The end of the weekend mail
Told you there’d be more.
See you in the morning.
Q: Hi Doug.
Last week in the mailbox you took me to task for the question about Rudy Gay. I asked about leadership and the thought process on an extension for him. Your response was something about too early to consider it.
On one hand, fair enough. On the other hand, I would open Brian and his henchmen have our #22 already penciled in for a specific value and role moving forward. It is likely far too early for them to share any information with fans, but I would think a pro-active front office always has their options in order.
If I was running the Raptors I would have a pay slot and designated role for Rudy Gay. I would also have then eight to ten guys that I would compare Rudy to for either trade or contract purposes.
Your rebuttal please.
A: Well, you’d be like every professional sports general manager on earth, then. They have an idea of what the value is of their players, they have contingency plans if things don’t work out and that’s just basic, common sense.
But they can’t be nearly as rigid as I think you might be suggesting, there are about a million contingencies to think about; injuries, a falloff or an improvement in play or other roster additions through trades or signings.
But as for an extension or anything longer than two years out, it’s folly to think seriously about anything, it’s pie in the sky stuff at the moment, like all long-term planning is.
Q: Hey Doug,
On the scale of 1 - 10, where 1 is Joey Graham (frustrating inconsistent bench player) and 10 is Tracy McGrady (All-Star and scoring champ), where do you think Terrence Ross will end up? I know that it is impossible to tell and that he's most likely going to end up somewhere in the middle. But you've been around him for almost a year now so if you had to put a number to it, what would it be?
A: As you mentioned, this a total guess based on a very limited body of evidence but I’d probably say in the 6-7 range. A bit above average and that’s not too bad.
Q: Hey Doug, love the blog and have been reading it daily for many years. I have a question about the history of coaches that have coached the Raptors since its inception. It seems as though none of them except for Lenny Wilkins had any prior head coaching experience.
Certainly not since Lenny. Kevin O'Neil, Sam Mitchell, Jay Triano, and now Dwayne Casey. All of these coaches were rookie head coaches having to coach young players and young teams. I can’t imagine it being very easy for a rookie coach to learn how to become a good one, while coaching young players that are still
learning the NBA game and how to be successful.
Wouldn't it make more sense to find an experienced coach for a change? One that can teach our young roster the game? I'm sure its costly, but certainly not impossible as the 76ers and the Wolves are both young teams that got Doug Collins and Rick Adelman and the teams they coached played well (Not getting anything back for Iguodala and Vucevic is obviously not Doug Collins fault) but I hope you understand my question.
No disrespect to any of the coaches in the history of the Raptors, but I wonder if an experienced head coach that's been to the playoffs and had success is what we need to actually get there. Seems like our players and coaches are consistently the poor man's version of someone else.
With the exception of Scott Brooks and Vinny Del Negro who both lucked out with all world talent at the top of their rosters, it seems like the combination of young coaches and young teams rarely "get there". What are you thoughts?
Ajit, Grand Cayman
A: I understand entirely and you have a valid point.
But I will counter it with this: Sometimes, it’s a chicken and egg thing; when you have a job opening for a head coach there might not be anyone who fits your criteria either (a) interested in the job or (b) worth pursuing if it’s simply a matter of recycling old coaches.
For instance, I don’t know how many people threw out the idea of hiring a “name” coach when they hired Dwane, as if it was a simple as calling, say, a Jeff Van Gundy and giving him the job. First, in that specific case he had no interest in coaching; other times it’s a matter of budget, what a GM thinks is best for his team and whether the job is even remotely attractive to someone with a wealth of experience. Some of that is the responsibility of the GM to deal with – like money and the willingness to give long-term deals – without question.
So, yes, in a perfect world they would have gone from proven winner to proven winner; we don’t live in anything remotely close to a perfect world.
But, yes, I do think a coach with limited head coaching experience can often teach well enough and grow fast enough that it works.
Q: Hello Doug!
