Sort of the end of the weekend mail
I’m not sure how but I seem to have lost an entire file of questions. I’ll get ‘em back together from the inbox later on and get them answered.
Sorry about that.
Q: Hey Doug: Have you ever, knowingly or not, been given a piece of information that you 'went' with, only to find it was totally inaccurate? Did you have to write a retraction/apology? Or, did you learn early on that, no matter how 'good' the source, you won't print anything unless it is confirmed by at least two sources?
Thanks for all your hard work and effort!
Tim H, Windsor
A: Not that I can think of outside of a couple of times where I’ve got information from a couple of people on something that “could” happen but I’m usually careful enough to couch such reporting in “possibles” and explain that it’s a maybe rather than a certainty.
And if it’s something huge or seemingly outrageous, it always leads to verification from at least one other sport.
Q: Hello...Have you ever been tempted to have an electronic cigarette?
If you were to hand out the exploding cigarette to say the five biggest jerks in sports history, who would be the recipients?
Since BB is still on tour...How about The Thrill is Gone?
Bob E, Kanata
A: Hahahahahaha. No, electronic smokes – even the ones guaranteed not to literally blow up in your face – are not something I’d ever consider.
But if I had to give some away – and this is a quick list off the top my head – how’s a fivesome of George Steinbrenner, Art Modell, John Rocker, Mike Tyson and Bobby Knight grab you?
And why not ...
Q: Doug, another Valentine's Day has come and gone, so on the topic of love and dating and all, I thought I'd throw down the gauntlet and challenge you and the Irregulars to come up with your funniest and/or most cringe-worthy stories from the dating world. I just started the ball rolling today in the comments section, regaling the readers about how a Lavalife date of mine discussed her period (in some detail) before telling me she was a vommitter, all within seconds of meeting me, but I'm sure this PALES in comparison to some other stories out there. And surely, Doug, before you met Superwife, you must have gone on some real stinker dates in your time, no?
Lee Z, Ottawa
A: I’ve got nothing.
Or nothing I care to share.
Q: Hello Doug! Well, I can only think that the timing of the return of (the fabulous and dearly missed) Grunt TV is a sign that you're ironing out technological wrinkles to give us an Entire NBA Draft Deadline Show. Now, the NHL's been doing this for years with the multiple person panel in studio thing, but let's face it, I think your particular talents are more suited to the type of (not always!) subtle mockery and humour similar to what Mr. Onrait does over at TSN. And you wouldn't HAVE to appear on camera in your bathrobe, (unless it's fabulous and you want to show it off) the way Onrait does, but I think a more relaxed setting in, say, Casa Doug with Super Dog at your side, Super Family wandering in and out bringing you lattes and muffins. And maybe old friends and colleagues dropping in to say hello, and offer their opinions, witicisms, insight - (Can you see it? Smitch! Perk! Butch! Kevin O'Neill! (hide your lamps) Cathal! Jay!) not to mention all those stories and anecdotes. I think this would be a major must-see hit. At least among Your Irregulars. So, is our favourite Grunt ready for his All-Day Close-up? Is this A Happening Thing? Cheers! With Fingers Crossed!
Lorie P, London
A: I’m guessing it’s Trade Deadline Day and I’m, thankfully, be on an airplane from Jersey to Memphis mid-day to catch up to the HOTH and work the hilarity that is the deadline. And I’m virtually sure you don’t want video of me sitting around a hotel room typing and e-mailing. That said, it is a Thursday and that seems to be when we do video now so … who knows what we might have in store.
Q: Doug. Some Jeremy Lin questions (surprise, surprise).
Where do you see him eventually settling ability-wise as an NBA point guard? Simmons says somewhere between JJ Barea 2.0 and Nash-lite.
Even though he's in his second year, he's basically a rookie based on previous playing time. So how does he stack up against the other rookie point guards like Irving, Walker, and Knight? (Did the Knicks get lucky and end up with the best of the bunch? Kind of like winning the lottery without even having a ticket.)
Which leads to the last question... Is he as good as the other elite, young point guards - Rose, Paul, Rondo, Westbrook, Williams?
Joe S, Kingston
A: I haven’t seen Knight but he’s not nearly as good – in my opinion – as either Irving or Walker and I wouldn’t put anywhere near Rose, Paul, Rondo and Westbrook and I can probably rattle off four or five others, likely more, that I’d take over him. Rubio, Lowry, Wall come quickly to mind. And that’s not even going anywhere near Nash, Parker and those of that ilk.
Look, he’s a pretty good player with a flawed jumper and a shocking propensity for committing turnovers. I thing when it’s all said and done, he’s closer to Barea than he is Nash.
Q: Is Jonus V's season officially over now, and if so will he be brought over to get climatized to what goes on with the NBA? Also, not sure if you ever talk trades, (I know E Smith never does) but considering the level that Jose is playing at as of recently, has his trade value ever been higher? There is a point guard in Phoenix who might be available next year... free agent, home country discount.... thoughts?
Matt D, Dorchester
A: No, I don’t expect to see Valanciunas anywhere near Toronto until just before training camp next season. He’s got some of his season left, a EuroCup to finish out, he’ll have national team duties right away, a final Olympic qualifier in the summer and then maybe the London Games. Toss in the time needed for some rest – he’s been going steady since last season – and there’s no reason to bring him over.
