The mail is in; have yourselves a wonderful time with it
Here are some of this week’s queries, there are a handful left over that I’ll either do for tomorrow morning or at the first of the week since they mainly have to do with world basketball and what’s been going on. When they get answered depends entirely on how today goes; I’m thinking world semis, a quiet evening and, perchance, some much-needed sleeping in time Sunday.
Anyway, here’s a last crack at sending something if you’re so inclined. Hit the button here, type to your heart’s content and send ‘em in.
Q: Doug, do you sense the irregulars generally share your interest in the WNBA? I certainly do. And like you, I cheer for the Seattle Storm. This is directly related to the playing style of Sue Bird, who I believe is the female equivalent of Steve Nash. This got me thinking about a water-cooler game called "If she were a guy...”
Here's how it goes: Q: Lauren Jackson? A: Dirk Nowitzki; Q: Diana Tauriasi? A: Kobe Bryant; Q: Angel McCoughtry? A: Paul Piece; Q: Cappie Pondexter? A: Dwayne Wade.
So, two quick questions. Do you think there's a critical mass of NBA/WNBA fans to make this game popular? And, more importantly, do you plan on blogging more about the WNBA finals once the Worlds are wrapped up? Thanks.
Owen K, Ottawa
A: That’s a pretty good game. Here’s one for you: Q: Cheryl Ford? A: Karl Malone.
Anyway, with the way the WNBA is moving – to ownership by others than NBA teams, to cities as stand-alone franchises – I’m not sure it needs the NBA fans as much as it did. It is the best women’s basketball in the world and on its own should – and does – develop a fan base. I’m not sure, sadly, that it would work here and I’ve heard no serious chatter about bringing a team to the area although I think it would be a perfect summer fit for Ricoh in some ways.
Anyway, I’m going to try my best to see as much as the final as I can and am sure there’ll be a comment or two but history would suggest there are scant few Irregulars who give a rat’s patoot.
Q: Hi Doug. I'm curious about International Basketball, and who it is that influences their decisions. Specifically, I'm thinking of the brawl, where the players involved were, in NBA terms, slapped on the wrist for something that might otherwise have cost the athletes easily half a season of play.
Is there a group of senior basketball bureaucrats working for politics as much if not more for the game?
Perhaps you could explain why fighting in hockey abroad is frowned upon, while in basketball, it appears so openly tolerated (yes, three meaningless games suspension for throwing a chair at someone isn't going to stop it from happening again, in my eyes). Who is it that controls the image of International basketball, and why is no one holding their feet to the fire? Thanks as always.
Charlie D, Montreal
A: It’s not openly tolerated at all, although I think the FIBA sanctions in the Serbia-Greece game were quite minimal and could have been harsher.
And the controls are with the central board of FIBA.
Q: NBA Jam (the smash arcade game from the 1990s) is relaunching. Each team has a roster of 3 or 4, plus 1 or 2 team "Legends" as reserves. The Raptors only "Legend" is reportedly The Chicken - which is absolutely cool, by the way. However, I was wondering, if you HAD to pick two players and designate them Raptors "Legends" (excluding Vince who is on the Magic's lineup) who would they be? Mighty Mouse? Oak? Garth Joseph?
Mike J, Toronto
A: Excluding Vince? Well, on pure talent it’d have to be Bosh and Stoudamire. Although I guess you could make a case for Oakley.
Q: Hey, we're not getting any live coverage of the World Basketball Championships over here either...but I digress.
You mentioned how countries such as New Zealand get far better public monies to support their programs, but also mentioned an integral aspect such as coaching (I think officiating could be thrown in there as well) as to why some countries fair better than how we, in fandom, would like Canada to fair.
With that, any chance Jay takes all the lessons he's learned over the last few years with USA Basketball and shares it with the powers-that-be in Canada Basketball? I'm all for Leo sticking as coach, but Jay's experience has got to be put to use for Canadian basketball. Any chance of that happening, or have bridges been too badly burned?
Thanks again...and if you think traffic is tough in Istanbul or Rome, I invite you to take a trip around Cairo at just about any time. Wild stuff!
John D, Cairo
A: Oh, no, the bridges haven’t been burned at all. In fact, Jay sits on an advisory committee with Canada Basketball and I’m sure they will pick his brain a lot when it comes time for a debriefing once the summer season is over.
Q: Hey Doug, love your work. I wanted your opinion on something. Before the World Championships next to no one was following the Canadian men's team. After their performance, half of Canada seems to be piping in about how inept they are.
My philosophy is if you have not followed them all along do not slag them. The finish they had was not unexpected, and while we hoped for better we know it’s part of a long term plan that I think Wayne Parrish has done a masterful job in implementing.
Sean M, Toronto
A: I think there was a lack of knowledge about the team – and its opponents, the game worldwide and expectations – that was entirely fair but not unexpected. We want our teams to do well, the two wins over France were fool’s gold and when unrealistic expectations aren’t met, the vitriol flies. But I also think some accountability is a good thing, although perhaps from the general populace this time around, it was misguided.
This was a baby step and, for many, the first time they’d ever thought about the national team program, maybe next time out of the gate people will, um, temper their enthusiasm a bit.
Q: Hi Doug. Glad you made it back safely. Do you think the performances of Barbosa and Kleiza at the Worlds bode well, as expected, or worse than expected for the Raptors? The basketball press generally seemed to find both of them to be pleasant surprise for their respective teams but I'm not sure how that translates to the NBA.
