A rather smallish mailbag – I think I might have missed a bunch of questions or misplaced a file or something – but it’s full of fun stuff.
Peruse it as you like, I’m off to shootaround soon and will be back for the usual in-game hijinks later on.
Q: Hi Doug. During Wednesday's Raptor game I asked a question during the in game blog, and you asked if I could submit it in the mail-bag:
During the Mavs/Clippers game Tuesday evening the play call guy referred more than once to the "principle of verticality". What does that mean? You mentioned that it's an interesting concept about a defender having the right to "air space.” Thanks
During the Mavs/Clippers game Tuesday evening the play call guy referred more than once to the "principle of verticality". What does that mean?
You mentioned that it's an interesting concept about a defender having the right to "air space.”
Peter L, Kingston
A: It might be the most missed call in the league and it’s a basic tenet of the “points of emphasis” we talk with referees about every season.
Basically, it’s this:
If a defender establishes position, he has that position from the ground to the sky. If he goes straight up and contact occurs, he’s still in what’s known as a “legal guarding position” and shouldn’t be called for a foul.
That’s why you see players and coaches standing rigid with their arms in the air pleading with the officials that they’d established “verticality” when there’s been contact under the basket.
It’s the most difficult call in all of basketball and I kind of like saying “principle of verticality” because it sounds cool.
Q: Doug: I agree with your comment about Bargnani (A frustrating sight). Another thing that annoys me is watching him take a three and hightailing it back on defense rather than following his shot. He has a good idea where the rebound is going as soon as the ball leaves his hand. Is his retreat based on instruction from Jay or simply a personal habit to make sure that he gets back on 'D' before his match-up?
Paul B, Toronto
A: Entirely strategic and here’s why:
What’s one of the things this team does defensively? Get back in transition.
What’s one of the things that’s hard to do? Offensive rebound missed three’s.
So I think – and I know a lot of coaches concur – that it’s better to get back and try to stop teams than go to the offensive glass from at least 22 feet away and hope you can track the ball.
Q: Hey Doug. I'm curious what you think the top five worst team names are in the league?
David S, Toronto
A: A good, old fashioned list.
New Jersey Nets.
Los Angeles Lakers.
What the heck do any of them mean?
Q: Hey Doug. I was at the game against the Sacramentos a couple of weeks back, and noticed you shared a little pregame pow-wow with the legendary Dick Bavetta. Got any good stories about him, or care to share why he'd stop by to chat with an ol' grunt before the game?
Brian D, Hamilton
A: Oh, it was nothing, really. You travel around enough and you’ll run into more than a few officials in hotel concierge lounges and lobbies and you get to know one another.
And it’s always nice to say hi to a friend and that’s pretty much what it was.
Stories? Not really. A nice man, what you see is what you get and he’s always willing to explain what’s going on on the court during moments of confusion so guys like me and the TV folks can get the right information out there.
Q: Dude, you mentioned the other morning that super family was reading the newspaper. Were you referring to the "actual" printed paper or laptops at the breakfast table?
I ask because I personally cannot remember the last time I had a newspaper in hand. It would seem that those are almost obsolete. Is the newspaper industry shrinking year over year (less subscriptions), and where do you see your business going in future?
I ask because I personally cannot remember the last time I had a newspaper in hand. It would seem that those are almost obsolete. Is the newspaper industry shrinking year over year (less subscriptions), and where do you see your business going in future?
Rob V, Conestogo
A: I was talking about the actual physical newspaper, a copy of which lands on the front porch at Casa Doug every morning and is read at breakfast each day by Super Son and Super Wife while I’m working on the blog.
Oh, the circulation figures are down across the industry, which is why management is offering buyouts, looking for ways to generate more revenue and exploring other financial options. Where’s it going? Well, the first publisher who figures out how to maximize earnings off websites will be a hero to everyone; until then we muddle through and try to “grow” the business in other ways, I guess.
