Mail's in, if you got some time to spare
Or if you’re a hermit, close all the blinds and drapes, put towels under the doors to block out all the sun and have at it.
Q: It is charming that so many of your readers keep up with your travels and wish you well. Equally charming is that you let us in on the sports activities of Super Son. Yours is an Everyman (Every Grunt?) blog. Hope B.C. was all you expected and that your family enjoyed good times and a good vacation. Do we not live in a beautiful country?
Q: So now we have 3 returning players. At least 9 new ones. Feels like a very big change. How often does such a large turnover happen? Does it pose problems for Coach Triano given what Garbo called the much shorter training season of NBA teams vs. Euro League teams? Does the "getting to know you" for so many go beyond the court? Are off-court social activities planned for training camp so that these men who will now live together throughout the winter get to know each other better?
Charles N, Toronto
A: I’ve spoken very briefly to Bryan and Jay about that very thing.
They seem to indicate they plan a couple of team dinners and functions during the weeklong training camp in Ottawa to increase some familiarity but they also want to see how things play out on their own before forcing any kind of bonding plans on players.
The last thing you can do is try to make people like each other; as long as there’s respect for each other on and off the court and a willingness to help out teammates perhaps at the cost of individual glory during a game, that’ll be okay with the staff.
But the amount of change is relatively unheard of in NBA circles and it'll be interesting to see how the different personalities mesh.
Q: Mr. Smith, it appears as if Ricky Rubio is staying in Spain for another two years. At what point would he be able to come to the NBA as a free agent? Or does Minnesota have his rights in perpetuity?
Evan G, Thornhill
A: They have his rights in perpetuity.
Q: Hope your vacation has gone well. Quick question for when you get back. I was watching the FIBA Americas basketball games and I noticed the key is different in the FIBA compared to the NBA I was just wondering if there is any reason for it or just league preference.
Ken L, Bath
A: It’s been that way for eons, the FIBA game uses the trapezoid lane, the NBA uses the one we’re familiar with. Sadly, to me at least, FIBA is doing away with its lane and going with the NBA style starting, I believe, just after the 2010 worlds.
Q: I believe you said Rasho is the only current Raptor with a championship ring. How many former Raptor players have won NBA championships after leaving. Guys like Olajuwon & Rasho don't count because they won before they got here. The only guy I can think of is Matt Bonner.
Aftab R, Brampton
A: He’s the only guy I can think of, too.
Q: Yahoo sports did a poll of people (I assume) in the know, about where top players will end up next year. No surprise, only 3 of 52 picked Bosh to return to Toronto. Why are the Americans so sure Bosh wants to head south so bad? (I have no idea what Bosh thinks but, except for getting gold medals, I figure Bosh does not what to be a Scottie, but wants to be Mike. So no team ups with Lebron, Wade, or even Rose. And a stand alone gig in New York, he has to know that a bad season there as a star is different than in Toronto.)
Bruce M, Winnipeg
A: It’s not just Americans, don’t you think there are a few zillion Raptor fans who are certain Bosh is leaving? There are judging by my e-mail. And given the relative lack of success of his team, why wouldn't people think he might want to go somewhere with a better chance to win big?
Q: One of the reasons why I am excited about the upcoming Raptors season relates to the addition of several players who have the ability to create off the dribble (Hedo, Jack, Belinelli). Our recent SG's and SF's (i.e. Parker, Kapono, Moon, Marion) were not able to do this and I thibk it made us too easy to guard when our outside jumper wasn't falling.
I am really looking forward to seeing a Raptors team that has far more creativity offensively.
Doug, from what you have seen of Jay Triano, how do you think he is going to leverage this newfound asset? Is he going to run less set plays and let them do their thing?
Angelo M, Scarborough
A: One of the big keys to the Raptors offence this year, as it was in the final 60 games last year, will be getting out in transition and looking for easy baskets. The fact the coach might have a roster more suitable to that style of play will make it easier to accomplish.
But do not expect Phoenix circa 2007 with a shot every seven seconds, please.
Q: Do you have any preview of the impact a couple of months of intense power work have had on CB4.....is he noticeably bigger or heavier? A little more heft could be useful, but I'm worried that if he tries to develop a Dwight Howard upper body his knees and ankles won't be able to handle it.
Mike D, Markham
A: I don’t think anyone has to worry about him turning into Dwight Howard but I think a few more pounds can probably help the wear and tear on his body over the course of a season.