2-4-8. Has a nice ring, doesn't it? Reminds me of that old school yard cheer: "Two! Four! Six! Eight! Who do we appreciate?..." And you'd just fill in the name of the hero of the moment...and thinking of people who should be appreciated (in addition to you, of course) by Raptor supporters, here's a question for you. Earlier this week you offered up the most egregious blunders by Raps' management and, of course, Irregulars were able to suggest even more for consideration. (Bet that surprised you!)
But, in fairness, it's not all been a tale of Disasterous Decisions. Or has it?
Can you identify a couple of management decisions that - if not exactly mensa-like in their astuteness - advanced the franchise, short or long term, in its evolution. Thank you. (And soon it'll be: One! Two! Four! And Then No More! DRINK!!!)
Lorie P, London
A: I was actually going to do this one morning this week and probably will anyway.
So here are three quick ones and while I am going to scoop myself, we’ll get into them in more detail maybe Tuesday morning if I remember.
Engineering the draft of Vince Carter. Trading for Charles Oakley.
Finding Garbo and Anthony Parker on the relative cheap.
More later, as they say.
Q: Top of the season to you, couple of random thoughts this week.
Regarding Kobe's injury, first and foremost please understand that in no way do I feel anything but bad for Kobe. Harkening back to a mailbag question from much earlier in this season in which I posited that maybe it was time to consider moving Kobe. I am not in any way gloating, but in the stark reality of the business world as it pertains to professional atheletes they are but "assets" or "liabilities" to their employers. In the unfortunate event that Kobe"s career has come to an end, as all careers must, then in this situation the Laker's organization has a taller mountain to climb in their attempt to replace Kobe(like there will EVER be another Kobe). Among all the tasks and decisions entrusted to the management of a team of any sort is to know when to "hold 'em or to fold 'em". Hopefully Kobe does not go out in this manner, from a humanisitic point of view he deserves far better.
Secondly, in consideration of Mike Weir's anniversary of his Masters win. Rivetted to the TV I was for that final round all those years ago, and most certainly I took great pride in his success for his country, beyond the fact that it was a great victory on it's own merits. Subsequent to his Master's win I began to think that expectations for his ongoing performances on the golf course were blown way beyond any reasonable degree. I truly hope that he has been able to enjoy his win and at no point afterward ever felt that somehow he was letting his country down by not being able to scale the mountain again.
As always thanks for what you do,
Doug T, Brantford
PS: visiting Hazelville tonight, the Harp for dinner followed by the Abbey Road Pub to catch a friend's band, it will just like old times!
A: I can tell you this about Mike, without doubt. He knew how much support he had and has here and desperately wanted to do well for his fans across Canada and it bothered him a bit that he never won a Canadian Open. But to be the first Canadian to win the Master’s was an incredible accomplishment and an historic moment that made him prouder than you can imagine.
And Abbey Road is like a home game for me, been there a few times and always enjoyed myself. Hope you did, too.
Q: Hi Doug Smith
Just wondering about John Lucas. When he is on the floor, there seems to be added energy, not just from John but from some of the other guys as well. I know that a second unit guy's job is to bring a shot of energy into the game so I guess that explains some of what I see.
He seems to have good chemistry with his teammates; they seem drawn to him more than...well, you know...that guy who starts.
I don't know enough about the game to critique Lucas' play and
development so could shed some light on John Lucas and how he might fit in the Raptor plan? Assuming there is one. A plan, that is.
Doug, you sure took some heat for your Thatcher comments. Yikes. This town is in a very testy mood these days as Mr. Kelly pointed out.
Ditch Dickinson, The Beach
A: John’s biggest problem – and his biggest blessing – is that he’s more of a scoring guard than a point guard, he’ll often miss open guys because he’s trying to get his shot. I think his future here is, frankly, cloudy. There’s a team option at about $1.5 million for him next year and I’m not sure they’ll exercise it right now. He would come back to the role that he has, a third point guard and as a scorer off the bench in dire circumstances.
