The start of the weekend mail
Good job, again, Irregulars.
A fine start, lots left over for tomorrow and I can probably handle a few more but there’s a trip home from Chicago and then some other work and an early flight to Oklahoma City on Sunday so can’t promise too much.
Have fun with this, though.
Q: If you were the coach of a "no excuse" team like the Heat, what excuse would you use for not making the Finals? (Queried on Wednesday, please amend or delete if they do make it.)
Why is Colby Rasmus now hitting? Can he continue hitting? What is the most pressing need for the TOD?
Any favourite. Father Time, Fatha Hines, Life with Father, Father Knows Best, or Father Bauer? Colour Him Father? Sylvester's son's plea, ohh fatther?
Have a good one on the 17th!
Bob E, Kanata
A: Think we’ve got some Heat stuff done in the interim and will have more after we find out what transpires Saturday night.
Rasmus and Hobbs are pretty cool at top of the order, no? I don’t know this for sure, but I do think there’s a comfort level knowing you’re going to get an early at-bat that gets you into the game more quickly, I think Rasmus is probably seeing more fastballs or better pitches because of the guy behind him and it’s working out great so far.
Biggest need? Well, I think a power-hitter either for left field or first base would be on the list and I know Janssen’s been lights out but you can never have enough bullpen depth.
Fathers? How about this fadda, all the way from Camp Granada.
Q: Hello Doug. Stock traders, tax collectors, lawyers, used-car salesmen...these are professions that regularly turn up on those lists of "Top 10 Most Hated Professions". But I've yet to see "Sports Agents" included on any of those lists. Surprisingly. I believe you've used the words "self-serving". Nice understatement in my opinion. (Greedy, avaricious, mercenary, vain-glorious, egotistic are words that also come to mind.)
So, Doug, if you were suddenly charged with the task of preparing a kid for the NBA combine, how would you prepare him? What advice would you give him - say both the Top 3 Things To Do and Top 3 Things Not To Do? Thank you.
Lorie P, London
A: Kind of like being a parent, isn’t it?
Three Things To Do
Know your subject.
If you’re going into an interview with a team, do some homework, know who’s on the team, what they need and how you might fit.
Carry yourself as a grown up, look people in the eye when you answer there questions, I’d like a Mr. So-and-So or a Sir in an answer.
Don’t just sit there, be involved. Ask why they think you’d fit with a team, ask about philosophies, history of the franchise, stuff like that.
Three Things Not Do
If you can’t speak clearly and in sentences, be quiet.
Don't go too far
Don’t ask about the nightlife in the city, or the clubs, or the bars, or stuff like that.
Knock The Team
Yes, if you’re interviewing with a lottery team, it probably didn’t have a good season and, trust me, they know and they don’t need to be reminded.
Q: Doug. Thanks for the great work as always. Glad to see a snippet from Lillard. I love the just throw out a ball and let us play attitude. If he could even sniff a combo of Payton, Shaw and Kidd rolled into one, added to seasoning from Calderon, how could you say no to that? Now that the Raps are in draft mode, are your sources for researching these kids based on info you receive from the team, other NBA sources, and how much if at all do you refer to internet draft sites and analysis? What do you do to understand and analyze these guys due to your winter hibernation from college ball/ Are their any sites or writers whose opinion you respect more than others? Thanks as always.
Randy M, Crystal Beach
A: It’s truly a combination of different sources, actually. There are scouts I know who follow college, people in the Raptors front office help out a lot and so do writers who know far more about these kids than I do. You’re right, I’m way behind the curve so I will go through the usual sites – ESPN, Hoopsworld, Draftnet, NBA.com – to get some background information. And, really, there’s not one appreciably better than the other, it’s all part and parcel of gathering as much info as I can to get rather quickly up to speed.
Q: Like you Doug, I don't really follow college ball, however, I've been looking at 2012 Mock Drafts with interest. The reports vary of who is best suited for the HOTH, as are the players named.
