A little bit of news and a whole whack of mail
Well, things didn’t quite work out as well as many had hoped over in Thailand, where the Canadian under-19 women finished fourth and just out of the medals.
Still, fourth is nothing to sneeze at – best finish ever at this event – and the fact the top players on the team are a couple of 16-year-olds, I think the future’s brighter than it has been.
It was a pretty impressive run by this team, I’m sort of excited to see what they can do in the coming years.
Now, onto the mail, which is going to have to get everyone through until Tuesday; with a deck full of people expected this afternoon and the coolers filled, I have a feeling tomorrow may be a tad slow.
Q: Hi, Doug, just read your comment about Bruce Bowen and how the BB of 5 years ago would have been a great fit. Yes, he would have been. Who would you put on the all-time "they would have made great Raptors if they'd arrived 5 years earlier" team? I'm thinking Olajuwon at the top of the list. Marion is probably in there, too.
Dave F, Kingston
A: Ah, list time. I like.
Okay, I’ll give you Olajuwon as the poster boy for “got him a bit too late” but the rest of the team shakes out like this:
He’d lost a step when he got here but in his heyday, he could run a team.
He was pretty good for the Raptors, he was really good in his prime years with the Knicks.
He only had a cup of coffee in Toronto but he had some game.
He was 36 when he got here; if he’d come to Toronto in his late-20s, he’d own every three-point shooting record the franchise could think of.
Marion might be the Sixth Man but, really, he was pretty much the same guy as five years ago, just with different talent around him.
Q: Oh my God Doug, you're not going to believe this. Todd MacCulloch is one of the select few representing Canada at the World Pinball Championships! That's just great!
Mohammed J, Mississauga
A: Oh, I’m not surprised at all. Todd’s been an internationally ranked pinball player for some time and is an aficionado of the “sport.”
And it’s real pinball, not video games. Truly old-school, which is another reason I’m a big fan of his.
Q: You're a Sox fan, does news that Ortiz and Manny were on that list make you any less of one now? No offence to you, but I couldn't be happier that this is being shoved in the faces of all those arrogant bandwagon jumpers.
Shawn L, Bowmanville
A: No, it does nothing to or for me. I presume all of the top players of that era were juicing – when it wasn’t illegal – and if all 104 names came out, I think we’d see a who’s who of the game.
Q: I was wondering if you could expand a bit on the difference between "rebounding" and "defence", and how they apply to the success of a team.
You've mentioned such things as Bargnani being a good defender, even if his rebounding is low. The Raptors appear to be, judging from their players, a low rebounding team, but I get the impression that you think their overall defence will be fine.
As a somewhat stats-oriented fan, can you debunk/break-down the value of rebounding, and how it should affect our view of the Raptor's ability to defend?
Charlie D, Montreal
A: I think given the abilities of the coaching staff and the fact they’ll have an entire training camp and pre-season to drill the players, I have no doubts this will be a better defensive team. And, no, I do not think you can determine that by numbers, which can be bent, folded, mutilated and spindled into anything you want them to be.
And let’s say this about Bargnani: If he stays at the same numbers of rebounds per game that he put up as the starting centre last year and continues to improve on his defensive position and boxing out techniques (like face-guarding his man, which he has been terrible at), I have no doubt his contribution on the defensive end will be greater, even if the numbers done show it
Q: Hey Doug, I read that FIBA is making some rule changes: moving the three-point line to 22 feet, implementing a restricted area in front of the basket and getting rid of the trapezoidal lane in favour of the NBA rectangle. I know in the past you've expressed a fondness for the trapezoid, so what do you think of these changes?
Chris W, Iqualuit
A:I think they’re selling out to the NBA. I like the trapezoid, absolutely, and it should remain. In fact, it should be implemented in the NBA.
I can see them moving the three-point line back, it was like a layup for some guys.
Now, if they go tinkering with their timeout rules – two per half, must be called by coaches, I’ll be really miffed.
Q: I'm an old fan of Morris Peterson. Does he play the same position as Carlos Delfino? Would it make any sense trying to reacquire him from New Orleans? He put up good numbers in 06 and I never felt that Sam utilized him well for his talents after that. Last I heard he was down the bench with the Hornets. Would rescuing him from New Orleans make any sense with Triano's style?
Craig J, Ajax
A: No, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to acquire Mo, who has a contract worth $6 million this season and $6.4 million in 2010-11. It’s not going to happen, it shouldn’t happen for any reason at all and I think we all need to move on from Mo.
