Have a go at the regular fare
Until then, there’s this:
Q: What do you think of the whole Chris Paul wanting out of New Orleans? It's somewhat disheartening that he's following LeBron in trying to create some sort of super team elsewhere instead of trying to bring players to N.O.
Nathan C, Toronto
A: It’s absolutely disheartening and just adds another layer of “who’s running this league” stuff to the debate. I can kind of see Paul’s point in one regard, that team has issues at ownership, a new general manager, a new coach and so-so talent but I’m of the opinion that players who sign contracts should do whatever they can for the duration of them to live up to the terms and make the team better rather than try to finagle their way out of them. Or else sign shorter term deals in the first place.
Q: Hey Doug -- The positive side of covering golf is that at least it means you can blend in far more easily with the athletes, right? (I keed, I keed...)
You asked for some entertaining questions, and if there's one thing that's entertaining, it's putting basic bar discussions into semi-newspaper form. So, with that in mind, of that Raptors first-round picks since they came into existence, who's worked out the best for the team? The worst? The most surprising? If you're feeling really keen - and the rain keep pouring down - I'd love to see them ranked.
Thanks so much for the blog -- always enjoy reading your work.
Chris R, Vancouver
A: Tell you what, let’s do this right now and we’ll do something more substantial some quiet morning during the week.
For what they got out of them and where they were picked, I’d have to put Mo Pete (No. 21 2000) as the undisputed No. 1 and Rafael Araujo (No. 8, 2004) as the undisputed worst.
The rest? There’ve been some hits (Carter, Bosh, Stoudemire, Camby for what he returned), some misses (Mike Bradley, Kareem Rush) and some others who were so-so. To go through and rank them 1-15 is for another time.
Q: Hi Doug, the blog is awesome, yadda yadda.
I understand, the Raps have no chance of trading for CP3. However, with the trade exception in hand, would that put us in the running to help possibly facilitate a trade with NO and another team, and potentially pick up something in the exchange? If a team like Orlando (way over the cap) is close to landing Paul, but can't make the numbers work, can BC swoop in to help with the finances, in exchange for players or picks?
Peter R, Toronto
A: It absolutely puts them in position to facilitate transactions, not only with Paul specifically, but in other instances, too.
I’m not saying that will transpire but I do know Bryan has a way of looking at deals with a creative mind and if he can get something he wants by being in the middle of some three-team deal, he’ll do it.
It’s also part of the reason I think he might wait to use some or all of that trade exception; who knows what might come up once the season begins.
Q: Hi Doug. Just wondering who you think will take over from Chris Bosh as the face of the franchise if we went into the regular season with the roster we have today? Many people would probably say Bargs, however I like the idea of Amir being the man who people want to see. He has more personality than Bargs and he seems to be loyal to Toronto.
Leon R, Cambridge
A: I’m not sure they’ll have a “face” of the franchise, the feeling I’m getting is that most of their marketing, which is often how fans are force fed this player or that, will surround a couple or three guys.
And since I’m not the target audience or a guy who pays attention to ads, I’m not really concerned.
Q: Doug, this is an off-Raptors/basketball question.
I have flown around the world quite a bit but not so much in North America; just Toronto to Vancouver once.
Could you give me the top 5 best airports in North America? (convenience, cleanliness, transportation, staff etc) You may include Pearson.
Peter K, Oakville
A: I may include Pearson but I certainly won’t.
Right off the top of my head right now (and this is without any great amount of research), I’m going with Denver, Minneapolis, the new one in Indianapolis, I’m okay with San Francisco and Philadelphia.
Let me, sometime in the middle of this week, get into the "what makes a good airport" (if I remember to do it) because that's kind of fun.
If I never have to go to O’Hare, LAX, Miami, Memphis or Sacramento again, I’ll be fine.
Q: Hey Doug!
I noticed that you wrote your Matt Barnes article with a certain degree of doubt - leaving room for the possibility that by the time the paper hit my doorstep the deal may or may not have been final.
I also liked your blog explanation the next day, about how the 24-hour/day news cycle makes things more difficult these days. It's always interesting to hear from a journalist's point of view how things are changing, and the new challenges of the day.
There's always been a drive in journalism to 'scoop' the other guy, but do you think that the ability to instantly report, 24/7 means there's even more of a drive to be the first one with the scoop these days? And is that drive to scoop the other guy something that is largely ego-driven, or are journalists under pressure from their employers (or their readers?) to be the first to report?
For the record, you're my first Raptors read every day not because you'll have the story first, but because you'll have the story right! And when you're RIGHT and FIRST, well that's just a bonus.
Rob E, Toronto
A: The drive to be first usually comes from bosses who want the satisfaction of hearing or reading credit to their organization, newspaper or whatever although there are a handful of writers who share that same sentiment.
Frankly, I’m not sure a lot of regular folks give a rat’s bum who was first as long as the person they trust covering the team they watch have the news eventually and are able to (a) confirm what are usually “sourced” reports and (b) put some context to them that might not exist in some quick-hit little item.
