The end of the weekend mail
Okay, let’s get this out of the way before the deluge of “what’s going on with the Raptors” calls, e-mails and texts begin.
Q: Greetings, Mr. Smith. How long do you think it will take for the NBA to dub Toronto's/Texas's big Myck "El Kabongo"? Or maybe just "Quickdraw"? "Baba Louie"?
Maybe a Top Five list of your all-time coolest NBA nicknames?
Thanks for the great blog!
David M., Ottawa
A: Wow, so many to choose from, it’s virtually impossible.
But I’ll do it because that’s what we do, with one codicil: Nothing with “Big” in it can count, those are simply too easy; if we had to pick just one I’m going with The Big Dipper because, well, because it’s Wilt.
So here are five and you Irregulars go at the others:
Chocolate Thunder Darryl Dawkins.
Pistol Pete Maravich.
Clyde The Glide Drexler
And how about Dollar Bill Bradley?
Yeah, I can live with that as an interesting list off the top of my head.
Q: Hi Doug,
I know you're often trying to highlight women's sports (which is a very good idea, at least in my estimation), so have you seen this? Andrea Blackwell is a family friend, and quite an amazing athlete (she'd kick our butts on the golf course, for example). Did you ever get to see Andrea play?
A: I had the pleasure of seeing Andrea play for Canada at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, a disappointing tournament for a lot of reasons (and I believe you’re quite familiar with all of that) and since I was actually on the voting panel for induction into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame this year, I’m quite glad she made it.
And think any Canadian athlete – female or male – whose Olympic appearances span the era from 1984 in L.A. to 1996 in Atlanta – deserves every honour she or he can get.
It’s just truly too bad that the Canadian women’s team, ranked third in the world I believe, didn’t get to Seoul; that group could very well have won a medal. A true regret.
Q: Hello Doug,
Since you are watching drills at the combine, I thought I would ask if anyone really turned your head at one of these events. Is there an opportunity for someone to really stand out?
A: I didn’t sit and watch the five hours of workouts each of the two days, unfortunately, because I needed time to do interviews for the Olynyk and Kabongo pieces as well as shmooze some NBA types and some sources for the Raptors story that came out of there.
But two names I did hear an awful lot were Shane Larkin and Tim Hardaway, Jr., and Cody Zeller caught some eyes as well.
Q: I asked a similar question last week but it didn't make the cut. In light of Wiggins' comment about T-Mac in his prime being a better player than Vince, I've decided to re-phrase the question and ask it again.
Who is the best player to ever wear a Raptors Jersey regardless of when and where they played their best years
Who is the best player to play his best years in a Raptors Jersey.
Who is the best "Leader" the Raptors have ever had.
Who is the best player on the Raptors right now.
Jeff, Saint John
A: Hakeem Olajuwon, Alvin Williams, Charles Oakley and probably, today, Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan would be tied.
I do not want to rewrite history so correct me if I am wrong (probable) but wasn't there some talk in BC’s first year, (fairly decent) that this wasn't Colangelo’s team but it belonged to the previous GM. If the Raps hire a new GM and have a successful season, we will have that all over again I believe.
I guess I am just saying that for a new GM, if the team is successful - it was Bryan’s team. If they are not successful, then new GM will get the "lousy manager" treatment.
If I were an established GM, I would say no. This is too much of a lose/lose situation. They don't have much cap room to
go looking for FAs and they have a record of futility over the last few years. If they make the playoffs next year the congratulations could and probably should go to BC as the guy who actually put the team together. If they don't make the playoffs, then I would be the goat who couldn't get them
into the playoffs even though everyone thinks they have enough talent to have made it.
And pity a new GM with no experience. The very first 4 game losing streak would have just about every tv talking head calling for his scalp.
I think that if the new head man were to keep Bryan for this year, it might irritate the masses, but it would give him a chance to find an established GM who might be willing to come to Toronto. But then as I say to my wife at least once a day "What do I know"
A: Actually, Bryan joined the organization in the middle of a season and had a few months to figure out the lay of the land. And his first full summer on the job was a great opportunity to remake the team immediately, he added, I believe, nine new players and put together a roster than won 47 games and a division championship.
But that was a unique situation, new GMs coming in to most franchises need at least a year to weed out remnants of the old regime – if they want to – and put their own “stamp” on a roster.
Given the contracts and personnel in Toronto currently, if there is a change, it’s going to take the new guy a while to make significant alterations to the roster.
Who gets credit or blame for whatever transpires is really hard to figure out but your points are valid and probably bang-on.
Q: Do the Raptors have a second round draft pick this year?
