The start of the weekend mail
Well, they certainly scheduled the NBA Finals pretty well for us, didn’t they?
No games Friday or Saturday which allows us to do the usual mail without having to worry about game stuff getting in the way.
Have fun with this, there’s room for a wee bit more if you want. You know the drill.
Q: Hello Doug. Question regarding Canadian-born players. Why Raptors as a Canadian only team, don’t give any Canadian players a chance? It’s not like our roster filled with superstars. There must be a hand full of players in all of Canada, who can play a few minutes here and there and maybe one day get a chance for some constant minutes.
And question number two, how come NBA teams don’t have any developing junior teams like in Europe? If you look at the roster of any European based team, there are at least few, if not half of the team, with players developed by the organization. This way you have some kind of loyalty from both parties. And more important, there is interest for kids to play organized sports. Anyways, please keep informing us with the pre-draft news. All the best.
Alex V, Toronto
A: Pardon the “here we go again” sigh I just let out but, here we go again.
There is no reason to simply take Canadian players because of their passports. If they can play and are from Mars, you get ‘em. And, as I’m sure you know, it’s not as simple as going and getting Canadians, there are drafts and contracts and other issues at play here.
If they have the opportunity to get someone they want and he happens to be from Canada, that’s all the better; that’s a rare occurrence, though.
The club system, while okay in Europe, isn’t workable here at all. There are too many different factions of the game in too many large cities; it won’t happen.
Q: Hey Doug. A lot of "experts" seem to think the Raptors will draft a shooting guard. If the Raptors are looking to draft a shooting guard, what does that say about DeRozan? Would they like to trade him or move him to small forward position? Thanks
Phil D, Mississauga
A: This is a very popular question this week, I’ll use this version as representative of the others, if you don’t mind.
I don’t think it says anything other than what Bryan said on lottery night, he was going to take the best player regardless of position at No. 8 if only to accrue assets and, as it turns out, it’s mainly a shooting/point guard group. But also remember this, there’s very little chance a No. 8 pick is going to come in and wrest away a starting job from anyone and they have a dire need for a true backup at that spot.
Q: Doug, five a thirsty man a glass of water and he's eternally grateful ... and thirsty again later in the same day. Are the Raptors more interested in JUST getting into the playoffs, or are they intending on building a title-contending team?
Which brings me to your oft-written suggestion that a good veteran wing player might be a better idea than drafting and using the number eight pick at the end of the month. Eight plus one of the excess PF bunch of Raptors might provide a decent to pretty good wing ... albeit with a big ticket.
My argument against that is that contending teams have to hit on a draft pick or two to produce low-cost starters that up the talent level of a team. Then, the dollar-savings can be used elsewhere to upgrade more of the rotational nine. Getting REALLY lucky in the draft, say getting a Durant rather than an Oden, scoring a top pick like Rose from a low-odds lottery lotto, or a starter late in the draft (Parker, Ginobili) are also important.
If we trade for the wing we can get, it also probably empties the coffers for taking a run at Steve Nash. Or even Goran Dragic. And can one more player help Jonas Valanciunas and the Raptors be good enough?
We have been parched here in Toronto, despite not doing the Knick-tanking thing for a few years. I believe making an astute pick at eight, or wherever they draft after the trading merry-go-round, would be better for the Raptors (eventual) championship hopes than simply making a move to become the Atlanta Hawks of the North.
I hear champagne can be quite quenching.
Gary M, Brampton
A: It’s not necessarily true at all that a significant offer to Nash will empty any coffers, they can – if Bryan wants – be refilled by using the amnesty provision on someone to get more money.
And I don’t think anyone’s advocating some 35- or even 33-year-old three at the end of his career as one last piece; I’d be looking for someone 26, 28, 29 to grow with a young group and if that guy’s not around, well, go with another kid. But you have to look, this team is too young and will get younger with the arrival of Valaciunas and a draft pick.
