The start of the weekend mail
You go through this while I catch a morning flight up or over to Charlotte (my sense of geography’s a bit off) and we’ll get back with some Friday post-game stuff whenever I can.
Oh yeah, might have a couple of hours to putter around on the ones I didn’t get to but there aren’t too many, if you want to get in on the fun, you know how to do it, right?
But first, a bit of Van?
We’ll have more later, it’s a big Irish day.
Q: Will the NBA ever consider giving all of the teams that don't make the playoffs (1-13) the same amount of lottery balls. This way fans aren't compelled out of good sense to root against their [insert sub-500 record here] teams for the last three months of the season just in the hopes of getting the next [insert transformational star player here] in the draft.
It grinds on a fan base to go into each game hoping your team plays well but falls short. Because everyone is afraid of becoming that dreaded .500 team that can't go deep in the playoffs but isn’t bad enough to pick first or second in draft. Watching Raptors games have become a joyless affair.
If every team gets equal weighting come lottery time the number 1 pick will still go to a "have-not" team and fans can actually enjoy games by rooting for their teams and be rewarded with either a playoff berth or a chance at winning the lottery.
Something has to change. NBA must realize its not healthy for the fans in half their markets holding their noses, rooting against W's and waiting for a half-hour lottery draft show in May. Not exactly the kind of thing that makes you want to plop down 100 bucks to go see a game.
Alex P, Toronto
A: No, I don’t anything will change, nor does it have to. While a bit flawed, the lottery process is good, in my opinion. And since the draft is arguably the smallest part of building a successful team, I don’t know that anything has to change.
Q: Good Morning Doug. I asked this question to you last night and was wondering, during the off season are there many trades that take place in the NBA? Also, can you explain the Raptors financial salary for next year, I read that they will have between 10 and 20 million in cap space depending on the "trade excemption"? I need some clarification.
Matt D, Dorchester
A: Sure, there are lots of trades consummated around the draft and a few sign-and-trade deals at the start of free agency so that possibility absolutely exists.
Without knowing specifics like the salary cap number, the Raptors are under the assumption – and it’s always a very good assumption – that they will have more than $10 million to spend on free agents with a chance to increase that significantly if they decide to use the amnesty clause on any player.
And let me use this to add this about the Barbosa deal:
Let's say it's draft night and the Raptors are picking, oh, seventh for argument's sake. They don't like the seventh pick all that much but some other playoff team does and they've got a really good player who makes $9 million a year they want to get rid of for tax or payroll purposes.
The Raptors can now trade for that guy without gutting their roster; they could not have made that transaction had they not freed up Barbosa's money this week.
Q: I am losing any hope for the Toronto Raptors for the next 8-10 years. Miami, Chicago, Orlando, Indiana, and Atlanta appear to be strong. Then New York, Philadelphia, and Boston will always be competitors. Unless we land a mega superstar, what chance do we have in the years to come? How can we compete with these team with the Raps so young and so many pieces needed?
Yogesh L, Woodbridge
A: Eight to 10 years? Wow. That’s long-term gloom and doom; perhaps another sport might be in order?
Q: Hello Doug: so as of this writing (Wednesday), the Raptors are 4 games out of a playoff spot, so they are technically still in the race. Now, I want to clarify: I'm not saying they will make it, and I don't think they will. But let's do a hypothetical and say they somehow sneak in to that 8th spot (we'll assume in this situation it would be a playoff trip that leads to a four-game sweep at the hands of the Bulls). Fans would love it I'm sure, seeing as it would be a surprise, the players would obviously want it and would relish the opportunity even if it's only four games, and of course the owners would love the extra playoff cash. So yeah, there's obviously some positives to be had. However, this isn't supposed to be a playoff year -- it's meant to be a year of learning and watching a young team grow while waiting for some more pretty good pieces to come in. Sneaking in to the playoffs means they'd be out of the lottery and it would rob them of a potentially very good pick. Of course the front office isn't going to ask the team to tank it (and the team obviously won't), but I have to think despite all the positives a surprise playoff berth could do for the franchise Colangelo and his basketball office-mates have to be cringing a little bit at the fact they are basically in a race for the 8th spot that wasn't in their rebuilding plans until maybe next season. Would you agree with that?
Simon S-G, Toronto
A: If they’re cringing, they should be fired. You play to win and find out where you are at the end of the season and if that means eighth in the East and you have the 15th pick, so what?
You’ve already got a very high draft pick coming next year – consensus of non-Raptors scouts I’ve talked to this week is that Valanciunas would today be the No. 2 pick behind Anthony Davis.
So, to me, the pick is a bonus, they’ve got a promising kid coming anyway.
Win games, gain experience, teach the kids what it takes and, in effect, your 2012 draft bonanza came in 2011.
