The start of the weekend mail
Not too many left over for tomorrow and I’ve got a few hours this afternoon while watching the Champions League final before putting a big hunk of red meat on the barbecue to putter around so there’s time left to click here and do it.
If not, enjoy the day.
Q: My apologies, Doug, for too many questions & comments submitted this week, but thought you might just get a bit of a kick out of this. Reading an old Agatha Christie novel and came across the following spoken by Hercule Poirot talking to his side-kick, Captain Hastings: “Mon ami....We will go now to the Cheshire Cheese where Inspector Japp meets us for an early dinner.”
Peter L, Kingston
A: That warms the cockles of my heart and makes me wish it was July already and I could make a stop.
And from a family where the parents were voracious Agatha Christie readers, it’s even better.
Q: Hi Doug. When Raps went into "retooling" mode Triano played youth at the expense of wins and then was shown the door. I'm a fan of Jay and I think he got a raw deal.
With that being said, I really like Casey, as he seems to be a very effective coach.
I'm still left wondering, though, why everyone in the media and the raps organization (both BC and Casey patted their own backs with statistics) is raving about the defensive improvement of the Raps while turning a blind eye to their offensive woes.
Jay Triano had roughly the same group as Casey, and achieved relative offensive success. BC and Triano seemed set on a run and gun style and Triano was in the top half of the league in most offensive categories.
Enter: Casey and a Defense first mindset. Yes the raps improved defensively; but they plummeted offensively!
I would argue that Triano was just as effecive as Casey in implementing his offensive style, and that perhaps some attention should be paid to the offensive plummet the Raps took under Casey. I know you've chalked it up to no training camp, but excuses aside, the Raps offense was terrible this past season.
I'd appreciate your opinion on the matter. Offensive success vs. Defensive success and the attention paid to Casey's improved D, yet a blind eye paid to his offensive failings. Thanks!
Jeffrey M, Saint John
A: I don’t think anyone’s even remotely “turning a blind eye” to offensive issues and, in fact, it was the one area Dwane mentioned at the end of the season that needed improvement.
But, and I don’t think you can minimize this, being robbed of your best offensive player (Andrea Bargnani) for well more than half a season will have an impact on everything you do. I’d suggest they weren’t nearly as bad offensively as you seem to think and would have been at least in the middle of the pack if their 20-point-a-night stud – who made everyone around him more effective – had been a constant.
Q: Do you really trust Colangelo anynore? After explaining away this painful season on "we will soon have two high 1st round draft picks plus our organically grown young guys", now it is "oh wow, maybe we'll trade our 1st rounder and a young guy for a veteran". First, go with youth. Now trade away youth. Who knows which is right, but doesn't his inconsistency cause you concern? (Maybe I'm just cranky this morning because the last time he traded away a first rounder for a veteran, it ended up being used to take Roy Hibbert)
J L, Oakville
A: So you’d rather he not adapt on the fly and stick to something that may or may not be in the best interest of building his roster? Rigidity is bad, very bad. And if he can move the pick – and no one’s saying he will but he most certainly should entertain offers because to not to is not doing your job – he should. Plain and simple.
And please FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD IN THE WORLD put Roy Hibbert out of your head. Not only wasn’t he their guy I 100 per cent guarantee you fans would have been absolutely killing him for being a non-factor for his first couple of seasons.
Q How many times will the Spurs win by 12 in the playoffs?
Jim R, Toronto
A: Maybe a dozen?
Q: Happy Birthday – from all the irregular readers – thanks for the many hours if not days over the years of goofing off at work by reading your postings. There is so much negativity on the internet with self-professed experts, it is refreshing to follow the musing of a genuine beat grunt that takes a balanced look at issues.
Question: I get the whole man crush going on with Steve Nash – but realistically, where does upgrading the starting point guard land in the list of off season to do’s for the Raptors?
Kevin F, Hillsburgh
A: It certainly wouldn’t be at the top of the list, they have a perfectly capable starting point guard now, believe it or not. But I’m not sure you can absolutely prioritize things anyway. Sure, they need a starting 3 and a backup 2 and a backup point guard but you make your moves when you get a chance to make them; the danger being that if you wait to fill others until after you’ve done the first, you might lose out.
I think you put a lot of worms in the water and see what bites first.
Q: Hi Doug. I'm wondering about the future of Ed Davis as a Raptor. As you said, he's got more potential than Amir Johnson. However, Johnson plays better alongside Andrea Bargnani. But then Johnson hasn't played well the past season. So what do you think are the odds of each of those three getting moved?
And why do you call Bob McCown "doctor?”
Jeff W, Ajax
A: I don’t think both of them will be on the roster when training camp opens but I cannot tell you for certain which one might be moved and for what. It’s a logjam that I think Bryan will come to realize he has to address.
As for McCown, he’s a “doctor” because he’s not yet a “professor” but is more than “hey, dude.”
Q: Hey Dougie. You posted a pic of Oak today. Who is that in the shot with him? I thought it was Rodman? But it looks like he’s got Phillie Jersey on?
Marcus T, Newmarket
A: No, that was Rodman from his short and entirely forgettable 12-game stint with the Dallas Mavericks.
Q: Hola Doug. In your entry earlier this week, you posted a link to the Nash-award website. They quoted you and credited you as El Presidente of the PBWA! I was pleasantly surprised, and am wondering how you long you have been president of the PBWA, how the opportunity came along, and how much you enjoy the position.
As an aside, why does Lawrie = Hobbs. (Sometimes us '90s babies need a history lesson)
Thanks, as always!
Alex H, Toronto
A: I’m in the middle of a second two-year term as the president of our august little cabal. It’s a fine, fun job.
Well, I happened to be covering the TOD when he made his debut and it was such a hit, and he captured so much attention that he was Roy Hobbsian to me.
Who’s that, you ask?
Q: Hey Doug: Since the request for mail was right next to the picture of the Canadian player in the China game, it prompted me to send in a question. Do you, or your crack research team, know why the international basketball has those yellowish stripes? Is it just because they think it looks good, or is there some 'technical' reason? Is that the same ball that will be used at the Olympics?
Tim H, Windsor
A: There’s no real “technical” reason other than FIBA – under whose guidance all international games are played – has an agreement with Molten to supply balls; the NBA uses Spalding and the Molten ball, while not hugely different in any real way, is simply designed a bit differently. The “channels” between the panels might be microscopically bigger but the main difference is simply the look.
Q: Hi Doug! Thanks for all of your work. You provide a great insight into the world of the Raptors. So I have been a Gerald Wallace fan for years now, and THIS year he is a free agent. I believe that the addition of Wallace would be a massive upgrade over James Johnson at the Small Forward position. Wallace has all the attributes that Toronto fan favorites traditionally have. Hard nose defensive player, rebounds, hustles, blocked shots and high energy. He could be next in line after Garbojosa and Evans.
There seems to be a lot of talk about upgrading at the Point Guard for the Raptors, yet I feel as though we would get a greater bang for a buck by upgrading at the Small Forward.
Cody G, Burlington
A: Oh, I’m a big Gerald Wallace fan and think he would be just the kind of guy Dwane would love and get the most out of it. Word around the league is that New Jersey is not going to let him get away but he’d have to be on the list of guys the Raptors call right off the bat.