The end of the weekend mail
Told you I’d get to it eventually.
Sorry if I missed one or two; enjoy the Oscars, I’m shutting it down for the night.
Q: Hi Doug! Hope you are having a nice weekend! Q #1: I know there are some notorious gym rats in the NBA, i.e. Kobe, but is there one on the Raps? Q #2: What NBA player has the biggest entourage that you've seen? How many of the Raptors players have consistent family, friends in the seats at the ACC? Q #3: If you could have any gig within the MLSE organization, what would it be? Thank you so much! Your blog rocks.
A: Blog rocks? Have a nice weekend? I love The Irregulars.
Now, obviously, there's no one like Kobe, he's a singular talent but it's my understanding that DeMar still spends s lot of time in the gym. But they all get enough work in.
As for entourages, haven't seen a lot of them over the years. Player have family and friends around every now and then -- Amir has a guy who is omnipresent -- but it's nothing untoward.
MLSE gig? How about owner so I could sit back and make money? Past that, being GM might be fun to put it all together. Either that or 15th man might be nice. Good salary, little responsibility or expectations.
Q: Hi Doug.
Raps got their 3rd point guard, Bargs still here (your right again!) and Raps are now within 4 of the Bucks....your world must be a happy place.
Let's see what can I ask you about our beloved HOTH?
Irrelevant Question #1:
Pietrius hasn't seen the court in months, I figure his knees are shot even to play 5 minutes. He's probably the only one on the roster the Raps could jettison to upgrade the bottom of the roster? Do you see this happening with vets like Hakim Warrick being waived?
Irrelevant Question #2?
Between Bargs,Klieza & Fields the Raps are due to pay them $16 million next year (Yikes!) and at this point not be a tax team next year. Personally don't care what they pay guys but there's got a be better way to spend the money, like say Gasol for one year or a sign and trade with Utah for one of their FA big guys. What are the mechanics of a sign and trade if your over the cap?
Irrelevant Question #3:
What's the deal with RaptorsTV showing oldies instead of Raps postup? It occurred after the knicks game and a few other times this season?
EP, Vaughan, Ont
A: Oh, there no irrelevant questions, my good man.
So here we go:
Pietrus isn’t as good as anyone playing ahead of him so there’s no need to run him out there for any time at the moment. Same with no reason to waive him and pick up someone who’d be in exactly the same boat.
Actually, right now, they have to pay those three more than $20 million next year but I fully expect them to use the amnesty clause on Linas to free up some money. And you can still do sign and trades to a point; it’s very convoluted but they can.
As for TV, wish I could help you out on that but that’s above my pay grade.
Q: Hi Doug. Love the blog, always insightful.
Regarding Alan Anderson and Landry Fields - I feel like they fill the same role on this team. Both seem to be lauded for their individual and team defensive abilities, leadership/communication, and overall importance as
"glue" guys. From what I see though, Fields does a much better job of staying within himself in the team's offense, while Anderson sometimes takes shots he shouldn't which kills the offensive momentum the team/other players have going at the time. Granted, when he makes them, it’s great (example - fourth quarter 2 games ago, pulls us back in), but he is such a wild card, and can (offensively) throw the team off as easily as he can
carry them. Given the solid, consistent effort and results that you get from Fields (like the defense on Carmelo), why does Anderson continue to as much playing time as he does, in comparison to Fields?
Given all of this, what do you see happening in the offseason with Anderson? I thought he was definitely a candidate to be moved at the trade deadline (cheap contract, good guy off the bench for another team). Or, would you think they try to move Fields and keep Anderson? (This is all assuming Fields' shooting will return to form, and will be better next year...).
Thanks Doug! Keep up the great work!
John M, Waterloo
A: Anderson’s a free agent this summer and I think he’s played himself into a two- or three-year deal but I don’t think it’ll be here; they need to clear some logjam there and he’s the most likely one to leave. But you never know, they may find a deal for Fields and re-sign Anderson, although I’m dubious on that.
Q: You mentioned in your blog about seeing John Wall in the waiting room for the flight to Washington, accompanied by his "gargantuan" bodyguard.
Is this normal for NBA players when not traveling as a group? I could understand someone like LeBron or Kobe bur wouldn't think Wall would have that high a profile.
Also, do you see the Raptors taking a run at Boss Davis when he becomes a free agent?
Gord in NL
A: It’s not entirely normal and it could be that someone who serves some duties as protection is also just a friend who’s hanging out. Lots of guys have trainers, old buddies, relatives who are around just for company.
As for Davis, that’ll depend entirely on what this roster looks like in a couple of years and who else might be out there. Imagine they’d make a cursory call at least but we’re not near that point yet.
Q: What exactly is the rule that DeMarr broke tossing the basketball? I understand penalizing players who toss the ball into the upper deck in frustration but bouncing the ball off the stanchion does not seem to be in the same spirit. Can you stand in bounds and bounce the ball off the floor out of bounds? Stand out of bounds and bounce it in bounds?
Stand out of bounds and bounce it off the floor out of bounds?
This seems to me about number 100 on the list of things the league needs to fix.
A: Not entirely sure why the rule was put it – maybe in case someone rifled the ball at a stanchion, missed and drilled some fan in the head – but it’s in there and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Not really worth worrying about.
As for the others, it would depend on the emotion of the reaction and the crankiness level of the three officials.
Q: Hi Doug Im a "silent" reader and a fan of your column for a while, have a question about utilizing Andrea's skillset within present system actually the best fit with the present assets.