Dave B, Cornwall
A: Not at this point, no. And no real desire to acquire one at the moment, either.
Q: Hi Doug.
How much would a D-League team value a player like Wiggins for one year? Is there any way pre draft eligible players could end up there? A lot of the D-Leaguers are young and not as old and grizzled as in Europe so the physical side of the game shouldn't slow their development and the schedule is only about 10 more games than the major college teams play so the length of the season shouldn't be a big issue either. Do many kids go the way of college because that's just the way it is or is there a benefit to the college system that a pro team couldn't provide? Are there conflicts of interest with some D-League teams' affiliation with NBA teams?
A: I don’t know that there’d be an awful lot of benefit to doing it that way but players can forego the draft and join the D League; a couple have gone there right from high school with not a lot of success.
It’s an option for a kid who either doesn’t want to go to college or can’t find a way to get into one, that’s about it.
Q: Hi Doug,
Any rumours of a Raptors name change or uniform change/ re-design this offseason? I would love to see a Toronto Huskies (blue/white) look.
A: None, no plans, no thoughts, no discussions. Total non-starter at the moment.
Q: Hi Doug,
Does the success of Memphis after getting rid of Rudy Gay suggest anything about Rudy Gay as a player or suggest anything about who is the "winner" of the trade. Or is it more of a case of a trade that helps (or potentially helps) both teams?
On the one had it is hard to argue against the fact that Rudy has opened things up for DeMar, but I think his potential or suggests for the team is still to be determined. If the Griz make it to the Western Conference Finals or even make it to the finals... does that say anything definitely on the trade for them?
Jeffrey M, Saint John
A: It says they’ve played well in the post-season, this story from today’s paper expands on it a little bit but I will ask the same question now that I’ve asked for the last 48 hours or so:
If Russell Westbrook doens’t blow out his knee, plays against Memphis and Oklahoma City wins that series – a very real possibility in my mind – are we even thinking about how much better Memphis is without Gay? I don’t think so.
Knowing you're not into speculation, I'd still appreciate your opinion on this. (If there haven't been any developments between the time I submitted this and the weekend.)
I'm not a fan of tanking or of blowing up the young core of current Raptors. I'd like to see Bryan and Dwane be given another season to see if their plan can succeed. But my fear is with Tim Leiweke now in charge, the organization will look ahead to future marketing benefits and go hard after Andrew Wiggins. Rather than accept a plan that sees the team battling for 6th to 10th place in the East, why not take a stab at the brass ring?
After all, MLSE will always have the cash cow of the the Leafs to fall back on if tanking doesn't work out for the Raps.
Obviously the marketing benefits of landing the early choice for the first pick are obvious. If young Mr. Wiggins matches the hype, the Raptors would have a talent of the LeBron, Durant level - and a local kid to boot.
Despite the obvious huge risks of not landing the first pick and the disappointing attendance they'd suffer through next season, I'm fearful of this happening. The risks could be mitigated somewhat by trading a good chunk of the core for more draft picks, plus the 2014 draft is projected to have a lot of talent. So even if Mr..Leiweke misses out on Andrew Wiggins, the consolation prizes might lessen any criticism. Given your early experiences with the new regime, what's your take Doug?
Joe S, Kingston
A: If Tim Leiweke was to come in and hire someone to blow up the team so much so that it sucks so bad as to have a chance at perhaps maybe possibly winning the lottery, it will be a fraud of such gigantic proportions that he and the whole lot of them should be summarily dismissed.
So, no, I do not see that as a viable business strategy.
Q: Hi Doug,
As of today there is a pretty good 'Raptors team' going in the playoffs..Bosh, Jack, Bellinelli, Hibert...a fifth? Coaches?
Trevor B,,Saskatoon, Sask.
A: I'm not ever going to consider Hibbert, it was never an option and to think otherwise is wrong. So we dump him, add Bonner and Jerryd Bayless and we'll let Mark Jackson coach assisted by Jim Todd and Darrell Walker.
Q: Hi Doug,
No question, but I still read everyday!
So, how was the wing competition?
Ever checked out BlogTO? It has posting about all things Toronto, everyday.
A: Wing thing was outstanding from start to finish but I will say it's a bit disconcerting having people watch you eat.
And imagine that, a pic of me near a bar. Rare photo indeed.
Q: When you mentioned Joyce Brothers death in your blog this week, I was surprised that you did not mention her start in television - which was sports related!
Her first television appearances were as a contestant on the $64,000 Question in the 1950's - and her expertise was in boxing!
A: That's indeed impressive and I think I knew that. But, still, it was THE GONG SHOW!!