The start of the weekend mail; and some Hall of Fame tunes
Hey, way to go, folks.
Late rally got us this, there are a few left over for tomorrow and we’re always open for last-minute selections.
Do it here now because I’m not a big fan of Atlanta and see a hotel lobby stool in my future, leaving me time to mess around tonight.
Q: Hi Doug. I'm hoping you'd respond to Raptors related question for once. I believe this season was a complete waste with no progress at all. Amir johnson was non existent, Ed Davis hasn't really developed at all (same as last year) and...nothing else really. The only way I'd see this season not being fully wasted is if they finish in the bottom 5 to have a chance for a number 1 pick. Your thoughts and analysis?
Kam H, Richmond Hill
A: For once? You new here? See the stuff I deal with?
Well, I’m not sure I can convince you otherwise but the last thing this season was was a complete waste. Ed Davis is far better than he was, as a group they are significantly better defensively and they accomplished almost all the realistic goals that they set for themselves. They might not be playing the post-season or for a championship, but they moved ahead, which -- in case you haven’t been paying attention since Christmas – was what the season was all about.
Now, I’m pretty you don’t actually want “thoughts and analysis” rather than validation for your opinion. In my opinion, they are far ahead now than they were a year ago.
And, not sure if you’ve paid too much attention to the pucks lottery or what but it doesn’t matter where they finish, they have a chance at the top 3 picks.
But thanks for playing.
Q: Hi Doug. I'm from a small town called Perth city in West Australia. Huge Raptors supporter, I even traveled to Toronto to live and breathe the boys a couple of years ago. Is it just me or do I not see that Amir Johnson is overlooked as being a great trade this year? I never seem to see his value and find him awkward to watch? Am I the only one?? I feel there would be a hundred other plays his size that could fill his shoes???? Love the blog I read it everyday and am a true fan of your work. I would appreciate to hear back!!! Keep up the awesome blogging! Love all the way from Down Under!
Jeff W, Perth
A: By almost anyone’s standards, I think the consensus would be that Amir has not had a particularly good year. His numbers aren’t off that much but his impact on games has been far less this year than it was last. That said, I still think he can be a valuable contributor to an NBA rotation.
However, I do think that, depending on how the lottery shakes out, Bryan should at least explore what he might bring in a trade. Not sure what that will be but it’s a conversation the GM has to have with his counterparts.
Musical interlude? Why not.
Hall of Fame weekend down in Cleveland, wonder if the dudes from Faces regret these hair-dos.
Q: Hi Doug, I don't know if you had heard this but around a month or so ago a premier league footballer (Fabrice Muamba) suffered from a heart attack at just 23 years old (he's now 24). He's recovered now but it was devastating and unexpected considering his young age.
My question is in the NBA has someone ever suffered from a heart attack Or has any other condition mid game? Final question is how thorough and frequent are the health check-ups for NBA players to make sure this doesn't happen?
Chinaza E, London
A: Mentioned this a week or so ago but, no, I don’t recall an instance of any NBA player having a heart attack during a game. They are given extensive physicals before each season and deal with trainers and medical staffs daily but it’s my understanding that heart attacks can, sadly, just happen and there may sometimes be no preventative measures that can be taken.
Glad Muamba’s doing better, too.
Q: Two unrelated questions:
How likely is it that Jamaal Magloire is a Raptor next year? Or a Leave (would certainly bring Truculence if he can stand on skates)?
And, if you are coerced/forced to be a TOD beat writer for a day/week/whatever, will your cheering stop? Or will you become like Vinay Menon, blogging as TOD fan? Just curious.
Jim S, Thornhill
A: I’m beginning to think it’s more likely than not that Jamaal will be back, they love the way he mentors young players and the commitment he brings at practice. So it wouldn’t surprise me at all if there was another one-year, non-guaranteed, veteran-minimum contract in his future.
And I do think that if I get assigned to a Jays series or two that I can separate myself from liking them to reporting on the games objectively. Probably been around long enough to be able to do that well for a series or a week or whatever.
And Vinay did such a good job, I wouldn’t want to take a shot at anything like that, lest I fail miserably.
Q: Hey Doug, before the season started I thought my raptors would only win 7 games. so I really focused my attention on college basketball, to see who could be the team changer for us. Unfortunately, I'm not sold on any 1 player. It was supposed to be a good draft but I don't see any James, Howard, wade or Durant in that draft. Anthony Davis? Looks more like Camby than Duncan. WHO COULD CHANGE OUR TEAM DOUG?
Patrick B, Ottawa
A: NO ONE PLAYER, REALLY!
It’s not about one guy, the James, Howards and Durants don’t come around all that often. So it’s about pieces and if they get a good one to go along with what they’ve got and got coming, it’s all part of the growth.
Now, I hope you’re not trying to denigrate Camby, are you? Dude’s had a pretty darn good career.