To me, reading is as much a tactile exercise as anything but I’m an old codger.
Q: Hi Sir. I have a draft question in general not specifics. I know it is early for you regarding the draft but I will submit it anyway. It appears clear that Jose plays his best when he is the undisputed number 1. There are a couple of highly touted point guards who are projected to be in the range of the Raps when they draft (ie Kemba Walker). So the question is, if the current roster goes unchanged, would you steer away from drafting a potential stud point guard to avoid potential issues with Jose? Or would you draft one anyway knowing that he is getting a little older and will need to be replaced sooner or later? Or is the issue moot because the Raps perspective is to draft best available or is there a specific need they are targeting? Lastly with things as they stand currently, how many draft picks do they have this year?
Randy M, Crystal Beach
A: No, I would draft the best player regardless of position; have always said that and it’s not going to change. Besides, except in the truly unique cases, point guards need some time for grooming.
Picks? They have two in the first round – their own and Miami’s – and their own in the second round.
Q: Hey Doug. Quick question. Does Mother Star care whether or not your readers prefer to read your print articles, or your blog, or both? I know that I tend to come to your blog first (in a feed reader) and only click over to your articles if you post that there's something interesting in them, and I was just curious if the Star has any particular interest in a particular type of traffic on the site? Do they ever ask you to try to drive more traffic to your articles?
Darren A, Toronto
A: You know, they’ve never really said. I think they’re just glad someone’s still reading.
Seriously, I find they just want stuff well done and quick and wherever people see it, they’re fine with. Of course, the immediacy of the web drives the news of the moment so I guess that’s where the most traffic starts.
Well, well, well.
That was something, wasn’t it?
Not sure what but it yielded this:
I knew it was coming, and there’d been a trickle that turned into a bit of a flood Saturday, and I guess it has to be addressed.
No, I don’t think Jay’s getting fired; no, I don’t think Bryan’s getting fired and neither should.
The kneejerk reaction to Saturday was predictable but the manner in which defeat was achieved was an aberration; missing 67 shots and playing atrociously offensively is not something that’s been an issue for this team so far this year. If it had been, I’d be stark raving mad having watched so much.
No, Jay’s doing what he can with a young, suspect roster; Bryan’s got the flexibility to make significant moves if they come up later this year or in the summer and it’s time to stay the course, not blow it up.
This is a young team with an unproven and sometimes over-matched roster and it always was going to a difficult and at times trying season. Anyone who thought otherwise when the season began was sadly misguided.
Toss in the loss of three key players in Evans, Barbosa and Kleiza and the inherent pressure that puts on players not yet ready for the roles they’re asked to play, losses are going to mount.
But to change course now? Silly.
A frustrating sight
I would be kind of supportive of Andrea standing out behind the three-point with his arms in his air and a look of exasperation on his face a lot of times (and I must have seen it a dozen times last night) if I were to once see something else from him:
You know, a cut through the lane, a flare to the sideline to create some other space for cutters, something, anything.
He’s got a point
So it’s mentioned to Jay that perhaps putting Sonny back in the starting lineup would cut into the bench scoring production and he brings up a pretty good point.
“Our bench was getting about eight points a game for a while, so … might as well get them when we can.”
More? Yeah, there’s more. It’s what we do.
Two seats down from me Saturday night was the guy with the hardest job in the arena.
That’d be old friend Jimmy Powell (some of you Vancouverites may remember him) and he’s working, as he has for years and years, as an NBA scout for the Pacers.
At one point, when the Raptors had a rather odd conglomeration of players on the court, I looked down and wondered just how he was diagramming the 1-2 screen-roll with Jerryd Bayless and Trey Johnson.
And whether it was really worth his while to be there.
So you can deliberately punch a guy in the groin while he’s elevated taking a jump shot and the NBA does nothing about it?
Celtics-Lakers on TV today, right?
