The start of the weekend mail
Here’s the deal:
Try as I might, I couldn’t get through all the mail in one sitting yesterday and, besides, I’ll have a few extra hours here this afternoon to sit and putter away.
So, read this, we’ll have some more tonight and enjoy the game.
Flight’s supposed to get back about 5:30 your time this evening, which might allow me to be on a couch when it starts; don’t imagine heading to the arena is a going to work.
Oh, a St. Elmo’s shrimp cocktail, and some the best prime rib sliders and macaroni and cheese I’ve had is perfect way to spend an evening with your friend Stella.
Q: Kyle Lowry has made a lot of quick trips to the locker room this season. Any idea why? I suspect the original foot injury still bothers him. What gets done to him that couldn't be done on the bench as would normally be the case when a tweak occurs to an ankle or whatever? Why do we hear so much about Amir's ankle and yet hear nothing about Kyle, who pretty clearly has not regained his explosiveness, full lateral movement, or proper balance?
A: I'm told lots of different reasons. He could be stretching things out, sometimes a uniform malfunction and the like. And between his back and ankle, he's not 100 per cent but no player In the league is at this time in a season. No sense reading anything more into it than that.
Q: Hi Doug
I watch most of the Raptors games and a number of other nba televised games. Is it me or do the Raptor's have more difficulty inbounding the ball at half court then most other teams? Why is this do you think?
Mike G, Kitchener
A: There's no way of proving this without spending a zillion hours watching video and I have lots of past seasons of The Wire to watch so I have no interest in doing it but I disagree with your point. I don't think they are any better or worse than any team I've seen. Yes, there was that night in Philly when Anderson got pushed and the refs missed it but I would say anecdotally these guys are no worse or better than any other team.
And as for why you might see one five-second violation in every 25 or 30 games per team -- if that -- it's generally because defensive players are holding guys who aren't physical or savvy enough to break away.
Fans have favourite players. For the lunch pail/hard workers, Amir's their favourite. For those who like the continual new wave of players into the league - maybe JV or Ross. Or some just like the best player - which is seeming more and more like it will be Gay as the season progresses.
Do writers have favourites? What does it for you? Good interview? Combination of on court and post game? Maybe you would feel too biased to say who your favourites are on the current team but do you have some over history?
Geoff H, Toronto
A: You know who our favourites are? Guys who have impact on games and who are able to offer insightful comments in sentences and context quickly after games. And some nights we might give on the sentences for the speed.
On this team now? DeMar's quick, Kyle's quick and Rudy is a bit tardy. Jose used to be standing there dressed and waiting for us, bless his heart.
One under-rated guy who was outstanding? T.J. Ford. Every day he'd make sure to walk by whatever grunts were hanging around, after practice or games, and stop and ask us if we needed anything. That's a favourite.
Q: Hey Doug, really love the new look of the site, great new picture of you as well.
I feel really bad for Andrea! I completely agree with you the booing was ridiculous to say the least, and now i am hearing him in trade rumours again for Boozer. The guy worked his butt off to get back in the line up had a pretty good game and no matter what fans will continue to hate on him. If it happens that he doesn't get traded at the deadline do you think he will ask to leave formally after the season?
Kevin Garnett reached 25000 points for his career, where does he rank in your opinion on the greats at the power forward position... i know its literally impossible to compare different eras of players, but it sure does not stop people from having those debates in the barber shop.
Thanks Doug keep it up
Tyler M, Regina
A: I can't presume to think for Andrea but knowing him a bit, I don't think asking for a trade is his style.
Garnett? Gaudy stats for sure but where he ranks? Impossible to say but he'd be on a modern era list probably behind Duncam, Malone and McHale but how do you classify the likes of Wayne Embry, George Mikan, Wes Unseld, Elgin Baylor? Great stool talk though.
Q: Hi Doug,
Did Dwayne comment on the mugging by Hansborough on JV last night? Do you think supplemental discipline (seeing as none was metted out last night!) is merited? Do you think the Raps plan to send a little video to the league?
Enjoy your unexpected sojourn. It may take Super Son a couple of days to shovel out from this mess.
Dave M, Puslinch
A: Dwane didn't, mostly because we didn't ask due to the stress of deadline and their desire to get out of town in a hurry to get safely back home.
And, yes, they will make the league aware of the incident.
Q: I do not know if these questions makes sense
With so many injuries are the Raptor's allowed to bring in bodies for practice sessions?
With only 2 games under his belt why even entertain a trade of AB ?
How urgent is the need at PG and can they wait to the trade deadline or even next summer?
Given BC's obsession at trading away draft picks (all gone for this year?) could you refresh my memory on what NBA rules govern the trading of picks?
Any status on JV and is over reacting to want the league to levee
a suspension or fine on the play?
Other then that what's for lunch?
Worse case you could always rent a car (Ford Focus) and drive :-
A: Sure, they all make sense.
No, the only way they can bring people in to practice unless they are signed (liability issues) and that's not worth it. Sometimes teams will use assistant coaches and other staffers to get them to 10 to scrimmage.
