The start of the weekend mail, as usual
A bit of rant – not mine, but one I’m proud of – to start and then some of the usual stuff.
I’m on a plane most of the morning, will get to what I get to when I get to Orlando. And it’s looking increasingly like a lobby bar stool tonight since few of you gave me Orlando ideas, which I contend says as much about Orlando as it does you.
Q: Hi Doug. This isn't a question. Well, not my usual sort. It's a rant. And I hope as a Tenured Irregular you'll allow me to say this here. I was sort of amused by your grumping about game ops and how inane you find them. Amused because I watch all my Raptors games and TV and am spared from having to endure them. But during the home opener Wednesday night I found it somewhat insulting to have the camera focus repeatedly during the game on bosomy women jumping up and down waving those bits of cloth souvenirs handed out to all attending the game.
Sadly, I find women sports fans are still often thought of as either wishing to engage with athletes or encouraging their children; seldom is consideration given to the fact that many of us are intelligent fans of the game. These images do nothing to illustrate positive images of women as serious, thoughtful sports fans.
However, that being said, everyone has their own definition of fun, and we all watch and attend games for different reasons, but I wonder whose idea it was to broadcast - and indeed, linger - over those particular images and how does one go about encouraging them to rethink their shot selection? Thank you.
Lorie P, London
A:I think you may just have; I believe a few people with titles in the office may see this. Or have it pointed out to them.
Q: We had a power outage last night and almost missed my alarm this morning - good thing we have a dog that was hungry.
This got me thinking about close calls that you might have had throughout the years. Have you ever almost missed a game because your watch was set wrong, or the snooze button was hit when it shouldn't have been?
Traveling would also be difficult especially with all the different time zones you could cross. Do you have to set your watch accordingly every time you are about to travel?
Lastly, how do you keep track of game start times? Do you have a Blackberry device that keeps track of those things?
S S, Newmarket
A: I’ve actually been very lucky over the course of a decade and a half of a lot of winter travel. The only game I’ve missed, at least that I can recall, was a home game on a Sunday night against San Antonio – it was actually the game Bosh went past 10,000 points, if I remember correctly – and it was because silly Air Canada couldn’t get me out of Logan on time because of weather. Other than that? I’ve lived a pretty good travel life.
But the greatest fear? We book so far in advance that I’m afraid I’m going to be flying to, say, Charlotte, while the team’s going to say, Orlando. Never happened but it’s what I fear.
As for game times and the like? I do it week-by-week and hope I don’t screw up.
So far, so good.
Q: Doug, there are times when I watch DeMar that his game reminds me a little bit of HWSNBN. Could you please compare how you think DeMar would measure up to HWSNBN when he was at this stage in his career?
Jordan Z, Toronto
A: In his third year, Vince was exponentially better than DeMar is right now; he had deeper shooting range, a far more explosive first step and a knack for getting to the rim and dunking that DeMar can only hope to emulate some day.
Look, I think DeMar’s got some major talent but he’s no Vince. I think time has clouded people’s memories at just how good HWSNBN was.
Q: Hi Doug. Thanks as always for your diligence on the blog. Not sure where you find the time/energy to do it. Couple of questions for you.
I saw that Damien Cox wrote an article about the HOTHC. How long before you write one about the Leaves?
You've mentioned many times that it's very difficult to compare stats from one basketball league to the NBA. In particular, you've talked about how the NBDL is probably good for showing who CAN'T play in the NBA, as opposed to who can.
How then is one to judge how well Jonas Valancinuas is doing given he plays in a different league?
Best wishes for you and Super Family for the New Year.
Sohail G, Collingwood
A: You are able to judge him primarily on the development of is skills, not by the success or failure of his team or his pure stats. You want to see if he’s getting more comfortable in screen-roll situations, you want to see if his footwork on defence is getting better, you want to see if the form on his jump shot is smooth and consistent, you want to see his body mature. Lots of ways to find out if he can play even though the relative merits of the two leagues are light years apart.
Me and the pucks?
Surely you jest!
Q: Doug: You were so anti-Babcock in the past. And you have been so positive-Colangelo over his tenure.
Will you now, with this terrible team, admit that Colengelo is a failure. When he entered with the Raps, he had a #1 pick, cap space, a budding all-start in Chris Bosh, and he still couldn't take this dream situation and turn the Raps into a credible playoff team....Terrible!
Doug, I believe your cheerleading of Colangelo has made you a modest accomplice to the sad state we are seeing with the raps.
I truly hope one day you will hold Colangelo's feet to the fire, as you did with Babcock (although undeservedly in that case).
Sincerely, a disheartened Raps fan craving for the media to call it like it is!
Jessu S, Toronto
A: This is one of these great ones: It’s not so much a question as a plea for validation of an opinion and you’re barking up the wrong tree.
When he entered the Raps, he had a No. 1 pick, a terrible roster, some money to spend and – to kind of refresh your seemingly failing memory – he turned that team into a 47-win division champion. Yes, things went on a downward trend after that season and, oh yeah, the playoff team of the next year but they are, in my opinion, on the upswing now.
Sorry to disappoint and not agree with you but I have a feeling you don’t truly want people to “call it like it is” as much as you want people to “hey, agree with me, I’m right and you’re wrong.”
