The end of the weekend mail
Well done, again.
Here’s what I had left, hope I haven’t missed too many.
Read this in between fawning over Moms, okay?
Q: Dear Doug
In light of Masai Ujiri's selection as Executive of the Year, was
consideration given to Bob Myers? I had to look up the GM of the Warriors in asking this question.
Given the remarkable roster assembled (Curry, then Thompson, and three rookies in last year's draft), ditching Ellis for Bogut, signing Jack, acquiring Lee for peanuts, what consideration was given to Myers? And who is this guy?
Happy Mom's Day to Superwife.
A: Here’s the funny thing about Bob Myers: He was an agent for about five or six years before moving into Golden State’s front office as an assistant GM and VP of basketball operations under Larry Riley, much the same kind of job that Ed Stefanski has under Bryan right now.
Eventually, the Warriors let Larry go (you might remember his name from working with the Vancouver Grizzlies eons ago!) they promoted Myers about a year ago, and he hit a series of home runs right off the bat.
And I guess it shows you that you never know where a successful GM will come from, he’s a law school graduate, never played in the league, never paid a long series of dues coming up through front-office ranks but did the job spectacularly in his first year.
Myers finished seventh in voting this year.
Q: Hello, Doug!
Well tonight's the Big Wang Thang and I'll bet you're excited! And inviting you to judge a wing contest would seem a no-brainer and a task for which you're well-suited. But I'll bet wings aren't the only thing you're uniquely qualified to judge.
Now, summer finally seems to be here and with it comes all manner of festivals, fairs, and other local celebrations. And many of these events have opportunities for 'judging': from pies to pickles to pigs to pumpkins, there's all kinds of competitions happening.
So, other than wings (and pizza as mentioned in today's blog) and in an effort to get your name out there for organizers, what else would you like to judge?
And do you see yourself only specializing in food or are you also available to give your thumb's up or down on, say, livestock, stitchery and fiddling?
Lorie P, London
A: Well, I’ve been known to have a rib every now and then; if there was every a contest for most comfortable stool and well-designed bar I’d like to think I have some expertise that would be invaluable; if someone ran a contest on, say, home made ice cream I bet I could add something to it.
And the first Chocolate Chip Cookie Of The Year contest is something I could support.
So, the word’s out, right?
(I really like the pizza idea!)
Q: Hi Doug,
I haven't written in a long time but since you asked so nicely I thought I would throw you a two part question.
When the board is deciding on whether to bring back Bryan do you think they will take into account his failed attempt to bring in Steve Nash. I actually view Bryan's failure in this regard as a positive because I always thought bringing in Steve Nash made little sense. Bringing a 37 year old point guard with little left in the tank to a lottery team coupled with the contract Landry Fields received would have crippled this franchise even further (from a cap perspective). This gets to the bigger picture of where I think Bryan has gone wrong in the last year, this was a move with no long term view of the ultimate goal of winning a championship and I fear that staying the course with Bryan will leave us as the proverbial 6-8 seed for many years to come. I think Mr. Lewieke has the right idea when he says that our goal is championships and anything short of that goal would be a failure.
My second question is in regard to the new face of executives in this league i.e. Daryl Morey, John Hollinger etc. who use advanced metrics to put together basketball teams. If Bryan is ultimately let go and Phil Jackson is not hired are there any names floating around there that would fit this description? I think this type of executive is the wave of the future and will prevent the Raps from being fleeced again by guys like John Hollinger - yes I am talking about the Rudy Gay trade (looks like the Grizz may be primed for a run to the finals minus their supposed "All Star").
I'm sure you will disagree with many of my points but that is the great thing about your blog the ability to debate and discuss the game. Keep up the good work.
A: Of course Tim Leiweke says the goal is championships, surely in the name of all that’s good in the world you’re naïve enough to think he’d say anything else. And it’s the goal of every single employee of the team – you can’t believe otherwise, can you? – but everyone – including the brilliant Mr. Leiweke – knows it’s process and cannot happen overnight.
We can debate until the cows come home the Nash thing but you also can’t be naïve enough to think all things are linear and that exactly what happened in Los Angeles would have happened here. You can guess that all you won’t, there are others who think different circumstances – I’m betting he doesn’t suffer a fluke broken leg getting kicked out nowhere in Game 1 if it’s against Indiana – would mean different results.
