The end of the weekend mail
Okay, folks. Here we go. Not a bad week as it turned out, thanks.
Oh, we’ll be back at 6 p.m for the IGBT if you care to join in.
Q: Hi Doug. The baseball tribute to Jackie Robinson got me thinking. If you could travel back in time to watch any one iconic sporting event, what would you choose? Jackie's first game? Wilt's 100? Jesse Owens at the Berlin Olympics? Any others come to mind?
Peter L, Kingston
A: I’d probably put Ali-Foreman’s Rumble in the Jungle at the top of that list, barely ahead of Ali-Frazier at Madison Square Garden. Have only done one “big” fight – was Lennox Lewis against someone in Vegas, maybe Michael Moorer – and there’s nothing like the electricity around a great heavyweight fight.
But Owens in Berlin sure would have been cool, and Don Larsen’s World Series perfect game.
Q: Hi Doug. Theres a lot of draft talk going around raptors fansites. Can you give us your own version of a top 10 ranking for prospects?
Cory G, Jasper
A: Sorry. Guess that’s what fansites are for. I don’t have the depth of knowledge yet, haven’t spoken to enough scouts yet. Late May and June, ok?
Q: Doug. Do 10 day contracts get the league minimum for the games they play? For a D-Leaguer, wouldn't getting signed for the rest of the season be like getting a 15-20X pay raise (assuming they sign for the minimum)? Why isn't this a reality show or a documentary or article if that is the case? Real drama, actual consequential impact on the people called up (or sent back down), likely interesting parties involved with some "history".
Geoff H, Toronto
A: Pro-rated minimums based on any NBA service they already have; I think the number for Uzoh was about $60,000 for each 10-day deal and about $80,000 for Anderson. And it would pro-rated on their “rest of the year” deals.
Sure, it’s a nice story but I don’t know what the second act or seventh paragraph might be.
Q: Having followed you with the Raptors for a couple of years now, I do not remember you ever going off on some coach or player. Not Hoffa, as others have, not J. P. Riciardi as have others also. You will point out areas of weakness or where improvement is needed without ever putting them down. I find that commendable. Have you ever done that in the past? What is it with some of the sports writers that causes them to do that? Do they allow themselves to get to invested in the team? Is it that they want to manage or play but can't?? I have often wondered what it is that causes a writer to get personal.
Or is it just my imagination??
Gerry T, Halifax
A: It’s all a matter of personal preference and perhaps personality and I’m not a big fan of the “screamer” style of critical writing. I think you can make exactly the same case with more subtlety than you can by other means.
And I honestly don’t know what drives others, either in print or on the radio (perhaps the worst offenders) or on television. I would hazard a guess that ego plays a part in it.
Q: Time Magazine always has some unusual suspects on their top 100 list-happens every year. I agree with you on the Lin-Tebow madness but who do you think should be on the list this year athletic or non?
Sad news about Men at Work member passing. Got a favorite tune?
Simone S, Toronto
Q: Hi Doug! Well, on a list of influential people that includes the Middleton Sisters, Rihanna and Chelsea Handler, I guess Jeremy Lin's not hopelessly out of place. (And if these are truly the people by whom the world has been influenced, I'm surprised they haven't (as yet!) named their Person Of The Year to have been a tie between TMZ and Twitter....) But if the editors over at Time had asked you to submit, say three, influential sports figures for their list of 100 Influential People 2012, who might you have recommended? Thanks!
Lorie P, London
A: I honestly can’t give you a name or names of athletes right now; I haven’t done an awful lot of research.
But here’s one:
How about the first woman from Saudi Arabia to compete in the Olympics? It’ll happen in London and if you want to talk about being influential, that might be someone to put on a list.
(Reminds self to get that assignment at the Games).
Q: Hey Doug: Someone sent a question to the Mail Bag regarding the 'equity' of this season's schedule. You replied that the schedules of various teams were not balanced.
Have you seen any teams that were either adversely affected, or positively affected, by the inequity?
Thanks again for all that you do - the blog, Mail Bag, IGBT, NBN, gamers, plus playoff previews, Olympic coverage - it seems the list is never-ending!
Tim H, Windsor
A: I guess the one that comes quickly to mind is Philadelphia. The Sixers had what could be considered a “soft” early schedule heavily loaded with home games and they got off to a great start. Once it turned the other way, they started to freefall through the standings.
Q: I'm wondering what your thoughts are on the Nene trade and the double standard that seems to exist between organizations and players on the topic of Loyalty.
Nene was a top tier free agent (some would argue the most coveted). He was chased by many teams but ultimately remained "loyal" to Denver. Then Denver traded him to the worst team in the league????
If a player resigned with a team and then demanded a trade half way through the year fans would be rabid! (can you imagine Toronto fans' reaction if Nene signed here and then asked to be traded??)
Yet a team signs him and then discards him in the same season and no attention is brought to how raw of a deal Nene is getting. He could have gotten the same money from many contending teams but chose to remain loyal only to be sold off like an unwanted used car 3 months later???
