The Mystery of Marco, among other fun things
Everyone have a nice weekend? Good weather in these parts, lots of work probably got done around the house. And now we can settle in for a really fun week of actual basketball that matters.
Sounds pretty good, no?
Until then, this stuff matters.
We were discussing Marco Belinelli in a scrum with Jay yesterday afternoon while the struggling backup swingman was over on the other side of the gym getting in some extra shooting.
In the course of that discussion, Jay hit on a very key point when it was pointed out to him that they desperately need Belinelli to find his stroke, and quickly.
“We need him to be a key because we don’t have a lot of points in that second unit.”
He’s exactly right, of course. Jarrett Jack’s probably going to score a little bit and you have to think Antoine Wright’s going to get better offensively as he gets more used to playing at game speed but after that, what?
Rasho and Amir Johnson? Methinks not.
And that’s why Jay’s been saying one of his goals in his rotation, barring foul trouble and injury that is, is to have two of his four main guys – Calderon, Turkoglu, Bosh and Bargnani – on the floor at all times.
It’ll be interesting to see if he’s able to accomplish that goal because having five non-starters on the court at the same time isn’t the greatest of ideas.
Speaking of Marco, this is a pretty big week for him.
And Quincy Douby, too.
As some know, the Raptors have until the end of the month to exercise a 2010-11 contract option on Belinelli. If they pick it up, his deal worth $2,372,542 becomes fully guaranteed for next year; if they don’t, he’s a restricted free agent.
I expect Bryan to pick it up, it’s not a huge number, I’m sure he factored it into the equation when he obtained him in the summer.
Douby’s an entirely different case.
His deal has a couple of different plateaus to become fully guaranteed. Not sure of the exact dollar amounts – people haven’t been entirely forthcoming – but the next plateau is if he’s on the roster at the end of the month. The next big date is Jan. 10, when all contracts become guaranteed for the rest of the season.
How, the total money on the deal isn’t big – I understand it’s the minimum – so I’m not sure that’s the biggest worry. What might come into consideration, though, is whether they want an extra roster spot open just in case.
But, then again, if it’s not a lot of cash and a chance to make some deal comes up between now and January and they need an extra spot, they could just waive him at that point.
Quincy’s a good kid, well liked by his coaches and teammates, so I imagine they keep him around, too.
This might be one of best the line of the pre-season. From a scrum yesterday discussing the combination of atrocious outside shooting and sloppy ball-handling the other night in Sioux Falls:
Hedo: “I know we didn’t shoot the ball well, we were like two-for-something from the three.”
Hedo: “We could be like 2-for-40, if we didn’t make the turnovers.”
But, seriously folks, word from them yesterday was that they were quite happy with the shots they got the other night, just quite perplexed with how many open looks they missed.
I recall thinking in the first half that they did have some open looks that went awry and I’m sure I mentioned an air-balled open three-pointer by Bargnani that was entirely out of character.
So maybe they have a point but it would behoove them to get those shots in the basket because I don’t care if you’re playing The Sisters Of The Poor, you shoot 2-for-20 from downtown, you lose.
Since I cannot in all good conscience ever think about cheering for The Evil Empire, go Phils!
Seriously, better hitting up and down the roster, a pretty good staff and if they can keep the Arsonist Lidge from imploding a game or two, why can’t they win.
Know what I hate?
No, not those ones. The ones that fall from the four giant maples in my backyard and the huge white birch in the front.
Seriously, I know they’re good for the atmosphere and provide shade and are nice to look at and yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah, but man, there’s a lot of them.
Personal digression ended.
Canada Basketball’s got that really cool fund-raiser tomorrow night, the Canadian debut of the LeBron James documentary and a raft of sweet items to auction off to raise some money to ease the burden of having to send teams to all four FIBA world championships next year.
The website, which is here, has the 411.
(Is that still a cool saying?)
The Raptors, like every team in the league, I imagine, are sick of the sickies.
Jarrett Jack and Antoine Wright had to miss practice yesterday because they were under the weather – Alex English had to stay home, too – and the precautionary way teams deal with flu bugs this year must really frustrate coaches.
Of course, being extra careful in this age of H1N1 makes entire sense and the league has mandated any player with any sign of flu should be told to stay away from team and get tested.
But, still, as Jay said …
“In the past, guys would come in and we’d evaluate them and think maybe it’s better to go up and sweat it out or not. Now, we’re trying to stay away from guys spreading it.”
Oh yeah, make sure you tune in here tomorrow. We’ve got the big NBA preview package going in tomorrow’s paper – it’ll be on-line overnight – but there’ll be some extra added bonuses like predictions that you can only get in this space.
And, who knows, you might even see some other special stuff.