Wanna know what’s up in Minnesota, where they’re relishing win No 11? It’s here.
And they say this about the Pacers, in case you were wondering.
Got this one out of a rather full mailbag that’ll be up tomorrow morning sometime.
Q: Hi Doug. I was just wondering about the popularity of your website when the Raps are struggling.
Do website hits decrease when the team is playing poorly and increase when they are playing well? Just wondering about the dedication of the "irregulars" I guess. Thanks, and keep up the good work.
Do website hits decrease when the team is playing poorly and increase when they are playing well? Just wondering about the dedication of the "irregulars" I guess.
Thanks, and keep up the good work.
Kyle S, Ottawa
A: It’s funny, but it doesn’t make that huge a difference, actually. Yeah, the blog hits (at least on the way I track them) are down marginally this season but they still average about 13,000 a day and if there’s an issue or news, they can spike. We had one day in the last 30 (not sure which one it was) that went over 20,000.
But there are some Irregulars who have gone missing, some I miss a lot (you know who you are), some I’m quite fine with not hearing from so I imagine the overall interest has taken a wee bit of hit. It’s why I’m thankful those who remain, do.
I must admit, thought, I’m kind of interested in what the numbers would be like if this team was really good.
Guess there was lots of room over at the TV broadcast location (better for Jack and Matt to chat and promote their T-shirts and generally have their fun.
Why the space?
There was no local broadcast in Minny of the 11-34 Raptors facing the 10-34 Timberwolves and there won’t be any next Friday when the same two juggernauts meet in Toronto.
Some programming exec needs a raise or a promotion or something.
Me? I’ve got the Wales tonight because I don’t think the Campbells have the depth.
What? Not like that anymore?
Oh, ok. Guess I’ll put on my AFC jersey and watch the other one.
I’m looking at the boxscore some Saturday, see FGA: 101 for Toronto and I’m thinking somewhere, Sam Mitchell is smiling.
And maybe not just because they got up 100 shawts.
The things you see in a lobby bar working on a blog late a night.
A horde of funsters comes wandering in, obviously from some event, and when they spy a guy sitting at a table typing at midnight on a Saturday, their curiosity is piqued.
And in the conversation that ensues I find out that Northstar Residential from here is having its annual Holiday Party and I’m thinking, what’s the holiday?
And it’s explained that, sure, why wouldn’t you have a Christmas/Hanukkah party on Jan. 29, doesn’t everyone?
Best and most famous shrimp cocktail you can imagine at St. Elmo’s (think horseradish that makes your eyes water, shrimp that would make Bubba Gump blush) and dinner at the sister joint next door.
It would seem to be a day to forget about, you know, the job.
Except I know some of you still have questions and should send them here for the mail.
Okay, time to go catch the big bird to Indy, not sure about airport wireless here, I’ll get to the many comments (and the bit about not firing guys should rile up the stomachs of some of you) when I can.
Welcome back, again.
What's this, the third straight Saturday game?
This the pucks?
Well, there’s a little baby Delta plane sitting at the gate waiting to shuttle me off the Twin Cities but first …
Sign of the times
Sometimes, guys just don’t get it.
Very first possession of the game and Toronto wants to go to Bargnani in the post. Smart move, see if they can get a quick foul, get him started off quickly.
Well, he posts up, takes the entry pass from Jose and when a second defender starts inching over he kicks it back out to Calderon.
Now, the smart play is for Bargnani to then get deeper position, repost himself and Jose knows this. And he waits. And is ready to re-enter the ball.
And what’s Andrea do? Instead of re-establishing himself in the post, he moves further away from the basket and, yes, he made the shot but that’s not the point.
So to all who wonder why they don’t dump the ball into him more often, that’s a pretty good indicator of why. Sometimes, he just doesn’t want it.
Good game, one blip
Yes, Amir Johnson was outstanding – 24 points and 12 rebounds and no serious foul trouble – but there was the one play that kind of sticks out.
