The start of the weekend mail
Looks like it’s going to be a nice day in these parts for the long weekend, hope it is wherever you’re going to be.
Here’s some stuff to get you started, there’s a bit more for tomorrow (you can still get in on the fun if you want) and I’ll have some time after Mighty Navy Tigers practice and a couple of NBA West preview things get written to putter around so feel free to send some more.
Q: I was reading a Raps article that had various clips of turning points in the season...While watching the Bobcat's clip from early in the season I was struck, not by the non-called foul, but how quickly Bargnani's star has fallen. I mean here he was, early in the season, the go to guy for the last second shot. Last season he averaged something crazy like 26 points a game before getting injured. He had plays called for him every time down the floor.
I'm wondering at which point in the last two seasons did Bargnani's stock start to fall... was it after his injury last year? This year? After his second injury this year? I know BC has said he has value, and I'm not getting into the Amnesty debate.... but there has been an obvious drop from Star and game closer to "Boo'ed at home/non-option on offense"
Any thoughts on when this declined started and why his star fell so quickly?
A: Well, he got hurt and came back to pretty much a different team with his role changed and it took some getting used to. And when he did – or at least did a bit – he got hurt again and then Rudy Gay arrived and things changed all over again. It was a different team and he was asked to do different things; not sure “star has fallen” is the right phrase, “things changed” might be more apt.
Q: Hi Doug...Why do so many fans spend ridiculous sums to wear the uniform of some conglomerate's team? Wouldn't a cheap hat do the trick? How about a small pin with the team logo?
Remember Bill, the spaceman, Lee's theory about the great snow ball? 100,000 years from now ( or maybe 10) when the earth is a great snowball hurtling through space, who gives a rats' tail about all those "little things" that we presently consider so important. ( Like the Leafs latest loss)
Bob E, Kanata
A: I can honestly say I don't believe I have ever purchased a jersey of any player or team in any sport for myself so I don't get it myself. I'd go for hats, though.
And I seldom sweat the small stuff, hardly worth it.
Q: Hi Doug,
I've been thinking about Ed Davis. Given what you know of him, do you think he's happy to be a bit player on a team doing so well? Or do you think he just wishes he got more playing time? It's been a shame to hear that he's riding the pine in Memphis -- that's got to slow his development. At the same time, it's got to feel good to be doing so well in the playoffs.
And another thing: it sure seems like the Grizzlies are better off without Rudy Gay. Were they just using him wrong? Do you think the Raptors will be able to plug him into their system a little better and reap the benefits?
Thanks, and keep up the hard work!
A: I'm sure he'd want to be playing more, if he didn't he wouldn't be normal. But at some point when he gets a playoff cheque he'll feel all right.
I guess you could say they're better off because of where they are but if Russell Westbrook doesn't get hurt and the Thunder knock off the Grizzlies, we're not having this conversation, are we?
Q: Hello Doug!
Well, it's that time of year again - no, not a certain someone's Birth Month. And seriously, it requires an entire month to celebrate you??? I'll bet once upon a time it was a single day. And, I remember when it was a week. Now, an entire month is required to glorify Our Favourite Beat Grunt?
Wow. Soon you'll be demanding an extension to a full year and then it'll just be all about you all the time. Oh, wait. That's kind of your reality anyway, isn't it? :)
No, what I'm referring to here is the approach of Father's Day and my annual challenge to find the perfect book (while outdoing my sisters, of course; we may be older, but the sibling rivalry continues!!!) for my Dad. And because I've had such a terrific response from Irregulars in the past when I've asked for book suggestions, I hope you'll indulge me once more. Now Dad enjoys books and reading, and he reads a lot. And he reads a wide range of subjects, particularly history.
(Previously, it was mainly about the 20th century, but this past year he became interested in genealogy, traced the family tree back to the 17th century, discovered our ancestors arrived in Massachusetts not long after the Mayflower delivered the first pilgrims, and now he's eager to learn all he can about the early history of New England.) But, he will happily read on a wide variety of topics. (On a recent visit, I noticed that his "to be read" stack of books included one on Wallis Simpson's jewellry
collection, another on colour photography from Russia in the early 1900's and still another on the history of the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York City.)
So, Irregulars, what do you have for me - and my Dad, of course this year? Thanks. And thank you, Doug for allowing me to do this.
Lorie P, London
A: Folks, what have you got?
And I was kind of joking on Birth Month but am deadly serious about Birth Week, which began whenever I woke up Saturday morning (am typing this Friday night at O’Hare) and continues until the following Saturday.
Q: Hi Doug
This is a tricky one. I have the utmost respect and admiration for Jason Kidd. Chandler is exactly my kind of player. So is Kurt Thomas and non-Raptor Camby. I wish the Raptors had somehow secured Iman Shumpert. I loved Amare on the Suns and think he's shown some real maturity in offering to take a bench role, if it helps the team. Heck, when I first discovered basketball, I became a New York fan. So why do I hate the Knicks so much now?
