A quick look into the mail
Told you I’d be a bit late.
Have at this for now; I’ve saved some for the middle of the week when I lose a day or so travelling.
See some of you tonight, game’s at 6, remember?
Q: Hi Doug. In light of the blowout versus the Suns on Friday, I was wondering if it is easier to write a piece when there is a blowout (for either team - e.g. can start writing before the game ends?) or when it is a close match (more to talk about, perhaps)?
Diego S, Toronto
A: Personally, all things being equal with regards to deadlines, I prefer a close game with lots of different plays and issues to talk and write about. It lends itself a better narrative than some blowout that’s decided early, like Friday’s game was.
But I’m also not sure either is “easier” but you still need to find some kind of interesting angle to develop that people don’t already know about.
Q: Doug. We all appreciate the great work you do covering the Raptors. In your articles, blogs, IGBT, you seem not to express emotions about our HOTHC. I am curious, are you a Raptors fan or simply a sports journalist covering the Raptors?
A T, Niagara Falls
A: A fan of the team? No, not at all. I enjoy the game and the sport and a lot of the people connected to it but I am not a Raptors “fan” at all. I am a fan of good stories well told.
Q: Hi Doug. Weird question -- what happens if a ref falls ill or gets injured during a game. Is there a so-called 'bench' of refs? And have you ever seen this happen?
Kevin O, Waterloo
A: I’ve never seen it happen but I know it has, with refs getting sick or pulling a muscle or whatever. In the regular season, they’d just go through the game with two; in the post-season there are backups on site.
Q: Hi Doug, an NBA history question for you... Why have teams that have moved kept their same team names? New Orleans/Utah Jazz, Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers, Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies? Would Oklahoma City be the Sonics if not for the name being allowed to stay in Seattle as part of the relocation deal? There has to be a WHY. These names are as ridiculous as imagining the Washington Expos or Colorado Nordiques!
Fergie F, Kitchener
A: Not sure there is a specific why but I bet the fact that when those teams moved, well, the Lakers and Jazz in particular, there wasn’t such a concern with marketing and the “brand.”
Q: Hi Doug. When you watch youth sports it is usually pretty obvious who the best players are right away. Is it the same in the NBA?
Obviously Lebron or Dwight Howard stand out from the crowd, but what about a perennial all-star like Ray Allen, Deron Williams or Steve Nash, who aren't physically different, but have superior skills and/or mental approach? Should it be pretty obvious to Raptors fans when we have a player here again that will be a perennial all-star? Thanks,
Obviously Lebron or Dwight Howard stand out from the crowd, but what about a perennial all-star like Ray Allen, Deron Williams or Steve Nash, who aren't physically different, but have superior skills and/or mental approach?
Should it be pretty obvious to Raptors fans when we have a player here again that will be a perennial all-star?
Greg M, Halifax
A: I don’t think it should be obvious, no. Players blossom at different times in their careers and it takes time to find out who’s going to be quite good. I’m not saying there’s an all-star on this team but there might be.
Q: Hey Doug, Who's the odd (big) man out when Reggie returns? Does Alabi go to the D-League again? Would they cut Dorsey?
Francis L, Saskatoon
A: No, no one’s going to go to the D League although I presume, when Reggie’s back, Alabi goes on the inactive list for each game.
As for the minutes, here’s a direct quote from Jay on Saturday on the impact Reggie’s return will have on Amir Johnson and Ed Davis:
“They’ve both played well and we’re going to have to try to manage minutes for him and for the two of them … but different things happen and we’ll deal with it when we know he’s got the 100 per cent clean bill of health.”
Q: When a player goes through an extended shooting slump, you often hear of him sticking around after practice or on off-nights putting up hundreds of extra shots trying to get it right. With Calderon's slump, I haven't heard such things (which, granted, doesn't mean he's not doing it; just that we haven't heard). I know he's a new father. If he isn't putting in the extra time, is that a reason why? He wants (or has to) get home to be with his baby?
G M, Vancouver
A: I wouldn’t say he’s putting in a lot of extra time, there are some tugs at home, as I think most could understand. And I’m not sure you’d say “gym rat” even at the best of times with Jose so I guess it’s a matter of what works for which player.
Q: Hey Doug, never miss a blog. If Jose were passing to Pierce, Garnett, and Allan does Jose make the allstar team? And if Andrea has D Howard to take pressure off of rebounding does he become an elite NBA player? Personally i believe so.
Jeff Y, Orangeville
A: I don’t think you can say definitively either way but I think it’s apparent that good teammates lead to individual success. As for those two specific cases, most likely not in the first and anyone would benefit from the presence of a Dwight Howard.
Q: Hi Doug, former Raptors coach Kevin O' Neill is occasionally mentioned in some of your blog's most colourful recollections. You often note his ability to get his teams to play stifling defence (if at the expense of the offence). Can you provide a high level explanation of how this coaching style worked, its strengths and its limitations? Why can't aspects of it be implemented with the current Raptors squad?
Andrew H, Toronto
A: A high-level explanation? Probably not without getting into how they showed on screen-roll or rotated on the weak side.
