And now, we return to our regular stuff
Yes, I know, it’s later than usual for this, right? Well, if someone can please get the world to agree to operate on one time zone – the one I live in – it’d be greatly appreciated.
But, there’s already been news so I presume that sated everyone’s appetite for a bit.
Until this, of course.
So, we’ve got some Raptors, some finals and some stuff.
Absolutely no surprise to the Iavaroni-English hiring today, right? And they’re still working with Alvin and I’m hearing that’s still got a good chance at happening.
So, what’s it mean?
Well, I keep hearing that they’re going to have Iavaroni handle the defence – it’s what he did in Phoenix and whatever you think about the Suns, they had good defensive systems, just not good defensive players – and that’s got to be good news. Under Sam, they didn’t really have one “defensive coach” (which isn’t a big problem, lots of teams share responsibility, including the two in the final that’s going on) but I think having one guy teach one system isn’t a bad idea.
And English? Well, he did a good job working with Bargnani last year, he’s a good sounding board for the players and the respect he garners in the locker room and around the league is substantial.
But, and this goes back to something Jay said when we were talking coaching philosophy a few weeks ago, it’s his demeanour that’s important as well. Where Iavaroni is animated, English is not. Where Iavaroni will yell, English will speak more quietly. Both personalities fit well with Jay and having a staff that’s got diverse personalities is huge.
You can’t have four dominating personalities, just like you can’t have four guys who operate quietly.
This staff seems to have a good mix and, most important, I think it will allow Jay to develop his own “voice” as he learns his craft a bit more; these are his people and he’ll feel comfortable directing them.
|DAVID COOPER/TORONTO STAR|
|Doug's response to Chris Bosh playing out his contract: Chill.|
Someone riddle me this:
Why in the world is anyone getting all worked up by the suggestion that Chris Bosh won’t sign a contract extension this summer and will play out the final year of his contract?
Seriously. As news goes, that ranks right up there with Smith Likes A Cold One Every Now And Then.
And, no, it doesn’t mean that Bryan Colangelo needs to get on the phone today trying to swing some deal for his all-star power forward. What it means is just what it meant in April and in May and in October: The GM needs to improve the team, turn it into a consistent winner and let Bosh see that the future is bright and I am absolutely certain he’ll be back.
He loves the city, likes the organization and, I honestly believe, loves his place in the pecking order on the roster. What he wants to do is win and why anyone would think he’d commit long-term this summer with the team where it is absolutely baffles me.
Nothing has changed. Please remain calm.
The things you learn schmoozing with people around something like an NBA final.
From the Water Under A Bridge department, found out last night the Raptors had a deal done with Golden State last season that would have seen them ship Joey Graham to California for guard Marco Bellinelli.
It was so done that Bellinelli was almost on his way to the airport to come to Toronto and told friends he was being traded.
And then the Warriors backed off and killed the deal.
Not huge news, and it’s old, but thought you might like to know.
Try this on for size: Isn’t what Kobe did to the Magic last night pretty much exactly the same thing LeBron did to them?
Go nuts, dominate the game, scoring bunches.
And how’d that work out for the Cavs.
The feeling I get is that the Magic might be okay with Kobe getting 40 as long as they don’t let Gasol get 20 or Odom get 20 or Ariza get 20.
And doesn’t that make entire sense?
Trouble is, the other Lakers are far better than the other Cavaliers and that’s a dangerous game for the Magic to play against Los Angeles. But it might represent Orlando’s best chance at winning so they better do it.
A TV spot on one of those wacky morning shows down here just announced that it’s
How good is that?!?!?!?
Digression done, let’s get back to the final.
Here’s the one thing that kind of got lost in the Bryant hoopla last night.
There is no way the Magic can win if they can’t shoot and 29.9 per cent from the field is shockingly bad.
Dwight Howard as many field goals as Tony Battie?
And a team that lives by the three died by it, too.
The biggest problem was the Lakers’ “length,” a term you’re going to hear a lot of in the next couple of days, I assume. And what is length? Well, Sunday, watch how far back towards the lane the Laker perimeter defenders play, which takes away a lot of Orlando’s chances of dumping the ball into Howard to start their offence.
They can do that because they are tall and lanky – Ariza and Odom specifically – and that allows them to get back out to shooters more quickly than, say, anyone on Cleveland.
I’m pretty sure Stan and Brendan were up late last night trying to figure out how to space the floor more to get move the Lakers out of the lane and let Orlando get its offence back to normal.
Never mind the Kobe effort, if the Magic can’t get their offence going, they have no chance whatsoever.
So, today’s workout kids in Toronto were (or are, depending on when you’re reading this) guards Jonny Flynn and Jrue Holiday and forwards Chase Budinger, Damion James, Alade Aminu and Gorat Suton.
The big two, of course, are the guards but what I’m hearing is they are as much fall-back positions as players who are right at the top of the Raptors list. Toronto’s still focused – and should be, without question – on getting a two or a three with that No. 9 pick.
But if all the good twos and threes that they like are gone, you have to think Holiday or Flynn would be pretty good alternatives.
Still, by no means is anyone’s mind made up in Toronto, they’ve got a lot of guys still on their radar and are no closer to making a decision on a specific pecking order today than they were two weeks ago.
With Kobe being Grumpy and Dwight being subdued because his team got murdered, Stan was the hit of the post-game interviews last night. He did his usual self-flagellation thing (“I’ve got to do a better job,” he said) but then he got after the assembled horde a little bit.
Someone asked him, quite legitimately, whether the Magic might have been a little tight given it was their first game on such a grand stage.
His response, chiding us:
“Well, I mean, again, that's one of those stories that you write ahead of time and you have ready to go if a team doesn't play well. I mean, I say that all the time to you guys. It's the simple cliché psychology stuff that you write when a team doesn't play well.
“I have no idea on that. That's not in my thinking at all. My thought process is how are we going to defend them better, what are we going to do offensively to score. We need to play better. You guys can write all the psychological stuff. Nobody cares if you're right anyway.”
No one cares if we’re right? Ouch.