As an Example; 2 days ago I read the HOTH were offering up the 8th pick to get an experienced player, and yesterday read that Dion Waiters of Syracuse won't work out for teams as he has a promise from an NBA team - most likely the Raptors.
My question...Do the reports have any basis in reality or are the predictions pretty much an educated stab in the dark by the American media talking heads and writers?
And who the heck is Dion Waiters?
Sam D, Barrie
A: I think we sufficiently debunked the Waiters myth yesterday; I hope you heard.
A lot of the “reports” are extrapolations of conversations you have, logical “guesses” if you will. You have idea of a team’s needs and come to a rational conclusion on what might happen and as long as you couch in those terms and don’t suggest anything is definitive, you’re doing all right.
I don’t think there’s anything totally fabricated but some of that extrapolation I talked about goes a bit far and stretches credulity.
Q: Hey Doug: I am guessing that you have a 'feel' of how the players across the league generally think. I get the feeling that you are a well-respected reporter, not just by the Raptors, with whom you have an almost daily connection (during the season), but among other teams as well.
Having said that, if the players were to decide the playoff schedule, how would it go?
If you (and we know it's all about you!) made up the schedule what would it look like (aside from afternoon games, so making deadline is a lot easier)?
Thanks for all of you efforts for your readers!
Tim H, Windsor
A: Okay, I can’t have all afternoon games? That would absolutely be top of the list.
But how about this: Every series would be 2-3-2, there would be one day off in between games in the same city and two days off when travel was required.
We’d go Monday-Wednesday, travel, day off, Saturday-Monday-Wednesday, travel, day off, Saturday-Monday.
Works for me.
Q: Doug: Speaking of Ice cream treats, you have no doubt tried, Buried Treasure, vanilla and orange ice cream with a bugs bunny character. You have probably tried the traditional, Drumstick. But out of these, and the icecream sandwich, which would you prefer? Keep those life surprises coming!
Ken B, Matheson
A: Actually, never had the vanilla-orange thing; not a big sherbet guy, don’t know if it’d be up my alley.
Drumsticks are good, but I’m not fond of the ones with nuts on the top, like fudge or dark chocolate mixed in. But the old school ice cream sandwiches – think 1960s, basic wafer with either chocolate or vanilla inside – would remain at the top of the list had I not found the ones with the chocolate chip cookies. Now, if they put chocolate ice cream in the middle, I’m done and in treat heaven.
Now I’m hungry, hope there’s a 7-11 near this hotel, I have to go for a walk.
Q: Hey Doug. The feeling seems to be that if Jonas was in this draft, he'd go higher than 5th (maybe even 2nd). It seems that by declaring for last year's draft he will end up making less money as a 5th pick. Shouldn't he have waited to declare, since he knew he would play at least one more season in Europe anyways? Hindsight is 20/20, but even last season everyone knew that if he dropped, it would be because of his buyout situation.
Paul C, Brantford
A: Guess it’s a little bit of a financial difference but I think guys want to know where they’re going to go as soon as they can and when it’s time to declare, it’s time to declare.
Besides, lots can happen in a year, don’t blame him at all for coming out last summer.
Q: Hi Doug. I was looking at 2011/2012 NBA team salaries and noticed that the Raptors had the lowest which surprised me in a good way.
Do you think the Raptors will have to overspend to attract a quality free agent this summer.
What are your thoughts on the Thunder in terms of keeping all of their key players together as contracts expire (i.e. Westbrook).
Monty M, Toronto
A: Overspend? It’s all relative, isn’t it? I presume you mean having to out-bid teams because of the backwater city and terrible franchise and the answer would be no because I think Bryan and Dwayne wouldn’t want a guy to come just to chase money.
There is a more punitive tax system coming, Oklahoma’s ownership is going to have to make some hard decisions in a couple of years and, right now, I don’t imagine they’ll be able to, or willing to, keep every single player. Which ones go, I cannot say but some will.