Biting on an Ersan Ilyasova fake 25 feet from the basket and fouling a 29 per cent three-point shooter who happens to be the sixth-best free throw shooter in the entire NBA with a second left in the first half kind of sums up Toronto’s decision-making process for most of the night, doesn’t it?
But otherwise, Amir was very, very good.
Decisions, decisions, decisions
Bad ones, that is.
A Sonny Weems three-point attempt down three with 33.8 seconds left in overtime so unbelievably bad, it should be a “how not to win” lesson for all of basketball.
There were about 10 seconds left on the shotclock, Weems is a 24 per cent three-point shooter who hasn’t even attempted one in a game in, oh, a month or so and there were about two teammates within about 10 feet he could have passed to.
Yes, Jose fouling Delfino on the resulting possession was a big mistake and mental gaffe but if they don’t get a ridiculous shot just before it, well, who knows.
A bit more? Why, of course.
Mysteries unraveled because that’s what we do here.
You know how Julian Wright sometimes starts a game with a headband and then shows up later in the game without one?
Want to know why?
Sometimes he just forgets.
Now, Julian might be – how do I put this? – the biggest sweat hog in the history of the team. He’s drenched after the slightest workout like you can’t believe and he told me last night he goes through two uniforms, three undershirts and, yes, a couple of headbands every game.
And sometimes he just forgets to put the second headband on.
There you go.
I swear I was sitting sipping after the game and looked up to see Kevin Garnett smack Phoenix’s Channing Frye right in the testicles when Channing was in the air shooting a jump shot.
No one’s that much of a punk, are they?
No self-professed NBA tough guy/leader would do something that cheap would they?
Couldn’t have happened, could it have?
So, Minnesota, eh?
Raptors do beat the Timberwolves like a rented mule, it’s 12 games and counting back to 2004 but it was no forever thus.
In fact …
It got ugly.
I remember being there late in the 2001-02 season when they got drilled by the Timberwolves. A bunch of guys were hurt, they played like crap and the season was pretty much in the toilet.
They stayed in Minny that night, the team hotel was a short walk from the arena and Dell Curry and Antonio Davis, who were entirely miffed by what was going on, decided to walk back. They resolved to salvage the season and did, going on to win 12 of their last 14 to make the playoffs.
Now, if they’d only taken Chris Childs with them on that walk and given him a math tutorial, who knows what might have happened. That was the year Childs forgot the score in Game 5 of the Pistons playoff series.
It got uglier
It’s early November, 2003 and we’re still trying to get used to Kevin O’Neill and his interesting suck-the-life-and-fun-out-of-basketball style.
Well, they go to Minneapolis for what I seem to recall was their first or second road game of the season and O’Neill’s stifling defence holds the Timberwolves to 73 points.
And that was good enough for a 17-point Minnesota win because KO’s lads only put up 56 points and that remains the fewest ever scored by the Raptors in a game.
Speaking of Minnesota, the Timberwolves lost in Utah on Friday and here are the ugly details.
And while we’re at it, Charles F. reports on the Bucks like this.
This comes out of the mail, which could use a bit of a jolt so if you’d like to send a wee note click here and do it.
Q: Hello Doug. By merely reading the headline of the OJ Mayo suspension story yesterday my immediate response was to wonder how on earth a player could be so naive as to use a banned substance. However, Mayo stated that he purchased the supplement over the counter and was unaware that it contained the banned substance dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).
Whether he knew or not, I would suspect that players looking for an "edge" to increase performance or even to combat the effects of chronic pain due to injury - or whatever the reason - it's not difficult to understand why a player might succumb to the allure of these substances. Can you tell me what sort of guidance, information, advice the Raptors organization provides players about the use of these products? Do teams ever conduct their own "in-house" tests? Thanks!
