The end of the weekend mail
Hey, guess where I am?
One more night, something about over-booked flights, no connections possible because of the other storm on the eastern seaboard so I really hope the sports bar in this hotel has a good enough satellite to see the game.
If not, I’ll need reports, thank you very much.
Now, while you’re reading this, I’ll be at the sports bar in my new/old hotel and be wondering why the servers are calling me Norm.
Q: Hang in there Doug - snowbound gives a new perspective.
Link to nature and our world: beats struggling with airlines and AMEX.
So we have a team that could stay close in games but not finish. And now we have a player who can finish. What is that about? How do you identify those traits - mental and skills-wise - that account for why someone like R. Gay can play like that at end of a game? What EXACTLY is it and why do others lack those qualities? Is it definable? Or are we dealing with another realm of make-up of a player?
Charles N, Mexico
A: I’d say that skill level is one of the bigger things, they have the talent to make tough shots when everyone knows they’ll be taking them.
But I’ve found there’s also a psychological part to it: Not only are the good players will to accept that responsibility, they also aren’t afraid of failing. If they miss one, they want the ball the next time and take it with a clear mind and the same amount of confidence.
I think some players say they want the ball in those situations but when it comes right down to it, they might prefer someone else take the shot
Q: So, as we Canadians bid a fond adieu to our penny, a group of us were reminiscing about other "Penny's" we've known and loved...culturally speaking. And we came up with Penny from Inspector Gadget, Penny Lane from 'Almost Famous' and Penny from Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog. (It's a hoot. Seriously! Josh Whedon wrote it. Say no more, right?!) But my first and fondest memories are of this Penny. Remember it from Saturday mornings in front of the TV? Right after The Adventures of Roy Rogers, I think.
How about your favourite Penny's, Doug? Got one or two of your own? Enjoy Indy. That town has sure got your number --meteorologically speaking, that is. Safe travels home, whenever they may be.
Lorie P, London
A: Will, I’d probably go with Lane, JC and Marshall off the top of my head.
And, yeah, was talking to some people I know here (they were on the other side of bars) about my incidents in Indy.
A few years ago at a Final Four a tornado hit near here and we were evacuated from the lobby bar we were in; two years ago we got stranded here for two days becaue of an ice storm and now this weekend.
Can’t wait for next year’s schedule.
Q: Hi Doug,
There is something that has bugged me for a while I hate when announcers say "The Thunder has scored only once..." and not "The Thunder have scored"... i.e. referring to those teams in the singular.
I know you are a stickler for grammar so what do you think?
To me, when you refer to a team you are actually referring to the group of players representing said team (plural). Also "they" is the only pronoun that makes sense. You would never refer to the Heat as he/she/it.
Alex L, Toronto
A: I see your point and I guess by the most techical of grammar rules there needs to be constant and consistent agreement between singular and plural nouns and verbs. But in general every day usage, I’m going to go with making it easy in the conversational tone.
Q: Hey Doug, big fan of the blog which I have read daily for years.
Quick question about the "real life" aspect of being traded in the NBA and pro sports in general. For many fans, a trade is no different than a video game transaction, but in pro sports there is a very real aspect of being traded since the players in question are people. When a player gets traded and is supposed to essentially pack up and leave do teams have personel that help them with the move and adjustment, particularly if its mid season? For example, last week Rudy Gay was in OKC and had to go to Memphis pack and then travel to Toronto in the same day, and basically assume a new life with practically no notice. Where would he stay/live in Toronto? Does the team put him up in a lavish hotel or condo while he figures things out? Does he have to wait until the off-season to sort out his living arrangements that he had in Memphis?
Ajit, Grand Cayman
A: Teams do help with housing in the short term – I believe it’s a couple of weeks to a month but I’m not 100 per cent sure on that – and all clubs have staffers in basketball operations who make things easy for players traded for, drafted or signed. They will have real estate peope they use reguarly, car dealers and the like and are there to faciilitate what they can.
And agents generally arrive with players to help, too.
One more thing: Players are rather creative, too. I can’t remember the specific names but one guy who came to town ended up moving into a condo or home still owned by Rasho Nesterovic after he left; and I believe one of the current assistant coaches was looking for a new place to live and ended up subletting Jay’s old place.
Q: Hi Doug,
Love the blog! Been following it since the nothing but net days. Keep up the great work, my morning is not complete without some coffee and your blog. I will admit I am a little sad when the blog is not up "on time" but what is "on time" anyways? Isn't this just an extra thing you do on the side of your normal daily duties? Do you apologize because people complain? If that's the case, common people!
Anyways, on to the question.
If (which I realize is a big if, but please play along) you could put a dollar figure on every players abilities. Also, you could quantify how much revenue a player brings into the team (also another big assumption). If a player wanted $4M contract but was only worth $3M, but would bring in $6M in revenue (from merchandise sales or what have you). Basically you could justify his salary in terms of revenue. In your opinion would you sign that player or try to find someone who is worth the $4M? How do you think GMs would think? Do they take the business aspect into consideration, or just try to get the best player for the dollar always?