I don't there's an urgency to deal Bargnani at all; I also don't think they can go past the deadline without getting another PG, either in a deal or someone who has been waived or is the D League.
JV is fine and the league is aware of the play.
Q: Hello Doug
You obviously fly a great deal, but with the exception of Olympics etc, just in North America I assume. Have you ever flown on Qatar Airways? We flew with them from South Africa to North America (unfortunately they do not come to Toronto) and it was terrific and $500 cheaper than other options for this route. There is a magazine that rates airlines and Qatar has been the top ranked airline in the world the last two years. Excellent food, service, inflight entertainment and cheap can't beat that.
BTW, in the most recent rankings Air Canada joined Porter as the only 4-star airlines in North America which may say something about the major American carriers that are all 3-star. Qatar is one of six 5-star airlines in the world and they are all Asian.
Bruce C, Mississauga
A: First, they must give out stars far too easily, it's obviously not Michelin.
Have never been on Qatar Airways, have done British Air, the national airlines of Spain, Italy and Turkey along with Lufthansa and all are superior to anything in North America in my limited experience with them.
Q: Hello Doug,
Appreciate all your hard work and insight again this year. The songs are a nice touch to the daily blog (even if we don't always agree on the content).
Here's my question: Now that you've had some time to mull things over, are you sticking to your story that the Raptors gave up too much for Rudy Gay? It sure seems like his former coach and teammates are miffed that he was traded. If he is indeed a borderline all star and immediately becomes the Raptors best player (or at least go to scorer in crunch time), could they honestly have given up any less? I believe you have on occasion advised us crazies to think about a trade from the other team's perspective.
And just for fun (in case you're getting bored on the stool): If the Grizzlies didn't need to dump salary, talent wise, do you think they would have traded Rudy Gay for the players they got in return?
Thanks again, looking forward to hearing your opinion.
A: No, I don't think they would have for the package they got. The longer-term financial aspects of the deal - and the one-sided transaction with Cleveland before -- trumped all. I think the new owners there are still very much trying to figure things out.
Q: It's list time?
How about the best 5 places on the road to spend a day when you're stuck by travel plans?
A: All things considered, I have to go with Boston, Chicago and San Francisco in the big city category and Indianapolis, Charlotte and Portland in the smaller city list.
But it's all about having locals and familiarly.
Q: Hi Doug,
What a game last night! I was preparing myself for disappointment during the last minute of the fourth quarter, like I'm sure many Raptor fans were, and that made the victory that much more special!
Before the trade for Gay, it would have been a toss-up between Jose and Amir Johnson as to who the MVP of the Raptors has been this season. Presently, Gay is the most talented, but over the course of the half-finished 82 game schedule, I'd give the nod to Amir.
With the League trending towards smaller players, I was wondering whether that is a product of rule changes catching up to the league (such as the 3 in the key rule and the amount of fouls being called now vs. in the past) or is it more that the best players of today (LBJ, Kobe and KD, to name a few) are wings?
And since you're stuck in Indy, how about a
Top-5-cities-you'd-prefer-to-be-stuck-in list and a 5-cities-you-would-dread list!
Alex H, Scarborough
A: I'd say it's far more the skills of the players and their physiology than any rule changes, although banning hand-checking on the perimeter is a factor.
Already did the best, worst would be Sacramento, Milwaukee, Orlando, Houston and Cleveland. There is no there there in any of them.
I don't suspect the players are keen on speaking, on the record, about the use of performance enhancing drugs by some of their Players Association brethren, but, off the record, do players know/suspect who the cheaters are? Do they resent having to compete against players who they suspect use PED?
Alan G, Toronto
A: I don't know that I've had more than a couple cursory conversations off the record on the subject over the years and there have never been names mentioned. And I'm sure if there are doubts in anyone's mind, it'd only be logical there would be some level of resentment.
Q: Hi Doug,
We can all agree that the Raps need a more traditional backup point guard.
You mentioned they should call the Spurs, there's also a plethora of PG's in Minny and Collison is probably available in Dallas.
What do you as more likely to happen: a Bargnani blockbuster that yields a backup or a smaller move? and/or do you see it riding out until the end of the season?
Enio P, Vaughan
A: Today? Far more likely a relatively minor move, I would say.
Q: Hi Doug,
I simply don't understand the angst amount Raptor fans about Andrea. For the same reasons that Demar is going to benefit from the acquisition of Rudy, so will Andrea. It is not just that that other teams now need to focus on Gay, it is the fact that he does not have to be "the face of the franchise."
He has show streaks of being a very good player, hopefully with the above change it will become a bit more consistent. But even still, if not, as the 3rd option, it isn't a crucial as it was before the trade for Gay. There have been a lot of great NBA role players that have come of the bench and Bargnani can be one of them. Questions:
Colangelo hinted that Bargnani's time in TO may have come to an end. Do you think his feelings may have changed after seeing the post trade line up now for a couple of games? All things considered would you trade him or like to see what he could bring back in a trade?
Why has there not been much talk about the point guard position? That seems to be the weakest area at the moment? Do you think Colangelo and Casey are content with KL for the foreseeable future?
