The end of the weekend mail
All right, folks.
Early wakeup, long travel day (I’ll be thinking of you during my three-plus hours in Dallas, perhaps) so I’ll get to whatever comments there are when I can.
Q: I'm sure you have answered this before, but do you have a recommendation for a quality book about the history of Major League baseball?
Kelly A, Toronto
A: Wow, there so many different eras and different storylines that one definitive book is almost impossible to come up with.
But I’d start with The Glory Of Their Times by Lawrence Ritter and then I’d do Five Seasons and The Summer Game by Roger Angell and if you could find Baseball’s Great Experiment by Jules Tygiel, it’ll take you through the Jackie Robinson era.
And I know this is not a book and it’s not the most recent but if you were to find Ken Burns’s wonderful documentary Baseball on DVD, you’d watch for hours.
Q: Hey Doug: With 'trading days' upon us, can you explain - without going into too much detail - what is and isn't allowed in the NBA? For example, I'm pretty sure that salaries have to match - if both teams are over the cap. What about trading a player to another team, and paying part of his salary? Is there such a thing as "a player to be named later?"
Thanks again for all that you do!
Tim H, Windsor
A: For ease of explanation and without going into all the esoteric details of the CBA, teams over the cap can make trades if the total salaries going each way are within 125 per cent, plus or minus $100,000 of each other.
And, no, teams cannot pay the salaries of players they dealt away, which in my opinion is a good thing.
As for players to be named later, that’s not allowed either.
Q: Sorry Doug, this should have come here as opposed to a comment under today’s blog.
Doug, regarding your article about late draft players making contributions, with Buford in San Antonio being one of the best at finding these late picks that pan out. It's more than just finding the gem, it's developing that potential. San Antonio have more then just an eye for drafting talent, they have a system in place to develop them. Again, Buford deserves credit, and of course Popovich, but who else from that organization go unmentioned that other teams might look at to bring into their coaching staff to mimic? Or is the development system so well entrenched that coaches are inter-changeable so long as they follow the "system"?
And "fit" comes into play. Lot's of players find themselves in situations where they don't fit, don't get a chance or are on teams that simply don't have the knowledge, expertise or system to develop them. Drafting based on asset acquisition without the ability to maximize said talent seems counter productive to both the team and the player. So when we hear "we will draft the best player available" is that not counter productive? After all an asset is only an asset if it can be displayed, developed and showcased.
And one last question, is asset acquisition based drafting and trading not fools gold .._ As always, thanks.
Steph R, Glencoe
A: Who else goes unmentioned? Basketball development coaches work tirelessly with players on skill development outside of practice hours, doing shooting drills, ball-handling drills, defensive drills. If you see a guy’s individual skills improve – and that’s generally what allows a player to crack a rotation – there would be three or four instructors who’ve helped immensely.
And, I think “we will draft the best player available” is one of the bigger clichés you’ll hear this time of year. It is so vague I’m not sure it holds any real meaning because there is so much involved in it. Not only is it size, position and skill, but it’s “fit” and personality and character. So it’s not so much counter-productive as it is a bit misleading.
Fool’s gold? I’m not sure what you mean. Both trading and drafting are part of an overall package of acquiring assets, along with free agent signings, for instance.
Q: Hi Doug, not sure if you've answered this before but what happens if a player makes a shot whilst his teammate is fouled off the ball? Does the basket count and they get a free-throw? If so who takes it?
Chaz E, London
A: In the case where a foul is committed away from the ball after a shot has been taken, if the basket goes in, it counts and the person who is fouled shots one free throw.
It’s an odd three- or four-point play and you rarely see it but it does happen.
Q: So what's the deal? No more love for BP and that lonely bar stool? Go to read the blog today and half way through I get a Kelsey's pop up I have to click on to keep reading. Not cool Doug. Say it ain't so. Please, say it ain't so! Love the blog and have read it for years but if the (m)ad men get involved, readership is going to take a hit. I already buy the paper every day.....Boo.
Heath M, Toronto
A: Oh, my love for the usual stool rages on and I have no idea about the ad in the blog. I can see where it’s troubling but you’ll have to give me some time to find out about it, no clue where it came from or how long it might be there.
This is the only artist whose songs were covered by the Beatles, Stones, Bob Dylan. Long way from Alabama, Minnesota, Liverpool.
Speaking of long way. West conf vs East Conf seems galaxies apart.
Do your road colleagues see any reason for optimism with our HOTH????
John C, Mississauga
A: It’s funny, I was talking to a guy who works in the San Antonio front office on Friday after the Spurs practice and, of course, he asked what was going on with the HOTH. He knew, of course, because it’s his job to know but when I told him it was the East and I didn’t think the Raptors were too far from relevancy given the way the conference shakes down. I don’t think they’re more than a player away from being Indiana or Philly and those are two of the supposed up-and-coming teams and he readily agreed. I think that’s a commonly held opinion.
As for the travelling grunts? They’re more interested in where we’re having dinner and social outings than they are about how the team is shaping up.
Q: The draft lottery didn't clear anything up, so I thought I would ask about the reporting side of things and one about papers.
Do you think (some) reporters start rumors? I know you don't bite on rumors and get your facts, but some of the stuff I read are "what ifs" but read like they have a pipeline to the GM no one else has. (I have read at least eight 'BC wants to upgrade Jose, so they will pick a pg', some DeRozan is a natural sf and one he is even being traded.) Do you think some reporters overstep the job?
I do agree with you about reading an actual paper is better than the net but get all my Raptors stuff from the net because local reporters do their job everyday and are the experts. Do you see a day where the papers in Canada see that some major papers combine their websites to create a super site?
