With the schedule all screwed up thanks to that rare Saturday night home game, this is a day later than usual.
But, thanks to you, it’s just as wildly entertaining and informative as ever.
Honest. It is.
Q: Thanks for emphasizing Rasho's performance in NJ, Doug. It is a huge positive in many ways, including building a strong feeling of TEAM on this Raptors squad. Surely it is a credit to players and coaches - and to Rasho as a person and professional basketball player.
In an era where individual performance is so heavily stressed, in an era where the STAR of NBA teams is such a focal point, what a pleasant change it is to see our team be successful without our star player available for one night. Can you help us understand HOW a team becomes a team in this era - what do players and coaches and execs do to create a feeling and fact of collective performance and recognition?
Charles N, Mexico
A: I guess the easiest way to put it is maturity and relationships.
While this certainly isn’t an “old” team by any stretch, the core group – Bosh, Bargnani, Calderon – has been together a while and looks at “team first” and winning as the only things that matters and that attitude trickles down.
In this group, the main newcomers – Hedo, Jack and Wright – also strike me as players who appreciate the “whole” as opposed to the personal.
It also helps that almost everyone has a long-term contract (on Bosh knows he’s going to get one), which cuts down on selfishness.
The other thing that comes into play, with this collection I’ve noticed, is that they seem to genuinely like each other. Not in the continually-hang-out, all-team-functions-all-the-time but there don’t seem to be any personality clashes that might even slightly fracture a team.
Q: Hi Doug, who would you say is the third best player in the league after Kobe and LeBron?
Chaz E, London
A: Boy, that’s a toughie. But, pressed, I’d probably have to say Carmelo Anthony but I think if someone suggested – right now – Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade, I could be convinced.
But, at the moment, Anthony.
Q: Hi Doug, hoops 101 question. What's the incentive for a team to do a sign and trade? Future considerations? It seems like they get nothing back in return. And how much more can Team A (doing the sign and trade) offer than Team B (receiving the player)? Thanks.
Ian M, Ottawa
A: We’ll run through this really quickly now because we’ll be hearing about it a lot once the summer hits.
For the team losing the player, the incentive is that they get players back for one who wants to go.
For the team getting the player, being able to shed contracts and personnel can’t hurt.
For the player? He gets money, lots more of it.
Now, don’t forget, it’s got to be a negotiation. If the two teams can’t decide on which players are coming back, there doesn’t have to be a deal.
Teams can offer their own free agents contracts that are one year longer and have larger annual raises than any other team can. That'll be about $30 million on a maximum value deal this summer, the supposition is.
Q: With the talk of free agency and the fact that the existing team can pay extra there would seem to be three other factors that will play into the situation:
Personal happiness--very hard to evaluate.
Tax rate--Florida and Texas for example have no state taxes although the US could be in for a massive Federal hike due to their dire financial situation.
Bosh, Wade and James are all represented by CAA. This is the most powerful group out there and these three are by no means their top clients.(Bosh and James also have a separate agent but minor compared to this group)
It would seem that CAA would benefit by having two of these guys playing together or even all three. Your thoughts or have you had time to do an evaluation on this group and their influence?
Marcus R, Cameron
A: Agencies exist to make money, right? Well, doesn’t it make sense to have high-profile clients in different cities so they can sell more t-shirts and tickets, raise more cash so there’s more to go around? Not to mention the endorsements that wouldn’t have to be split in the same city.
Q: Hey Doug. I was watching the Wizards game Saturday night, and it dawned on me that the TV folk are quite fond of mentioning one specific stat over and over: the win-loss record following our 7-13 start.
I thought it was interesting that in your blog you mentioned more than a few times that you shouldn't judge a team until 20 games (or so) into the season. That 7-13 record is 20 games. The funny thing is, it's consistently cited as the time they turned things around and became a better representation of "what kind of team" they are: pretty good.
This obviously flies in the face of your theory. Care to re-evaluate the 20 game stance?
Thanks for all your hard work, my man!
Adam B, Kingston
A: Um, doesn’t it actually validate my theory that it takes at least a quarter of a season for a new team to find out what it is? And it did. Maybe it was 22 games, or 23, but my suggestion of 20 was, in fact, pretty bang on.
People who judged them as an historically inept defensive team and one destined for the lottery after 15 or 17 games were wrong.
Q: I noticed before the Wizards game you spent quite a bit of time chatting with Bryan and Marc. Were you talking hoops or places to eat in different cities. Are those types of conversations off the record? We do not read much about Marc, can you tell us more about his role with the team.
Howard B, Toronto
A: Those are conversations you have in the normal course of doing business, it’s what I do. And some of them are on background, some aren’t and they happen quite often, just not usually on the bench minutes to tip.
Marc? He’s an adviser, he travels with team constantly to be around and offer whatever assistance and advice he can.
I think you might consider him a liaison between the front office and the players in some regards.
Q” Hi Doug, Rhetorically, will Bosh’s new nickname be Wally Pipp? Great job by Rasho as I type this during the second game. My question is what can Jay do to help them with their mental toughness or is that a job for BC?_
Nick K, St. Catharines
A: There’s nothing either of them can do; that’s all on the players.
Hey Doug. Long time fan ever since my school boy years and visits to the Sky Dome during inaugural season. As a dedicated student at WLU I spend break time from studying (that's what mom believes...) to check your blog, raptors.com, ESPN, etc. Ok, you get it - I bleed purple..I mean red, white and black. On that note, how about the Olympic spirit that is sweeping us non patriots up off our feet? I now know what it feels to be American. By far my favorite moment was Jon Montgomery's walk through Whistler, fan brings him pitcher of beer, Jon chugs it - on national television. Stereo-typers around the world were drooling as this truly 'Canadian' moment. What has been your favorite thus far?
Ben G, Waterloo
A: You know, having been in Dallas until late Monday night, at a game Wednesday, in Jersey Thursday and Friday and at a game Saturday, I haven’t seen enough to really have a “moment” yet.
I did see the Montgomery walk, though, and it was pretty cool.