The end of the weekend mail
Told you there would be more. I think I’ve figured everything out with the new system, sorry if I missed one or two going through it. We’ll be better next week.
Have fun with this, though.
Q: Rather late, but. In a year or 2, who would be the starting 5 for Team Canada and would be on the bench: Thompson, Wiggins, Sacre.
A: Boy, you’re really asking for some guesswork because who knows who’ll play or won’t or what the future holds for any of these kids.
But if you did, say, Myck Kabongo or Cory Joseph or Kevin Pangos with, say, Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Tristan Thompson and Andrew Nicholson, you might have a pretty good team.
If you did shooters like Andy Rautins and had stretch fours like Kelly Olynyk and Kyle Wiltjer, you might be looking pretty good. I’m not sure Rob Sacre makes it or plays, to tell you the truth.
But key is going to be getting all these guys to buy in and play.
The biggest issue, eventually I think, will be picking a team, a situation that hasn’t happened maybe ever. Kids are going to have to “make” the team rather than be asked to play for it.
Q: Stat question
Amir Johnson wins a jump ball at the Clipper free throw line, directly to Kyle Lowry, who immediately hoists up a successful jumper with two ticks on the shot clock. Assist?
A: If I was scoring, yes. But there is some subjectivity to the whole process.
Q: Doug. Just wondering if the Raptors track games lost to injury? And if so roughly how many so far this season?
A: They do and as of Sunday morning, there have been 119 games missed to injury split between nine players.
Q: Hi Doug,
Having read much analysis about the big trade, one thing I've noted is that a big frontcourt in Memphis gave Rudy Gay some issues. For Toronto, would Bargnani's spacing not facilitate Gay and Derozen's slashing ability, while making up for their 3 point shooting ability?
My follow-up question is, do you think Colangelo should go ahead and trade Bargnani now (selling low), or ride him out to see how the team gells?
Thanks as always,
Charlie C. in Montreal
A: I’ve said, too many times, that I think Andrea possession a unique skillset and can be an excellent stretch four and on this team in this iteration, he should have even more space to operate alongside Gay and DeRozan.
So, yes, they should see how he fits in and not jump into a trade right away but – and this is the same with almost any player – if Bryan can find a deal he thinks can improve his team, he should do it. But I do think he needs to give Bargnani time to see how he fits.
Q: Hi Doug
Do you think that an Andy Rautins would fit in as a third point guard or do they need someone with more experience? Anything too much is going to make Lowry pout again.
A: No, Andy’s far more a combo/shooting guard who is lighting up the D League right now than a point guard. And I think an old head would help.
Q: Hey Doug, good shout out to Jose today, I agree, he was a terrific Raptor, one of our all time favs. Looks like BC will have to dump some salary [Bargnani and/or Fields?] if he hopes to avoid the tax next year, while also adding another PG and re-signing Anderson. However, I can't remember how the tax threshold is determined under the new CBA - is it based on BRI of the season before, like always, or is it a fixed point?
James M, Toronto
A: It’s the same in the new CBA, linked to the floating cap number that’s based on percentage of BRI.
Doubling up to try to ensure you get a chance to take a look at this article. I found it via SportsNation. It's a really good article, centring mostly on Quncy Acy and his relationship with Ekpe Udoh.
I did hunt through the blog archives to find a link to the old form.
I sent this info via a link from a few days ago. I didn't see where the updated link to askDoug was. Might be worth repeating for we attention-deficit (or just plain old and forgetful) types.
Gary M, Brampton
A: Nice piece, had read it earlier. And the updated link to the mail is now complete; look to the right of the blog under the photo and it’s there.
Q: Doug, was not watching last night, when I came to check the IGBT i had to sit down in disbelief.
Two questions - who is the guy with the Aaron Gray name on his shirt - is he just responding to a chance, better than what anyone thought, or do we just get ready for a dreaded RTM.
Second - real fantasy here - they continue to play like last night, AB comes back and plays like he did at his best last year ( in my mind not an impossibility - I think he may be inscrutable but does have pride) and Lowry stays healthy - what would be your projection for wins in second half?
A: I think there has to be some regression to the mean with Gray, who will see his minutes limited once Bargnani gets back, which could have been by the time you read this. But you have to admire Aaron for his professionalism, he worked hard to stay in shape and connected to the team when he wasn’t being used and was ready when called.
Now, the second part is entirely fantasy and just like with players, there will be regression to the mean team-wide as well But looking at the schedule and if they don’t suffer debilitating injuries, I’d suggest they could win 18-20 the rest of the way.
Q: Hi Doug
Have to agree about how impressive the 'new' Raps were against the Clippers. Would seem to me that choosing the starting lineup would be pretty easy for this team - the only question would be which set of bigs, Johnson/Fields against a smaller opponent and Johnson/ Gray against bigger guys.
