The start of the weekend mail
All right, folks, here’s the deal.
You have some fun with this at the moment, I’ve got lots more to do when I’m riding the rails later today from Milwaukee to Chicago and I’ll get the rest up something later today or this evening.
Sound all right?
Q: Hey Doug,
It's been a while. I'm now a bit of an irregular, irregular – spending more time in Marriott concierge lounges around North America like you and less time following the daily developments of the HOTH.
Forgive me if this has been covered before: It is just me, or do you also think that Terrence Ross' rookie season bears a certain resemblance to that of Tracy McGrady's rookie season back in 1997? I remember seeing Tracy make a handful of plays that spoke to his promise as a future all-star, but also remember how his lack of playing time and contentious relationship with Darrell Walker culminated in him being somewhat dispirited, if not depressed. I suspect that young players with as much talent potential as Terrence sometimes struggle to make the necessary mental adjustment from being heralded to being benched during their first couple of seasons in the NBA. Being anointed the slam-dunk champion at the All-Star game probably didn't help matters either.
David T, Nashua, NH
A: I'm not sure Terrence has the raw ability of a teenaged McGrady but I do see some physical similarities and slight similarities in their skill.
But I don't think there is any level of frustration over spotty playing time or contention in his relationship with Dwane and the staff that has caused his struggles in the second half.
I think he's mentally and physically worn down from year unlike any other he's had in his life. I think his confidence is down because that fatigue won't let him do what he knows he can do and it will be telling to see what kind of physical condition he comes back in next fall.
Q: My recent trip across the US got me thinking about time zones and where the best place in N.A. is to be a sports fan (in relation to radio and television viewing).
I've heard your fan/reporter debate so I'm sure you might have two answers for this. I loved being in Phoenix at 4pm and getting the "excuse" to pop open a beer because the game was starting (it was 5 o'clock somewhere....).
That being said, I hated it once everyone else was I'm bed for the night and I'm looking around for a game only to realise they're all done around 10:30pm. I was in Hawaii several years ago and loved getting up a 7am and all the early NFL games were just starting, or along those same lines having Premiership games here on early Saturday/Sunday mornings.
My vote would be for C.T.; games aren't too early and you don't get stuck up too late. Your opinion?
A: Oh, I’m with you entirely on the Central time zone being the best. When we were in Minneapolis the other night, I was able to see the Thunder-Spurs game (the late on in the East) and still be in bed at a reasonable time and I bet in Chicago tonight, I’ll be able to stay up and alert for the entire Notre Dame-Connecticut women’s game.
I am not a big fan of the Pacific time zone because it’s simply over too early; and Mountain would probably be my second choice.
East might be last since I’m not a big late-night guy and some of those 10:30 p.m. starts are beyond me.
Q: Hi Doug. Just answering your plea for mail.
You've mentioned on a number of occasions that you cannot be a fan of a team as a reporter as it would affect your objectivity, and would be unprofessional. As such, you don't cheer for teams. I certainly think that's fair, however, I wonder if on occasion you wind up being a fan of a potential story.
For example, if a player returns from a long layoff (say due to injury), and gets the ball in his hands in the dying seconds of a tie game, do you find yourself rooting (?hoping) for the player to make the shot, because it makes a good story?
Thanks for keeping the blog interesting.
A: Hell yeah. We all cheer for our stories, or good stories, regardless of which team or player is involved. That’s Acceptable Grunt Behaviour.
Q: Hey Doug, I realize this is beyond his control, but which scenario do you think Brian C would prefer (assuming of course, he stays):
Luck into a top 3 pick in this year's lottery, or
Close out that trade and be sure of having a 2014 first round pick at his disposal?
A: Regardless of how the draft is perceived – and this one is said to be historically average with gusts to bad – picks are still assets and I know he’d like to have as many assets as he can in the May-June period.
Q: Take a look at the below links and tell us what you think.
I know you have already commented that this has been the worst year in a long time when it comes to this and as a lead on the BWAA it might not be your place to bring this up but the question has to be asked does it not?
Mountain out of a molehill here?
NBA Is Rigged? Fan Shows Some Suspect Proof The NBA Needs Lakers In The Playoffs
Are The Referees Trying To Get The Lakers To The Playoffs?
A: I think it's ridiculous and that too many people have too much time on their hands and too easy access to have crap published.
But it's a doozy because you might be talking about a conspiracy of, what, 50 referees, a handful of executives and the league commissioner -- the man behind the curtain -- all will to risk a multi-billion dollar business for the sake of one franchise and keeping that secret despite the breadth of the circle of knowledge.
Man, they should have had the group run the Watergate burglary and the Nixon White House.