Q: We are losing games this season by an average of 2.3 points. If we had just one more three-pointer made per game, we'd be between Brooklyn & Chicago, in 5th place! Which NCAA player or NBA free agent could fill the void? And which current player could they push out of the rotation?
Bo K, Mississauga
A: It’s certainly not that simple that pure arithmetic would suggest a five-team leap in the standings, I’m sure you understand that.
And I pretty much guarantee you that there is no college player ready to come in and consistently knock down NBA three-pointers on a regular basis, it’s a longer shot, the defenders are better and it’s not an easy transition at all. So, quite aside from a pipedream of a kid taken with a draft pick they don’t have, you can put that one out of mind. Please.
NBA free agents?
They don’t have enough cap space other than a mid-level exception to offer anyone and I’m not willing three months before the fact to suggest who might be a possible addition.
Q: Hi Doug
I am actually sad the season is coming to an end perhaps because I am not overly optimistic that the off season will be very fruitful. I agree Lebron should be MVP but should Melo not be 2nd, a huge distance over whoever finishes 3rd? I am not a huge Carmelo Dan but dude has gone crazy carrying these senior citizens(those health) on his shoulders.
The fact that Kyle Lowry, a point guard, needs to improve his dribble strikes me as a fatal flaw like a pitcher who can't throw strikes or a goalie who has no glove hand. Please tell me his challenge is not all that unusual?
Thanks Doug for another great season of IGBT and good reporting.
A: Huge distance? Over Kevin Durant? You’re not serious, are you?
Lowry doesn’t need to “improve his dribble” whatsoever; he needs to get more comfortable knowing when to use his ability to get to the rim and when to use his ability to get others involved. Yes, he has some difficulty with full-court pressure but it’s not because of his dribbling skills, it’s because it’s a bit of a unique defence and once he’s seen it one or two times in a game, everything’s fine; it’s why it’s not a constant tactic used by opponents.
Q: Hi Doug,
I really enjoy your blog on a daily basis and have followed the Raptors from day one. Your mention of not enough wall outlets and no channel guides got me thinking about other seemingly minor hotel issues that could bug a frequent traveller a bit. I get about 100 nights a year somewhere other than home and I thought it might be fun to list a few. Some of mine are
Small unreadable labels on the shampoo , conditioner, etc. Over 40's can end up chugging the shampoo and washing hair with the mouthwash.
Dead or weak batteries in the TV remote.
Towels stacked in the rack over the toilet, hate to tell you how many times I have knocked one down and no question it always lands in the flush.
Last guest has clock radio alarm set for 3am at full volume, and you cannot find the button to turn it off.
Not enough hangers in the closet if you are staying more than a day.
I bet there is another 100 of these but those would be my top 5. Did I miss anything?
A: Man, are you and Lorie in cahoots? This was another plan for the middle of the week or sometime soon so I’m not giving away all my secrets at the moment.
Let me add one huge pet peeve I’ve mentioned before because your list is pretty comprehensive.
The lack of wall sockets to plug stuff in is appalling.
Q: Dear Doug,
Thanks for your faithful blogging.
At the beginning of the season I seemed to be the only one in the universe who was doubting that the LA Lakers would make the playoffs. I said they were too old and would have a tough time making the playoffs but if they did, they might be tough. How come every sports writer in the universe seem to think they would be great? Why didn't I read any writer having doubts?
It is the same with the Blue Jays. I heard all the talk about how they were built to win the championship. But I really had doubts about it. So far they are not doing well. Maybe they will settle down and get better. But why do people give in to the hype? Why are there not more cautionary voices?
Richard W. D. G, Milton
A: I guess people just aren’t as smart as you trying to guess what might happen in a six-month period. Can you give me next week’s lottery numbers while you’re at it?
And I presume that you wrote down somewhere that Steve Nash would break a leg and miss a month or so and that Dwight Howard’s back would be bothering him and that the Lakers would fire a coach, right?
Oh, and the Jays are, what, 12 games into a 162-game season? I’d wait on crowing about that one until maybe late August. Of course, if they win the division you’ll be back in September praising everyone for being correct, right?