You know what today is? The start of the weekend mail, again
Okay, folks, here you go for today but unless a whole bunch of you do some diligent work sometime today, we’re going to have an all-world short mailbag to finish off our weekend tomorrow.
I’ve saved a few but not nearly enough so if you’ve got something on your chest, click here to get it off.
Until then? Enjoy this and the start of the holiday weekend.
Q: Hi Doug: Since you asked for mail, and since there's not a lot going on right now with the Raps, I decided to ask a question about you. (And, as we all know, it's all about...)
What do you find to be the hardest part of writing a game story? I understand that it may vary from game to game, but, just in general, what's toughest for you?
Thanks again for all that you do!
Tim H, Windsor
A: The hardest part is not having enough time to craft something above average every night. Truthfully, it’s not that difficult to simply recite facts, the difficulty comes in trying to present them in an entertaining manner and with a unique “angle” that no one else might use.
The time and deadline issues you get used; it’s wading through the stuff in your mind to get something that distinguishes you from the others is hard.
Q: Hi Doug. What are your thoughts on expanding the playoffs in baseball? Good or bad. Do you think other items such as a salary cap and reducing the schedule to 154 games might actually help to improve the competitiveness/quality of play in baseball and give lower tier teams a chance to compete. Thanks
Joe D, Mississauga
A: I think it’d be a good idea to maybe add one more wild card team, but that’s about it. I certainly wouldn’t want eight teams per league or anything else because most playoffs are now a survival test as much as anything.
And, of course, I am a proponent of lopping off eight games from any sport’s regular season. Trouble is, I’m pretty sure the owners aren’t going to go for that.
Q: Hi Doug. Just a question regarding the attribution of player performance in the NBA, and more generally in sports. I've always secretly wondered that when a player is chastised for not bringing their "A" game, or for lacking in effort, that there are really ulterior reasons for their performance (or lack there of). For example, a player who's performance down the stretch of a game is weak can be said to have lost "focus" or that they "didn't want it bad enough", or something ambiguous like that. I'm pretty sure that all players are at least trying to be focused and do really want to win. Do you think that sports journalism far too often likes to sensationalize or simplify the cause for personal performances without really hitting on the true cause for that performance?
Josh M, Toronto
A: Sure we do, far too often. I don’t think – and have never thought – that players don’t “try” when they’re on the court, the field, the ice. The “lack of focus” or “didn’t want it bad enough” are easy throwaway lines uses far too often. The thing is: Sometimes guys have bad days at the office, they have things on their mind, minor bumps, a headache, who knows. But effort? I don’t believe anyone’s ever said, “boy, I hope I miss this shot” or something like that.
Trouble is, it’s often impossible for us to find out what’s going on during those off nights because when we ask, we always get blank stares and refusals to admit there’s anything going on.
Q: Hi Doug! A basketball question!!! Well, sort of, a free-agency question. I know, why should I worry about free-agency before the big-shots even sit at the table in earnest to discuss having a season? I wanted to ask, in light of Wilson Chandler signing overseas, is it possible for an NBA team to sign a player to a contract for a future season? I imagine this is impossible to do for players already under contract due to tampering laws, and for players not under contract this shuts a door for them, so they wouldn't do it. But in a Wilson Chandler case, could he sign for 12-13 in the NBA (forgetting he is restricted for a second), play out his season in China, and return to a freshly minted contract?
Not much of a seamhead, here but thanks for keeping the summer mornings interesting!
David T, Ottawa
A: No, it’s not possible, there’s a reciprocity to the contracts registered with FIBA and the NBA that would preclude that from happening. Now, I’m not saying there couldn’t be a wink-and-nod arrangement in place, like “you go there, come back here” in a year but nothing signed.
Don’t forget, though, that if restricted free agents go to Europe or Asia their NBA teams retain their rights, as was the case in Toronto with Carlos Delfino, to bring it back to the HOTH.
Q: Biggest draft bust you can remember?
Cory G, Jasper
A: In my time? A tie between Michael Olowokandi and Kwame Brown. You take whichever one you want and I’ll take the other.
Q: Doug, what do you think the Men's National Team will look like in 4 years (re: Wiggins, Thompson, Kabongo, Birch)? Could you please give us the future starting five with a few bench players? Does FIBA have a 3 in the key rule the DR's double-double man never left the key last night.