A: I have the utmost respect for Glen Grunwald and like Jim Todd and Darrell Walker and know Mike Woodson a bit and just ran into old friend and Knicks scout Walker Russell in Chicago and kind of feel the same way.
I think it’s because for all the chatter about them, they’ve done nothing to deserve any accolades. In the last decade they have now won as many playoff series as the Raptors, who have actually been in more post-season games than New York since 2001 and have had absolutely no success that would make them be able to crow about stuff.
That they think they’re good kind of rubs people the wrong way.
Hate’s probably a strong word but I don’t get the sense of accomplishment the franchise puts out there.
Q: In an interview following Andrew Wiggins’ announcement, Kansas coach Bill Self didn’t even pretend he was getting a “student-athlete.” He acknowleged with refreshing candour that Andrew was there for one year only.
In your opinion, is this the best way to prepare young player for the NBA? Are they better off spending an extra year on a professional roster or pretending to be college students. I suppose, arguably, programs like Kansas are professional anyway.
James A, Victoria
A: I think allowing teenagers to spend a year sort of autonomous – they have a large measure of freedom but not total – is a good way to start the transition to adulthood.
And I don’t know that there’s a better way, to tell you the truth.
And because I’m sure someone will ask why they aren’t able to earn money in their careers in the NBA, it’s simple and makes entire sense: The NBA isn’t precluding them from making a living playing basketball, they can go to the D League or Europe; the NBA is just laying down ground rules for employment in that league. I’m fine with that.
Q: Hey Doug
With the recent decision by Andrew Wiggins on his college choice I have a question in regards to the rules about contact with him by Canada Basketball? With Canada basketball having NBA ties (Nash, Gherardini, etc...) is there a protocol they must follow? Also how much involvement will Canada basketball have with him during his college days - or any other current Canadian College kids?
And when are you going to write the feature about how the impact of the NBA in Canada is finally starting to pay off for both the men's and women's program? Also has there ever been any consideration of bringing the WNBA to Canada? - I have a daughter and I think its important that she sees positive female role models in sport that are not only men; Lebron maybe the best basketball player in the world but Brittney Griner deserves attention also.
Ollie H, Toronto
A: That really is a sticky situation about contact. There are no hard and fast rules laid down, it’s kind of like an honour system where they deal with international play separate from NBA. Impossible, really, to monitor.
And we’ve made mention and written about the NBA’s impact on this generation of Canadian basketball players so many times in so many stories, it’s not even funny. And I’m sure we will do in a few more times in the future.
The WNBA was briefly considered years and years and years ago and they decided it wasn’t a prudent business move. Asking people to buy tickets to watch women’s basketball in the summer in Toronto would be hard sell for sure. Too bad, I’d like to see ‘em try it at Ricoh but I fear it wouldn’t succeed.
Q: Is it possible that the Raptors trade their draft pick, regardless? Even if it's top 3? Not necessarily to OKC, but make a pick and trade, to satisfy the draft rules about trading your No. 1 pick in consecutive years.
A: Sure, if they win one of the three lottery spot they can deal the pick, take someone in a pre-arranged selection only to be dealt immediately or do whatever they please.
Q: Ok Doug,
Imagine that SuperSon is now 18 and he is the #1 rated basketball prospect just like Wiggins. He comes to you and says that he doesn't want to go to the NCAA but he thinks he can sign a 1$ million deal with last season's 10th ranked team in Italy or Spain. (this hypothetical team is willing to take a chance on a 1 yr. contract because they think they can have success with SuperSon and he will likely take them to their domestic league playoffs or even Euroleague success.)
They are willing to give him 15 minutes a night and develop him as a pro. He will play against 30 year old men every night. As a bonus, they will house him and a parent in a sunny Mediterranean location for the season and provide high school scholarships for his younger siblings.
Do you advise him to go for it? If not, what would it take to change your opinion?
A: Hang on a second? I get to live in Spain on someone else’s housing dime? Done and done.
In the scenario you paint, I can’t imagine anyone not going; trouble is, that’s simply too fanciful a situation to even consider. But if it were possible, everyone should go.
Question: Are there possible scenarios the media missed that justify the MLSE delay?
Perhaps Brian told Tim that he had a big trade that required another week or two to complete?
Tim replies that Brian gets his extension, if Brian can do it in the next two weeks. Both agree, and want to a avoid comment until it's decided one way or another. It would explain MLSE reluctance to publicly take a position on Brian's extension. Your opinion appreciated.
A: I can 1,000,000 per cent assure you that is not the case.
Q: Hi Doug,
Anyone standing out at the combine? If you had your own Super Team, is there anyone you would like to draft? Anyone surprising you? We've been hearing for a while that this year is a weak draft. The impression I get is that no one is really excited to be taking anyone and thanks to guaranteed money, everyone is going to end up paying more than they want for the talent they get. Do you think any team has a potential to win with this draft? Or are the HOTH the real winners, by not having a pick at all?
Terry, Antigonish, NS
A: According to almost everyone I talked to, there are no “stars” in this draft at all and given the construction of the Raptors roster and what they might get, I’m sure they are just as happy not having to take another young player on.