Lorie P, London
A: I guess the easy answer to why he did it, and why he got a 10-game suspension for it comes in one word:
In this day and age, you’d think any athlete anywhere who was taking supplements would bring the bottle to the arena, give to a member of the team’s staff and let them check its contents for prohibitive substances. It’s lunacy not to. But, guess some of them are loons.
Teams make sure every player knows what’s on the banned list, how dangerous some of the stuff you get over the counter can be and like to approve every dietary supplement a player takes.
But, no, they cannot do their own tests under the collective bargaining agreement.
I have no idea how Rob Base was, I paid no attention whatsoever.
Just letting you know.
All right, think it’s around noon Eastern time when I get to Minny, won’t be back before then. Play nicely among yourselves until then, okay?
And, yes, we’ll be here at 8 tonight for anyone who’d like to hang out.
Well, no new guys yesterday. No 10-day dudes, no trades, no more injuries, no nothing.
We all saw Julian Wright struggle offensively the other night, right? Missed some easy shots inside and he’s a suspect jump shooter anyway (although I will say he might be the hardest practice worker on the team).
But he’s got to keep shooting it.
One of the tenets of this team’s offence, and it pretty much goes for any team in the NBA is if you’re open, take the shot because you need to make teams defend you.
Jay knows it. But he also knows that it’s better, in Julian’s case at the moment, to do something else rather than take jumper after jumper.
“If he never shoots it, they never respect it. If he drives to the basket the way he did in the second half (against Philadelphia) and finishes a layup, now they have to respect him a little bit more.”
And if Jay was Sam, I would have gotten a quick, “duh!” to the follow up question when it was suggested that, yeah, he’s got to take shots to keep defence honest but he’s got to make one or two.
“Absolutely. The guy works as hard as he can and he’s having a hard time making shots right now so the next thing you can do is keep the defence on edge by making a pass to someone else, setting a good screen or driving the ball to the basket. Do other things and hopefully the confidence comes back.”
It’s Fan Night.
Guess I should load up the best Of Rob Base CD in the car since he’s the halftime show.
But can someone tell me who he is first?
For some reason (space, I presume) they forgot to run in the paper the little item I did on Canada’s men’s team and the draw for the 2011 Olympic qualifier this summer in Argentina.
Anyway, Canada’s in a group with Brazil, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Cuba; the other group is Argentina, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Paraguay and Panama.
Top two make it to 2012 in London automatically, the next three get to go to a last-gasp qualifier of 12 teams (3 Olympic berths on the line) in the summer of 2012.
Probably slim to get out of the first event (you have to think Argentina and Brazil have the inside track) and just as long a shot if they get to the second one.
The big thing, though, is the impact of an NBA lockout. If there is one and none of the NBA guys can take part, I like Canada’s chances of being one of the top two a lot better. Still don’t think they’re good but I like them better.
Oh, Matt Bonner? Still working on the citizenship thing to expedite matters and there’s been no political will to fast-track it. If worse comes to worse, though, he can become one of us in 2012 because of his marriage to a Toronto woman. That’d be too late for the qualifier, of course, so there still needs to be some work done on that front.
And I got to talk to him briefly last week when we were in San Antonio and he’s still all gung-ho to play for his adopted country.
If any of you have some juice with the doofus mandarins up the nation’s capital, make mention of Matt, would you? Canada Basketball thanks you.
What’s up with the Bucks?
This is up with the Bucks, courtesy of Uncle Tom.
Here’s a question I get often, or at least a version of it.
Q: In Thursday's blog you mentioned how they are still willing to work with Alabi, and see what he becomes. I have to wonder why the management would do that. If after half a season, he hasn't been able to work his way in to an NBA game (of significance) then we would have to assume that his ceiling is pretty low. There has to be someone somewhere worth paying the same money to, that you could at least expect to get a few minutes out of in a real NBA game. Can you explain what the thought process is in keeping Alabi for this year and next?
