The start of the weekend mail
All right, folks.
You did a good job keeping me busy and out of trouble so far – and there’s lots of stuff for me to do today for tomorrow – so thanks.
If you want one last kick at the can, you know how to do it, right?
And we should be back much later this morning with some leftover stuff from the big game.
Q: Hey Doug. Love the blog and the IGBT as well. Don't know if you get a chance with all your grunt work to watch any of the ESPN films but with the release of this ESPN film trailer:
Just wondering if you remember the day Magic made this announcement and what your thoughts were about the change it would make to the game and Magic's legacy? Did it make an impact on the NBA's season as a whole?
Do you remember any other big announcements that were made while you were on the grind? How did they change the atmosphere of the game during that time?
Love the blog! Keep up the great work.
Judy S, Toronto
A: I do remember the day, actually. It was rather shocking, as I recall and given the time, societal mores of the era, questions about this new “disease” I was probably like so many others who figured it would tarnish his legacy forever.
But, thankfully, I, like so many others, learned more about people who are HIV positive and have full blown AIDS – thanks in part to Magic’s tireless efforts at education and fund-raising – and we came not to fear the issue but to try and find a way to solve it.
Other major announcements?
Hmm. I was somewhat taken aback not by Michael Jordan’s retirement but by his comeback; I remember watching Larry Bird having to lie on the court at the Barcelona Olympics because his back was so sore and feeling that it was an unspoken “announcement” that a great career was ending.
I can remember driving down the DVP the day the Jays traded for David Cone and thinking that pretty special of them and there are probably a couple of other “trade” announcements that I could recall if pressed.
But nothing beats the emotional impact Magic’s announcement had on the sports world, I don’t think.
Q: Could you please tell me why you never give an ongoing score update in your live game blog??
People such as us, who don't have access to TV or radio coverage sure would appreciate more than your "observations".
Ted H, Phoenix
A: I do. Twice a quarter, which is all that is allowed under NBA media rules. They want, rightfully so and understandably, to drive traffic to their websites and those of their partners. But, don’t take this the wrong way, if you’re reading along with us, wouldn’t it be kind of easy to open a second window on your screen to show a live boxscore of the game?
Q: Hi Doug. There were some interesting reactions when Kobe Bryant made all those favourable comments about Jose. Since LA doesn't have the requisite parts to trade for Jose, maybe they should just trade Kobe to the Raptors (I keed, I keed).
Seriously, I think Jose is a pretty good point guard, who is unfortunately turning into the Raptors version of Larry Murphy. How is he handling all of the negative comments made by fans about him? I would think no matter how hard even a professional athlete tries to block this out, it would eventually start to grate on his nerves.
Sohail G, Collingwood
A: I think you might be over-stating things with the Murphy analogy, actually. I believe most sane-thinking people see Calderon for what he is.
But here’s thing: He, and everyone who draws the ire of fans, don’t really let it bother them, they have a job to do to the best of their abilities and they do it.
And the rants of fans here or on in other public social media sites is so far off the radar of most athletes they may as well not even exist.
Q: What does it say about Bryan Colangelo, when arguably the best player on the roster was brought in by Rob Babcock.
Jeffery A, Toronto
A: Nothing, really. What did it say when the best player on the team that made the playoffs was brought in by Glen Grunwald? And re-signed by Bryan Colangelo?
Q: Doug with the (impending) return of Brook Lopez, can you comment on why he seems to be so much better than his identical twin brother? It cannot just be the teams they have been on in the NBA since it was that way even before they were drafted. Thanks.
Mike K, London
A: That’s a really good question for which I don’t believe there’s an answer.
No question the DNA is the same and the physical attributes are similar; I’ll chalk it up as I always do, to a combination of work ethic, the mental toughness it takes to get the most of your abilities and the skills – in the NBA at least – of their teammates.
But it does go to show you that no two players – even twins – are the same, doesn’t it?
Q: Is it just me or are the Raptors (dunno if its the team or the coach or both) really bad this year... wait let me finish that as we all knew they would be bad... bad with plays coming out of a time out? The plays at the end the Lakers and Knicks games are just two recent examples, but these broken\bad inbound plays are a regular occurrence... i can recall a many other similar scenarios, which always seemed to end with Bargs\Jose\Barbosa trying (and often not succeeding) to get a bad shot off from well above the arch.
I remember last year the team was bad, but this was actually one thing that they seemed to be half decent at. I know that Armstrong would rave about how good of a "play caller" Jay was out of a time out, but is that all there is too it? Or are these things maybe not worked on as much, as the emphasis is defense, or has there simply not been enough time for a bad team to work on such a small detail?
Mat L, Waterdown
A: Okay, you remember the blown timeout – and that had nothing, actually, to do with a play call – and DeRozan going away from the basket instead of going to it on the subsequent in-bounds play.
I’ll give you a great play call that got Jose a wide open look at the end the Utah game for a huge three-pointer and the same play that got him a pretty good, if hurried, look at the end of overtime in Washington.
