The start of the weekend mail
Got a lot of this stuff done Friday afternoon but then Super Son wanted to go out for dinner again, Baseball Steve was around and night devolved into dinner and a quiet evening at home.
The alarm was set for 5:30 a.m. to finish off the mail and, lo and behold, after a couple o rollovers and snooze buttons, it was 7:30.
So, here’s what’s finished to now, there’s plenty left and I’ll goof around on it the rest of the day. Should all be finished before the IGBT tonight at 7. See you then.
Q: Hey Doug: Reading about you using your iPad mini the other day got me to thinking (an accomplishment in itself!). You've been a sportswriter for more than 30 years (according to your bio next to the blog). Can you give us one reason why it was better to be a sportswriter back then, and one reason it's better to be a sportswriter now.
Tim H, Windsor
A: Fewer bosses then and more money now? Nah, that's not it. Really.
Back in the day, I can vaguely recall having time to develop daily stories and not have to have them "up" so quickly. When I first started this beat, for instance, our deadlines were 11 p.m., 12:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. Now, even with advances in technology that are supposed to make things earlier, I have to file by 10:30 and again by as close to midnight as I can and there is no "final" edition.
What's better? Well, I guess technology is a big one. I can't write and file anywhere there's a wireless network and even if there isn't one, I can set one up of my own off my phone. The ease of work is far greater.
Oh, and one other downside? I was once told by one of the greatest beat writers I know (the one and only Bob Elliott of The Sun) that it was a cardinal sin to interrupt a competitor or colleague who was having a one-on-one conversation with someone. Too often these days if you are chatting with a player or an executive, you might be joined by three people toting microphones or tape recorders who aren't sure whether the ball is blown up or stuffed.
Q: Hello. Only a couple of weeks until pitchers and catchers report! It is quite cool in the big O. The canal is open, so things aren’t too bad.
What do you reference as being a harbinger of spring? Is it the use of the word harbinger? Is it no boots? Leave overcoat in the car? Wiarton Willie? The Maple Leafs/Raptors playing for that final playoff spot? Chunks of concrete from the Gardiner?
Bob E, Kanata
A: The surest sign? First Leaves flag flying out of the window of a car and breathless stories how that week's games are must-wins to keep the playoff hopes alive.
Q: Hi Doug. With mid-season grades being discuss ad nauseam, I haven't seen anyone rate the coaches' performance to date. How do you rate Casey's first-half coaching performance?
Vince D, Toronto
A: Actually, I didn’t do “grades” because I think they’re a bit silly and can’t really ever be put into any kind of legitimate context.
I think his first half coaching was pretty good; average. Started out trying to address a need (offence), it didn’t work out so he shifted gears. I’m okay with adaptability.
Q: Hello Doug. I feel that Colangelo deserves another 2 year contract.
He's made some canny draft choices (hello TRoss!), the team is starting to gel, and I think there's a lot of potential for the team in 2-3 years.
When will the decision come down? End of the season?
Gary D, Stouffville
A: I can’t see ownership doing anything until the season is over and they sit back and see where they are. I think that’s most prudent.
Q: I agree. Pelican's logo is great. Since you are such a fan - you must have heard of this poem by Dixon Lanier Meritt
A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican,
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a week
But I'm damned if I see how the helican!
Keep up the good work.
Bill W, Dresden
Have heard it, glad others will now, too
Q: Doug: Has a team ever been called for a time violation on one of those rolling inbound passes? For example, Miami rolled the ball up the court from under their basket, to the Raps 3 point line where it was picked up by James. It seems like he got a favourable call. Thanks as always.
Ken B, Matheson
A: Actually, there’s no violation. A player simply has to inbound the ball in five seconds, teams can take forever to actually pick it up.
Q: Hey Doug, long time reader but haven't written in a very long time. Quick question about Dwane Casey's coaching tactics. While I realize neither you or I is an NBA coach, I am confused by DC's use of Jose at the end of games. He seems to leave Lowry in the game in the fourth quarter, despite it seeming to me that Jose is the better closer. Any reason for this?
Thierry M, Sudbury
A: You’re right, he uses Lowry way too much.
Q: Have to ask - what is up between Lowry and the coach. this month out of 11 games in 4 he has less than 18 mins - in one it was like 14 minutes.
A funny way of treating a guy who was brought in to help "save" us.
Jay S, Oshawa
A: You’re right, he uses Calderon way too much.
Q: Doug, this fan has found it frustrating watching Lowry's play since he returned from foot injury. Simply not the same player, with the diminished quickness impairing his ability to drive and defend at the level we saw in the first few games. Do you know if this is something that will only heal with sufficient rest, or is there a more serious longer term prognosis?
Gary M, Ottawa
A: I know this probably sounds trite and cliche but almost everyone is playing through something and you just have to suck it up and play. That said, Lowry is still doing what he did, just less often and I think that is as much a conscious decision to try to "fit in" as anything.
Q: Just a quick one Doug. So Mark Cuban wants to open up the vault? Change things up should things not get better, could you see the Raptors bringing HWSNBN back?
Tom B, Uxbridge
A: Wish I could, just to see some fans lose their minds but I don't see a fit where the Mavs get a huge upgrade and Toronto gets an expiring contract for less than half a season. Oh, and Vince might be Dallas's second best player so I wonder if he'd even be available,
Q: Hi Doug. After watching the 81 point game from Kobe, it became apparent that there was no Robyn to his Batman that evening. With the current trend of star players teaming up with one another, do you think another night like this (or at least a plus 70 point game) is on the horizon for a current star player? I can’t see Durant taking that many shots away from Westbrook or Martin, same with that Heat team. In fact, looking at all the teams and stars today, I only see Kobe with the potential to do this again considering the condition the Lakers are currently in.