Peter L, Toronto
A: I don’t think anyone knows what Alabi will turn into and it’s far, far too early to cast him aside. And I doubt there is someone available and making the minimum salary for a second-round pick who’s better than anyone this team trots out on a regular basis.
Will Solo become a functioning member of even a mediocre team’s rotation? I have my doubts but I think you want to see him for long than four months to determine that. Let him keep practicing and improving and run him out in the summer league (if there is one) and see where he is.
And, besides, someone has to be the 12th or 15th man on a 15-man roster, why not a kid who might be something?
I see they did the starters for the all-star game.
You voted for Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Amare Stoudemire and Dwight Howard for the East and Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Yao Ming for the West.
Now, we all know the selection of Yao is simply tomfoolery that comes of the love they have for him in his homeland but other than that, I think the fans got it right.
Can’t really see who would be a better choice than the nine guys and I guess it restores faith in balloting process.
The interesting thing, of course, is who the coaches pick as backups (they have to vote by Tuesday and the results are made public Thursday) because that’s where the debate rages.
I haven’t given it a lot of thought – we have days next week here to fill, and I’ll need the time – but the one guy I can see being snubbed is Golden State’s Monta Ellis. But we’ll get to that next week.
So, another silly Saturday night game (who are these guys, the Leaves?) means we’ll push back the mailbag until Monday again (it’ll give me something to do when I’m hanging out in Indy on Sunday) so click here if you want to hang with the cool kids.
See you tonight for the IGBT.
Seriously, folks, it’s almost getting too hard to do snark here; the Groundhog Day nature of this season is beating me down. I either need a break, a win or something so crazy that it gives me days of material.
Until then …
Welcome to the league
So much for having to know the offence to run it.
It might have been in his first minute on the floor when Trey Johnson finds himself with the ball, Jerryd Bayless is pretty well covered and can’t get a pass and you can see Johnson thinking “hmm, what do I do now?”
So he decides to call a play, even if he’s not sure what it is or if the Raptors have it in their playbook.
He surveys the scene, yells out “floppy” (a play involving a series of baseline screens that every team in professional basketball runs, just about) and starts acting as a point guard.
Can’t remember if they scored, but I do remember the look on Johnson’s face being “I’ve got to do something, hope they know what I’m calling.”
Deserves some props
No, Sonny Weems didn’t have a particularly good game or much of an impact when he was out there but I think you need to give him some credit for playing.
He says his back is better but I wondered when I saw him go in all alone from about midcourt after a steal and lay the ball in instead of dunking it.
Kind of a telling play, no?
In dubious company
You know me and the willingness to do all kinds of research, right?
Well, here I am all ready with my Handy Dandy Media Guide (not a Handy Dandy Notebook for those with tiny kids) ready to scour the fine print and find out the last time these lads were an uninspiring 20 games below .500.
One of the bad Butch years?
The 16-66 torture?
Well, that didn’t take long.
How about March 16, 2009 when they lost to Charlotte and fell to 24-44.
Ah, the glory days.
Now, here’s more.
I can’t wait for a year from yesterday to see what the world does when the hockey guy turns 51.
If there is one thing that’s going on with these fellows it’s that young DeMar is garnering at least a wee bit of attention around the league.
A spate of 20-plus nights will do that, so will be invited to the dunk contest and so will some pub on the interwebs.
My Man Asch was the latest to weigh in; here’s what he came up with.
So, did everyone see this story in Forbes (not sure how many Forbes readers live here but some must) that ranks the NBA teams by monetary value and puts the locals at No. 10? Now, I’m sure the people at Maple Leaf Sports will either dispute or ignore the numbers (it’s a privately-held company and no one knows where the stacks of $1,000 bills is stored) but I’m thinking people at Forbes don’t blow these things too often.
What’s it mean?
That MLSEL is a good business venture and it makes money hand over fist. Does it pour it back into its sports teams? Probably not enough to satisfy many of you but on the basketball side they do okay in the payroll area.