The problem is with the second unit. Lucas just doesn't look or act like a PG at all. He looks like a perfectly serviceable gunner when you need to spread a defence. Which brings the question, could there be a PG by committee since guys like Anderson, Fields, Pietrus, De Rozan, and even Gay have good court awareness. I assume this means the GM is looking for a decent PG in a trade for you know who. Also, is it conceivable that De Rozan could develop into a terrific PG given a couple of years of development?
Bruce C, Mississauga
A: Yeah, we’ll take any kind of salutation you prefer to give, I can no longer see or get home towns.
They have had Anderson facilitate the offence on occasion when he’s been on the floor with Lucas so we’ve seen some committee action already. But I do know Bryan will be adding another point guard at some point, but probably not before the trade deadline.
And I’m not sure about DeMar, maybe in a true emergency but it lessens his contribution when he’s passing the ball rather than catching it.
Q: Just wondering where Rudy's debut ranked in terms of other significant Raptor first games? Twenty points, three rebounds, an assist and a win for the team. Not too shabby, and with the win surrounded by the circumstancess makes it that much easier to get excited about (in our typical, endearing fashion). I am just curious as to how it compares to others.
As always, thanks Doug.
A: Here’s the thing. I cannot remember a trade when such a significant part of not only that year or the future came mid-season. There’ve been minor transactions that had no impact, Shawn Marion was always going to be a rental and it seems all the other deals were players going out.
Other than that, they’ve been regular season debuts and I don’t know who would even count in that regard.
Q: Hi Doug,
Any possibility they're considering putting Bargnani back in at centre so Amir can continue starting? He's been doing such a good job of both consistently scoring & rebounding for quite a long stretch of time now. His extra weight/muscle seems to have made a big difference. Would not having Andrea at centre force him to be more engaged in the game with his juices flowing rather than just floating on the outside while someone else at centre does the dirty work? He does seem to score better when he's more involved & this might force him to be. Seems such a shame to me to trade him in a low ball situation for other teams, given how talented & unique he is as a high scoring centre. If this would work it would certainly make the Raptors a very interesting team with the addition of Gay. I enjoy your blog & the back & forth of questions & ideas.
A: At centre? No. He’s a stretch four because that’s what maximizes his skills and he can play alongside Johnson, who is more effective in the paint.
For the longest time, I fully expected Bargnani to come off the bench behind Davis, I’m not sure what happens now. I can see a Johnson-Gray starting group with Bargnani and Valanciunas coming off the bench; I can also see a Johnson-Bargnani starting combo, too.
That’s going to be a coaching decision; I’d probably go with Johnson-Bargnani once Andrea gets his game conditioning back, maybe after two or three games coming off the bench.
Q: Hi Doug – I’m sure I'm not the only one who looked at the sched to see when the Raps play Detroit. In doing so, I noticed they have a game in Boston coming up. Have you ever been to the Green Dragon Tavern? I know you like your historic haunts. It was a hangout of Paul Revere's, and where overheard plans started his famous ride. I think it may be out of the way, though.
A: I’ve heard of the Green Dragon but never been there, may have to try it some night. But I think Cathal’s on that Boston trip because I will have just come back from a week-long four-game trip out west.
And, yes, I’m sure lots of people looked at the schedule to find out those games and here they are:
March 29, Toronto at Detroit
April 1, Detroit at Toronto
And for others:
Feb. 20, Memphis at Toronto.
And for a big night:
Feb. 19, Memphis at Detroit.
Q: Hi Doug,
It seemed to me that the prevailing wisdom in many corners said that Derozan and Gay would not be able to coexist well as their games were too similar. Was last night an anomaly, in your opinion, or did everyone miss something?
A: Way too small a sample size but I could work since teams can’t double or even send half a man at one without leaving the other alone and we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks some solid passing decisions by DeRozan.
Q: Long time reader, big time Doug fan.
I was reading Chisolm's analysis on the Gay trade. He made an interesting point about Free Agent PG's available. He suggested the Rap's best option for a backup PG signing might be to look over seas. Then he suggested Bobby Brown from Siena. That caught me off guard. I don't know much about Bobby Brown. What about Carl English though? I know he's in the midst of a fine season.
I'd be interested on your thoughts on why or why not...I'm definitely patriotic (to a fault some times), I've just been following English for a while and always thought the Newf would look cool in a Raps jersey. Also, what you think of Bobby Brown.
Thanks for your time,
A: I can’t see a guy like Brown leaving the EuroLeague where he makes pretty good money and has a solid career to come back to the NBA for a 30-game trial on a minimum contract. That’s fantasy thinking unconnected to reality for this year.
Carl English? Not a chance. He’s a shooter not a point guard and not athletic enough to play in the NBA, in my opinion. I’m glad he’s having a good year in Spain, though.