But, yes, they will take into account every move – including the two playoff years and the delivery on his promise to build from within from ground up until it was time to make a bold post-Bosh move – when the time comes.
Oh, and aside from Miami and we’ll agree those were unique circumstances, find me a prolonged NBA champion calibre team that didn’t start further down the playoff seedings before growing. Not sure you can find outside of Boston in ’07 and Heat.
And sure, there probably are some analytic geniuses out there who’d get consideration and maybe when they do, they can ask Mr. Morey or Mr. Hollinger to show them the championship rings or conference finals appearances they’ve got.
And if you think John Hollinger, who I quite like, “fleeced” the Raptors, you have much to learn about the workings of NBA front offices; John not more had a final say in that deal than you did.
Q: Can you give us working stiffs a sense of how many hours of work an NBA player puts in during a typical day in the off-season? I guess "work" is subjective; I would define it to include time spent in the gym, at a court or practice facility somewhere, making a public appearance at someone else's request, or in transit to any of those, but feel free to add anything I've missed.
Mike D, Toronto
A: Totally guesswork and it truly varies an awful lot but in a week that is gym work at home – shooting, agility, lifting, cardio, other drills – I’d guess six or seven broken into maybe three chunks of 90 minutes or two hours each.
And the days can get longer if they’re on the road with some NBA program or some sponsorship deal where they might have a clinic or two and an appearance or three and it might run out to 10 or 11. And that’s “work” of a different kind.
Q: Since you were asking for questions from we irregulars, and facing a paucity, I thought I'd oblige with a somewhat irrelevant query:
My kids and I were taking the dog for an after-dinner walk on our downtown street and who should pass on the other side of the street but Amir Johnson and a couple of his friends. Seemed like they were taking a walk to keep Amir's knees and ankle moving, however gently. It was great to see him around.
My son and I noticed him at the same time, and I couldn't help but shout out a "hello-howya feelin-good job this season" to him. I felt a bit bad about it after . it's a bit rude to shout across a street to anyone, let alone someone who doesn't know you. Then I realized that I was surprised to see Amir. Do a lot of the players stay around town after the season ends?
And how do they feel about being accosted on the street with "how's the knee?" sort of questions?
David K, Toronto
PS thanks for the licence to eat McD's the other day. My mouth's kudos were louder than my stomach's curses.
A: I don’t imagine they mind at all, especially Amir, who seems to have as a great connection with fans and people here than any Raptor ever. As long as people are polite and don’t do things like interrupt meals or intrude on truly private time, it’s not a problem at all.
Not many stay all summer – Amir even gets back to L.A. for long chunks of time – but most players at least come back once or twice a summer to hang out, check in with old friends and old haunts and say hello. It really depends on circumstances; how much other travel or other responsibilities they have to sponsors or family but the vast majority are back during the summer for a bit of time.
Q: Hello again Mr. Smith. I think it is funny that I asked you about other city knuckleheads last week and Miami wasn't listed. Figure after what transpired this week they must most certainly be on the list now.
Question time. During games that you attend whether home or away do you have a seat assigned to you or is it first come first serve?
Both my super kids (son 8 & daughter 11) are just getting into basketball. Any tips I can pass along to help improve their game? I have already told them about the backboard being their bestfriend (a'la Tim Duncan).
One last question......Can you pass along a request to the Tall Foreheads that do Raptors contest (The Star & others) to please increase the qualifying range from 75 mile radius to all of Canada or at the very least Ontario? Rather frustrating when I live just a short 2 hour drive away and cannot participate in some of these contests. As always Doug thanks for keeping us fans informed.
Ken L, Bath, Ont.
A: There are always assigned seats and the NBA media guidelines clearly lay that out. Home beat grunts and travelling beat writers are given the seats with the closest proximity to the court, the various other reporters are then taken care of.
I think you should tell your Super Kids that they need to work on every facet of the game and to never let a coach or themselves limit what they can do. Try to master them all – shooting, passing, dribbling – so they don’t get pigeonholed into any one position.
And, yes, I will make Tall Foreheads aware but that was more an NBA territorial issue that we will try to work through if we do anything like that again.
Do you know if the Raptors are going to do draft workouts?