Chris M, Toronto
A:That’s kind of a complex issue because the business side, and financial repercussions in revenue generated by a better team, is alwasy a consideration at some point.
But the underlying goal of every GM is to improve his team by whatever means necessary; given the constraints of the salary cap and the financial orders he gets from his bosses. That, more than potential revenue, is the what they take into consideration.
Q: Hi Doug. Matt mentioned last night that the Raps are worst in the league at Fast Break points. During training camp the 2 points being focused on were the Rap's depth and their new commitment to running. While our depth (before the trade) has been somewhat evident, I'm wondering what happened to the run?
Was there a point the team decided it's better to execute in the 1/2 court? Are players just not able to run? Did Dwayne decide to slow the offense to prevent turnovers? Let me know what you think.
Jeff M, Saint John
A: Fast-break points are one of the more bogus stats out there, actually. By scoring rule, according to old stats crew friends, a fast-break basket has to be scored within six seconds of a team taking possession of the ball; seven and it doesn’t count so you see the fault with the numbers.
And what they’ve always wanted to do – and maybe we didn’t explain it well enough or often enough – was get as much easy offence in transition as they could; they didn’t have the break-down wings or dominant post presence to thrive in halfcourt sets, the easier they could get quick baskets, the better.
Q: Hi Doug.
Long time basketball fan, Star subscriber, and admirer of your work - thanks for putting in the miles and lonely nights in Indiana and elsewhere for us. I am also a "weird" Canadian who grew up in Montreal when the Habs were winning in the 60s and 70s and the Stanley Cup seemed like an annual civic parade, but I was the one trying to pull in the Celtics or the Knicks on NBC if I held the bunny ears the right way!
My question. I have always wondered if in trade or contract discussions if players and their agents negotiate shot opportunities, or percentage of plays to be called (roughly) for their guy. I realize they might discuss starting, PT, etc. but does it get any more specific than that? Any sense? Just wondering what goes on behind the scenes on the business side.
A: No, specific stuff like that never comes up; GMs don’t want to hamstring their coaches. Now, agents and GMs would discuss things like the opportunity to play but there are never guarantees.
And an agent with a player buried on a bench somewhere might look at a roster seeking a fit for a client and make a call to that team to see if there’s any interest. But, again, there are no guarantees.
Thanks for the great blog and always love the interviews on PTS, you never get too high or too low and always just try to get us the straight goods.
Thanks so much.
So about not getting too high, loved the effort from Big Primo last night and maybe not having to be the guy is exactly what Andrea needs.
Theoretically he is number two or even number three on this team behind Gay (obviously) and DeMar (possibly) in terms of importance on offense.
And with both of those slashers driving and kicking a large 3-pt shooter either making shots form the outside or at least drawing a big away from the basket might be exactly what this team can use going forward.
Since the beginning Andrea has been and will be a great third piece on a good or great team. I think that has been clear from the start he is not Dirk nor a banger so perhaps holding onto the $10 million deal for the next two years is not the worst thing. That number is not terrible and will be more valuable as an expiring contract so if the experiment doesn't work then you trade him then.
Any thoughts about available 10-day PGs? JL-3 did not look great last night and wasn't brought into be a back-up point guard. Don't you need a guy then for those nights when JL-3 needs to sit because he simply doesn't have it? Kyle can't play the whole game nor do you want him to because of the physical style of his game, but there is no one else on the bench to go to.
Does Kleiza get an amensty in the off-season? Seems like a prime candidate to help soften the Gay contract and DeMar's increase. Do you shop Landry in the offseason and re-sign Alan Anderson at a nice number or is Landry's deal just too tough to move seeing as you have no draft picks to sweeten the deal or do you start dealing your second round pick in 2045? That is
the next available pick the Raptors have right?
Thanks again Doug and I know Bob will hate it, but I think the Big Primo needs to stay because what are you going to get back right now? An old Carlos Boozer who will clog the lane at a high price? or perhaps some draft picks to and cap fodder to re-stock the shelves?
Andrew - Huntsville, Ont
A: There’s a lot of stuff here that we’ll talk about in June and July, okay?
The one thing that is immediate is the point guard thing and I think they’ll gamble for a week or two and see what’s available at the trade deadline; maybe they make a deal, maybe someone gets traded and waived. If neither of those things happen, then you look to the D League.
Q: Hi Doug quick question/
After Terrance Ross performs in the dunk contest will the Raptors now have the most former dunk contest participants in the NBA (Gay, DeRozan and Ross)? Would you say this is the most althetic raptors team ever?
Also I recommend you watch 'story time with Jalen Rose" on YouTube. The story's are funny/interesting especially the ones concerning the Raptors.
A: This could be the most athletic group they’ve had when you factor in the two starting wings, Ross and Amir for a big man. But that doesn’t always translate into wins, they need to learn better how to play with each other at both ends of the floor.
Seen some of Jalen’s stuff, it’s entertaining, yes.