Q: Hey Doug, question about the mid level. How does it renew. Is it something every team has every year their ending over the cap or do we not get another one until Jack's deal comes off the books.
Malin B, Toronto
A: It is available to teams that are over the salary cap every year that they are. If the Raptors are over the cap at this time next year – which they undoubtedly will be – they will once again have that exception.
Q: Doug, I was wondering about the hype around last year vs the hype around this year. The team was coming off a good season and picked up Jermaine O’Neil to put them over the top. It was a train wreck. What makes the pickup of Turkoglu and others that different? Thanks
Terry D, Kingston
A: I think you hit the nail on the head with the addition of “others.”
Yes, O’Neal was a gamble that failed miserably, firing the coach didn’t create a spark, injuries to Jose and Bosh wrecked a very thin team, backup point guard was more of a train wreck than you could have imagined.
I think having a nine- or 10-man rotation that – on paper – is vastly improved over last year, is the prime reason for such optimism. But, you still have to play the games so I think a few people – myself included – are “cautiously optimistic” at best.
Q: Do you know if the FIBA Americas tournament (Aug. 26 in Puerto Rico) will be televised in Canada? Raptors TV, perhaps?
Peter B, Waterloo
A: Right now, there are no plans to show it anywhere.
Q: Hi Doug, just wondering, since they say August is the month where things slow down a little bit during the off-season and the Raptors just have to fill in one roster spot, and now it seems Carlos Delfino is less likely to return, just wanted to ask if Quincy Douby's contract guaranteed? And if so, do you think the Raptors will retain him with four point guards already on board? Thanks!
Mike T, Toronto
A: It’s not fully guaranteed but he’s not going anywhere any time soon. The coaches were pretty happy he had to be taken out of the Turkoglu trade because they like his work ethic, his ability to play both guard positions and the fact he’s more than willing to bide his time and play only in the case of emergency.
Q: The teachable moment for Raptors fans has to be the day we realized the talent without toughness means nothing in life ie: HWSNBN. And BC stated one clear goal at the end of this last disappointing season: get some toughness on this team. Without deferring to how they mesh in training camp and because you've seen all of these guys in action; tell me do you think the imports are tougher than the exports? Is this a tougher team?
TC W, North York
A: Yes, I do.
Reggie Evans is a true tough guy, Rasho’s toughness and willingness to bang is under-rated and Jack’s got a level of tough to him that fans will come to appreciate. Oh, and they can play, too.
Q: I first quote you Doug before I ask my question.
"The most they can pay a player to fill that last spot is whatever his minimum value contract calls for.
"So when you’re sending in the: ‘Do they have any interest in this guy?’ questions, before you hit send, please ask yourself if a one-year (Bryan’s preference), minimum value contract is viable for whoever you’re asking about."
I read that B.C. is trying to fill the last roster spot with a back up SF.
1. Wright is big enough and quick enough to play and guard the SF spot, shouldn't he be the first option.
2. Based on your comment about Bryan signing a player for the minimum value how about Sasha Pavlovic, I read that the Suns plan to waive him. He has $1.5 million of his $4.95 million contract guaranteed. So once he clears waivers B.C. could snatch him up.
The other option would be Linas Kleiza whom the Nuggets may rescind their qualifing offer to avoid going over the luxury tax. Both these players would make excellent back-ups. What do you think Doug?
J D, Toronto
A: Yes, Wright is, at the moment, an option there.
Sasha Pavlovic couldn’t beat out Wally Szczerbiak for playing time in Cleveland at the end of last year, I cannot imagine him being worth a sniff here.
If Denver rescinds on Kleiza, Toronto might still have some interest but word I’m hearing is he’ll go to Europe rather than play for relative peanuts – read minimum value contract – in the NBA.
Q: Hi Doug. Do you think the Raptors might explore a sign-and-trade with Delfino going to the Knicks for Wilson Chandler? Chandler became somewhat redundant when they drafted Jordan Hill in the first round this year, and do they really want to be re-upping his rookie contract in the Summer of LeBron? At least Delfino could provide some support at the 1 guard with Nate Robinson departing, and his deal would likely expire after one year, giving the Knicks their much-desired cap flexibility. Is this feasible?
Mark I, Oakville
A: No, not feasible at all. Chandler only makes about $1.2 and no way Carlos takes a deal at that low a number.