And you’re right, I don’t do trade stuff unless there’s a snippet of legitimacy to a story.
Q: Hi Doug, after watching Mats Sundin's number being raised to the rafters last weekend, it got me thinking when or if the Raptors might do something with one of their former players or is still too early for that? What are your thoughts? Thank You
Joe D, Mississauga
A: I don’t think they will for a great number of years. Not only hasn’t there really been “that” player or players, the franchise hasn’t had that level of success.
What I’d like them to consider is to do something to commemorate 20 years in a couple of seasons and if that entrails hanging a banner with The Best Players Of The First Two Decades in some non-ostentatious manner I think I’d be okay with that. But that’s years away.
Q: This is merely a vague prediction on your part, but which Toronto team will win us the next championship?
Cory J, Jasper
A: And I’m all about vague predictions.
Q: We all try and see the positives and I missed the Bobcats game but how in the world can the Raps give up a win in the 4th Q? I get how it's a building year and Bargs is out but there is no way I'll invest any further cash into this year’s squad.
Did you really see anything positive in losing to a team that had lost 16 in a row?
Ian B, Barrie
A: No, I don’t; nobody does.
But for every win out of nowhere – see Boston, at Utah, at Phoenix – you’re going to have a night or two like Friday.
If you leave after the bad ones, can’t come back after the good ones, I don’t think.
Q: Hey Doug first question in many years of reading! I've been wondering about shooting backgrounds in various NBA arenas. There was a tough stretch there a week or two ago when Barbossa had several airballs (which I don't remember seeing before) and other Raptors jacked up a bunch as well. Certainly fatigue, injuries or just having an 'off' game are the likely explanation but are there other factors as well? So a two part question:
Are there arenas throughout the league that have a reputation for being a tough place to shoot? (weird lighting, odd backgrounds etc.)
In baseball it seems acceptable for the groundskeepers to alter the field a bit to suit the home team (shorten the infield grass against quicker teams or keep it long for older slower home teams for example), so have you ever heard of a team doing something like this in basketball?
Sorry if too many questions keep you from having a lazy day tomorrow!
Scott M, Peterborough
A: There really isn’t one arena known for being more difficult to shoot or play in on a consistent basis because of some background or what have you. Crowds may have a larger impact than anything physical.
And with the way the NBA mandates court setups, everything from the distance signage has to be off the playing surface to how close photographers and fans can be to the decibel level of public address systems and how often they check, it’s virtually impossible to doctor a building to a home team’s needs.
Q: I love the Jeremy Lin story, I truly do. He seems like a really nice kid, and there appear to fewer of those these days in the NBA - and who can resist the against all odds, undrafted PG story. However, there was a readers poll on the Star website where 50% of responders found this story more inspirational than the Terry Fox story (13%) Muhamad Ali and Jesse Owens stories (both 3-4%). All I have to say is get a grip people. Put what these men did in the context of there times and situations and reconsider how you get inspired. I moved to this country just as Terry was making his run and I still find it hard to choke back tears anytime I see footage of him running in front of that cop car in the rain in Northern Ontario just before he had to stop the run. I love the Lin story and I really hope he continues his success, but Terry Fox he is not, and I bet if you were to ask him he'd agree wholeheartedly with me.
Damian L, Toronto
A: I believe any right-thinking person would agree with you and I respectfully suggest you take those little polls for what they are: Totally unscientific ways to engage readers and let them have a little fun with some hot topic du jour.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Q: Hi Doug. The goal of any team should be to win every game at every possible cost.(and I know you share this view)
That being said, with the "this season is not about this season" approach that the club has taken could the recent losses be considered a good thing??? Competitive and entertaining games... yet the Raps record stays in the lower sphere of the league??
Jeff M, Saint John
A: A good thing?
I see where you’re going with this and I suppose there are those who think that – not understanding fully the blind luck of the lottery and the crapshoot that is the draft – but I’d rather my team learn to win close games rather than lose them to give themselves a couple more ping pong ball combinations.
So, sorry, I’m can’t possibly get behind “good thing” although I fear I might be in the minority in that.
Q: Hi Doug. During free throw attempts, why do ref's hand the ball to opposing teams bigs to rub the ball before they hand it to the shooter. Is this some sort of superstition thing? Also, has there ever been an incident of a player caught trying to grease the ball before the free throw? A little grease on an important free throw...could be the difference between a win and a loss.
Jeffrey M, Saint John
A: I guess it’s to get any condensation or moisture off the ball, they tend to do it before some inbounds plays, too.
And, no, I have never heard of anyone doctoring a ball with any substance; be kind of hard to hide it, ala Gaylord Perry or some of the other, um, crafty old-timers.
Q: Hey Doug: You wanted questions, so I'll give you a question. Did you have any sports hero(es) while growing up? Any player(s) who you followed religiously?
Thanks again for all you do (and all you sometimes put up with)!
Tim H, Windsor
A: I honestly don’t remember a specific player I followed closely when I was just a youngster. I had my favourite teams – Celtics, Cleveland Browns ‘cause that’s all we say on TV it seemed, the Leaves because Dad watched them all the time – but I seem to recall it was always about the teams back then and not the individuals. A better time, I think.