as they come in various conversations I’ll be having.
About last night
Really, the only marginal surprise was that Dallas survived itself and that spate of embarrassing technical fouls brought on by relative immaturity, and extended that series.
Dirk was great, Carmelo not quite great enough but if this one’s not over on Wednesday night, I’ll be shocked.
In Atlanta? Yawn.
The Cavs now have until at least Saturday and probably Monday before they have to get back on the court for real and that’s a huge advantage. It pays, as we’ve said all along, to take care of your business early.
Here is a list, totally subjective but I think most would concur it’s pretty good, of five attributes all good coaches must have. Tell me if you don’t think Jay has them:
Full support of his boss
As a wise man once said, ‘duh.’
If anyone thinks Bryan hasn’t been fully behind Jay since, oh, December, she hasn’t been paying attention.
Good tactical knowledge
I think it’s safe to say on such matters plays out of timeouts, plays to start games, halves and quarters, this team does all right. Not the best, not the worst but when you’re best breakdown offensive player is a 6-10 power forward, that’s rather limiting And, I think with a full training camp and season worth of practice, this is an area that will improve.
Respect of the players
Maybe you don’t believe Bryan and perhaps you won’t believe me but there was no one in that locker room last year who didn’t respect Jay’s knowledge of the game or his handling of men. The one thing that may pop up is how Jay will handle having to discipline some relative miscreant but, because of No. 1, I think you’ll see a firm hand when needed.
Ability to manage a roster
I think the rotations were crisper in the final 65 games of the season than they might have been in the first 17. There is always room for improvement – it would have been better, in my opinion, if Jay had let Roko go a little bit longer most nights – but because we’re not sure what the roster’s going to look like this year, we’ll only say Jay’s proven that he can get a rotation and stick to it.
Willingness to learn
Would it surprise you to learn that Jay is willing to listen to almost anyone in a pursuit to get better? Would it surprise you to learn that he had dinner during a road trip to Orlando late in the season with Butch Carter just to pick his brain on how Butch ran practices and managed games? Would it surprise you that Jay’s been keeping a “book” of what other teams do in certain situations for as long as he’s been around the NBA?
All true. All good signs.
A couple of other “statements” I would like the league to release unsolicited:
“It has come to our attention that the “travelling” rule remains in our rule book as an illegal move and, since it hasn’t been called consistently since Patrick Ewing joined the league, we can only blame the printing company for not removing it per our instructions.”
And the next day, it’d be cool to read this:
“Of course stars get the benefit of the calls, do you think people pay to watch scrubs? You dopes.”
A rather interesting start to the Raptors workouts yesterday.
Sam Young, the Pitt big, is doing some vertical leaping drill that involves jumping and pushing aside little levers sticking off a pole and as he does, he turns, gets “stabbed” by one of the other levers. Big cut, thing’s protruding out of his arm, he’s off to the hospital to be taken care of. He’s okay, I was told yesterday, but how’d you like to be Bryan calling the agent:
“Um, about your first round draft pick? Well, he stabbed himself doing a drill every kid who works out for every team has to do. Sorry ‘about that.”
Anyway, today’s lineup, all forwards:
Robert Dozier, 6-9 of Memphis; Danny Green, 6-6 of North Carolina; Dionte Christmas (coolest name so far), 6-5 of Temple; Terrence Williams (who didn’t work yesterday because he was paired with Young and we all know how that turned out), 6-6 of Louisville, Joe Ingles, 6-8 of Australia and local yokel Javohn Shepherd, 6-5 of Michigan.
And underwhelming group, indeed, for a team with a top 10 pick.
Oh, the Durham College kid, Anthony Batchelor, gets cut because Williams stuck around.
(Okay, here’s how crazy and unpredictable these things are. I typed that note at 8:21 this morning and at 8:23 I get an e-mail from the Raptors saying Dozier’s flight was cancelled, he’s not coming and Batchelor’s back in. Lord’s fans everywhere rejoice!).
I’m going to go to the mail for one that’s topical. Well, sort of topical.
Q: Doug, watching Raptors TV interview Brian after the press conference for Triano he mentioned that Delfino told him that he would come back when Jay is the coach. Is this because he didn't get along with Sam? If so why haven't we heard about this before today?
Steve H, Mississauga
A: It was actually reported here, oh, about six months ago. In a conversation in Beijing at the Olympics with me, Jay and Carlos, there was a joke made right at the end that went along the lines of: “Carlos, you’ve got to come back.”
“I will,” he said to Jay. “When you’re the coach.”
So file yesterday’s comment by Bryan as old, old news being revisited.
And I don’t know exactly how they got along but the fact there was some friction between Sam and Carlos over minutes and role is not news, nor a surprise.