I’ve always contended its not simply a case of spending money that turns a franchise into a consistent winner (if it was, we’d have seen far more Knicks-Blazers-Mavs finals than we have) but it’s spending wisely that works.
And that’s what the Raptors have to do more than anything else, use their resources to spend smartly, not just spend.
Can they do it?
What’d the say about that one in the pages of Philadelphia publications?
I’m pretty sure we’ve got a Haligonian or two around these parts, don’t we?
I need a favour.
Some of you have to go to a Halifax Rainmen game in the next little while, find your way down courtside and tell Mike Evans congratulations from an old friend in Toronto.
Yeah, the former assistant to Sam got the gig as the head coach of the minor league team (it’s in something called the Premier Basketball League) and he started this week.
Mike is one of the true good guys I’ve know a bit over the years, he’s been around the game forever and it’s good he’s getting a job after living in Denver and running camps since he left the Raptors.
I remember the day Sam got whacked in Denver and I’m told they wanted to fire Mike at the same time but didn’t and he handled the rest of that year like a pro.
So go see him, watch a game and if you get a chance, tell him I said hello.
This high school stuff’s getting to me and I don’t understand teens.
Super Son’s all done first semester exams, has a few days off and isn’t he supposed to sleep until noon every day?
Why is it just after 7:30 a.m. and we’ve got a DVD of old Get Smart shows playing?
Not that I mind, it’s a classic show and I used to have a huge crush on a young Barbara Felton but, really.
I think we need a Cone Of Silence around here.
Let’s get a quick, short one out of the mail.
(And you did very well yesterday, congrats. But being the greedy sot that I am, I’d like more. Here, please).
Q: Hi Doug. What does Ajinca's arrival mean for Alabi's tenure with the team? Can we expect a trade with Denver to send Alabi over to his mentor's team? Is this move part of a chess game by BC for further trades? If so, the options are not readily apparent to me.
Mark L, Abbotsford
A: Good question.
I don’t think it means an awful lot for Alabi, actually. They know he’s not ready to play yet, at least Ajinca has a modicum of NBA experience and they feel more comfortable throwing Ajinca out for five or six minutes a night than they do Solo.
Long-term? Well, if Ajinca shows anything they might try to keep him around a little bit and Alabi’s got another year on his contract so it could very well be a case of them being the two bigs at the end of the bench season.
But they are still willing to sit and wait and see if Alabi develops and there’s no desire to move him anywhere.
Here we go again.
Kind of a slow day around the lads Tuesday as we get ready for the impending arrival of Trey Johnson, which should coincide with the return of flu-ridden Jose Calderon.
And that, folks, is what passes for news these days.
Luckily, there’s this kind of stuff:
Let’s say you’re an NBA coach and there’s less than a second left and you’re down two and you’ve got to call a play.
What’s the one thing you want more than anything?
A chance to draw up something the other team might not expect, or at least a chance to have two or three different things in mind that you’re confident will get you even a passable look.
See where I’m going with this?
So did Jay.
“I don’t find that difficult (drawing up a play); I find it difficult to disguise who we’re going to go to because our options are a little bit more restricted with the guys being out of the lineup.”
And that’s a part of why things are tough. With a group on the floor with the game on the line that was Jerryd Bayless, Sundiata Gaines, DeMar DeRozan, Andrea Bargnani and Amir Johnson, everyone in the Air Canada Centre knew that it was going to be Bargnani who was option No. 1, 2, 3, and probably four and that’s why the Grizzlies had like three guys paying attention to him.
How much easier would it have been to have, say, Calderon, Barbosa and Kleiza instead of Bayless, Gaines and Johnson?
It will be forever thus with such a depleted roster.
And, no, Alexis Ajinca won’t be one of them.
Out of the mouths of babes, or at least teenage saxophonists who have a passing interest in what Dad does for a living.