So, on the whole I think you might be a tad off-base here; they seem to get, more often than not, good looks out of timeouts this year, just as they did last season. It’s all about the execution.
Q: Trade Deadline is about a month away Doug and you've been pretty good in the past being the first to report any trades on the horizon. Have you heard any trade rumors as of late?
Gerdie S, Scarborough
A: I haven’t but when I do, you’ll be the first to know. Well, you and everyone else who reads here.
Q: Just curious why Gray wasn't put back in during the late going against the Nicks? He seemed to create a lot of problems for the Nicks in the early going when the Raps built a lead. He may have been able to grab a couple of key rebounds that were missed at the end?
Jim F, London
A: Because it wasn’t defence the Raptors needed in that 12-point fourth quarter, it was offence and that’s certainly not Gray’s forte. And while it’s all well and good to suggest he might have got the rebound that led to the Lin isolation three-pointer, it was a long board about halfway up the lane and he’s not quick enough to have reacted and grabbed it, I don’t think.
Q: Let's imagine that the stars aligned for Jeremy Lin in Toronto - that he signed with Raptors and had the opportunity to start. Do you think be would be having the same sort of success he is now having with the Nicks? If not what type of point guard do you think would thrive in the Raptor's system?
Grant M, Kitchener
A: Probably not, no. The Raptors, right now, run fewer high screen-roll stuff than the Knicks (what is it with New York and the “Nicks” around here, anyway) and if he’d been signed, he’d have either come off the bench behind Calderon or been the third PG behind Calderon and Bayless.
Q: Hi Doug. Have not heard much about BC and Ed Stefanski and their thoughts on the year so far. Do you know how they feels about the coaching staff as well as the team's play thus far? Also, do you anticipate any trades for the Raptors prior to the trading deadline.
Monty M, Toronto
A: They’re evaluating constantly and, not surprisingly, are keeping their opinions on individuals to themselves. Privately, I know they are quite pleased with the “culture change” Dwane’s trying to implement and realize he’s working with a rather threadbare roster.
On individual players? They’re never going to give anyone the 100 per cent lest they either diminish the value of guys they want to move, or inflate the egos of the players they’re happy with.
Q: Doug. Two questions: What's your opinion on putting in a cold guy off the bench for a specific role at the end of the game? Butler came in to in-bound the ball at the end of the Lakers game, which didn't work out so well. The guy is sitting on the bench, no chance to warm-up. Lots of coaches do it with 3 point shooters as well. That's got to be a tough position for a player to succeed in.
Why is Anthony Carter getting minutes? The fans in my section were chanting "retire" for the Boston and LA games because he is so obviously a liability. Good guy, good career, etc... but isn't it time Forbes gets more run at the point until JB is back?
Mike P, Toronto
A: Given that the staff thinks Rasual Butler is their best inbounds lob passer and the first option was James Johnson at the rim – and he was wide open had it not been for Pau Gasol’s length disrupting Butler – I have no problem whatsoever with the decision. It’s not like you need to “warm up” or “break a sweat” to get in the flow of a game when you have one specific task. Just too bad it worked out that way. And on the second inbounds play, one of the first options was exactly the play that worked so well against Utah – Jose inbounds, gets a screen and a return pass – but the Lakers defended it well.
The fans in your section are cold, too cold. Carter’s playing because Bayless is hurt and Forbes cannot play point guard in an NBA game. Pretty simple.
Q: Greetings, a comment read in the IGBT got me to thinking. In any pursuit there has to be some form of goal, when it comes to management of our beloved HOTH (or Pucks,TOD, Arrrrgo's etc)I would make the assumption that those in charge have a myriad number of considerations to be taken into account before committing/investing in players and team staff, with the underlying need to adhere to some sort of financial/business plan. Given that I would think that something less than utter domination of the games played would represent the realistic goal for guageing the appropriate expenditure on team salaries. Here comes the question(finally!), would the goal generally be to compete into a couple of rounds of playoffs rather than an all out Championship assault?
That there are so many disparate things that have to come together to win a Championship leads me to think that until a realistic opportunity presents itself to win one, there isn't much sense in going to the n'th degree to attain a Championship. I have listened (and, truthfully, participated) in the angst over the Pucks dry spell but this whole notion that one player addition, or coaching change is in and of itself the magic elixir that will end the drought drives me batty. Just curious regarding your take on this.
As always thanks for what you do.
Doug T, Brantford
A: I think it’s an absolute fantasy to think that “one piece” can lead to a championship and it’s been my experience with various general managers and poobahs I’ve deal with that they are continually searching for “pieces” that will improve their team. There is seldom one guy who puts a franchise over the hump, what plans generally entail is consistent growth so that you can get into whatever playoffs they are and see what happens.
Trying to hit one home run is counter-productive, even the Miami Heat know that after adding three of arguably the top 20 players – and two of the top five – and not winning it all. GMs, unlike some fans, realize it’s a process that takes time.