Q: Hi Doug, if player X gets drafted first overall, for instance, and then gets traded (on draft night) to another team for a lower pick (2nd or 3rd) and other considerations, would player X still get the money for being drafted first overall or does the player he was traded for become the new first overall pick?
I'm asking because I've read that Ricky Rubio expected to get drafted in the top three selections, but dropping down to fifth made it no longer financially sensible for him to buyout his current contract with his Spanish team. The T-wolves gave up a lot to acquire that pick. Any thoughts?
Leon H, Toronto
A: Whenever he signs his NBA contract, Rubio will get the scale for his draft spot, regardless of who ultimately holds his rights when he gets to the NBA.
Q: I can't believe you went to Forks, that got a household chuckle. In the second book of the Twilight series, they wind up in Italy, something to think about for the next vacation.
Shawn L, Bowmanville
A: Damn!! I’ll have to have a word with Super Son, who left out that salient fact when we were trying to plan the vacation.
Q: What does it take to make a program like Basketball Canada into an elite program? Is it just money? Can you throw in millions into a box and come out with gold? Cheers.
Eddie C, Thornhill
A: I’m going to leave this one answered a wee bit because it’s something I’d like to get into in the regular blog this week but suffice to say that simply money is not nearly enough. You need development programs stretching as far back as the grassroots house league programs for kids under 10, you need good coaching, a sense of national pride where kids want to grow up to play for the national team and then opportunities to play against the best in the world to improve through experience.
Q: Hey Doug love the blog.
Can you tell me what happened to Juan Mendez and Denham Brown in regards to this year’s edition of the Senior men’s national team? I have tough time believing they were simply cut for some other players on this team?
Chris D, Edmonton
A: Juan Mendez was cut last year just before the last-chance Olympic qualification tournament and wasn’t invited to camp this year; Brown turned down an invitation in 2008 and was likewise not part of the original group this year.
Not sure either of them would have helped gain more success than Canada ended up having, either.
Q: Two questions regarding Reggie Evans:
Given Evans’ defensive prowess, is it possible that we may see him play some backup minutes at the 3, in an attempt to slow down the league's most powerful wings such as LBJ, Carmelo Anthony, Ron Artest, etc. who may be too strong for Antoine Wright to defend?
Given Evans’ relatively short height (6'7.5" without shoes), lack of an offensive game, and complete focus on rebounding and defense, is it fair to compare his similarities to (a younger) Ben Wallace?
Matt N, London
A: No, it’s virtually impossible to expect Evans to play small forward, he’s not nearly quick enough. And I don’t think he’s athletic enough, tall enough or quick enough to be compared with Ben Wallace.
Q: Doug: Welcome home. Love the blog and the way that you write.
Always I am fascinated at what may make players tick. A couple of questions for your opinion:
1. Andrea Bargnani played like he was "a deer in the headlights", particularly in year two. Is he a very high strung guy, and what do you think appeared to be spooking him then?
2. He-who-shall-not-be-named was too big for his britches in Toronto. Has he matured during his stay in New Jersey ?
Steve B, Kingston
A: I don’t think anything “spooked” Bargnani, who is a relatively quiet guy off the court. I know there was an illness to a close family member that weighed on his mind, I know the sinus problem probably affected him more than we were told. I saw a far more personable and “involved” Bargnani in the locker room and off the court last year and expect the same this time around.
I don’t know what Vince was like in Jersey because I only saw him about four nights a season.
Q: I have two questions one pertaining to the raptors and the other more on the NBA. My first question is: I know NBA or Major League athletes for that Matter get paid a lot of money. But, if say they make 5 million a year, how do they get paid and how does everything they pay for work? Do they get paid daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, or is it just writing cheques and they never really have the money?
My second question is: what's going on with that Carrol for Banks deal are those talks dead or what?
Brandon M, Hamilton
A: They’re paid twice a month during the regular season – November to April – but some have been known to negotiate advances or other terms of payment.
Banks for Carroll is off right now; not sure if it’ll be resurrected or not. It may be.
Q: What's slipping the screen mean?
Ian B, Kingston
A: It’s probably easier to show than tell but what the heck, I’ll give it a shot. Let’s say Player A is about to set a high screen for a guard. Just before the guard runs his player into the screen, Player A slides down the lane towards the basket, “slipping” away from the guy he’s going to screen before actually drawing contact. Not sure if that’s a satisfactory but it’s about the best I can do right now.
