The end of the weekend mail
And you’ve done it again, folks.
I’m going to enjoy The Open Championship and fold some laundry, I think you win.
Q: Hey Doug,
Perhaps you have done this before, but please rank the following events both in terms of which you would prefer to do and which you consider to be the most 'pressure-filled'. Feel free to give reasons for your answer.
(I realize these events are arbitrary, but humour us readers!)
10-ft putt to win a major
40-yard field goal with 1 second left and down 2 in the Super Bowl
3 FTs with no time left, down 2 in game 7 of the NBA finals
Pitching with one out left in a perfect game or game 7 with RISP and up 1
Penalty Shootout (hockey or soccer) as the last player needing to score in an elimination game
Thanks! Feel free to add more if you like!
A: I have a feeling we might have done this before and I honestly don’t remember how it worked out.
But I think the most pressure comes when it’s just you with no – or few – outside influences on the outcome.
So that would put the field goal (snapper, holder), the hockey shootout (goalie) and pitcher (umpire, hitter) down the list.
So if I had to rank the one you’ve given me, I’d go with:
Have to repeat the same thing three times.
Wind and elements might have an impact.
Shootout, pitcher, field goal.
Q: Hi Doug
Had a random thought the other day. Does a big's rebounding ability give an indication of how good a post defender he is? I was thinking the positioning skills/muscle are similar.
A: I don’t think there’s a huge correlation, actually. I think the top rebounders are able to come from off the ball by reading where it might go and having that sixth sense you need. Good post defenders, I’d suggest, have a knack for tying up the guy they’re guarding to give others a chance to go after the ball.
So, at the time I'm sending this along our HOTH are sizzling, blazing HOT! They're the talk of the town! The biggest surprise of the tourney! The Cinderellas of Summer League! Okay, okay. I'll take a breath and check back in with reality. But, seriously, the fact is the Raptors have just advanced to the quarter-finals. What, if anything, does it mean? Have they ever advanced this far in Summer League?
Now, I'm not suggesting we start planning a ticker-tape (does that stuff even exist anymore?) parade down Bay Street (yet), but I'm wondering if making the playoffs in Vegas is a good sign, a meaningless sign or merely something designed to wind us up now only to let us down later.
In other words: will how they play in Vegas, stay in Vegas? Thanks, as always. And, please, be gentle in your response. :)
Lorie P, London
A: I hate to burst bubbles but every team in Vegas somehow got a spot in the “bracket” and it’s sure nothing to be putting up banners over.
I’ll put it as I’ve put it often: You can’t find out in Summer League who can play, just who can’t. And so many of them will go on to play in the D League or Europe or somewhere equally in consequential that what goes on in Vegas really doesn’t interest me.
Q: "Energy, enthusiasm and work ethic are what we need to get the Raptors out of the hole they're in."--Tim Leiweke, as quoted in the Toronto Star.
Gee, Doug, why did you never get around to telling us the previous regime was lethargic, disinterested, and lazy? Surely, you noticed?
Seriously, wasn't Mr. Leiweke a little over the top? If nothing else, I guess it shows he's willing to put himself out on a limb because if things don't improve over the next couple of years, there just may be a bunch of folks ready to show him the same sort of respect he's shown BC.
A: He’s been over the top since he got here and at some level I find it a bit unseemly. It’s all well and good to talk tough but I think the really solid leaders don’t have to consistently hammer home the point and I do think there’s a Canadian sensibility about treating people and situations with respect that is somehow being missed.
Look, the past regime might not have had a lot of success – although people tend to have short memories about the first couple of years, how close they were in Bosh’s last year and how the process at the moment is growing as they’d expected – but to suggest they weren’t energetic, enthusiastic and didn’t work hard is, frankly, totally ridiculous.
It’s a cheap shot that should be beneath someone of Tim’s stature.
Q: Hi Doug;
What's the status of Alan Anderson? Has he re-signed with the Raptors?
A: He’s a free agent and the Raptors have less than zero interest in having him back.
Q: Doug I'm not sure what the Raptors really accomplish by being patient as Masai suggests. You look at both sides and it seems like they will waste a year seeing what they got. They plugged some holes so they are now about the same as last year or perhaps a tad better. If they finish relatively similar next year as they did this season (or a bit better or a bit worst), they get a ho-hum pick around 7-14th overall (probably a rotation player).
Lowry and Gay can both leave next year if they so choose and if they do, it would probably be a step backwards for the Raptors (sure they have more money but will anyone of significant sign here?). If they re-sign, the Raptors will probably be around the luxury cap and again won't be able to bring in anyone of significance to make them really contend. I'm a firm believer that Masai has to either go for it or follow the footsteps of a few other teams and tear down.
A: Or they have a good year, finish fifth or sixth in the conference and show continued growth and they keep building on what they have.
That scenario makes as much sense as yours.
And, frankly, “go for it” or “tear down” is an easy way out with no real explanation of how. Talk, as they say, is cheap.
Q: Hello, Doug
I know you warned against Marcus questions, but I have to say:
I do not understand the hand wringing over the situation. Am I correct in assuming that the Raps knew Camby's position prior to the trade, and accepted it as the cost of doing business ? I hardly think the locals were blindsided at the alter.
