I see the Heroes Of The Hardcourt were able to subdue the Nets on Saturday night. Good for them, although I have to admit I really didn’t miss not seeing it. Was a nice break to up here in Ottawa catching up with some old cronies and flying the flag at the CIS finals.
Oh, and doing mail.
Q: Doug, Raps fans know hardships. This sad set of games since all-star break is nothing new, yet they still may have one of the best seasons ever (if my memory serves me correctly, 41-41 would tie them with fifth best, 42 wins fourth.)
Now 5th best in 15 seasons sounds not too bad for a very up and down year. Does Bosh may be leaving thing account for this "they are the worst team ever!"
Are the fans feeling that failure means losing him, or simply silly enough to think that 50 wins was on the table?
Bruce M, Winnipeg
A: I don’t know that it was the magic 50 but I did sense far more optimism at the start of this season in a long time.
And then you combine the unmet expectations with the prominent feeling that Bosh is gone and you’ve got angst writ large.
But, like I’ve said from the start, I think if they get to 43 wins – which is a 10-win improvement over last season and that’s got to be one of the best in the league – that’s not bad.
Q: Hi Doug, I am a diehard Raps fan and will be there through think and thin.
Just wondering if, especially considering how interactive your job is, do you find it is easier to do your daily writing when the Raps are winning? It must try your patience.
Jeffrey M, Saint John
A: It’s not easier, per se, but it is different.
Of course, players are much more amenable and quotable when things are going well so it easier in the regard but dealing with the anger of fans – generally directed at the players and coaches and GM and entirely understandable – does make for some long days.
The job’s hard whenever – there is still a morning blog and either off-day stuff to get or the game-day stuff to do – and it’s just hard in a different way when things are going badly.
Q: I was wondering what a general manager does... in general. I'm sure his role varies from team to team. Some owners will be more meddlesome/hands-on than others. That's no different than any organization in any business. But are GMs responsible for only player related decisions? Or all basketball decisions as a whole? Would an owner/board give the GM a budget to work with in terms of acquiring players/coaches/support staff and give them free reign in that regard only? Or does the GM oversee all basketball related matters (tickets sales, in-game entertainment, community relations, merchandise)? To be more Toronto centric, what does BC's title of President and GM differ from simple GMs?
Vincent L, Toronto
A: You’re right, it does vary from team-to-team, I think a general rule would be a GM of a franchise owned by a conglomerate might have more autonomy than someone who works for one man. That said, a GM of a team Toronto needs to present budgets to an ownership group that has to be approved and I’m sure that’s similar across the board.
To be Toronto-centric, Bryan’s got his hands in a lot pies, including foundation work, game-ops, merchandising, etc. although more as a final place for approval rather than an instigator of programs. I’m not sure that’s the same case at franchises where the GM is just the GM and doesn’t have that president’s title.
Q: Hey Doug. Was watching Syracuse and Vermont and saw Syracuse play the 2-3 zone. I noticed that there's no 3 second defensive violation. Just wondering about your opinion on this rule. I personally think it's a nice rule that opens up the offense and its absence diminishes my appreciation of college ball.
Damian C, Toronto
A: I think it’s a great rule, if you’re going to allow zone defences. No way I want to see Shaq or Dwight Howard or Yao or any centre camped under the basket. There has to be space to let people get to the rim and it forces coaches to devise offences that make defences move their bigs around.
I couldn’t watch a zone with a big camped under the boards forever without gouging out my eyes.
Q: Hey Doug. Would you like to see more opportunities for video replay in a game? What about if each coach got something like two challenges a game?
David S, Toronto
A: No, no, no. A thousand times now. These games are interminable now; there is almost too much instant replay as it is, adding more would not be something I could support.
Unless, that is, they charged whichever team asked for a replay with a timeout, regardless of how the appeal turned out. There are too many timeouts now, if that’s a way to get them used earlier in games than the last 20 seconds, I might be okay with that.
Q: Slow day but please clarify the draft situation. If they finish 8th do they still have a first round pick? At least some hope for a fresh face or next victim (you decide).
And the best to Jay and his family. Old age sucks.
John P, Fredericton
A: No. If they make the playoffs, their draft pick goes to Miami. Of course, they could trade for one but that’s speculation for another day.
Q: Hi Doug, I recently had a scary thought that the first live football (soccer) game I ever went to was nearly 20 years ago! As you are slightly older than me (I'm 27) can you remember the first NBA basketball game you went to? Or perhaps your first sporting experience was baseball?
Chris D, Leeds, England
A: Slightly? Thanks for that.
I honestly don’t remember the first pro basketball game I saw, but I know it was a Braves game at the old Aud in Buffalo, probably sitting way up in that crazy steep seats in the upper deck.
First sporting experience? It strikes me as a pucks game in the Gardens, Dear Old Dad would get company tickets once a year, one row right behind the Leaves bench and we’d get all spiffied up, drive up, have dinner in the Hot Stove Lounge and then watch the game.
I remember being fascinated with Eddie Shack, and him turning to Punch Imlach on game and telling him, “George, put me out there, put me out there.”