To me I think the double standard that exists between teams trading players like cards, and players being vilians for asking for trades is ridicilous.
Jeffrey M, Saint John
A: He remained “loyal” because he got a crazy contract worth tens of millions of dollars.
But, yes, I see a bit of a double-standard but I think the compensation players get might mute it a bit.
Q: Hi Doug... What will be the plan versus the Nets this week? Does DD get a migraine? Do they make Aaron play 48?
Speaking of contraction, which two franchises should be eliminated?
Why would Larry Brown want to coach for St. Mary's?
Anyone ever given you a wet willie? How should Hayward have reacted?
Bob E, Kanata
A: Man, that one against the Nets might set the cause of professional men’s basketball back a decade or two. Heard this weekend New Jersey’s likely to shut down Deron Williams, taking another guy out of the equation.
Can’t wait to see how that one unfolds.
But there’s this: It will the last time a team representing New Jersey will play in the NBA! History, man. We’ll be witnessing history.
Two? Hmm. Well, if you took Sacramento away, I wouldn’t feel all that bad; and I suppose if there was no team in Milwaukee I’d be okay with that.
No, I’ve never had a wet willie or a dry one or given one and if I was Hayward, I’d probably go “ick!” and try to slap the guy.
Q: Doug, this year the word "tanking" seems more prominent then any other year I remember. The NBA lottery system I think needs some tweaking. Is the lottery something that exists in the players CA, or can the league impose changes to the system without consultation? I just can't see how a majority of owners and league leaders would not or will not at least try to make some changes to the current system.
Steph R, Glencoe
A: There probably should be some tweaks but, no, it’s not a collectively bargained issue and the league can act unilaterally. And should.
Q: Doug. Love the Blog. Mandatory reading every day! My question on the Raptors is about the way they seem to fade in the last half of the game. Is it about fitness or skill? It seems to me that there are few people fitter than an NBA player, and that if the Raptors are losing because they are not fit enough, that should be a relatively easy fix. If it is about skills, that as the game goes by, the players learn what works against their opponents, leading to getting into better scoring and defensive positions, better rebounding, etc. so that in the 3rd and 4th quarters they start pulling away. What is your opinion?
Also, will you be putting together a player by player report card including what they need to do to either stay with the Raps or land a job with another team?
Keep up the great work!!
David M, Petawawa
A: Skill more than fitness, in my opinion. It’s hard, very hard, to win an NBA game and as I’ve said for a while, I think last year some of these kids didn’t know what it took to play in the NBA, this year they’re learning what it takes to win and sometimes those are hard lessons indeed. As we’ve seen, they’re close and starting to get it so you can think they’ll continue on that path, right?
And, yes, we’ll do some kind of player-by-player thing this week, I’m just not sure which day.
Q: Good point about Jose and his assists this season (for the 27th team in the league.)
Now we know Jose fans are always defending him (and those non-fans are writing you,) but do you get into the same discussions with other reporters/colour guys/media types? Listening to the games and reading others, some seem to wish for Bayless or Jack or anyone not named Jose to run the show. So any discussions off the record so to speak?
(Oh, despite the "we don't tank", Jose not playing smells of tanking. The "only if needed" doesn't sell, if there is a danger to the eye, it doesn't go away in emergency situations. And evaluation excuse, again, looks like summer league.)
Bruce M, Winnipeg
A: Actually, not a lot of discussions on or off the record. Think we all understand there are differing opinions on all kinds of matters and we tend to leave it at that. We actually don’t spend a lot of time debating or discussing the relative merits of players, we tend to talk about things like our stories and the quotes we’re getting and basically whining about or jobs.
Oh, and I can understand the tanking aspect of Jose not playing even though he’s technically available. It’s not part of the decision but I can see your point.
Q: I'm looking at the roster and our "Young Core." I see DeMar and Bargs as players that will be back next year; however, especially with Dwane's recent comments about potentially not having room for Davis and Amir, how many new faces do you expect to be on the roster next year. In 2006, through FA signings, trades and the drafts, the Raps added 9 new faces.. any chance we see that many new faces come training camp?
Jeffery M, Toronto
A: We’ve guessed a few times in the IGBT about new faces and what the turnover may. Can’t imagine it’s going to be nine but it sure could be six or seven. And if it is eight or nine, I think the last two might be end-of-the-roster fillers and not sure they would count. But I sure could see four or five new guys in a nine- or 10-man rotation.
Q: Doug, I was so excited to see the emergance of Gary Forbes as an offensive weapon, and then, quite suddenly, he stopped getting minutes. Did I miss something?
Lloyd F, Ottawa
A: Actually, except for the wins over Boston and Atlanta, when other guys were playing better and they were winning, Forbes’s minutes have held pretty steady. And, yes, he had a four-game stretch there in late March when he scored a lot but think we’re just seeing some regression to the mean.
Not a bad player who can defend a couple of positions but certainly not a polished, finished product by any means.