A: They knew -- heck, I knew -- from that Sunday night the news first broke that a buyout was going to be in order. He was in the trade solely to make the salaries work and they were not blindsided in the least.
Hand-wringing? Overwrought fans who don't get it. No one in the organization was the slightest bit put out.
Q: Dude as is often the case you're out to lunch. You seriously think that D.J Augustine puts Kyle Lowry on notice? Have you watched this guy the last couple years? I don't understand the hatred you obviously have for Lowry, maybe because we finally traded your precious Calderon (aka pylon). The right PG was dealt. He should have been gone in 2010. Damn you Jordan!!!
Calderon is on his second team since being dealt......get over it. Your man crush is gone, thankfully. But seriously, your bias is unbelievably obvious and it was the second Lowry was picked up. Take a good look at Detroit fans and what they think if Jose Calderon. To say they weren't impressed would be putting it mildly.
A: You related to the guy from last week? Or him using a bogus name?
Now, if I thought for a second you had any idea what you were talking about, I’d engage you with an answer. All I’ll say now is that I hope your parents get back from vacation and start limiting your internet access again.
Thanks for being a loyal – if idiotic – reader.
Q: Dear Doug,
Nice story link on today's blog on Robin Roberts. She is quite a woman.
A simple question: Whither Alan Anderson? I see from his tweeter that he is in Las Vegas for the summer league. I think that Dwayne Casey had love for him since he gave him lots of minutes. I think he can play defence even if he sometimes hogs the ball on offence. Is there room for him in Masai's world? Or does he go to the Wolves who seem interested? Or do the Raptors wait to see if no one else takes him and then give him another minimum contract?
Thanks for your continued efforts through the summer. You provide links to songs and stories. When you reference happenings with Canadian teams could you provide links to applicable web sites?
Richard G, Milton
A: As I’ve said, lots of Alan Anderson love this week.
No interest here whatsoever and I didn’t hear his name mentioned once when I was in Vegas. I would presume a one-year, veteran-minimum deal later this summer after teams get pretty much settled.
Links to team websites? I’ll see what I can do but no promises.
Q: Hi Doug
I have been perusing the web thing and fail to see anything official with respect to Julyan Stone. Is there still something going on there? Does DJ (D.J.) Augustine substitute for his position? Thanks again for keeping us in the loop from court to field to bar and backyard.
A: We had a little item about a week ago that said Stone failed his physical (some lingering, non-serious knee and hip issues) and they move on with Buycks and Augustin.
There won’t be any room for Stone.
Q: Hey Doug
With you travelling far and wide and enjoying some favourite haunts for cuisine and beverages, I wondered what super son's 3-4 favourite downtown restaurants in TO (exclusive of fast food emporiums) might be. I'll be in the big city next week with my family and hoped to get a lead on some eating spots that my kids would enjoy.
A: Not sure of the age of your kids, obviously, but Super Son would pick the Lone Star on Front for fajitas and maybe wings every day of the week. He might also go for the burgers are at the Jack Astors just down the road; don’t think you’d go wrong at either spot.
But kids, as we know, can be a tad fickle so best of luck. There are a lot of choices, that’s for sure.
Q: Hello Doug: Hope you are enjoying some well-deserved downtime this summer. I have a few questions to ask:
When Dwight Howard signed with Houston, he gave up a significant amount of money by not resigning with the Lakers. Under the current CBA, would Houston be able to renegotiate Howard's contract at some point in the next 4 years so that he could sign a 5 year deal worth max. dollars with them?
Do you think Howard is in it for the long-term with Houston or will he do the same thing he did in Orlando and LA and eventually want out.
Would Mr. Leiweke ever entertain the thought of bringing a WNBA team to Toronto?
A: A: Down time? Not sure about that, I'm typing this on an airplane back from Winnipeg to end a week that included two nights in Vegas, one at home and two more in the 'Peg.
Anyway, yes, Houston would have the fit to give Howard that deal you talk about but only at the end of the current one. And I can't, won't,fathom a guess about his intentions in four years.
WNBA? He’s got three other franchises to fix, can’t see it. Wouldn’t mind it, let them play out of Ricoh maybe but if they did get one, I’m sure Tim would go after Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker, Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasci and every Hall of Famer in the game.
Q: Hi Doug. Love your insight.
When I look at things last year to this year I see:
Out : Bargnani, Kleiza, Anderson, Pietrus, Telfair, Lucas
In: Hansbrough, Novak, Augustine, Buycks, Richardson
I'd say the changes are significantly better financially and somewhat better talent wise.
We should at least have enough fit players around to scrimmage. What are your thoughts on changes to date.
A: Given the financial realities of the times, I think they upgraded at backup PG, added a wee bit of over-the-top-I’m-not-a-big-fan toughness in the front court and if Novak isn’t Jason Kapono, they addressed some of the three-point shooting issues.
I didn’t think it was that bad a roster when the season ended – solid if unspectacular – and I think they need to see how things go before doing anything stupid.
Are they better? Maybe. Is the East worse? Possibly?
Let’s play some games and see, shall we?
Q: Doug, do you see any possibility that the Raps can land LaMarcus Aldridge in a trade? He is rumored to be on the trading block and if we shipped either Derozan or Gay, the Trailblazers might listen. Thoughts?
A: No. Even if I played these silly Reindeer Games I couldn’t see that happening in a billion years.