The end of the weekend mail
Have yourselves a good day, we’re here at 1 p.m. for IGBT and then I believe off to a house party for the big game.
Oh, and in case you were wondering?
Argos 29, Stamps 25
Remember, you heard it here first.
Q: Hey Doug: I've noticed that a couple of blogs this week elicited more than one page of comments. That got me to thinking (see all the good thing your blog accomplishes!), off the top of your head, what (insert number here) blogs got the greatest number of comments? It will be interesting what cranks up the angst of your readers.
Tim H, Windsor
A: Off the top of my head?
I do know the day I had the temerity to suggest that perhaps Jose Calderon was a better option than T.J. Ford got ‘em going pretty well, and there was the day they traded for Shawn Marion. I recall that elicited more than a few comments.
Those are the two that stick out in my mind; there’ve been more than 55,000, it’s hard to distinguish which days got more.
Q: Doug. I'm from Toronto and am a huge Raptors fan, however that is not why I am reaching out to you.
There's a trending video right now on Youtube (45,00 hits in 1.5 days), and it involves Kenyan Orphans re-enacting Larry Bird's steal from 1987. The video has already been picked up by TBJ and Ball Don't Lie and I was hoping you could tweet or promote it. The entire project is for charity and that is why I am reaching out to you. You have a large and well-educated following and I'm sure some of them would want to see this. Enjoy the 1:59 short. It truly is incredible.
Dan F, Toronto
A: I have seen it, it’s outstanding and I’m glad to help.
And any time you can hear the gravelling tones of Johnny Most, you should.
Q: Hi. I'll try once more. During half time the TV cameras show the players in the dressing room without any coaches. Do the coaches ever breach the sanctity of the players room for some measured pointers?
Dusty B, Sydney Forks
A: I’m pretty sure I answered this the first time.
Yes, the coaches give the players some time to cool off but they are in there going over stuff for most of halftime.
Q: Hi Doug. I've been reading your blog for a few years now almost daily but never sent in a question. So here it is:
I'm just watching the Tor-Det game:
I notice Bargs and JV set picks but seem to move out of the way really quickly before the opposing player really runs into them. Is that just a lazy pick or afraid of contact or something? When KG does one of those, it's almost like a body check. The Raps pick seem more like an annoyance. Am I missing something? Thanks!
Mazz A, Calgary
A: I’ve mentioned a few times that I think the bigs “slip” too many screen rolls; I think they should them a bit longer more often. But it’s not laziness or avoiding contact, it’s a play; I just think they do it too many times that it becomes ineffective.
Q: In the past, you've talked about the importance of winning and getting to the playoffs versus tanking to get a better position in the draft lottery. Watching the past two games it struck me that we may be seeing an example of why that is. We have some talent on this team but not a lot of experience winning. Do you believe this is playing a factor in this season's record?
Robert N, Toronto
A: I think it’s a minor factor but certainly not the biggest one. But it’s true that the more close – and intense – games you play in, the better you get at closing them out. This team’s got a ways to go in that regard, as we’ve seen.
Q: Hey Doug. I want to preface this by saying I like Lowry, I enjoy the intensity he brings and I love the way he attacks the basket. However, I am seeing a bit too much 1 on 5 from him and he seems reluctant to pass the ball in close games. For instance, the game against Detroit, with Bargs playing his best game of the season, Lowry ran up the court and shot an ill-advised jump shot at the buzzer rather than looking for Bargnani (who was 13-20 from the field). It just feels that Lowry is not as great as involving his teammates as Calderon is. Am I right in this assumption? And has Coach Casey sat down with Lowry and ask him to look for open teammates, or does he accept it as part of his overall intensity?
Dave R, Markham
A: Yes, they would like him to pass to wide-open teammates and do mention it. Often. But Lowry’s skills lie in his ability to get into the paint or the meat of the defence and break people down. Everyone’s known that, and accepted that, since he arrived in July, don’t imagine it would come as any big surprise.
Q: When is it time for Colangelo to go?
Chris Bosh leaving without adequate compensation was a fireable offence in my opinion, on its own
A lot of overpaid underperformers: Amir Johnson, Linas Kleiza, and now Landry Fields.