Q: Greetings, in reading a piece by a colleague of yours regarding a surprise face to face encounter with a Royal while on her "beat", left me to wonder if you have had any "right place, right time" moments courtesy of your career choice? A moment that might serve to balance "another dreary night in March". Obviously significant things can happen at any time but for me, personally anyway, there are a number of acquaintances and introductions that I have been fortunate to have simply as a result of my employment.
Thanks for what you do
Doug T, Brantford
A: Not an awful lot, actually, at least in the outside-of-basketball realm.
Always cool to run into guys I know from the game, though; Oak’s always seems to pop up places. Other than that, most of the things I’m at don’t have a lot of “surprises.”
Q: Hi Doug. The Heat aren't exactly looking like world-beaters right now, are they? I think they might have to do something to get them over the hump and make themselves into real championship contenders. Do you agree? Or do you think they could squeak out a championship if they stay the course?
The thing is, as much as they and every team should be looking to improve from year to year, I don't see much of a way for them to address their flaws. They don't have good draft picks, or cap space, or many young players they can expect to improve from year to year. And they don't have much in the way to offer in a trade beyond the big three. Given the way that team was constructed, I also don't have much faith in the organization's ability to find a diamond-in-the-rough type and develop him into a good player. That's hard enough at the best of times but especially for a team built on big name free agents. We're not talking about the Spurs, here.
If they don't win the championship, do you think they'll look into trading Lebron, Wade, or Bosh over the summer? On the face of it, that sounds kind of crazy. It's a pretty drastic move and would be kind of a surprising admission of defeat for a team that made the finals last year and is at least very close this year. Do you think maybe a new coach could do the trick? There are some big names on the market -- Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan spring to mind -- but I don't really see either of those two as a fit. I'm not even a Heat fan, but they are kind of a basketball puzzle.
Thanks for your hard work!
Tim M, Kingston
A: I don’t think there’s any way in the world they will – or should – move any of those three. Why do it? No way you get fair value, you’re giving up a bonafide all-star with any of them and it’s silly to think you can measurably “improve” team by losing one of your top three players. I think what they have to do is find better role players; they to convince a good centre to play for little money and they need to find younger kids to come off the bench.
But why in the world would you trade an all-star? It’s be, in my opinion, subtraction by subtraction.
Q: Hey Doug! Love the blog! As a basketball fan and a huge Raptors fan the off-season is one of my favorite times of the year. It is the time when I can get my hopes up and actually think that this coming season will be the one when the Raps break through and get into the playoffs or at least have a winning record. I get excited by all of the draft and trade talk and am constantly online looking for some info on what the Raps might do. I have heard people talking about Steve Nash maybe coming to Toronto but I honestly don't think that he will pass over a chance to play with a championship contender.
My question is what do you think about Rudy Gay coming to Toronto in some kind of trade? I honestly think Gay is a good possibility for the Raps and would fit in great! Would Toronto give up their 8th pick in that deal? What players do you think they would have to give up for Gay?
Mike M, Pictou, N.S.
A: I am soooooooo tired of Rudy Gay or Andre Igoudala and whatever other fanciful made up piece of guesswork someone put out there you cannot believe it.
Look, both are very good players, all-stars or close to it, and would be good fits. Unless, of course, you had to gut your existing team to get them and if you think either Philly or Memphis are simply going to give them away, you are sadly mistaken.
So, if you need to deal, say, DeRozan, Davis and the pick, or Calderon, Davis and the pick, or Bargnani and the pick are you really any better? Or are you just different?
The Raptors have several ways at their disposal to improve the roster without giving anything up. They have money to spend on free agents, they have a pick and bit players to combine – without decimating what’s really a thin roster – and that’s the way they should go.
So, yes, both of those guys would be good “fits” but at what cost and no one who’s making this stuff up or whatever has suggested what that cost would be. To me, both those other franchises would ask for the moon and it’s not worth it.