I am big supporter for local reporting. But as a Bomber and Jet fan, I go the paper in the peg, Toronto for my Raptor news.
Bruce M, Winnipeg
A: I don’t know that reporters actually “make stuff up” but I do believe – and it’s a blight on our craft – that some of them extrapolate what they think they know about a team they aren’t close to and write stuff from their own mind rather than checking it with a trusted source. Now, if a writer in, say, New York, writes something like you mentioned with Bryan and Jose, it could have come a casual conversation he had with some other NBA executive that is passed off as expertise. It’s a dangerous move and one that I don’t advocate and won’t do. If I get something like that from one conversation, I’d always find another executive or someone connected with the team to bounce it off before I passed it off as “news.”
And I don’t ever see the day any independent papers “combine” websites; it’s a competitive business and we want to attract our readers on our own merit.
Q: Greetings Doug: I know that you're a far piece from the Jays nest at Rogers, but could you use some drag and get them to add the pitch count on the screen graphics during a game? I usually try and keep a running tally in my head, but, I usually give up after a few innings. Other networks have this feature, and I'm sure ball fans would appreciate this addition. Keep up the good work!
Ken B, Matheson
A: They don’t have it? I didn’t realize that
Wow. How 1990s of them.
I’m pretty sure someone with more juice over there than I have will read this and who knows what will come up.
Q: How come no attention is given to the 2005 NBA draft where the Raptors selected Joey Graham with the 16th overall pick and passed up on Danny Granger who was taken 17th by Indiana.
I truly do believe if the Raptors had selected Danny Granger over Joey Graham the state of the franchise would be in a much better position.
Vic P, Toronto
A: I’m going back to an oft-stated opinion.
I don’t know if would have been “better” but it certainly would have been “different.” And that’s because nothing is linear in sports, if they do take Granger maybe they aren’t in a position to make any of the moves that came after because the course of history would be altered.
I fully admit Granger is a far better player than Joey will ever be and his impact on the franchise would have been greater.
But that’s about as far as I’m going to go, even in hindsight.
Q: Cleveland picked Tristan Thompson 4th and Spurs took Cory Joseph 29th. Who landed better for a successful career in the NBA?
K J, Toronto
A: Interesting question, thanks.
I guess one could say Joseph did because he will experience team success far more quickly and greater than Thompson but Thompson plays so that has to count for something.
Me? I’d rather play and be part of something growing rather than watching teammates succeed because there are no guarantees that Joseph will ever see much playing time.
I think this might be a question best posed in a couple of years; today, I’m going with Thompson.
Q: Hey Doug: You wanted questions, so I've got a question. In recent years, you've become a lot more than just a grunt who writes 'gamers' and feature stories. You've added a blog, IGBT, mailbag, NBN, (occasionally) Grunt TV - plus non-basketball related stuff.
How would you rank each in terms of how much you enjoy doing them?
And, even though it's all about you, your ranking won't change the fact that, whatever you write, it must-read for me!
Tim H, Windsor
A: That’s tough, kind of like asking which is your favourite offspring, a question I thankfully don’t ever have to answer.
I won’t take the easy way out and give you “they are all fun all the time” because that’s simply not true.
I probably enjoy the morning blog the most, it’s kind of fun to be more conversational while still presenting some news tinged with opinion and branching out into other sports and stuff like music and TV is a nice break. It’s the hardest, though, because there have been morning when the alarm goes at 5 and I have nothing at all on my mind to write about.
From there, I’d say the kind of featurey, NBN stuff (like this OKC piece from yesterday) is cool because there’s an empty canvass, as opposed to a game or event unfolding in front of you.
Probably put gamers and IGBT tied after that.
As for who long it takes? Really depends. Can knock off a game story in 15 minutes some nights, can do the morning stuff in an hour if my mind is truly engaged; the rest vary on how much time I have, deadlines are like air, they fill up the available space.
Q: One to help pad the mailbag. It seemed strange to have Bryan use baseball terminology to refer to basketball players, referring to Ginobili as a "Home run" and Milsap as a "Triple". Here's where you and readers can have some fun: Use non-basketball terminology to describe basketball players. For example, who would be a suicide squeeze? A Hail Mary? Too many men on the ice? Cheers.
Jonathan M, Toronto
A: Oh, I’d say Manu, aside from being a homer, is a suicide squeeze, high risk for high reward. A Hail Mary? That’d be Reggie Evans or a handful of others at the free throw line. Delay of game? Intentional fouls away from the ball. Double fault? Reggie Evans or a handful of others at the free throw line with two shots.
People? Wanna help?
Q: Amnesty talk is heating up now that the also-ran teams are sidelined and prepping for summer moves. When a player is amnestied, do they get their guaranteed money? Does the league contribute or does the team eat the remaining contract? Is an amnestied player an unrestricted free agent? Thanks!
Phil W, Sydney
A: Yes, a player on whom the amnesty clause gets all his money from the team that releases him (barring him being picked up by another team as a waiver claim, then that team assumes the contract obligations). And the player, if he gets clear of waivers is unrestricted and can sign anywhere.
Q: Hey Doug. Could you explain how the Barbosa trade affects Bryan's strategy between today and July 1?
Would he get the most value using the exception a- before the draft, b- at the draft, c- after the draft?
A: It adds more than $7 million to the money he has available to acquire players and can be used before July 1; if he’d waited and hung onto Barbosa the money wouldn’t have been available until the contract ran out July 1. And no one can say when he’d get the most value, but we do know he has more time.