The simple fact is that every team wants to be “building a title-contending team” and to think otherwise is dead wrong. It’s difficult to do, there is no one cut-and-dried way to do it but everyone wants to.
Q: What message is being sent by having the Raptors look at draft picks at the shooting guard position, people like Austin Rivers. DeMar DeRozan can be a restricted free agent at the end of the 12-13 season, Jerryd Bayless , Gary Forbes , Linas Kleiza, Sonny Weems can all play at the 2. I understand that you pick the best player available in the draft, but there is already a backlog at the 4 that needs to be address with addition by subtraction, would not the message be that this is likely the situation as well at the 2?
Kevin F, Hillsburgh
A: Couple of flaws here, I'm afraid.
Forget Sonny Weems, please, he’s not in the mix, Linas Kleiza is no more an NBA two than you are, Bayless and Forbes are question marks with one year left on their deals right now.
And 2s and 3s, as we know, are relatively interchangeable; as, in some instances, are 1s and 2s.
Q: Hi Doug. Maybe a conspiracy theory but is there any chance Raptors are the team that told Dion Waiters that he is there man all in a plot to cool other team's interest in him?
Fred W, Cambridge
A: Big conspiracy theory and, take my word for it, please, simply not true. That said, Bryan said right off the bat that Waiters would be “in the mix” if he’s still on the board.
Q: Hi Doug. Agree with the assessment of game 2 calls. A no call is fine on the last play esp if you consider Durant could have legitimately fouled out on the Battier charge that was called a block.
My question is about James Harden. What do you think of his overall game? Is he a max player, and the heir apparent to Kobe’s title of best SG as some say? Can OKC afford to keep him? I'd love to see what he can do as the first option, although he is one of the bigger floppers and complainers.
David W, Toronto
A: Harden’s pretty good is his current role; he is light years away from being in the same class as “best SG” in my opinion.
OKC can afford to keep him if they are willing to pay a high tax bill but we’re at least a year away from finding out about and that’s a long time.
I don’t see him – today – as a maximum contract player but that’s just me.
Q: Hey Doug! Who's scheduling these games and why???? I saw the upcoming schedule and the Sunday game is starting at 8pm!!! The Tuesday game is again starting at 9pm. If the OKC home games start late for the west coast audience, why can't the MIA home games start earlier for the East Coast?
Jon D, Toronto
A: None of these start times are for any “coast.” They are for TV and TV has decided it maximizes its viewers earlier on Sundays than it does on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is why a Game 6 in Oklahoma City will be an 8 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Central start.
Q: Hi Doug. Just wondering if you've every had qualms about going for an assignment to a specific country because the situation there in the field of, say, human rights was not so good.
Before the Euro 2012 there were lots of talks here about perhaps boycotting the event because of the political situation in Ukraine and, more generally, about the links between sport and politics.
Matthieu B, Bern
A: I really haven’t actually; I went to China knowing that I’d be able to write my blog but not read it because of government censorship and also knowing full well that every step a credentialed member of the media took would be watched by someone.
And I understand the power of boycotts but one involving the print media not covering an event can’t work; there’d always be someone who go do it.
Q: Hi Doug. Sorry if you've touched on this, but aren't the under 18 men playing in a tournament in Brazil starting this weekend? Any idea if it will be televised, or if we are able to watch online some where?
Drew F, Oshawa
A: They are in Brazil for their world qualifier that starts Saturday and runs through a week. I’m trying to set up some coverage for us and was told FIBA was trying to get live streaming on its website but as I type this Friday afternoon, there’s been no resolution.
Q: Hey Doug. I just realized this now but how did Larry Bird win the executive of the year award? Should it not have gone to David Morway who is the GM of the Pacers?
If the award can go to any executive then what is the point of Morway even being GM?
Barry C, Toronto
A: No, it shouldn’t have; Bird has ultimate authority on player personnel matters. It’s actually more a question of semantics, Morway is indeed GM but doesn’t have the ultimate authority but is part of a team, much the same way Ed Stefanski is intimately involved in Raptors personnel moves but the ultimate decision rests with Bryan.