It’s breakfast the Day After The Streak Ended and Super Son is reading the paper along with Super Wife – because they know where their bread is buttered – and they spy a story that says something about the Raptors’ slump continuing and much hilarity ensues.
“How can it be a slump if they’ve never been good, dear old dad?”
“Hey, my darling husband, is it a ‘slump’ if it’s what they’ve been doing all year?”
Tough crowd at Casa Doug, no?
So the New Orleans Hornets hit an attendance benchmark that means they’ll be staying the city until at least 2014.
The good: I’ve found Fritzel’s and Frenchman Street for the next couple of visits.
The bad: It takes Seattle out of the mix for a while.
We – still – mourn the streak.
Not really, but Jay did talk about it, quite facetiously, after practice Tuesday.
Couple of good one-liners and the expected “It doesn’t mean anything, it wasn’t something we were going to change game plans for” stuff.
“It’s one less thing we can put in our media notes. That’s about the extent of that streak being broken.”
Before that, he’d been asked when he first heard the tragic news:
“I found out as we were walking off the floor. Somebody yelled at me that I should be fired because we didn’t make a three.”
While on the topic of Alexis Ajinca, who looks like a strong wind may blow him over, I think I need to point this out to anyone thinking he’s going to come in and have an impact:
In his career, he’s played for Larry Brown and Rick Carlisle, who I think we can all agree are not bad coaches, and they haven’t been able to find a way to use him with any regularity.
This seems strange, getting a link for you from the Philly papers and knowing I can’t see my late friend’s name.
Anyway, here’s what they had to say there today.
Hey, it’s already Wednesday and the mail slot over there is virtually empty and you people need to get going, thank you very much. You know the drill.
It’s taking a long time to search out what’s there, too. Apparently some hockey dude is having a birthday or something like that and there’s like 60 pages of memories.
Anyway, did find this one:
Q: Hey Doug! As the Raptors' season has been a bit more disappointing of late for fans and franchise alike, you should know that your work is never in vain. It is the kick start to my day!
My question is this: having heard your dulcet voice for the first time on the Fan590, I was shocked at how off I was in my assumption on how you sounded in real life. For some reason I was picturing something akin to Jon Lovitz (I'm sorry). Since I know you love to add as much extra, unpaid work to your schedule as possible, do you think we will ever hear you a la podcast like Cousin Sekou (who I should add, dropped your name on the latest Hangtime Podcast). Wow, I made a mess of this comment.
My question is this: having heard your dulcet voice for the first time on the Fan590, I was shocked at how off I was in my assumption on how you sounded in real life. For some reason I was picturing something akin to Jon Lovitz (I'm sorry). Since I know you love to add as much extra, unpaid work to your schedule as possible, do you think we will ever hear you a la podcast like Cousin Sekou (who I should add, dropped your name on the latest Hangtime Podcast).
Wow, I made a mess of this comment.
Andrew P, Toronto
A: I got a mention from Cousin Sekou? Outstanding. I hear he’s coming to London in March, too. Maybe I can do a guest spot.
In all seriousness, we haven’t talked much about podcasts at our place in a few months. Seems the video component of what we do has been put on the backburner for some reason but I think we need to get it back.
Trouble is, do we do it once week? Once every two weeks? Whenever the mood strikes? I promise to talk to my bosses this week and see how they feel.
And I’m okay with Jon Lovitz, actually.
You all had your haggis last night, right?
And you all know why you did, right?
Ajinca? He’ll be No. 42.
Guess the Donyell Marshall jersey retirement plans are dead.
Not to mention Walt Williams, Kevin Willis, Art Long and The Legendary Mengke Bateer.
Doug Smith has been a sportswriter for more than 30 years, a journey that's included seven Olympic Games, numerous and varied championships and more dreary regular season games than he'd care to remember. Here, he'll talk about them all, as well as current events and pop culture. (Just don’t ask him about music nowadays — it's not his cup of tea).