Q: Doug, your comment about Ed Davis' free throws from the "low baseline shot" got me thinking.
The Raptors broadcasts all like to mix up the camera angles during play, sometimes near the end of the game, and I can't take it any more. During play, only the side camera angle should be used. The other baseline, under-the-basket or close-up cameras should be for replays only (OK, I'll allow free throws, too). You just can't see anything, and gauging the trajectory of a shot becomes almost impossible.
But it's not just for basketball. One prominent channel uses a behind-the-net camera for pucks power-plays and it's awful. The players are so far away and you can only see half the ice. Yet in both hoops and pucks, these horrid angles (for live action) are constantly used. Why? "Just because"?
Please use some of your vast influence to tell them to knock it off.
Thanks. Much appreciated.
Mike B, Toronto
A: I have no influence but, trust me, people in power will see this and your point will be made. It’s not just you, either; if there’s been one consistent complaint about the broadcast – and I don’t see enough to know if it’s legitimate – is the camera angles.
Q: Howdy do, this week’s random thought/question revolves around something that has come up in the IGBT and in the daily blog. On a number of occasions you have made mention of your enjoyment of a tale well told, or conversely, well written. I find myself wondering if, in your experience, that someone who crafts a wonderful tale in print is also to be expected to be a wonderful storyteller in person? Understanding that a person's confidence with their audience can influence this, has it been your experience that the two are mutual abilities?
As always thanks for what you do.
Doug T, Brantford
A: I don’t know if they’re expected to be but it’s my inclination to say they generally are. There’s an auditory component to the written word – I believe readers “hear” as much as they “read” – so if you write with a lyrical quality, you should be able to tell the same story verbally. Can’t say that’s always true but the writers I hang with can usually spin a yarn.
Q: There's a lot of talk right now about Mississauga's Andrew Nicholson playing for the St. Bonaventure Bonnies. Where is this St. Bonaventure situated?
Phil D, Toronto
A: Picturesque Olean, N.Y., just down the road from Buffalo.
Q: Hi Doug. ESPN 30 For 30 films is debuting "The Announcement" this weekend, documenting Magic Johnson's proclamation of being inflicted with HIV. I think this will likely be one of the best in the already incredible 30 for 30 series. Do you have any idea when and where we will be able to see this in Canada?
Bryan W, Toronto
A: I understand it’s an outstanding show that tells an important tale very well. So, of course, it’s going to air in Canada on Saturday, March 24 at 2:30 in the afternoon. On TSN2.
Q: Hi Doug, I saw this in True Hoop, "The most obvious change means shooting guard Gary Neal, who made the team last season as a 3-point specialist, will become starter Tony Parker’s primary backup at point guard" and was wondering how Cory Joseph's season has been going? Not so good I imagine, but what do you know about it?
Kevin M, Maple
A: It’s going as expected; he’s a college sophomore learning how to be a pro in an NBA program with great expectations and little time to handle the vagaries of youth.
Q: Given Ricky Rubio's injury, how concerned will the folks back in Spain be about Jose's ankle with the Olympics just around the corner?
K J, Toronto
A: No, not in the least. It’s a sprained ankle that might keep him out two weeks in March before the late-July Olympics. Am sure they yawned, actually.
Q: Hi Doug. I was heartbroken hearing the news about Ricky Rubio's injury. Raptors fan at heart but the T'Wolves have been exciting to watch this year. Do you have any anecdotes regarding ACL injuries? Do you think there will be permanent damage, ruining his upside. Even if he returns, do you think his potential is now limited because of the injury? I often hear about players recovering, but losing lateral quickness. Any insights?
Mike H, Toronto
A: Everyone’s different and I have no guess on what Rubio will be like in a year or so when he’s back. But it was his court vision and passing skills that made him stand out, not jaw-dropping athleticism.
Q: With the trade deadline coming up, and after looking at the standings and realizing the Raps were only 5 games out of a playoff spot to a reeling Knicks team, it seems like an opportunity was lost this year to get into the playoffs. I can understand going with a youth movement if you're building around Kevin Durant/Russell Westbrook caliber players, but I don't see anyone of that ilk on this roster. Now I'm know expert, but a great first step for a young team, would be to get in the playoffs and get a taste of what it's like and then you can build off that knowing you're now a playoff team. It seems the mindset is if they aren't a top four team in the Conference, they don't want to even get in? How long do you let someone choose the players, who can't even get it together enough to get to a .450 winning percentage in a conference that is loaded with sub-par teams?
Shawn L, Bowmanville
A: Well, the GM’s got a contract through this year and next and an option after that. Does that answer the question?
Why is an opportunity lost? Why has it changed? Why is any different today than it was at the start of the season with a clearly-defined plan that they haven’t strayed from once?