Of Antoine, Andrea and trip to see some CIS ball
Join Doug Smith at noon Friday for a live basketball Q&A, as the Raptors get ready to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Hey, Miami lost? Everyone happy?
Oh yeah, it’s scoreboard watching time for sure, isn’t it?
You know, it’s been a long time since we’ve had a guy around these parts like Antoine Wright and as we’re standing there yesterday after practice talking to him, it was rather refreshing in a lot of ways.
He held nothing back (you can read the gist of it here) and he made quite a lot of valid points when talking about effort and defence and what challenges kids like DeMar and Sonny have to take upon them, especially the rookie and especially tonight against Kevin Durant.
“It’s going to be tough but you have to pass the baton. You have to go out there and make him 2-for-5 and then I come in and I make him 4-for-12; it’s the way you pass the baton and keep a guy from going off for big bulks of points in one quarter.”
It’s not like Wright hasn’t made his points forcefully all season but some of them rang hollow when he wasn’t playing particularly well, or very much.
But I have to admit, his candor is nice, as is his willingness to make suggestions. And seeing some improvement in DeRozan and Weems, I think it has to have been a help to whatever points Jay and his staff are hammering home daily.
Our old friend Sam Mitchell used to contend – rightfully so, I think – that players need to police themselves as much as they need prodding from coaches because coach’s voices get tiring after a while.
And if Wright ruffles a few feathers with the other guys in the locker room, well, maybe that’s a good thing sometimes.
Because I’m a heckuva guy, and because I just remembered I said I would, he’s why I suggested the other night that the Raptors wouldn’t be wise to all of a sudden trot out Marcus Banks to play some defence.
And it wasn’t just the other night against Atlanta, actually, I don’t think that kind of move doesn’t work and this should not be seen as a huge affront to Marcus, whom I quite like and admire.
Yes, Marcus may be a good defender but (a) there’s no guarantee he’d do a better job than anyone else out there and (b) because of that, the potential disruption to an offence, and a defence, is not a gamble I think is worth taking.
Players are fragile creatures, they are used to roles and jobs and to all of a sudden know that a coach has such little confidence in them that he brings in a guy who never plays is asking for more trouble than benefit you might get.
You Irregulars who tune into in the in-game portion of the festivities want a Saturday night off? You got it.
In a bit a schedule change, while Dave’s down in Jersey watching that surely delightful display of Real Professional Men’s Basketball, I’m going to be up in Ottawa checking some CIS hoops.
That means I’m not going to be able to see Nets-Raptors (my retinas thank you) but will watch whatever semifinals are unfolding in the national championship.
It’ll be the first CIS final I’ve been to in a very long time and the chance to motor the Stinky Ford Focus up there Saturday, see games that night and the final Sunday and head back Monday was just too easy a schedule to turn down.
So, we’ll take Saturday night off from here and be back for the Monday night tilt in Minny.
And I’ll get to write about something different for a change.
The Thunders practiced here on Thursday and here’s what came out of it.
So Super Son and I are sitting in the restaurant (Hello, BP Square 1!) nibbling on the Holy Trinity of lounge food (that’d be wings, natchos and pizza for the uninitiated) and watching March Madness when it came to me:
I really don’t like college basketball.
I mean really, really, really don’t like.
Sure, there’s buzzer beaters and close games and lot of goofy schools you’ll never hear of again (Northern Illinois? Robert Morris?) but every possession seems to be a 25-seconds of a three-man weave before someone shoots a three-pointer, hardly anyone can handle the ball and for a guy who generally thinks coaching is over-rated, the all-out obsession with NCAA coaches drives me batty.
Yes, the NBA game is flawed, no question about it, but at least the players can play.
That said, I’m sure somewhere Popeye Jones is in his glory.
Mail would be good.
Here’s a Jay quote from Jay from Thursday. Guess who he’s talking about:
“We need him to focus, when we were rolling, he was doing more things and I think it becomes a confidence building thing for him. If he’s not making shots, do something else so we can keep you on the floor. Defend and be there on the help side, box out and rebound. When we were rolling, he was doing that and scoring and I think sometimes when he doesn’t get the basketball he gets a little frustrated.
“He worries about his scoring but he can help this team by doing a lot more than just scoring the basketball.”
There were times in the middle of this season when we all thought Andrea Bargnani had figured it out, hadn’t we? And while he has been far better far more often this season than he’s been in the past, as we saw in the post-all-star period, there’s work still to be done.
I still think he’s good and has a chance to be quite good, we’ve seen additions to his game – the little jump hook in the lane most significantly – that should allow him to become more of a force.
But we’ve seen a bit of regression in the last few weeks and that’s too bad because it came when his team needed him most.
Maybe what they have to do is run more stuff for him early in games and early in third quarters to get him more “engaged” and while that’s pandering to a mental weakness, it may be necessary.
If you’ve got questions, I’ll try to bluff answers if you show up back here about noon to spend an hour.
Of all the things in the world I care nothing about, that Tiger Woods sent explicit texts to a woman and whether Sandra Bullock leaves a philandering husband are right at the top of the list.
Good God, can’t we get something of substance that passes for “news” these days?