The start of the weekend mail
Good job, again, Irregulars.
Got some left over for another shot tomorrow morning but there aren’t that many that we can’t get some more.
And think it’s time we got back to the IGBT portion of our entertainment? Since there’s baseball practice today and the inherent socializing after I can’t do tonight but how about Sunday, 8:30 p.m. for Game 1 of Spurs-Thunder?
See you then?
Q: Doug. John Hollinger at ESPN did a couple of pieces on players who have enhanced/harmed their market value based on their playoff performances. My question to you is a bit different: have these playoffs hilited any attributes that specific Raptors could offer in a playoff environment? In other words, might any Raptors have enhanced their market value based on what teams recognize as being needed to compete successfully in May and June?
Gary M, Ottawa
A: That’s a very interesting question, actually.
We’ve seen some teams even as far as the conference semifinals with flaws that are glaring.
So, tell me again how good Jose Calderon would look running the offence as the starting point guard in Los Angeles with the Lakers and don’t you think the Sixers, who can’t make a three-pointer to save their souls, would be better off with Andrea Bargnani in the role currently played by Elton Brand?
And please don’t anyone go all “Brand’s a better rebounder” because it’s simply not true.
Now, at this young stage of his career DeMar might be better suited coming off the bench with a true contender – and I fully expect that to change as his game grows and he matures – but don’t you think he’d look pretty good in, say, Atlanta or even with the Lakers?
It’s all about opportunity and need and fit but those three teams would be better, in my opinion, with those Raptors in those roles. I’m sure there are others – and others from other non-playoff teams – who would also fit but I think those are three top examples.
Q: What is more likely, finding an alligator in your backyard, or the HOTC getting to the second round next year?
If you won $50 million, what would be your first car purchase?
Speaking of alligators ...how about a little William Haley?
Bob E, Kanata
A: The alligator in the backyard story was a classic and if one ever ventures own to the southern climes of Hazelville, mama’s getting some new shoes!
I’m not a big car guy at all but some kind of Mercedes sports convertible is top o’ the list. Or a new less-smelly Ford Focus (not!
That the guy?
Q: To your Aaron Gray comment in your May 21 blog: how much do you think the HOTH are going to have to offer this summer to retain his services? By way of reference, Joel Anthony signed a 5-year deal with the Heat for $18mm but he plays more minutes than Gray (averaging about 22 to Gray's 17).
Mike D, Toronto
A: That’s a good one and tough to answer because I think teams are going to be very frugal with relative fringe players this summer with a new, more onerous tax system ahead.
And Gray, while okay and quite serviceable in his role as basically a part-time player who was the best screen-setter on the team and a presence inside on a so-so team, probably deserves a raise.
But considering he made $2.5 million last year year and will now find himself in an even more muddled front court with the arrival of Valanciunus, I don’t know how much of an increase he can expect here. Or anywhere, really.
So let’s say you offered him a three-year deal with the third year not fully guaranteed for about $11 million total. Say $3 million, $3.5 million, $4 million. Would he take it? Would you be in a bidding war? And if you were, would you care greatly if you lost?
Q: Oh Grand Pajundrum of all relevant issues: Bobby Z turns 71 today. Saw him at Massey Hall in '63, '64 and when he plugged it in at Newport in '65.
Thanks as always,
Frank B, Toronto
A: He did turn 71 and who cares what we did Thursday, there’s always time for more, right?
Massey Hall before Newport?
You’ve lived, my friend.
Remember this ditty?
Q: Hi Doug. I've got a question about the Olympics and the qualifying process that I hope you can answer. I recently read the story about boxer Mary Spencer and her (hopefully temporary) setback in qualifying. This has got to be a difficult time for her and potentially a worrying situation for the Canadian Olympic Committee who have featured her prominently as part of their advertising for London 2012. And I'm wondering why qualifying takes place so late in the pre-Olympic process. Logistically for athletes and organizers this has got to be difficult: not knowing who's participating until so close to the start of the games. And for athletes like Mary Spencer - whose countries have gone ahead and used their images to promote their athletes - the pressure to qualify must be tremendous. So, is the timing to serve athletes' physiological preparation? Or all about high drama? Or something else entirely? Thanks!
Lorie P, London
A: I think the reason most qualification takes place so relatively late is that the Olympic organizers, and the various national Olympic committees want athletes who are at or near the top of their games going to the Games. It’d be nice if you could qualify a year out or even six months out but I think you need to allow for athletes to peak at the right time and know they are at their very best very close to the Olympics. It does add pressure but don’t you want to find out if Olympians can handle that pressure?