Q: Hey Doug. I've got a general sports question for you. Are there any specific plays or instances in a game you generally hate to see? For example, I had endless timeouts when a game is out of reach or intentional walks in baseball.
Also, one more quick question, what's with the boos for Hump? You would know better than most, he seemed to come across as a genuine nice dude.
Rob K, Toronto
A: Think we kind of touched on this last week; I really hate intentional walks, quarterbacks kneeling down with a minute to go, soccer players kicking the ball into touch (I’d rather they just booted it down the field) and guys dribbling out the last 19 seconds of a rout.
Of course, all of them are legitimate parts of the game so I guess we just roll with ‘em.
Hump? Just silly to me, fans being fans. He is a good guy undeserving of scorn or ridicule.
Q: Hi Doug. So after 1 game, we have a better record than the Mavs (0-2), Lakers (0-2), and the Celtics (0-1), and are tied with the Heat. Can we start planning the parade?
Anyways, I know it's only one game, and I know the game wasn't against any of the above mentioned teams. Heck, it wasn't even against a team that will end up in the top 25.
However, were there things in last night's game that stood out and showed that they are buying into Casey's philosophies? Were there things that you probably wouldn't of seen too often last year? And things that continue to plague the team?
For me, and I know this is going to be a topic several times during the season, was Andrea's rebounding (6). However, from what I did see, he seemed to be a bit more active going after them. For example, he clanks a shot, which goes towards the sideline, and he went after it and almost saved it from going out of bounds.
Carl J, Barrie
A: The one thing we’re seeing – and it’s been present in all four games so far – is the willingness of the big men to show hard on high screens and impact the ball while slowing down the guard.
A year ago, they’d switch or try to go over or under the screen – which are two legitimate strategies lots of teams employ – but the change has made them a better defensive team against a standard NBA play. Hope they keep it up.
Q: Thank you for the holiday videos great diversification & wonderful recollections especially the Ramones clip. Weren't they the best Rock'n'roll band.
Just noticed the names of a few giants in the sports industry who passed away in 2011 who resonated with me. To your younger irregulars yes there was a sportscentre before your Sportscentre. and it was on CNN, hosted by Nick Charles & Fred Hickman. It was must watching at the time..an industry leader.
Sadly Nick Charles passed away this year but his engaging personality & broadcasting excellence will not be forgotten.
Also Rod Beaton of USA Today/frequent contributor to sports radio also passed away, a great baseball guy, loved his views. Also the great Jim Kelley whose excellence is well documented.
Sadly they all left us far too young. Have a great 2012..
Keep Rolling!! Love what you do!!!
John C, Mississauga
A: Those truly were significant losses far too early – I think many of us of a certain age kind of grew up with Charles and Hickman – and there were others.
The great Neil MacCarl of our place and Earl McRae come to mind, as does Mike Flanagan among those we lost with a media connection
And that's a pretty good band indeed
Q: Hey Doug. Any chance the Raptors acquire a SF via trade before the end of the trade deadline? I think James Johnson could be a great backup to a more balanced/elite SF.
Steve M, Glasgow
A: I doubt it. I presume Bryan will remain true to his plan and wait to fish in a deeper pool in the off-season with free agents and the draft. Now, if some stud becomes available he might consider it but that rarely happens in the course of a regular season.
And, actually and technically, James is a backup now. I know it’s not the same but ...
Q: Concerning your comment in your article Dec. 27,2011. I have been hearing from Raptors broadcaster's and NBA game broadcaster's starting last year and your article made me take notice as I dont understand how a basketball game with four quarters can become a period. In your article and I quote " DeRozan had nine of his 15 pts in the 4th quarter and Bargnani had two of his five baskets in the same period. When I first heard this I thought these guys must do football games and/or hockey games and are just making a verbal mistake but I would hear it many more times during a game so what the hell gives? Does this mean that periods will become quarters from now on. During the Raptors first game I watched about half of it and no mention of periods and I will be watching tonight's game but only the first half. Thank you and I hope to hear a reason for this.
Ron K, Toronto
A: There truly is no nit too small to pick for my Irregulars.
Sorry, but you’ve spent too much time in this pucks culture of ours to get it, I’m afraid. A period is just that: A period, a length of time. It can be 12 minutes of basketball, 20 minutes of hockey, seven minutes of intently reading the best mailbag known to man.
So, yes, in many ways “quarter” and “period” can be seen as synonymous when describing anything other than the latest Leaves loss.
Q: Deep thoughts? Watching the development of James Johnson, specifically his hairdo development. Noticed he shaved his faux/ mohawk off. I thought it was starting to look pretty good. Any grunt insights?
Could be a best 5/ worst 5 topic.
James I, London
A: In an effort to bring all the minutia to the Irregulars, we even asked James about the new ‘do and all he said was “It was time for a change.”
I like the latest look better; no faux hawk fan here.
Q: Hi Doug. I want to know why Reggie Evans was traded when he is such a defensive beast and he could have helped in Dwane Casey systerm?
Leo A, Brampton
A: He wasn’t traded, he left as a free agent and there was really no interest in bringing him back. One, it was doubtful he’d agree to a one-year, minimum-value deal; two, they want to split the time more between Davis, Bargnani, Johnson (not sure Reggie would have been happy with the 10-12 minutes that are available for the likes of Magloire or Gray)