Peter B, Waterloo
A: It’s impossible to even guess which players might be on a national team in four years, far too many variables like who will want to play, who might get hurt, who might not develop.
No, FIBA does not have a defensive 3-second rule like the NBA does, it plays under old-fashioned zone rules that allow anyone to stand anywhere for as long as they like. And with the sometimes shoddy and erratic officiating you get, adding something as convoluted as the NBA rule might make an officials’ head explode.
Q: Hello Doug, I'm hoping that the Canadian Basketball League sees a steady increase in attendance and enthusiasm. The amount of coverage that it receives on highlight shows would certainly have an impact.
Would there have been any contact between the league and broadcasters about whether they would show highlights?
Thanks for all your effort on the blog.
R.A. M, Charlottetown
A: My understanding is that there are already talks underway between the league and TV networks to try and get some games televised once the first season starts. There has been no resolution but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if someone didn’t jump up and do a Game Of The Week at least.
Q: Doug. With Canada's national team hopefully moving forward to the next round in the America's tournament, it appears that Leo Rautins (who became the coach without any experience) is becoming a pretty good coach. I note that some of the players that he had had difficulties with earlier are back in the fold too. Do you think - if he ever wanted it - that he could get some NBA assistant coach interest now?
Geoff H, Toronto
A: Nah, I would be surprised. Not sure if he’d want it and I’m not sure a modicum of success in something as small as FIBA Americas would have NBA teams remotely interested.
Q: Doug, all these impromptu games players are organizing, are they good for the game itself? Once the negotiations are complete and the players return to a more structured format with coaches and game plans, how will that work out for players who have been "free wheeling" it? How will the self described leaders / coaches of these impromptu games feel about having a different game plan, or the insertion of different players into the rotation? Players need to stay in shape, but could they be creating problems down the road?
As always, thanks.
Steph R, Glencoe
A: I honestly don’t think they are either good or bad. They’re fun for some to watch, they get the players some quasi-competitive runs and most fans seem to like them. I don’t think there will be any residual effect on the individuals or their teams once “real” games resume.
For now, guess they should be treated for what they are: Fun for some and a way to connect with fans at a different level. I’m sure the players know that, too.
Q: Doug, I have PVR'd all Canada's games this week. You're right, scoring is an issue. I don't "think" coaching is the issue, but I can't imagine Carl English pounding the air out of the ball is basis for a good offense. Is there a typical European or NBA style of game that would suit Canada to model themselves after?
Woodrow W, Brampton
A: Not having seen a lot of this particular team in person, it’s kind of hard for me to say but without a true inside presence and without a lot of break-down abilities on the wing, I’d suggest they should use some kind of motion offence, double high-posts, cutting, reading and reacting to get as many open mid-range jump shots as they can. I don’t know that they can really try to run a lot – there isn’t a lot of quickness on the roster and they aren’t the best rebounding team ever to ignite fast breaks – so I’d suggest slower is a little bit better.
Q: Doug, I was reading in another paper of Matt Bonner's ongoing disappointment with the excruciating delays with his citizenship application. Do you know who we could write to in Ottawa to lend our support to the Red Rocket? How about The Star mounting an online petition?
Joe S, Kingston
A: Write your MP, whoever it is, but it’s not going to make a difference and, you want to know the truth, I’m not sure it should. There is a process in place and it takes time and I’m sure some of us would be hollering if they fast-tracked some hockey player for no apparent reason. But the length of time it takes a person who marries a Canadian to be eligible for citizenship will be up before the London Olympics comes around and that’s all that matters. I want you to consider this, too: Given his role on the executive board of the NBA Players Association and all the stuff it’s got going on this summer, do you wonder if he’d have had time to play? Maybe. Maybe not.
So write your MP but there will be no online petition or anything from this corner.
Q: Hey Doug. You like answering hypotheticals right? Particularly when it comes to NBA drafts and the sort. Well this should be right in your wheelhouse then. Lets say the season is a wash, what happens to the draft order in 2012? Out of curiosity, what's the rumor mill saying?
Derek A, Fredericton
Two weeks in a row.
We don’t know, I don’t care and the rumour mill is saying it’ll be at least the calendar year 2012 before we have to worry about it. But, and I mean this with no disrespect because I’m simply trying to get this question in every week, thanks for writing. You were the only one to ask this week and I was worried.