But what KO did the most was slow the game down, no one went to the offensive glass, they didn’t run off stops and what it did was force teams to play offence against them at a rather slow pace, which tends to lead to more missed shots, longer possessions and keeps scores down.
But KO also had some better players, the impact of a veteran like Mike Curry at the back of the defence can’t be diminished.
Q: Hi Doug. Quick question about the collective agreement and rookie contracts. This year's draft is on June 23. If a player gets drafted that day and signs prior the expiration of the collective agreement on July 1, would their pay be determined by the current rookie pay scale or would a drafted player be ineligible to sign a contract until after a new collective agreement is in place? Presuming that the owners will probably push for a claw back of rookie salaries, do you think that this might push a college player who knows they will be picked in the top 10 to come out early? One such player I was thinking of was Kyrie Irving of Duke, who has lost much of this season to injury. There seems to be some questions regarding whether he'll declare for the draft or not.
Jeff D, Mississauga
A: Anyone drafted this year comes into the league under the current collective bargaining agreement and its rookie scale contracts. The question kids and agents have to have is whether the new deal will be worse for them and whether it’s worth the gamble to stay in school another year.
I presume some will but I don’t know if it’ll be a big number of them.
Q: Hi Doug; A quick one ... Now that BC has "stayed the course" at the deadline - Do you foresee wholesale changes again this offseason, or will he be more in tinkering mode? I realize the new CBA will be a major determining factor ... but anything in the crystal ball?
Always enjoy the read.
Always enjoy the read.
Bob M, Mississauga
A: Yes, the new CBA and possible lockout makes it impossible to know for sure but we are in for a relatively boring summer, I bet. I don’t think there are many moves coming at all, the whole point of this exercise was to put a group together and let it grow rather that make any kind of major overhaul.
Q: Doug. Put on your swami's hat and peer into your Might Have Been crystal ball. In that other universe, Jordan doesn't interfere in the Charlotte trade and suddenly Toronto gets a starting five of Chandler, Bargnani, Kleiza, DeRozan and Jack. A backup point guard is needed, but in the immediate post-trade glow it's Banks, Barbosa, Weems, Johnson and Diaw as the second unit.
Seems like Ed Davis would have gotten precious little on-court training. In retrospect, was it good or bad that Jordan killed the trade, as it pertains to the Raptors' future? Gary M, Brampton
Seems like Ed Davis would have gotten precious little on-court training.
In retrospect, was it good or bad that Jordan killed the trade, as it pertains to the Raptors' future?
Gary M, Brampton
P.S. Does Colangelo do Reggie a solid and give him a buyout so he can get in some playoff action? I know nobody offered as much as a second rounder for the our favourite rebounder. But surely somebody (Orlando, Boston) would sign him for the minimum. And it's not like the Raptors would benefit long-term by giving Reggie minutes instead of Davis, Johnson and Ajinca.
A: If that trade had gone through it could very well have an impact on the long-term future but it also would probably have provided a better base to grow from with a big shot-blocking presence at the rim. But I also think they would have found minutes for Davis, regardless, and as we’ve seen, his abilities would have kept him on the court.
And I haven’t heard a peep about a buyout for Reggie. Don’t think that’s a possibility.
Q: Doug, this business about player movement ruining the league is madness. As far as I can tell, the only way to avoid players leaving is an arbitration system like baseball's. But I would think that the NBA is more interested in reducing salaries as much as they can. Is it at all possible to get both?
Ray S, Toronto
A: I doubt that it is, I think you’re always going to have player movement and I don’t see it as that big an issues as long as there’s a better mechanism to keep star players with their teams, like some kind of “franchise player” tag like they have in the NFL.
But the biggest issue, according to people I’ve talked to, is economics.
Q: Hey Doug. Love the blog and all the hard work you do, I've been a little out of the loop for the Heroes, but have they used the exemption that they gained with the Bosh deal? Does it not have an expiration date on it, when is that? Also,I watching the dunk contest, the round mound had a great quote of the raptors, it went something like "Brian Colangelo had put together a great young team that should be really good in the future, too bad we play in the present" - Great line.
Mike A, Stoney Creek
A: There is about $9.1 million left of the exception and it expires in the first week of July. The next time it will really be a factor is around the draft when trades that didn’t work out in February are often re-visited.
Q: Hey Doug. You know what? I'm ticked off by all these American media folks calling Toronto (and Cleveland) the poster boys for 'How not to run a Franchise'. But in a sense, do we not do it to ourselves? With a Top 5 market size-wise, I think the root of a lot of problems come from who is really running the show... the MLSE insanity. Does being owned by such a huge and impersonal group not hurt the Raptors? Where are the Busses, Cubans, Prokorovs, even the Gilberts in Toronto? Does anyone above the GM office actually care anymore as long as the Teacher's pensions get paid?
I think we as fans deserve a lot more. Sincerely,
I think we as fans deserve a lot more.
Andrew P, Toronto
A: I think you speak for a lot of fans, a large majority in fact. And yes, while there are just as many teams that spend a lot of money foolishly and don’t win, the willingness to go into the tax level does correlate to success in some cities.
But, it’s not a case of simply being able to “spend” your way to success; you need to spend smartly, draft wisely, make good free agent signings and catch a break here or there.