The start of the weekend mail
Well, here is today’s offering, have fun with it.
But there’s not much for tomorrow so if you want to get in on the fun, you know how to do it. But please get ‘em in early, I only have the afternoon to work on stuff, Sunday morning starts with another 4 a.m. wakeup call for a 6 a.m. flight to Dallas and then home.
And don’t forget we’re back tonight at 8:30 for an IGBT for those who don’t have other Saturday night plans. I’m not expecting huge attendance.
Q: Hi Doug! Well, we sadly didn't win the Davis lottery. Now we get to play the mugs game of bandying about names that don't really mean a whole lot, because we have no idea what the seven teams in front of us will do. Oh what fun.
I have a rules question that occurred to me watching the Heat - Celtics game. It concerns the goaltending rule. Lebron smacked the backboard on an early lay up attempt by Rondo when the ball was coming off of it on the way to the rim.
Is that goaltending? It of course wasn't called, but I just wasn't sure if it should have been.
Thanks for the blog and all the work. And thank goodness for the Spurs, and all they're doing to redeem these playoffs. They are playing some beautiful basketball.
Matt S, Toronto
A: Smacking the backboard isn’t goaltending; grabbing the rim or the net or blocking a shot after it’s hit the backboard is. I think that’s the play you were talking about?
Q: Hi Doug. I read your take on the New Orleans paper cutting back to three days a week. Peter King has something about it in his Monday column, then I read about Canadian papers looking at something similar.
How much longer can we in the GTA expect all four papers to be running and to keep giving excellent and sometimes diverse sports coverage?
Kevin M, Maple
A: That’s a question all of us ask ourselves often, and have for years. You would think, given the economics of the times and the shrinking advertising dollar that there’d be some culling of the flock but not yet. We have seen National Post make some dramatic cuts to its publication schedule as part of the last round of slashes but that is as far as it’s gone.
As a newspaperman, I hope we never lose one, I think competition is good and I have friends at all the other papers; as a realist, I fear for the long-term future of the four. Can’t say which one would vanish, though, because each seems to have a niche of the market.
Q: Hi Doug: Our Raps have a great opportunity to acquire a good player and at the same time add much needed Canadian content to our roster. Andrew Nicholson has done enough in his career in the NCAA to warrant being a late 1st round pick. I hope Bryan and the rest of the management team see this opportunity and do everything possible ($$, draft picks/current roster players) to acquire him. Do you think the Raps brass have similar thoughts?
Rich F, Orillia
A: Oh, I think Nicholson will be a first-round pick almost certainly; I’m not sure a team with, at the moment, a glut of young fours needs to make a move to add a pick who plays that spot.
The Raptors need to improve their roster regardless of birthplace or storyline and while I do think Nicholson is an NBAer, I don’t know how good he’ll be and I don’t think the Raptors need to go out of their way to acquire him.
Q: Hey Doug, how about a list of Uncles Considered and Rejected by Pepsi Before They Filmed the Uncle Drew Commercial? #1 on my list was Uncle Reg (Reggie Evans, his beard died white, steps into a pick-up game and grabs every rebound, sticks his foot under a few shooters, and knocks a couple of opposing bigs to the tarmac with "accidental" contact).
Mike D, Toronto
A: Well, you’ve got Uncle Oak who sits in his rocking chair mumbling in some language none of us quite understands until he gets up and smacks some kid in the head for fun.
And maybe you’ve got Uncle Chuck who sits there yelling “turrible” over and over and over again and when he’s called on to play runs into a geriatric referee and hurts his back.
How about Uncle Shaq, who stands on the sideline dining. And that’s all he does.
And then there’s Uncle HWSNBN. He watches quietly, sees the kids doing all manner of zany stuff and first time he touches the ball when he gets in a game he does some stupidly athletic thing and then walks away, bored and leaving ‘em wanting more.
Q: I promise, no "James Johnson, the rights to Sonny Weems and a future second" for Lebron but what true assets do the Raptors have to acquire a legit SF? As Mr. McCown has said in the past (although not maybe this exactly), the Raptors have Bargnani and a bunch of guys named "Who".
Jim S, Thornhill
A: With all due respect to Bob, he’s wrong. They have a lot of “assets” actually, young bigs with cheap contracts, a veteran point guard with a solid game and expiring deal and a draft pick along with millions of dollars in cap room.
So, there are any number of “assets” who would yield something in return, it might mean combining some of them but isn’t that why you acquire them, so you can make deals attractive other teams?
What if they were to package Amir and the pick, or Ed and the pick or Jerryd and the pick in a sign-and-trade? What about James Johnson as a cheap backup? There are myriad “assets” at Bryan’s disposal.
Q: Doug, in your recent article you wrote: "In 1996, they (Toronto Raptors) were No. 3, moved up to No. 1 but were bounced to No. 2 by virtue of an expansion agreement that said they couldn’t have the No. 1 selection for the first three years of their existence."
Can you explain this "expansion agreement"? Did such an agreement exist for the Grizzlies and Bobcats? If it did not exist for one or both of these teams, why did the NBA place such a restriction on the Raptors?
Which other team would deserve the number one pick more than a new team coming into the league?! Seems very odd and unfair for a new team.
Mike S, Toronto
A: Not sure I can explain it more than it was the expansion agreement, the negotiated terms that allowed both Vancouver and Toronto to get into the league and it did exist for the Grizzlies as well.
I don’t believe the Bobcats had the same clause in their initial agreement but I am not 100 per cent sure; it was a different negotiation with the league.