Q: Hey Doug: The other day in the IGBT, someone asked if you had ever hit an albatross. Your response made me think that, as a sports fan, you've probably gone a few rounds yourself. If that's the case, care to tell us what your handicap is?
Tim H, Windsor
A: My handicap now is whatever I can negotiate with my playing partners on the first tee; I start at about 19 and give a little in the give-and-take.
There once was a time when I played an awful lot and got it down to high single digits; then life interrupted, Super Son arrived and I haven’t scared 10 in more than a decade.
All of Guns n Roses won’t be at the Hall, which is tough. This a good late-night singing song, no?
Q: Hey Doug: This came up on a sports radio station I listen to. The speaker suggested that casual sports fans, if 'their' team is not involved, will only watch a competition if one of the competitors is a 'hated' one - the Yankees, the Heat, etc. This way, they have someone to cheer against. Otherwise, there is no reason for them to watch. This was brought up because Tiger Woods was out of contention at the Masters, and so, the speaker suggested, no one would be watching, unless they were a fan of one of the contenders. Do you feel that this is an accurate assessment of casual fans? Do we need someone to 'hate' in order to watch? Along the same lines, do people watch NASCAR in the hope that there will be some spectacular accident?
Thanks again for all you do!
Tim H, Windsor
A: I’m not sure if that’s the case in regular seasons, when I think casual fans will watch a game just for the sport of it; I imagine when it comes time for a championship, people would pick out a “villain” in a series and perhaps take a stronger rooting interest than they would normally. But as for a run of the mill Tuesday night in the middle of a season, I think a fan might tune in just to watch a game rather than to cheer against someone.
And, yes, I believe there are casual fans who will watch a few minutes of a car race hoping to see a wreck.
Q: Doug. I look at teams with money to spend in FA. Portland and Toronto fighting over the Top Free Agent Hedo... Detroit clearing cap room to get the FA in Ben Gordon... (and added Charlie V).
My point is... just because we have millions do we have to spend them this year??? The F.A crop 2013 looks much stronger than this year's crop.
Jeff M, Saint John
A: No, they don’t have to “spend” them at all and I agree this is an underwhelming free agent class. But please don’t discount the possibility of trading into some of that valuable cap space because they have to do something to improve the talent level.
Q: Hey DS. I have my own opinion of Lamar but I was wondering, is this practice normal? Inactive for rest of season and getting paid? Are there other players that this has happened to? Just curious.
Simone S, Toronto
A: No, not normal at all, not at this time of year and not with a player of Odom’s alleged status. Sometimes, teams acquire players at the trade deadline on small contracts that are used as salary cap ballast and those players are told to stay away but this is a rare event.
Q: Hey Doug. Love the perspective your blog brings and well considered opinion. The Raptors are finally bringing in D League guys to audition - great move. More information on more players in actual NBA games equals better player decisions. Why haven't management done this more often and earlier in the years when playoffs were not an option? Or at the beginning the year instead of the Anthony Carters or Rasual Butlers? Keep the blogs coming.
Jim W, Ajax
A: Well, a couple of reasons, actually.
First, you can’t do 10-day contracts early in the season.
Second, they wanted to get a look at their own guys, with some old heads around for emergencies, and once they did that and the season was all but over and the injuries mounted, they decided to take a few games to check out some other young players.
And, frankly, only one of them really has even a sniff at a training camp invitation, which should probably tell you about the skill level in the D League. Sure, some guys have a good week or two; most are flawed enough that they can’t really help in the long-term.
Was checking out some G n R for what you saw early, saw their cover of this one and couldn’t bring myself to use it.
It is, and will forever be, a Dylan song.
Q: Doug. Just wondering is there going to be any discussion of moving DeRosen to SF. I think that is the most suitable position for him if he can bulk up and improve his defense. Also there are going to be lots of options At SG this off season either with free agents (Ray Allen) draft (J. Lamb) or trade (James Harden). I think the most glaring hole in this roster is a closer/creator other than PG. what do you think?
Manuel M, Detroit
A: I’m going to go back to my long-held belief that the difference in shooting guard and small forward is much a case of semantics as anything so, sure, if DeRozan bulks up and extends his shooting range consistently, you can call him whatever you like.
Now, I seldom talk about specific players for a summer at this point in the season but to dash your hopes, I will suggest that a 36-year-old Ray Allen will have no interest whatsoever in the Raptors, the Lamb kid is intriguing but at least a couple of years away and would be a late-lottery pick most likely and if Oklahoma City lets James Harden get away, it will be solely because Sam Presti has lost his mind.
Q: Hi Doug. Irregular reader, newbie questioner. I have a draft question. Say a kid like Anthony Davis knows he's going first, but doesn't like any of the teams that can draft him. He decides not to enter the draft, but after the draft occurs, hires an agent. Is he now a free agent and can sign with any team he wants, or does he have to wait until next year's draft?
H T, Markham
A: No, he’s not. He would have to enter the draft the next year and he’d be screwed for going back to college because he signed with an agent. Europe or D League or NBL Canada would be options.