Q: Were the Raptors ever in danger of relocation back in the late 90's? I think this franchise has heard some rumblings in the past a couple times and that was just before the VC era and the BC era
Jason H, Princeton
A: No, not really. Once the original ownership muddle was worked out in ’98, things were just fine; before that, there was only some high-up, front-office change, no real threat. It was a typical weeding out ownership process that goes on all the time with expansion teams.
Q: Recently read Tim Chisholm's informative interview with Jay Triano and Jay referenced at one point during the piece he and his coaching staff may be using a defensive system that, while not specifically the "Kevin O'Neill system", it would be similar to the one employed by Mr. O'Neill during his time with the Raptors. How would you describe this system, and how do you see it translating onto the floor with this group of players?
Lorie P, London
A: Good defence, boring offence? No, I kid, that’s only the perception of KO’s style. But the one common link between Jay and his now-top assistant Marc Iavaroni is that each worked with KO, whose ability to design defences to suit his personnel can’t be understated. I guess the easiest way to describe it is to funnel players to the baseline rather than the middle middle rather than the baseline and a reliance on intelligence on when to go help. Not sure it’ll be glaringly apparent to casual fans on television but it will be different than Sam’s style.
Q: How about a top 5 of players that could have been one of the greatest of all time were it not for injury. Do Hill and Penny make the list?
David S, Toronto
A: They’d sure make a contemporary list so we’ll leave them for you. But I’m going to add Bill Walton, Bernard King and, perhaps, Ralph Sampson to that list. I’m sure there are many others and people will let us know but that’ll get the conversation started.
Q: Two quick things:
1. I know that the Raptors roster is pretty much set but I think that the team should try to sign Tyronn Lue. I have liked his game for many years. He is only 32 and is of those guys who can simply play the game. He can do a bit of everything and in spite of his physical size is a tough player. I think that he has been underrated for many years. In addition, he is still a free agent and I think that he could be had for the veteran’s minimum. What are your thoughts on him?
2. I realize that I’m probably in the minority on this but I have a major pet peeve about Alonzo Mourning. Yes, he was a good player. He could score and was a tough leader. However, as a person I think that he is one of the biggest hypocrites around. He talks about being a man and living up to adult responsibilities etc. but then refuses to show up to Toronto in the VC trade. When Miami announced that his number was going to be retired, I wanted to gag as he doesn’t deserve any such honour. The guy is a loser! Do you agree with me?
J M, Niagara Falls
A: There is no place on this team for Tyronn Lue; in fact, I’d be surprised is there’s a place anywhere in the league for a tiny, marginally talented 32 year old who’s best days are behind him.
I don’t think Alonzo Mourning was a loser at all, a disingenuous guy who looked out for himself, yes; a loser, no.
Q: Doug, assuming you're in Jay's shoes, and game is on the line: UP by a basket and opponent's ball, what would be your defensive line up?
On the other hand, DOWN by a basket and Raptor's ball, who will be in your offensive set?
For me, on defense I'll put Jack, Wright, Johnson, Bosh, & Rasho, while on offense, I'll put Jose, Marco, Hedo, Bosh & Il Mago. Also, which group do you think Jay would be faster to put together in a game, the ALL EURO team of Jose, Marco, Hedo, Barg, and Rasho or the ALL AMERICAN team of Jack, DeRozan, Wright, Evans/Johnson, and Bosh?
Rikki C, Burlington
A: This is another of these rather impossible to answer questions since any game has so many variables – hot hand, opponent, fouls, etc. – that it folly to try. But try I will.
Without having seen these guys actually play together – another rather big variable – if I needed a basket, I’d have Calderon, Jack, Turkoglu, Bosh and Bargnani on the floor; if I needed to stop one, I’d probably have Calderon, Jack, Wright, Bosh and Nesterovic.
As for the Euro vs. American thing, I don’t think that’ll ever enter anyone’s mind and it’s probably 50-50 on which we’d see first in any game.
Q: I just read on DeMar DeRozan's twitter page that he's been working on his shot with none other than Jason Kapono. Any idea how they hooked up, and how much will this help DeRozan's shooting ability once the season starts?
Nilanka L, Oakville
A: I doubt it’ll help very much, actually. They have widely disparate skillsets and I'm not sure what kind of teacher Jason would be. And I presume they’ve hooked up in the runs at UCLA, where dozens of current and former NBAers gather for summer games.