And it was done – at least in the case of Vancouver and Toronto – to make sure the new teams, which were destined to be awful, weren’t going to get three straight No. 1 picks, an unlikely scenario but a possibility the existing teams didn’t want to think about.
Q: Hello. Since you are very influential with the TV people, can you get them to put the score/time thingy in the middle of the screen? When I retire to watch the second half, I go to the old technology TV, and I lose most of the score/time thingy on the far right side.
Speaking of Time...Chambers Brothers? Mick and the boys? Tony Bennedeto? Simon and Gar?
Bob E, Kanata
A: Hey, my eyes are so bad, it was about three years into the existence of a score/time “bug” before I knew it existed. So if I get ‘em to move it to the middle, I’m also getting them to make it way bigger.
Starts and stops with this, no?
Q: Hi Doug. You may have answered this before so I apologize if you had. After the lottery, Bryan felt that the lottery needed to be changed so that it would prevent teams from "tanking" to try and move up the draft lottery. Do you agree that the lottery format should be changed? And if so what would you like to see happen?
Looking forward to a busy Raptor off season!
S S, Newmarket
A: I don’t think it needs to be changed at all. Is it perfect? No, but I don’t know that you’ll ever find one that is and this weighted system works okay for me.
And I know this is The Year Of The Tank but I also attribute that number of teams that may have taken the end of the season off to the shortened season that had them dead in the water sooner than they might have been in an 82-game schedule. I see it as an aberration.
Q: Hi Doug! Cool that the legendary band The Flaming Lips has allowed one of their songs to be the official playoff rallying song of the Oklahoma City Thunder. When the Raptors were in the post-season did they have an official playoff rallying song? If not, can you think what might've been a good one? Thanks!
Lorie P, London
A: I sure don’t remember one; seem to recall there being some team-done ditty that was so-so but I could be wrong.
Next time? Think maybe they have to find one, something that’s music rather than hip-hop or rap. Maybe an old Bare Naked Ladies, Blue Rodeo, Tragically Hip one? Got to be something there, right?
Q: Hi Doug. I don't know what your sources will say, but I would add Perry Jones (a super athletic swing forward with a reasonable jump shot) and Terrence Ross (one of the taller SG available with a very good jumper) to your list of potential draftees.
How do you think Derozan feels about a lot of talk around drafting at the SG position? Maybe it'll light a fire and push him to solidify his spot...
David W, Toronto
A: I think most of the legitimate talk is of finding a three or a backup two so I’m sure he’s just fine. Trust me, the coaches and management aren’t looking to draft over him but if they have to, they will to acquire assets.
Jones? Ross? Sure, put ‘em on a list, it’s growing every day.
Q: Hello Doug! I know I've already submitted a question, but I need some help with a task and I'm hoping you'll indulge me. And, I know I could've asked my sisters. Or friends or family or neighbours. But something tells me this is the place for it. Here goes: once upon a time my Dad was the bane of my existence. He wouldn't let me iron my hair, pierce my ears with ice cubes and a needle, or hitchhike to school. My adolescent agony knew no bounds; it was always "No!", "No!", "No!". Or so it seemed. But the bigger emphasis - and most important one - was always to "Know", "Know", "Know". My Dad introduced me to the joys of reading by weekly trips to the library, Cole's, and the ultimate treasure hunt - used book stores in downtown Toronto. He was - and remains - a firm believer in lifetime learning. And every Father's Day I know that all he wants from me is a book. A good one. One he hasn't read yet (and he reads a lot). And he remembers each one and can recite impressive portions from them!_ . Oh, and preferably non-fiction.
So, Doug, I've had solid book recommendations here before, and I'm asking you and my fellow Irregulars for help in finding a book for my Dad. It might have to be a bit of a hidden gem. (If a book's on the current New York Times Non-Fiction Best Seller List, he's probably read it!) History (anything really but the American Civil War is a favourite subject), biography, memoirs, architecture, politics...as long as it isn't fiction! Thank you.
Lorie P, London
A: Irregulars? Help a lady out, would you?
Q: Doug. I've been following the NBA playoffs pretty closely especially with the way the Miami Heat have been playing. If the Heat do not win, why is everyone saying they will probably trade Chris Bosh when it makes the most sense to move LeBron James? Miami's most glaring weakness is their depth, if one of their Big 3 goes down, they are in huge trouble. For Bosh, they could acquire an all-star caliber player and some other decent talent, sure, but for LeBron they could get an all-star, a couple quality sixth-men, and draft picks. Why isn't anyone talking about trading LeBron if they don't win, especially since we've seen first-hand how valuable Bosh is to the team?
Joel S, Eganville
A: Um, I really don’t have an answer to that except for this: Anyone who trades LeBron James should be institutionalized immediately and, while we’re at it, in your fantasy world don’t you think a team with an “all-star calibre player and some other decent talent” in a Bosh trade along with James would be pretty good?
Q: Dear Doug: In 2008 the Raptors traded the 17th pick in the draft to the Indiana Pacers for Jermaine O'Neal. The Pacers used that pick to draft Roy Hibbert, who would have looked mighty good in a Raptors uniform this past season. Are you worried about this kind of history repeating itself if the Raptors trade their pick this year?
Michael L, Minneapolis
A: Whew! It’d been hours since I had a Roy Hibbert question, was fearing you folks had lost your touch.
Yeah, he would have looked great this year, might have added four more wins to the team. Or not. Or he might have been traded after his career got off to a rather brutal start.
To your question: No, I don’t really care about history repeating itself, I still get paid and have to work. But I think everyone should chill. That’s just me, though.