The rookie, the fans, and the fun in Philly
Join Doug Smith for a live Q&A at noon today, as the Raptors prepare to take on the Philadelphia 76ers.
You know the one thing I like about Super Dog?
She/it dislikes the cold as much as I do so walks are shorter and more infrequent. Good Super Dog.
And it allows me more time for stuff like this …
Lots of questions here and there about DeMar DeRozan and where he is in the development of an NBA rookie, lots lately on why he doesn’t play in the fourth quarter very often.
The reason? From this angle?
He’s not ready.
Yes, he’s been better lately shooting jumpers and he’s looking a wee bit more comfortable offensively and he seems to be a bit more aggressive rebounding, although there’s still lots and lots of work to do in that regard.
Watch him closely sometimes. He’s going to the offensive glass but sometimes mis-timing jumps and he’s not a very good rebounder in traffic at the other end, either. His tendency to leak out drives coaches batty.
Defensively, he still gets caught up in screens too often and loses his man every now and then.
But, all in all, he’s coming along. Those are typical rookie gaffes and not at all unexpected.
I think the 20 minutes a night he's playing is about right, he’s getting those minutes when the little, predictable rookie mistakes he makes won’t kill his team and he’s better today than he was on opening night.
And, frankly, you can’t argue with success.
There may be those clamouring for more of him in the fourth quarter of games but the way the Raptors are playing over the last dozen games shows that whatever they do rotation-wise works.
The kid, a hard-working and studious 20-year-old who spends a lot of time with coaches going over video of offence and defence, is being handled quite well, in my opinion.
There may be a time to stretch him out; that time has not arrived yet.
So I’m glancing over the statistics and I notice – professionally trained observer that I am – that Jason Kapono hasn’t played more than 19 minutes in a game in a month, he hasn’t made more than one three-pointer in a game in a month and it got me thinking:
Maybe the trade for Reggie Evans is a wash.
The Raptors are getting some assistant coaching and cheerleading out of Reggie; not sure what all Jason – who I presume remains one of the top quotes around – is giving the Sixers.
The edge in sartorial splendidness, however, must go to Kapono.
Chat today at noon, okay?
I’ve got some stuff to do, a story for Sunday to finish off and, apparently, a driveway to shovel this afternoon and could use the extra hour.
Oh, and we’ll be here for the game, too, right about 7 p.m.
I will say your attendance numbers have been good of late, now that they’re winning and all. We were close to 700 for the chat the other day, I see, and somewhere north of 2,200 for the game.
Way to go, folks.
I’m sure many of you have seen the stuff about the last all-star balloting and how Tracy McGrady is still among the West starters in fan voting and, if the game was held tomorrow, Allen Iverson would line up to start for the East.
To which I will just say; Fans are nuts.
This is all on them.
Why in the world anyone would sit with a ballot or a laptop or a mobile phone or whatever method of voting they choose and punch, click, text either of those names is absolutely stunning to me.
After all, Steve Nash or Tony Parker or Chris Paul are on the ballot alongside McGrady, why in the world would any vote for Tracy over any of them.
And Iverson? Well, that’s equally stupid.
I don’t imagine the NBA will change the process, it is a lark after all and I guess taking it seriously just creates personal concern best left to matters of real importance – like when I’m going to go shovel the drive again.
But it does make me question the intelligence of some people and whether or not there needs to be a change.
I’m thinking maybe they use the fan vote for, I don’t know, something like 75 per cent of the final total and use either coaches or a panel of us to take up the other 25 per cent.
I wonder what’s going to happen if Nash, who is about 2,000 votes behind McGrady, doesn’t catch the currently idle Rocket.
Will McGrady show up, despite languishing at home, having walked out on his team to sit and wait for a trade?
How embarrassing will that be for everyone concerned?
The best thing possible is that the Rockets find a way to finalize whatever McGrady deal they’ve got going and ship him to the East, where his vote total will leave him out of the starting lineup.
Things I miss not being in Philly: Seeing My Man Jasner.
Running into Ed Pinckney and Gary McLain one night in said steakhouse and listening to stories. Same with Billy King, who was a regular and a really, really good guy.
Oh, and Yeungling. Ah, Yeungling.
And the fans. Oh, the fans,
We used to sit courtside, right beside the Raptors bench and, let me tell you, they were a funny bunch.
In one game, back in the 16-66 year, they were often in rare form.
One night, this leather-lung about four rows back yells:
Later, in the same game if I recall correctly, Reggie Slater, one of the good guys, is as the table to check in. Another voice, loud:
“Hey, Butch, your team’s five years away from being five years away.”
“Reggie! I saw your game … on a milk carton.”
That’s pretty good.
Speaking of Philly, here’s one of the stories in one of the papers this morning.
Just because I want to, and because I’m sure dozens of you haven’t slept since Tuesday wondering, here’s a Pops update.
He’ll clear waivers today, there isn’t a team out there who wants to make a claim and the best money for him, I’m told, remains in Europe.
I think there’s waning interest on a 10-day deal here because, really, what’s the sense?
Anyway, figured you’d want to know.
You know, of course, that the African Cup of Nations starts Sunday and the Black Stars open against Togo on Monday.
Just making sure you were up to date.
One last public call for mail. Haven’t looked closely but think there’s room left to send the questions – and, please, I beseech you, no game-specific, “why did they do this” stuff, it’s not really timely.