And the point of Morway is that he was hired to be part of a management “team” rather than the guy in charge. Not a big deal, they gave the award to the right guy.
Q: Hi Doug, big fan of the blog. Not to get into a fashion debate, but the Raptors current uniforms are pretty dull to say the least. However, there original old-school purple and white uniforms from the Damon Stoudamire days are starting to become more and more popular amongst teenagers and youthful Raptors fans. The Raps haven't had a jersey change since before Bosh left, why not bring the old-school jerseys back as an alternative uniform. There is no doubt that they would sell tons of them, perhaps more than the regular jerseys. Thanks a ton.
Jonah P, Toronto
A: They have about five too many jerseys now, no way I can advocate going back to purple and white, sorry. And I would respectfully debate the “more and more popular” point, it’s not like I see them everywhere.
They currently have, or have had, red jerseys, white jerseys, black jerseys, green jerseys, camouflage jerseys, Huskies jerseys, jerseys with the Spanish flag colours as piping on the side, jerseys with Italian flag colours as piping on the side.
That’s about five too many for my liking. Sorry.
Q: Hello Doug. I tried this in the in-game-blog-thingy but it probably wasn't the right time.
I remember watching an anniversary show for the Raps, where Glenn Grunwald spoke about how the Camby / Oak trade was so hush leading up to it -- in fear the NY public would go bananas -- that even media didn't know about it before it happened.
Now, I know things are different today, with all the "inside sources", but it got me thinking about transactions we never heard about, but perhaps you had a pretty good hint at.
Not naming the existing Raps, do you have a starting five or top 5 of potential player acquisitions we, the irregular public, did not get a whiff of? Moves that didn't happen last minute, that were not made public but you were aware of, that would have been big news if they went through?
Ryan R, London
A: It wasn’t the public they were worried about it the Oakley-Camby trade, it was Patrick Ewing, they figured he would have exploded and it might have threatened the deal.
I’m not sure I know of five, actually, but here are a couple.
I do know Bryan talked to the Clippers about Bosh, in Bosh’s final year, in a deal involving picks and Baron Davis; wrote about that a year or so ago.
And I do know the Raptors and Sonics talked about Ray Allen way back in the day.
Oh, and the night they got Antonio Davis from the Pacers they tried to get Mark Jackson thrown in that deal, too.
Those are some good players who might have altered the history of the franchise.
Q: Doug. Can you clarify, I read the Raps have to July 1st to use the amnesty, I thought it was before the beginning of the season, which is it?
Oh and the report was if they draft Lillard or Marshall, it would be used to "get rid" of Jose's contract. Cause you have to get rid of a player who is seventh in active players assist per game for career (and five of the players above are Kidd, Nash, D. Williams, Paul and Rondo.) Sure there is ten teams that would love to pick him up for a million a season.
Bruce M, Winnipeg
A: No, the amnesty actually cannot be used until AFTER July 1 this year and is available through the summers.
And there is no appetite whatsoever to “get rid” of Jose’s contract.
Q: Jose has been rumoured to be traded since last year when the Jose/Chandler trade was botched. I keep hearing that the Raptors are looking for their point guard of the future. Jose has one year left on his contract, and I would love to see him back as a Raptor once he becomes a UFA.
If Jose was dealt this summer for example, do you think Jose would feel slighted by the organization in 2013 when he becomes a free agent? Or do you think he'd be open to consider coming back to the team, even though they hypothetically shipped him away for one year? Most athletes I would imagine would feel slighted, but Jose is in a different class. Just wanted to hear your thoughts on the matter since you seem to have a good relationship with him. Thanks as always!
S S, Newmarket
A: I’m sure he’d be quite hurt if he was dealt from the only NBA he’s ever played for and from a city he loves. And I don’t know that 2013 would be anything to think about because, one would suspect, he would have been dealt so they could start grooming another young point guard and I’d doubt they’d want to bring him back.
Kind of moot to me.