Q: Hey Doug. Not sure if you heard Jeff Van Gundy's rant on flopping, but I was just wondering if you have ideas of what could be done to eliminate flopping? Do you think it would be possible for the NBA to add some kind of review system like how the NFL does with its challenges? For example, lets say player A runs into player B and player A gets called for the charge, while player B flops (everyone notices the flop but the ref). In this imaginary system of mine, the coach is then allowed to challenge the ref to video replay so that he can review if the player flopped or not. Would this work? You don't disrupt the flow of the game since the whistle would've been blown in the first place and also you would decrease the amount of flops seen each year.
Ray F, Markham
A: Flopping, almost as much as them blaring crappy faux music during the actual playing of the game, might be the greatest scourge in the NBA today and they must find a way to eliminate it from the game.
I’m thinking an electric jolt to every flopper might be the answer but that’s probably not going to happen; neither, sadly, is your idea going to work, it would slow the game down too much and give game ops people a chance to blare crappy faux music some more.
Maybe they can make it a “point of emphasis” next season so that refs can call it all the time for the first month and then get revert to the norm, confounding and confusing players and coaches alike.
Q: Doug, regarding weight training and playing basketball. How do players accomplish both?
When I play myself, I usually have to give myself 1 day rest in between weightlifting, and playing. Mainly because my muscles turn gimp after a hard session.
Same applies to normal people.
We speak of ball players being able to weight train in season. How do they typically accomplish this without the effects of weight training hindering their game? How can they do it in a particularly shortened season where they are playing 4-5 games a week? Any insight compared to other sports?
Atif K, Toronto
A: See, here’s the thing: They aren’t quite like you and I. Their bodies are different, they handle things a bit better. But they also schedule lifting sessions around games – maybe the day before or the first of two days off which gives them some recovery time.
As you can imagine, there hasn’t been a lot of time for weight sessions in this wacky season but they still get a lift in maybe once a week.
Q: Bruce Dowbiggin wrote a piece on radio ratings and described a key component of Bob McCown's show is he rarely interviews athletes. You have interviewed many many athletes over the years. If you had your own radio gig, would you have athletes as guests as a staple?
John C, Mississauga
A: Not as a matter of course, no, because, frankly, not many of them have much to say. I can’t make it a blanket statement, though.
Q: Hello Doug. A couple of questions for you:
Do you think it would be better if the NBA changed its playoff format from top 8 in each conference to top 16 overall in the league. Then have team 1 play team 16 and so on?
With the Raptors, Warriors, Nets, Pistons, Cavs, and Kings all close in terms of wins, what happens in the event that these teams tie in won/loss records? How would the NBA determine who gets more of those valuable ping pong balls for the draft lottery?
Joe D, Mississauga
A: Don’t see that playoff change working or making much sense because of the unbalanced schedule in each conference and I think there needs to be some reward for winning a division.
If there are ties, they just average out the balls.
Q: Could you please remind me who the Raptors got in the Kris Humphries deal? Why didn't he get a chance to develop more? I liked him when he was here.
Valdy D, Toronto
A: Hump went out in the zany four-team, double sign-and-trade Turk deal in 2009; and, no, no one saw this coming and if they say they did, they might be fibbing. He was a pretty wild, overly-confident player when he was here; I’m really glad things have worked out for him but it sure didn’t look like it would when he was a Raptor.
Q: Is Demar eligible for an extension this summer and if yes what do you think the chances are of him signing an extension with the Raps? Would he be hesitant to sign until he starts seeing wins. Alternatively, would we be hesitant to sign him until we see if he can maintain his numbers on a a more successful team?
Jeff M, Saint John
A: I believe he is, and I also believe the thing to do is wait and see how his game develops over another season. No sense locking up anyone for too long a term right now.
Q: Hi Doug. I agree with you about Jeremy Lin and the "most influential" list. It's a joke. What bugs me more is that every time I've voiced the opinion in public that the assessment of his talents has been blown way out of proportion, I get told that's a racist comment! Have people gone insane?
You may have dealt with this already, but I'm thinking there is a bit of a roster overlap with Forbes and Bayless going forward (although I credit Bayless with a tiny bit better ability to play PG). I think the Raps should stick with one swing-type backcourt bench player and that probably should be Bayless. I predict dumping Forbes will cause some Raptorland angst. What do you think? Is there room for both? Just one, and whom?
Thanks as always
David W, Toronto
A: I’m not sure about an overlap; I think we’ve seen that Forbes is absolutely a wing or swingman and Bayless has far superior point guard skills. And since Forbes is on a short, cheap deal and Bayless is a restricted free agent, I can see room for both. That may not be optimum but it’s not that big a deal to me.
Real words. Typed by real people.
Q: why dont the raptors get a new gm and start a big 3 dirk,kobe,kevin love they have tons of money they can pull that off im 500% shure that would be possible or howard he is begging for a new coach come to toronto its a great team but they needed some good vetrans to join the team like miami thanks dawg
I've got nothing for that.