Thanks for keeping the light on in the Raptor's house.
Craig B, Toronto
A:Oh, I think it could happen. I see your point about good teams having more than one star but I can envision the night some guy really gets it going early and his teammates defer. In fact, the presence of other great scorers on the same team might make it more possible if opponents are wary of the others and leave the hot guy alone.
Q: Just caught this is the local fishwrap http://www.lfpress.com/2013/01/20/no-way-to-defend-this-stinker and wondered whether you have any insight into what's happening with the NBLC's team in Montreal. The Free Press story describes a pretty sad situation, which caught me surprise considering how many things the new league has done so well.
(Especially, of course, our Lightning!!!)
TL I, London
A: Much to my regret, I haven't had a chance to check up nearly enough with the league this season. I do know the Montreal franchise has had it tough from the start. It was moved there mere days before camps opened, ownership really hasn't had much luck marketing it and my friend Pascal Jobin is going to be hard-pressed to turn things around. I think the city is too big for a NBLC franchise and the best that can happen is that they survive this season and find some way to restructure and relocate and try to make things work next year.
Q: Frosty greetings this week, and you passed on a Florida trip for this week?
LAL leftovers, kind of glad (beyond the fact that I never would be)that steerage of the good ship, Los Angeles Lakers, is not my responsibility. To me all other questions would have to be answered after figuring out the big one, what of Kobe? Spectacular talent, no quibble with that, but at this point in his carrer do you try to rejig your whole operation to revolve around him? Do you try to trade him away for a significant package of younger players? As ridiculous as it may sound having Kobe parachute into some other team might not be the greatest thing for that team. Do you resign yourself, if you are the Lakers' management to letting Kobe just be Kobe through his dotage or do you look to trying something bold?
For the Lakers to move forward Kobe would have to buy in or the greatest plans will go nowhere. Am I off base here, or is it something of a dilemna for the front office in LA?
As always thanks for what you do
Doug T, Brantford
A: I know this probably isn't the right way to look at it but the general manager who trades Kobe Bryant has to hand in his resignation the second the deal is official, in my opinion. For a lot reason, chief among them that he is still a singular talent. I keep him on my team until he tells me it's time to quit or he asks to move on. Yes, the Lakers are a mess and some of that lands in Bryant's lap but there is more than enough blame to go around.
Q: Hi Doug! Are there any hockey fans that you know of on the current Raptors roster? I doubt most basketball players grew up following hockey, but has the sport grown on some of them playing in Canada, in the same building as the Leafs? Do they attend Leafs games? Are they friends with any of the Leafs players? Any information you have to share would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
Sylvio M, Ottawa
A: Not sure "fans" would be the right word. Many of them -- DeMar, Amir, Jose come to mind -- are intrigued by the game and all of them can appreciate the skills a d dedication that it takes to play the sport. And the way schedules work, especially this year, it's hard for them to see games.
I do know that Jose and the PK Subban bloke are friends/acquaintances from charitable work they do.
Q: Doug, when you look around the league, can you name two or three players that you think may someday have the potential to be a Head Coach.
Murray S, Dartmouth
A: The first one that comes quickly to mind is Chauncey Billups and I'd put him at the top of the list, for sure. Another one? That's a tough one but I would bet that Shane Battier would be able to handle the gig. Too bad he's going to be president of the United States or something like that.
Q: Hey Doug. Although I, like you, stay away from trade speculations and scenarios, I wanted your thoughts on one item.
Should the raptors not receive/find the correct market value (or what the Raps feel is sufficient return) for Andrea B., can the team have a player (who is due $11 and $12 Million respectively over the next two years) come off the bench and have the public or the teams corporate owners accept it?
Thanks and I feel you and other Torontonians with the -22 weather.
Sam S, Australia
A: They don't care an awful lot what the public thinks, to tell you the truth. And if the team is winning and he's contributing in some way, there would be no issue with ownership.
And we appreciate the concern over the weather but you take care in the 40 C stuff I've been reading about.
Q: I always have trouble figuring out all of the salary cap rules. Do the Raps have enough cap space next year to resign Alan Anderson?
J L, Oakville
A: Short answer? With all the exceptions to the cap rules, yes.
Q: During the Lakers game I thought I noticed that Calderon appeared noticeably taller (2-3") than Nash, but they are both listed as 6'3" in the team directories. You stand next to them, what is the answer?
Also I noticed on the Lakers website that Sacre is listed as American. Is this an error or is he dual citizen or ?
Bruce C, Mississauga
A: Without actually standing with both of them at the same time, I would say Jose is a tiny bit taller, perhaps an inch. And I can pretty much look both of them in the eye.
But you also have to realize that even two inches difference can be chalked up to posture and hair.
Q: Hi Doug. I know you hate to speculate but where is the best fit for Bargnani? Looking at the playoff teams it's hard to see a match. One thought would be Bargs for Granger. A bit of a gamble for both teams but if healthy gives TO a great wing and Bargs might complement Hibbert/West/George well. If you were Bryan?
Paul E, Toronto
A: Yeah, I don’t do speculation a lot but I’ll answer with this:
Why would they have interest in a guy who has missed almost the entire season with a sore knee who they didn’t draft when they had the chance because of concerns over that same knee in the long-term?
So, no. I wouldn’t.