Now, you read this, I’m off on a nice long walk to raise some much needed money for multiple sclerosis research (find the walk in your area today and make a donation, okay?) and we’ll meet back here later today so I can post the comments.
That’s if I’m not curled up in the fetal position suffering body spasms, that is.
And I’ll let you know tomorrow morning in the usual drivel what the tall foreheads and I have come up with about in-game bloggy thingies for the first round or so of the post-season.
Have a nice day.
Q: As a regular reader of this blog and a huge fan of yours I can’t for the life of me figure you out. This team has been covered by you in depth from the beginning and you have always indicated to us that it is your job and not admitting any passion for the team and it's success or failure during the season. How can you sit and analyze a game knowing personally the players, coaches, the behind the scenes stuff and by now some of their fan base and not jump up and cheer or feel as depressed as we do when the play and results dictate such a response. You have proven to have an emotional side and yet you are able to control it, hide it, or just don't have it when dealing with the Raptors. Is this a journalistic facade or is it the real Doug Smith? Thanks for all your insight and contributions to this great blog.
Jack L, Kingston
A: There needs to be a level of dispassionate in any reporter; it allows you to sit back and observe without being truly tied to the outcome or the events. So you need to stand back a step and perhaps look a bigger picture than others, it allows you to do your job well.
That said, while it is my job and I have to treat it as that, there is a level of interest that goes with it. Not the screaming, “oh, they’ve got to win or my day’s ruined” kind of interest but if you don’t truly love what you’re doing (and in this case it’s covering a team in a league in a sport) you don’t do it well enough to be really good so you have to kind of like what you’re seeing.
And I do.
Q: Hi Doug, Thanks for the amazing job this year.
Just a quick one - what do you think of Turk's apology. Was it sincere or a cop out? Personally, I feel he should have made amends on the court and not with his words at the end of a disappointing season.
Jamil B, Sydney, Aus.
A: Of course he should have made amends on the court and I’m sure late in the season he tried, and he did have many better games down the stretch. But I also know he did feel terribly bad about how the season unfolded, thought he let down his team and coaches and was genuinely sorry.
Q: Hello Doug. After noticing the identical records of the Grizzlies and Raptors I found it interesting to muse on how the 15 years have played out for these two semi-linked franchises. Both have had some good times and some bad times. Which franchise has been most successful? The Raptors are still in Toronto but the Grizzlies had that great run with Pau. What do you think?
Garth S, Chiliwack
A: Compared to the Grizzlies, the Raptors are the Celtics and Lakers combined, with some Spurs thrown in for good measure. Let’s see: They moved from Vancouver, can’t draw flies in Memphis, made the post-season three times in 15 season but have yet to win a playoff game, let alone a series, and have a franchise winning percentage of about .333. Oh, and yes, there was Araujo in Toronto but he was a steal compared to Big Country.
That’s what I think. And, sadly, that’s what I imagine lots of people think.
Q: Is it a big deal or surprising that MLSE would come out and say they will go over the luxury tax if Bosh stays and they can land someone?
Or was that news expected?? Thanks for the blog enjoyed it every day!!
Karen P, Whitby
A: It was kind of expected here; I’d heard Bryan tell me confidently enough that if he had to go to the board to get tax approval he would. He’d always couched in terms of going after one guy in one specific situation so the fact he’s got pre-approval is about the only thing marginally big.
Q: Hi Doug, a long and exhausting season is nearly over. Once the playoffs are finished, are you looking forward to any particular sporting event taking place before the next NBA season starts? I can tell you that in most of the world outside of North America, the anticipation for the (soccer) World Cup is already enormous. I hope you get to catch a game or two to see what all the fuss is about the biggest sporting event on the planet.
Chris D, Leeds, England
A: I am looking forward to watching some of the World Cup, that’s for sure. I have no depth of football knowledge but I appreciate the beauty of the game. But the summer event that I’m most looking forward to – quite aside from Mighty Yankee opening night – is the world basketball championships because it’s a great tournament that the world looks at as far more important than the Olympics.
Q: Two questions today:
How overly simplistic is it to suggest that this year's individual Raps performances could be related directly to contracts? Guys playing for one played with some fire (most games). Guys with pay cheques already protected played as "comfortably" as they cared to, or not, any particular evening.
2) With so many NBA contracts up for negotiation this summer, do you see wholesale changes in rosters – with six, seven, nine new faces for a good number of teams? (Sound familiar?) And, if so, would there maybe be an advantage, for one year anyway, to teams that make fewer deals and, instead, work to keep their cores together and developing?
Cheers. And thanks again for another season of great grunt work and lord knows how many hundreds of hours of hard blogging.
David M, Ottawa
A: It might be a bit of an oversimplification, yes, but there is no doubt the presence of guaranteed contracts do tend to make some players more “comfortable” than maybe they should be. With this team, I don’t know if that was the case, I think there were far more important other matters – the coddling of Hedo early, the ankle injury to Bosh in February – played a role.
And for this summer, with a new CBA coming after next season that could radically alter the economic outlook as well as those guaranteed contracts, I think you’re got to see a whole lot of one-year, take-it-or-leave-it offers to middling free agents because teams are wary of long-term implications of longer-term contacts.
And, yes, I agree whole-heartedly that teams should try to keep groups together to let them grow, it’s how all kinds of good teams developed.
Q: The Del Negro/Paxson confrontation over Noah's playing time caught my attention -- I always assumed that the medical staff simply advised the coaches on the condition of wounded players. Is it usual for team executives to tell the coach who can play for how long?
TL I, London
A: In the case of injuries to key players, everyone is involved in the rehab process and the return. And it’s not unusual for a general manager to consult with the team’s medical staff – and the coach and the player – to determine the best course of action.
This seems to be an extreme case, though, and speaks to a rocky, mistrusting relationship between the coach and his bosses, I believe.
Q: Hi Doug, a question in regards to attracting free agents to Toronto.
Does going through customs twice in a 24 hour period dismay players from the idea of signing here, even though it wouldn't be the same hassle playing 41 games in this city.
I recall not so long ago a Forbes article talking about how much NBA players love to visit Toronto.
Just seems like players might not be that interested in signing here.
Matthew F, Toronto
A: If that’s a deal-breaker, I wouldn’t want the guy on my team. I’ve seen the American customs process for the players going into the States and it’s ridiculously easy (private lines with private border officials) and, when they come back from trips, Canada Customs officials go to them at the charter terminal.
Trust me, if that’s too much for a player to handle and would keep them from coming to Toronto, I don’t want to know how they’d handle pressure in a game.