AT, Niagara Falls
A: I imagine Bryan is thinking what he's always thinking, if something comes up that he thinks will improve the team, he'll do it but I get the sense there's a lot less urgency than some would want. I don't see any need to rush.
And some of us have been talking about point guard since the Gay deal was made. Yes, they are okay with Kyle, it's behind him that's the problem that needs to be addressed quickly.
Q: Hi Doug,
Long time reader, first time writing in. Envious of your job and want to let you know that if you need an assistant, or someone to take over for you, I'm the man!
I love reading your blog because you have a positive outlook on things even in the most trying of times, but also, and most importantly because you know what you're talking about.
What I have issue with is these writers (one guy from your paper, and several from other known Toronto publications) that are getting paid to write about topics they have absolutely no idea about. They write with passion and rage, yet their writing indicates they don't have the knowledge or understanding to have a position in the matter. More specifically I'm talking about certain writer's insatiable desire to rip Andrea Bargnani apart and insist that he needs to be traded.
I will be the first to admit Bargnani is not an all-star. Andrea Bargnani is not a top tier defender. In retrospect he might not have been the best choice for the #1 pick (even though I still would have taken him over 8 of the top 10 selected). This is known, people have to get over this to see what he actually IS. He IS a PF that stretches the floor like very few big men can, he IS a player that WANTS to play for Toronto, he IS NOT a
liability in the locker room, he IS a 3 point threat, he will get you 16 (points) and 5 (rebounds) a night on average (according to his career stats, but that average is reduced by his first 2 years). Sorry for the length of this, but can you tell me your thoughts on other writer's unquenchable desire to rip Bargnani and demand his head on a stick his trade, on my thoughts of the team as is (with a few key acquisitions), and the possibility of me taking over your job.
A: Sorry, I'm not about to rip people for writing what they think and to suggest they don't have the expertise and that somehow you know more or better is, frankly, ridiculous.
Q: Hi Doug,
Travel Question: Heading to Atlanta at the end of the month. Any grunt approved eating establishments or bar stools I should add to my itinerary?
Basketball Question: At the end of some games the ball will be in bounded by rolling it on the ground and the receiving player won't touch it until he has to so that the clock doesn't start. My question is have you ever seen someone from the other team steal the ball on a play like this?
A: I've got nothing in Atlanta, actually, other than a good burger place a block up from the downtown Marriott that I think is on one of the 100 or so Peachtree streets.
And no, I've never seen the ball stolen in that situation.
Q: Hi Doug,
I was wondering if you could give any insight into what appears to be some distinct changes in Chris Bosh. Not just the game on Sunday against the Raptors, but in most games this year, he seems to be a lot more serious and very much "workman like". . And he "quietly" poured in 25 points in the flow of the game. Any thoughts? Did you have a chance to speak with him while he was in town?
Anthony, Niagara Falls
A: He's older, probably a bit wiser (I'm told that happens with some old people) and his game and his personality have evolved. I also think being on that team with those expectations can change a player, too. And all I got was a chance at a quick hello, unfortunately. Maybe I can get more next weekend in Houston.
Q: With the recent super bowl and the talk of champions, I was thinking who might be the winningest athelete of all time. The one who, when you think champion, the name that comes up is????? In basketball, my first thought went to Jordan... but then I thought of Russell. Just because someone does have a ring from the championship, doesnt meant they were great (Steve Kerr comes to mind... good role player but not great). Russell was key in am unfathomable run of Celtic championships ( and somehow making the finals two out of three years is a dynasty. man, have our standards for excellence dropped that far? So anyway, in your opinion, who are some of sports greatest winners.. key members on multiple championship teams..from whatever sport.
A: Different era and depth of competition, obviously, but my first reaction is always Russell.
But those two are the gold standard, Kobe is close but not there quite yet.
Not sure who I'd take in other sports, perhaps David Beckham, Gretzky and I have no clue in football: Maybe Brady, Montana?
Q: Hope this work as I've had some issues trying to send you questions with the new format on the Star. Anyhow, I have two questions for you:
Rudy Gay reminds me a lot of Chris Bosh. Very good player but not quite an elite player. Given that there is only a few truly elite players, if you were starting a team today, would you rather build with a very good 4 as in Bosh or a very good 3 as in Gay?
With the departure of Ed Davis, do you see the Raptors giving Quincy Acy some more playing time?
A: With the way the game is evolving, I don't suspect there will be much difference between threes and fours -- and eventually twos, threes, fours and fives -- in too many years. Today? I'd take someone considered a three over a four in the traditional sense.
As for Acy, I'd suspect no change, fourth, maybe fifth big man.
Q: Hi Doug,
I was pretty impressed with Gay's D today. I know Jonas is coming off an injury, but does he continue to get the minutes he did earlier in the season? Gray is playing very well, but as you mentioned in the blog he is purely situational.
Second point. Does Jose make more, less or about the same next year? Probably a better question in July, but I was wondering?
A: I think the Jonas question was answered in Indianapolis. And, no, I don't see Jpse making the same money in these different economic times but I'm not about to guess at a number.