Q: Hi Doug. I love reading your articles and blog. You are the main reason I read the Star. For Christmas I bid on and won an opportunity to be a ball boy at a men's national team practice for my son. At some point in the practice he gets to play horse with a player. If he has a choice who should he pick? (Is this question entertaining enough)
Simon S, Brantford
A: Congratulations on that. It’s got to be a player, he? I’d think Leo would be cool to challenge. If not, though, why not go with Andy Rautins so your son can say he played HORSE with an NBAer. That’s got to count for something in the schoolyard, no?
Q: Hello Doug. What makes a 'franchise player'? Some people debate whether Bosh is one. What characteristics are needed to build around? What makes Dwyane Wade and LeBron James franchise players and not Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson?
Greg B, Toronto
A: The ability and willingness to demand excellence for those around you while having the ability and willingness to say, ‘hey, get on my back and I’ll carry you wherever we need to go’ would be a couple of attributes that come quickly to mind.
Q: Brian's latest moves, or rather attempts at such, suggest some panic or even incompetence. You must admit this isn't his finest "hour"? How does he steady the ship?
Gary M, Ottawa
A: It’s been a rough summer, sure. And you “steady the ship” by keep making moves you think will improve the team. It’s really pretty simple.
But, trust me, Bryan holds himself a lot more accountable than even the fans do.
Q: Hi Doug, Appreciate your insights as always. It seems to me that there are a lot of interchangeable parts on the Raps roster as presently constituted. My question is why do teams seem so stuck on a starting five? Would it not make sense to put the best five match up wise on the floor? For example, I am sure there are some point guards that Jose would do well against, whereas Jarrett would do better against others? Diaw or DeRozan to start would be a similar situation based on the opponent. Is it a question of team 'flow' and consistency? Or is it stroking egos of players who want to be seen as starters? Or a bit of both? Thanks as always.
Randy M, Crystal Beach
A: It’s more flow than ego management, actually; since we’ve seen a change or two with this team at various times over the past couple of years. To wit: Sonny for Hedo, Antoine Wright for DeRozan, the change-change back at PG.
And I think that’s okay; players become creatures of habit with concern to roles and minutes and where and when they’ll get in the game and for the very few minutes that starting units actually stay together – six, tops, in most games – disrupting it game-to-game makes little sense to me.
Q: Hi Doug. Here's a question for you. I recently read about the promotion of Rich Cho in Portland and was very surprised at how he was able to get his foot in the door with a "well written letter." So my question is then what does it take to intern with a franchise with the intention of moving up the corporate and/or operations ladder? Do you need a law degree? A sports background? A marketing degree? An MBA? Or do you really just need to know somebody on the inside? What are the hiring practices of the Raptors in terms of hiring interns for their basketball operations? Correct me if I'm wrong Doug, but I think Erik Spoelstra in Miami, who now is the head coach, was another person without a basketball background who worked his way up from being the video tape guy. So in light of all these Cinderella hiring stories that we're hearing how much hope does the average Joe Raptors fan (with a university degree, of course) have of one day calling the shots at MLSE?
C L, Calgary
A: You know what it takes? A brain and a break.
I don’t think degrees or backgrounds or whatever is all that important if you can get in front of someone and come off as intelligent, willing to learn and work and have the ability to communicate, think with creativity. I guess a degree helps you get in the door but, frankly, it’s what you do when you’re in that determines the future.
As for Cho and Spoelstra, yes, they came up in unconventional circumstances but for each of them, there are a thousand who haven’t.
As for the Raptors’ hiring practices, I have no clue actually.
Q: This is more of an observation than question, but I hope it makes it into your mailbag.
I know I'm beating a dead horse with a stick, but if LBJ and Bosh were conspiring to team-up this upcoming season, why isn't anyone discussing what transpired in Bosh's last game in a Raps uniform. James plays like an all-star against the Raps, ultimately eliminating the team from the playoffs, but sits against the Bulls? i suspect LBJ had a plan all along to pry Bosh from the Raps. Thus, eliminating us from the playoffs was the final nail in the coffin for Bosh's departure.
Ultimately, besides the teams filing tampering/conspiracy reports to the league (which they didn't do), do you think the league will attempt to make an independent investigation under the radar to The Big Three Fiasco in Miami? I can't believe Stern is happy with three hugely popular players in one city. I'm assuming NBA revenues are going to take big hits in all NBA cities not named Miami. Instead of Bosh/Wade/LBJ coming on separate nights, they will all come as a trio meaning less ticket sales.
Adnan M, Toronto
A: Oh, you mean Bosh’s last game in a Raptors uniform where he got hit in the face, broke his nose and had to have surgery?
LeBron’s got some major league conspiracy abilities if he got Antawn Jamison to inadvertently hit Chris in the face early in the sixth-last game of the regular season so James could get Bosh to Miami with him three months later.
And, no, the league will do nothing, even under the radar, because no one did anything against current rules. Whether those rules change in the future remains to be seen.
Q: Hey Doug. I don't know what all this nonsense is about the Raptors needing to acquire a small forward. They already have a legend overseas … Georgios Printezis. Ok, maybe not. But he is a SF/PF. Any word on his development (if any).
Randy N, Ajax
A: Not a week goes by, it seems, without a Georgios Printezis question.
And not a week goes by, it seems, without me saying there are no plans right now to bring him over even to training camp. He’s done nothing to suggest he’s even close to being an NBA player.