I know that they do not have a draft pick, but they may be able to buy a pick late in the first round.
I know you have commented that the Raptor need a veteran. With who is available this summer and the limited budget, who would you go after.
Thank again for all your hard work.
I hope the wing tasting was a blast.
A: I don’t imagine they will, at least not until they secure a pick and the reason has as much to do with the players and their agents than anything. Agents, who already send their athletes to too many teams, are going to allow too many to work out for a team without a pick.
But the Raptors are going to be at all the gang workouts – like the Chicago combine this coming week, other weekend-long draft camps for likely second round picks – and they’ve amassed a lot of scouting information already.
And I’m not going to do “who” until much, much later and we see how things shake out. All in due time but now is not it.
Q: Hi Doug
In your paper, I think last weekend, was a story about some choir singers from Cawthra High School being on stage with the Stones (I think it was Stones (and Can't Always Get What You Want as the song) - the memory is fading fast). It got me thinking - you mention that same high school quite often as the second home of Super Son and his musical accomplishments.
Am I right in that? Is this a school that is well known for its musical exploits and is there a chance that Super Son and his outfit will have a chance to do something similar?
That would be a mind blowing experience.
A: Never pass up a chance to brag on your kid, I always say.
Yes, Cawthra is home to one of the Regional Arts Programs – all sorts of arts – and Cawthra’s music program, both vocal and instrumental, is outstanding.
Super Son’s a saxophonist and won’t be involved in the Stones thing but we have friends in the choir that will sing and I’m thinking this, somehow, needs to be the lad’s first Stones show.
Q: Who do you think will be the best player on the Raptors next year? Gay? DeRozen? Maybe Valencunias?
Also, who is the best player to ever play with a Raps jersey on their back? He who should not be named? Bosh? T-Mac? Does Gay or DeRozen have a chance to be in the conversation?
Also, if you had to choose one player as your all time favorite Rap who would it be? It can be just a player you enjoyed watching, or interviewing? Calderon? Garbo? Alvin Williams? Oakley?
A: “Best” is a pretty vague notion, isn’t it? Is it top scorer? That’s probably going be one of Gay or DeRozan. Best rebounder? Valanciunas. Best overall player? Impossible to even guess; I will tell you this, if they all aren’t “good” or the “best” every night, they won’t do well as a team.
Vince remains the most talented player to ever put on a Toronto uniform and I don’t know that it’s even a close race. It’s been a long time and I think some people forgotten how good he was.
I’d watch any of those four you mentioned play and would dine off interviews with Oak or Garbo and one you don’t have on the “who to talk to list” is Jalen; he was pretty damn good, too.
Q: Hey Doug,
I know I've already sent in a question, so I hope you don't mind another. I meant to ask this in the daily blog comments on the day you mentioned it, but time and other stuff got in the way and I only remembered it now.
You mentioned that Kenneth Faired is the recipient of this year's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award by the PBWA and I was wondering if you'd tell us a bit about the projects, work, efforts that Mr. Faried is involved with that resulted in him receiving this year's award. Thanks!
Lorie P, London
A: He – like so many NBA athletes – does tremendous work in the community and I guess the one thing he is best known for, and what might be his most important cause, is his involvement with Athletes Ally, an organization dedicated to ending homophobia and the acceptance of all. The son of two mothers, Faried worked on the marriage equality fight in Colorado, he was a coach/volunteer at Special Olympics events, supports pediatric cancer causes; he’s a truly caring human being and we were quite proud he won our award.
Q: Hi Doug,
I have been in Canada for 22 years and live in the Richmond hill/ Markham area since. Now there is a lot of talk for the Markham arena. I known for a fact that without a pro team attached with the arena it won't work at all. You have been travel to places like LA/ New York / Chicago, places that have two pro team of the same sport at very close distant. Do you think this can happen here? Will it work? Let say nba/NHL both award a team in the arena, do u think this will work? On the other hand, will they ever award another team to us?
Thanks a lot
A: I think a second NHL team would be an immediate hit and they couldn’t print enough tickets fast enough. A second NBA team would not ever be an option.
I also think it’s a pipedream to imagine a building could be sustainable, however, solely on one pro sports teams and concerts. I’ll be stunned if it ever comes to fruition.