Q: With a nod and wink to Chuck, are you kiddin' me? The Raptor tall foreheads still appear to believe they are building a contender. Who do they think they're fooling? The problem is that analytics and hyperbole can't trump on court performance. Sure, there are some bright lights, but overall the team simply doesn't execute. Offensively, the ball sticks when it should move, our point guard of the future makes more boneheaded plays than good decisions, chemistry is hard to demonstrate, and on and on. Defensively, except for the odd stretch, the team is downright bad. To characterize the team's attitude, you might try to find a tune by Kyle and the Whiners to post someday. You might look in the Doo Wop catalogue, as a lot of those groups had five members. The lack of a real leader lets the few selfish,
whining individuals affect this bunch unduly. Coaching? I don't know what happened this year, but it's hard to see the positives, either during a game or overall. Dwayne and his lads don't seem to be up to the task of managing this group. The tall forehead management is even more suspect and the salary commitments are ludicrous. Hey, isn't there a rapper with a name that sounds like that?
So, here's my question. Why should I continue to buy season tickets? As it is, the bread and circuses aspects of the show detract from seriously watching the game.
A: Whether you buy season tickets or single game tickets or tickets to ride truly is so little of my concern it's laughable. I get paid regardless. You do paint a rosy picture, though.
Plus, there are two things you should never do:
Tell people how to spend their money or raise their kids.
Q: Referring to your previous blog (Smith/Anselmi) you wrote that Anselmi is looking for a quality finish by the Raptors. By my account It's been pretty uneven, close to unwatchable (Thank You for the IGBT, your wit and repartee is most enjoyable).
I acknowledge it's the slow death of a disappointing season, I must admit feeling a degree of apathy as the season ends "Quality finish" seems to be subjective.
Is it wins, play hard, play the rookies, compete?
What do you think the Raptors have to do to keep the status quo in the management positions as the season winds down?
Johnny C, Mississauga
A: It’s been a bad finish in many ways but I don’t know if it’s wins and losses more than effort and cohesion and promise at some level that ownership and upper management are looking at.
I can’t see that it’s one thing more than the other, it’ll be a wide-ranging numbers of issues that will include things like personal relationships between management, the coach and the coaching staff and relationships between the coach, the coaching staff and the players.
If it was simply wins and losses, the spectre of a 6-20 finish after a 4-19 start would be horrible.
Q: Hi Doug.
In a perfect world while watching a game I would love to be able to have a volume setting for the announcers and another for "sounds of the game"
I think they should at least compromise and raise up more court noise. From where you sit, do you pick up a lot of profanity that might prevent that from ever happening?
Over the last several games I see Lowry improving as a point guard who should look to pass and get his teammates the ball more often. My complaint which has been there all season is trying to make a bounce pass in the paint when it is packed with bodies, low percentage play and usually translates into turnovers. I think that more passes up high with JV rolling to the basket next year will be beneficial, he has good hands and has shown the ability to finish and if fouled he is great at the free throw line.
Not too many games for you to soldier through, hang in there!
Matt D, Dorchester
A: There’s enough vulgarity – a lot of it screamed in frustration at missed shots, blown plays, not of it aimed at anyone in particular – that more “sounds” of the game would a dangerous thing to do.
As for Lowry, I actually think he’s been okay in the last couple of weeks but, yes, he’s a high-turnover point guard, especially when compared to the guy he replaced and sometimes you’ve got to live with some blown passes because others will be completed.
Q: Someone mentioned a few weeks ago that the Raptors told Kleiza that he wouldn't be getting any more court time. Do you know if this is true? Why would a team do that? Does it mean that they have given up on him and don’t want him getting hurt? Will they try to trade him or just amnesty him?
Dave B, Cornwall
A: Actually, it was I who wrote it and it’s not that big a deal.
He was finally healthy but the staff told him, in words pretty much like this that: “Hey, we know you’re finally back but we’ve settled on a rotation and we want to give it the rest of the season to see if it works so unless there’s some major injury or catastrophe, there are no minutes for you. It’s not personal, stay ready in case you’re needed but we want to look at some other people.”
And Linas, to his credit, hasn’t rocked the boat in the least.
But it’s not been done with any eye towards amnesty, the health of the player doesn’t matter. I still imagine that’s a real possibility, depending on who’s running the show.
Q: What's the best bet on the Team Salary Cap & Luxury Tax Level next season
Bo K, Mississauga
A: Best guess – and that’s all it is so don’t take it as fact at all – would be in the neighbourhood of $65-67 million and $80 million or so.
But we won’t know until July so don’t make roster moves based on that.
Q: Hi Doug,
Followed the IGBT but did not watch or listen to the Jose homecoming. What is the value of leadership when thinking about extending Rudy Gay's contract? What sort of price do you put on it and is he a leader? May the rest of the season be overtime free for you.
A: Not sure there is a price because he’s not fallen into the role since it’s been such a short time tht he’s been here. And that’s understandable since he is so new.
And any chatter about an extension is foolish can’t be taken all seriously. We need to see (a) who is in charge and (b) how other things to do with the roster fall into place.
Q: What's the best bet with Andrea Bargnani & the Raptors?
What's the best bet with John Lucas & the Raptors?
Bo K, Mississauga
A: My best guess – and, again, that’s all it is – is that they will find a way to move Andrea in the summer in some package and that Lucas will be back since he’s got a very cheap year left on his contract.