On an unrelated note, given the importance of moving screens in the international game should we expect to see Kendrick Perkins (the NBA's greatest active practitioner) on Team USA eventually if he recovers from his knee injury?
Mike D, Toronto
A: I think it bodes well, both showed they can do some things at the international level that might have been suspect from their NBA past. Specifically, Kleiza handled the ball well and showed some post moves and, Barbosa, while still lightning-quick, slowed down at times to be more efficient.
I think with Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis on the roster and their propensity for setting moving screens, we should now refer to the Boston Celtics as a “European” team.
Q: Hi Doug, you had made a comment a few days ago about David Anderson and I thought using the trade exception to get him from Houston. Had missed that announcement and went to the Raptors website but nothing was there. Saw your note about David buried on the basketball page of the sports section and again went to the Raptors website to find out more and still nothing! Did they use the trade exemption or was this just for a 2nd round pick? I feel like I have been under a rock or something and missed all the news. Thanks.
Dave M, Puslinch
A: They used the trade exception created in the Hedo Turkoglu-Leandro Barbosa transaction and because under rules of the CBA there has to be something go the other way in a deal they also sent a protected second-round pick they got from Sacramento to fulfill that obligation.
Q: I'm anxious to see if the Raptors trade players prior to season opening, but I'm not sure it's possible. What are the NBA trade deadline rules, if any for the first half of the season.
In your opinion, will the number of players that change teams, at mid season 2010-11 be more or less than those at last year's mid-season break.
Are there likely to be any small market teams, gambling (poorly) on star appeal to carry their attendance figures, or perhaps over the tax teams that may have to shed contracts at mid-season?
Will the talks between the player's association and owners have any bearing to trades this year?
TC B, Halifax
A: I can’t get a true grasp on what might happen before mid-season until we see what teams play at what level through the first couple months of the season. But it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see a lot of teams do little until they see what the financial repercussions are of the new CBA that’s eventually going to come. Monetary prudence will be the order of the day, I believe.
Q: Hello Doug, I was reading an NBA Daily from last week I think, and there was raised a question of where Louis Amundson (hope I got it right) might end up. Toronto was mentioned as having some interest. To the best of your knowledge, is that interest there, and do you think it could be a good signing. Right now I am of two minds about. One he is a high-energy guy with a definite upside of changing a game and playing within his abilities, unlike a certain Reggie Evans. But does he fit in with the present personnel. I must confess I am a little intrigued. Blessings on you and yours.
Rev. Tim, Trenton
A: There is no interest there now; have had no indication there ever seriously was. He’s an intriguing young energetic big, yes, but I don’t think he’s all that great and really might not add a whole lot to this team as its presently constructed in the front court.
Q: Hey Doug. Looking forward to another season. Any word from your MLSE sources on how season tickets sales are going this year? I would think this would have to be one of the most challenging sales periods the good folks in sales have faced in a few years, given the recession, lack of recent success and the loss of a franchise player.
Sean K, Ottawa
A: No word – that’s not something they’d share with me and I haven’t seen the right people to ask – but I, like you, would think this would be perhaps the hardest summer ever for renewals.
I fully expect some of the lowest crowds in franchise history early in the season; I fully expect that if they play hard and entertaining basketball, people will come back.
Q: Hello Doug. So, the process of "augmenting" your Raptors' coverage is afoot. Where did the summer go??? Perhaps you can you give us a sneak preview of what we might expect from you and The Star this season? (Is there really any more you can do to satisfy the appetite for coverage by the rabid Raptor fans around here??? And, if what you are "augmenting" means more work for you (and it usually does, right?) a very sincere thanks in advance!) As well, for we fans of university hoops, are you planning to expand your CIS coverage - both mens and womens - and perhaps some to Canadian College Basketball stories, too??? And of course there is always hope of news of our expanding National Teams and the supporting programs! Whew, eh? (Just to give you a wee break in the workload, I am, with reluctance, not even going to ask you about Grunt-TV anymore...sigh :)) Thank you.
Lorie P, London
A: Here’s the thing: We got a new sports editor at the end of my Turkey Adventure and we haven’t had a chance to sit down face-to-face and talk about coverage or changes or “augmentation” quite yet; that’s a job for next week.
But I did have a long chat in Turkey with a guy who is coming back to our business and is all over this “multi-platform” media world we live in and it kind of got me juiced up a bit to figure out some different things.
And, as I mentioned right after being in Ottawa last year for the CIS final, there has to be a way to get more of that stuff in the paper and on the website; for the life of me, I haven’t quite figured out how.
Q: Hey Doug. Still a little steamed that for the first time in years I'm missing Jays games because of the lack of availability of Sportsnet One with my cable provider, it looks like I'll be in the same boat with Raptors games this season. Even after spending extra dough to get the sports packages, and Raptors TV, these games are still going to be blacked out.
Have you heard any progress with Sportsnet One becoming more available in "Non-Rogers" markets?
Hunter B, Kentville, NS
A: No progress at all. But that’s an issue between Rogers and the other providers, the Raptors are on the periphery, perhaps even moreso than the Blue Jays.
Q: Hey Doug. What is happening with the trade exception, doesn't it expire after one year. I thought teams would be fighting over it and offering up stars the no longer want.
O’Neil W, Whitby
A: Yes, it expires next July and there will be all kinds of interest in it as the season unfolds. From the very, very start I’ve been suggesting they wait and see what develops in the season, I’m glad they took my advice.