I love your insights and vision as you usually give something that I haven't thought of or even noticed it. Sometimes I dont even understand it (as per being so proud (or even more so) to live in Ontario whose newly elected leader is a lesbian (openly i assume would be the key word missing...) hope they didnt elect her because of that maybe not even despite of it...nevertheless not understanding it might be the fact that English is not my first language.
Back to my question about our lost, most talented Italian on a team. It looks like he misses Jose more then anybody else (we all do miss him, dont we?) as per playing with Lucas (and AA...)I doubt he will produce much better than he is right now because there is not enough ball (as one of out PED offenders said it a while ago) and never will be. With fans getting on AB it looks like he is thrown under the bus. What is your take on it ,given that simply moving him back to a starter hardly solves the problem since Rudy needs the ball (and gets it) a lot too. Would really love this thing work as we could use his outside shot with DD and Rudy(and KL too) attacking the rim and it should work (on paper at least) but it is not clicking. With second unit presently assembled im pretty sure it never will.
A: I'm not sure first or second unit makes all that much difference, actually. I don't think he'd work well with both Gay and DeRozan on the court because the style of play doesn't fit his skillset but since he generally plays with one or the other, I think they need to run some specific stuff for him right off the bat. Neither Lowry or Lucas runs screen-roll like Jose did and Andrea is not adept isolation perhaps they need to put him in more post-ups or run 3-4 screen rolls for him.
Q: Any way that you can provide weekly updates on how Jose is doing with the Pistons? I, and I am sure others, would be interested to be kept in the loop on how he is doing.
Thanks for you great work with the blog,
A: Suppose I could if I remember. And I’m sure there are ways for people to find out on their own. But I’ll try to do as much as I can.
Q: Doug, I see Pietrus in uniform on the bench but he never gets on the floor. Is he injured?
A: No. But why use him and disrupt something that’s going pretty well. Some has to fill out the active list, right now it’s him and Quincy Acy
Q: So, it's almost here! The Big 20 Years Of Raptors Anniversary. And I'm sure you, like many of us, find ourselves sitting back lately, taking pause and reflecting fondly on two decades of Raps' memories: on the highs (not nearly enough) and lows (waaaay too many) of games played, terrific any terrifying tales of travelling with the team and - most intriguing of all to me - the players: both the wonderful (Mighty Mouse, Mo Pete, Alvin, Oak
and of course, Jose!) and the weird (where does one start???) players who've been on the Raptor roster over the years. And I guess someone will write the 'official' story of this team after twenty years of existence, but have you ever thought about writing one about the 'unplugged', 'unofficial' story of this team? You've been there since the beginning. You've seen it all. And then some. And even better, you can still remember it and tell a good story. The story of the weird, the wacky, the woe-be-gone's who've come and gone quickly - but not so quickly that you didn't catch their name. And maybe a few anecdotes. I mean, Ben Uzoh's improbable triple-double last season against the Nets is worthy of a chapter on it's own! And Roko Ukic? Where is he now? Have there been enough Benoit Benjamins pass through Toronto to fill a book? I get the sense there
have been. (And I loved the description of Benoit from that L.A.Times article: "At mid season he is on his way to being named by acclimation to the NBA's All-Time Stiff Team. He is a triple threat man, unable or unwilling to score, rebound or block shots." And this was written by Scott Ostler in 1986. Before there was a Raptors franchise!)
So, is there a Raptor All-Time (well, at least to this point in time!) Stiff Team? If there is, and we KNOW there is, I think you're the one to chronicle their story. All of them. Even the lowly reserves. Yes, this is the book that I'd pay money to read. So, what do you think? Would this be a fun thing for you to do? Thanks!
Lorie P, London
A: Oh, there will a long list of stiffs (Hoffa, Nate Huffman come quickly to mind) sad if the least I do is an e-book for The Star or a continuing look back in the 20th year,we'll get something done. If I last that long, of course.
Q: For a number of years it has been said that the small forward was the weakest position on the Raptors team. The recent trade upgraded this with Rudy Gay. I wasn't a fan of this trade and there is little ball movement or team play right now. However, they are winning games, but I wonder how long it will last as other teams adjust to this new team and style of play.
What do you now see as the weakest position on this team? Is it the point guard position?
Dave B, Cornwall
Well, they are lacking experience and depth at point guard, I believe, and could use an upgrade so, yeah, I’d guess that’d be it.
Q: I am sure you were covering the events happening at floor level - lucky you! The rest of we Canadians were subjected to the most idiotic TV coverage I have ever heard. Who wants to hear all about Shaq, Kenny Smith, Barkley, Chris and Ernie tell stupid stories about themselves. We learned much of nothing about what was happening with the players etc. throughout the All-Star Game telecast. On Saturday night when T Ross was in competition, many of these yahoos made derogatory comments about most of the young participants. They didn't know their names, their backgrounds and they expressly said they didn't really care. When T Ross won, the general comment was "gee, we wish the greats of the game would dunk off rather than these unknowns". It was an embarrassment to see their behaviour and listen to their inane comments. Quite frankly, I am sick of listening to these guys prattle on about their own egos....
I thought the coverage was really poor, their ignorance showed - big time.
A: That seems to be a constant refrain I’ve heard from viewers, actually.
And I don’t think doing homework is part of the job description for that group, actually. They’ve become more “entertainers” over the years, and I’m not sure that’s for the best.