All right, folks, this is what I’ve got so far but I haven’t looked over there in a bit. Was a stool night.
Empty house, no plans until watching the game at 6 p.m. so if there’s more, I’ll putter around on ‘em.
Q: Hi Doug, Happy Easter! So my Dad, bro and I are all huge basketball (Raps) fans. My brother has made the following statement: If I had to call it right now, I'd say Nuggets over the Heat in six in one of the most exciting Finals of all time.
I'd like your thoughts.
Also, watching Calderon be interviewed by Leo and Matt just made me miss him so much, he is such a good guy. They mentioned they did dinner last night with him and 'the guys'. Who are the guys? Was it the whole team?
Finally, how far in advance do the Raps make their summer plans? Do any of them actually stay in Toronto? Do you know what any of their plans are, I pray they will spend the off season 'getting better' as that seems to be the resounding comment made in almost every interview. Thanks so much!
A: I’m not quite ready to get to the Finals picking yet because there’s so much uncertainty in who’ll finish where and what the matchups would be. But I agree Denver has as good as shot as anyone if they can get some homecourt advantage at some point. But with San Antonio, Memphis and Oklahoma City in the mix, the West could be incredible.
Not sure who had dinner with Jose, imagine it wouldn’t have been the entire team since others may have had plans but I heard it was about 7 or 8 guys including some of the support staff.
The players have started making plans but none will reside permanently in Toronto, they all have “homes” to get to. Most, however, will be back three or four times for appearances, to visit friends and to hang out.
I don’t know of any specific plans but all will be visited regularly by members of the coaching and training staffs wherever they are to be worked out and checked up on.
Q: Hi Doug.
I wanted to write my 3 biggest negatives and positives on the Raptors season and maybe get your comments;
To me the biggest disappointment was the defence. It seemed like Duane had them going in the right direction last year and I was optimistic this would carry-forward to this year. But defensively this team has taken a big step back
The whole Andrea thing. There's not much more to say but he really lost me after that 2 for 19 disgrace
Kyle Lowry. His ability to run an offence and score definitely has not come as advertised when the trade was made
The play of Amir Johnson has to be the highlight. What a warrior
The improvement in Demar's game. He's scoring more consistently (but the ball handling - yichh)
Maybe the Gay trade, but that is still up in the air
Marvin Hoppe, Toronto
A: Can’t disagree except to suggest Jonas has been a positive but, again, we’re really jumping the gun with more than three weeks left in the season.
Let’s get it over with before we do the post-mortems, okay? That’s what I’m going to do.
Re: streaks and their effect on teams-players.
Of course a streak gets noticed. They are very rare and hard to do!
Now we have The Heat; we've had The Dolphins, Dimaggio's hitting streak is the stuff of novels and full books - and will likely never be equaled.
How do you assess the meaning of streaks? Do teams and players really want to keep them going?
Maris almost died during his HR "streak season". Why are we SO enamored of them?
Charles N, Mexico
A: I think there’s a large sense of pride among players – and organizations – that keeping a streak going once it gets close to something newsworthy is very important to them. There were people in the Raptors organization, for instance, who were quite tied into the three-point shooting streak. I also know Mo Pete was really interested in his Ironman streak a few years ago.
Why do we like them? I guess it’s part of history, it’s being caught up in some on-going narrative that gets you through what is sometimes a dull part of a season and it’s bearing witness to something no one’s seen.
Imagine, if you would, that you are an up and coming GM. You are presented with three openings, the Raptors, the Cavaliers, and the Wizards. The offers are all the same and contain the same clause - your pay will double if the team makes the playoffs in 2014.
Which team do you choose that gives you the best chance to make the big money? And why?
Thanks for the reporting and the blog.
Adam M, Halifax, NS
A: Hmm, good one. I’d probably go with Washington because of their mix of youth and experience and I like the combination of Wall and Beale better than Irving and Waiters, as a twosome that is; Irving’s the best player in that group by far. But, and this is the HUGE issue, you have to guarantee me that both Irving and Wall are able to play a full season and nothing has happened that would suggest that’s true.
I like Toronto’s wings and bigs as much as any of those other two and would likely put them second.
But it’s Fool’s Gold because what’s on the roster today is unlikely to be on the roster in the fall and those summer decisions will be the most significant thing.
And before people go off half-cocked – or fully-cocked – about the draft pick the Raptors don’t have that the other two have, this is my point: NONE of those three teams needs to get younger, they all need more veteran presence.
A great SI cover, about the famous NCAA victory by Texas Western over Kentucky in 1966 that ties nicely to your nice comments about George Chuvalo. Also surprise link to current NBA basketball. I wonder whatever happened to the two players in the photo?Bruce, Mississauga_
A: I think the one guy went into MMA and fights Danny Ainge for some championship belt soon.
Q: In your Thursday's blog you stated that you will do an evaluation of the team as the season closes out. I think we can all agree this has been a disappointing season. I really think there is enough talent on this team to be better than they are. Without giving away too much from your end-of-season evaluation (EOSE) what is the biggest issue. Is it as simple as needing a floor General
Is it that the pieces don't fit together? Is it lack of physical and/or mental toughness? Is it that the system don't fit the players or vice versa? Is it motivation? Or is it a combination of all of the above?
One thing that I thought at the beginning of the season and Jack mentioned it last night, I thought Jamaal was a critical piece of last year's team and they miss that toughness. Can this explain the lack of defense?
Dave B, Cornwall
A: You people are killing me with all this stuff about the season wrap-up when I have to save some of it for when, you know, the season wraps up.
But it is definitely a combination of all those things and I’m going to add two more:
I don’t know that there was a very high trust level among teammates early in the season that caused a lot of those late-game failings and I do think there needed to be more offensive creativity at crunch time in all those games they lost in the last 90 seconds or so.
And no on Jamaal. Sure, they missed the very few minutes he played but it doesn’t explain the lack of wing defence or man-to-man responsibility.
I have given up on the Raptors, as they seem like a rudderless ship adrift with no captain any where in sight. So let's talk music...I am determined to get you to see that great music is still being made. Ray Lamontagne is so shy he used to play with his back to the audience.....but man oh man can he belt it out. Watch the first song in this BBC clip!
A: Well, I can’t give up on ‘em because I get paid to write about them and quitting is not an option.
But that does imbue some optimism about the state of the art today.