No discernible plan. Anthopoulos for the Jays has operated on a clear plan since he took over. Colangelo seems to start something every couple of years and then blow it up.
I used to follow the Raps very closely. I won't follow them again so closely until we have a new GM that is more substance than style. Thoughts?
Nathaniel S, Toronto
A: I think you should enjoy whatever it is you do with your newfound idle time.
And, no, 13 games into the season is not “time for Colangelgo to go” and we’ll see where they are at the end of the season, when his contract expires.
Until then, why make a move?
Q: Hi Doug. Got a basketball question that's been bugging me for sometime now regarding assists.
When is an assist credited? Obviously, when a player immediately makes a basket, the guy who passed it to him gets an assist. Assuming the 2nd player makes the basket:
If the player dribbles it a couple of times before making a jumpshot, how many dribbles do you count before it no longer becomes an assist?
Or if he drives but has to get around several screens before making the basket, how far can he go before it's no longer a assist?
Or maybe it's a matter of time elapsed like when he holds on to the ball for a while in one position then makes a jumpshot, how many seconds can he hold on to it for it to be considered an assist?
Confused, thanks for enlightening me.
p.s. got one also for rebounds: if a player volleyball taps it outside to a teammate, who gets credited for the rebound?
Peter M, Toronto
A: It’s very subjective and there are no hard and fast “rules” in the book. The manual suggests an assist goes to the player who makes the pass that leads directly to the basket but it doesn’t, as far as I know now, differentiate whether that basket needs to be scored within a certain number of dribbles or, say, a five-second count. But each stats crew from each city gets league-conducted training each year so hopefully there is some consistency.
On the rebound thing, if a player is judged to have “control” of the ball as he taps it, he should get the rebound but, again, there is a bit of subjectivity involved.
Q: Hey Doug: In light of the NBA admitting the blown call on the Bargnani shot, and the blown call by the officials in the Detroit Lions game (and the stupid penalty that followed), I have a question.
As far as I know, all of the leagues make very public any fines/suspensions given to players. However, from what I know, none of the leagues announce similar information regarding officials.
Am I correct? If so, doesn't this seem a tad unfair? And, is there a reason for it?
Tim H, Windsor
A: Maybe a bit unfair and I would say the reason is that taking salary away from referees publicly differs than fines announced against players for whatever indiscretion they may have committed. And sometimes the discipline isn’t obvious right away. Over the course of a season, an official may be rebuked privately often enough that he’s taken out of playoff assignments, for instance.
Q: Doug, Loved the WKRP clip easily one of my favs of all time! Perhaps you can provide some insight as to why in the 4th qtr of games on offence the Raps take the clock down to 10 seconds and then rush to run something, the first option is always gone and a bad shot ensues? And there's never anyone posting up it's 5 guys around the 3 point line? It's maddening to watch at times.
Enio P, Maple
A: Actually, it’s not five guys around the three-point line all the time – it certainly wasn’t that way in Charlotte at the end – but I see your point.
I think it’s a bit of a trust issue, some guys tend to want to do it all themselves and it leads to static on the weak side; sometimes it’s a hesitancy on the part of the players off the ball to move for whatever reason. It’s an issue that has to resolved.
Q: As far as refs go, what kind of disipline do they get, when was the last time one was disiplined, and is made known to the public or teams what the punishment was. like they do with players and coaches?
Garry H, Toronto
A: Well, Joey Crawford was suspended for the playoffs one year, there was a guy, I believe it was Derrick Stafford, suspended a year or two ago. I also want to say a guy named Michael Smith might have been suspended for two or three games a couple of years back and his fellow officials protested by wearing the jerseys inside-out with his number on them, I believe.
It happens and it gets out there; doesn’t happen often but I’m okay with that.
Q: Can you explain what the Bird Right is again? Is it a right to be exercised by a team of the player? Any recent example?
Bill W, Markham
A: Short explanation: A team may re-sign its own free agents without regard to salary cap rules as long as that player is finishing a contract of at least three years, that’s what is known as Bird Rights.