The Spencer case has to be a cautionary tale for all concerned. Everyone in the Olympic family and the boxing community knew she hadn’t officially qualified and knew what the process was but there were still those who went out and trumpeted her as the “face” of the Games far, far, far too early. That’s their fault and while it did her no favours, she was, frankly, complicit because she knew what the qualification process was and still went along with the plans.
It is, and will be, a tough story, and hopefully some lessons will be learned. I doubt it, but one can hope.
Q: Hey, don't worry about the CBC. We live in a post hockey age anyway. Too many parents are looking at hits in the head and saying, like they are about the NFL, my kids are not getting involved.
There's other evidence, of course, but the dwindling of the future talent pool should worry those running the game. Except, excuse me, they have probably been concussed too many times to think.
Beverley G, Vancouver
A: I know there’s no question here but that’s cool because you raise an interesting point. I don’t know about the registration numbers for minor hockey or minor football cross-country and I’m sure if I asked I’d hear how wonderful things are but I agree wholeheartedly with you.
I can’t think of many families in my circle of friends where none of the teenage boys are still playing hockey and of the ones that are, scant few are playing in full contact, highly-competitive leagues and no one I know (as the father of a 15-year-old) has kids in minor football. We just don’t know enough about long-term effects of years in the sports and the dangers are, frankly, too much.
Q: Hi Doug. I realize that this is probably a bit of a crazy question, but do you think that there is any chance Bryan Colangelo can figure out a way to get Pau Gasol?
It seems if they can get Pau it would be a great fit and give Jonas some time to mature and grow.
Let me know if this is a pipe dream or a possibility.
JP, London UK
A: I think it’s probably a pipe dream – I don’t see an awful lot in Toronto that would fit in LA with gutting the Raptors and why do that – but I’d certainly try to make a call and see if something was possible.
If you gave me a frontcourt rotation of Bargnani, Gasol, Valanciunas, one of Davis or Amir and an old head, I’d be okay with it.
But, again, I don’t see what the Lakers would want back that wouldn’t decimate Toronto and make it simply different rather than better.
Q: Hi Doug. Big time fan, long time reader here.
My question is - What is your take on Nicholas Batum? Do you see the Raptors making a run for him despite his history with the Raptors (pre-draft workouts)?
Louie C, Milton
A: I like Batum and, depending on how other free agent/trade/draft things go, I’d have him on a short list of small forwards to consider. Not sure he shoots it consistently enough and scouts I’ve talked to wonder about his level of consistency defensively but he’d be worth looking at.
And whatever that issue was with the pre-draft workout so many years ago, it wouldn’t be an issue; there’s been lots of water under that bridge.
Q: Hi Doug. What do you think about Jerry Sloan back in the game? I always liked him - and kind of lump him together with Gregg Popovich in my coaching hierarchy. Would be nice to see him with a team on the bubble, rather than a basement dweller (Bobcats). Not sure how many years he would have to build something at 70 years old. What do you think?
Greg W, Ancaster
A: I think any NBA with Jerry Sloan in it is exponentially better than one without him in it. Wrote a bit about this in Friday’s Nothin’ But Net; and I know Jerry’s such a good coach that he’d probably be okay starting with a “middle” team but I’m not sure he’d have the patience to grow with one that’s years and years away. If I’m Orlando or Portland, he’s at the top of my list; he would on the top of a list in Washington and Charlotte but I don’t imagine he’s a good fit for the talent there.
Q: Hi Doug. After the disappointing flagrant fouls of the Pacers-Heat game this week, I was particularly moved by the playful spirit and well-natured Kyrie Irving in disguise video that has been making viral video circles. It is really a clever Pepsi ad, but I think you and the Irregulars would enjoy watching "Uncle Drew". Nice to see a sense of humour in such a promising rookie. If you want to watch it:
Thanks for all of your tireless efforts to promote the great sport of basketball and to create an online community for us crazy hoop-heads and Raptor fans.
Matt S-J, Oakville
P.S. Something tells me Uncle Drew used you as an archetype, at least in terms of his commentary and friendly-snark.
A: No thanks needed and Uncle Drew is too cool for school.
Q: Hi Doug, thanks for your blog. It gives a HOTH fan abroad his basketball fix, not to mention a daily dose of culture. You are appreciated. My question has to do with former Raptor, Milt Palacio. What’s he up to these days? Keep up the good work.
Richard L, Berlin
A: Boy, the last time I heard about Milt Palacio, he was blowing wide-open layups in Russia, I think it was. Or Greece.
Upon further research, he’s been plying his trade in Spain and good for him; if you can make a living playing a game, why not do it until someone takes the uniform away from you.