Q: Hi Doug. I love the blog. What are your thoughts on this potential three team trade after Dec 15:
Toronto in: Pau Gasol and Steve Blake_
Toronto out: Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon, Landry Fields
New York in: Andrea Bargnani, Landry Fields and Earl Clark
New York out: Amare Stoudermire
Lakers in: Amare Stoudermire and Jose Calderon.
Lakers out: Pau Gasol, Steve Blake, and Earl Clark.
Kate R, Bombay
A: I seldom do trade stuff but I will say this:
Amar’e Stoudemire, with bad knees, diminishing skills and an insurable contract is virtually untradeable. No one is touching that guy, or that deal, with a 10-foot pole.
Q: Hi Doug. Hope you're well. So in the last three pointers you discussed non-calls towards the HOTH and how they're sending video in etc to the league.
Well, it looks like it worked. The league admitted that it missed a call on Bargs at the end of the game. Ultimately, we can file that under useless because it doesn't change anything.
My question is, will that change anything in the future for them on the court? Also, should the refs be fined for missing blatant calls? With the flop-review fine and extensive use of instant replay, there might be a case to review non-calls?
All the best,
Jim L, London UK
A: No, there’s no place for an increase in review, sorry. Bogs the game down, I guarantee you that in an overwhelming majority of cases the refs would be proved. And, yes, as I’ve mentioned above, referees are held accountable and disciplined by their bosses. But the league can’t go willy-nilly fining them for missing a call here and there; teams don’t fine players for missing wide-open layups and shots, which I promise you is bigger determining factor in the outcome of a single game than the odd blown call.
Q: Hi Doug. On a couple of occasions, it has been Bargnani that attempted the final shot of a close game to either tie or win. Is he really option number one in those types of situations? Or is it a matter of getting what the defence gives you?
I would argue that in the last possession, it should be these 3 guys taking the shot, in this order: Lowry, DeRozan, Jose. I especially like the way DeRozan's step back jumper is developing and could be a real weapon late in games.
Enjoy Grey Cup Weekend
Alex H, Toronto
A: Then you must have loved the end of the Charlotte game when DeRozan had the first shot, Lowry had one and Calderon had one before Bargnani did.
Or the Detroit game where Lowry tried to win it at the buzzer.
I don’t know Andrea’s percentages in those situations but this team as a lot of options; trouble is, there is no No. 1 as we’ve seen this week so suggesting one’s better than the other is, I’m afraid, too simplistic.
Q: Why did you write that it didn't bode well that Bobcats where 4-0 in close games? What evidence do you have that it is significant? All teams play about .500 in close game, going 4-0 happens about 1 time in 16. There are 30 teams in the league, one would expect that 1 or 2 of them would have a close game record like that.
Jim R, Toronto
A: I wrote it because it was marginally interesting factoid and if the history held, they would win a close game.
Shockingly, they did; so I’m pretty smrt, I’d say.
Q: Doug. I love your analysis on the Raptors in both the paper & on the radio but you are wrong about the officiating. In no other league is "reputation" as important as in the NBA. But what galls me the most is no one who follows the league for a living - TV, radio or print - finds it an issue. For the average fan who watch stars get called for fouls or penalties in hockey & football watching how the officials treat the Raptors is an embarrasment. I have watched probably 90 per cent of the Raptors games on TV since they started & the lack of respect they get - especially this year - makes the whole of the NBA look bush. I am not one to "go off" on officiating because I know it's hard but with three officials to miss some of the calls they have missed goes way beyond "reputation." Only nine teams have won the NBA title in the last 30 years. Based on how the league lets the refs officiate the Raptors (or better yet NOT officiate) the Raptors will never even be competitive because the league & its striped employees do not let the team play on an evenly remote playing field.
Please pass on toe Bryan Colangelo & David Stern I will not be spending my money at the ACC until I see the league improve the competitive balance of the league by improving the very biased officiating.
Keep up the good work.
Dave M, Toronto
P.S. This is the first time I have ever commented (ranted??) on anything.
A: Good rant.
I would, however, suggest that only nine teams have won titles because those nine teams were, you know, good.