The start of the weekend mail
Here we go with the first installment since I had some downtime during the big Argo tilt Friday night (read all about it here but don’t point out any glaring mistakes, I’m sensitive that way)
Lots more for tomorrow and still time to join in the fun at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Hi Doug,
I'm curious about your role as a reporter and if it changes depending on the sport. Specifically, do you find covering the Raptors and Argos to be any different as far as your dealings with the players, or are professional athletes pretty much the same regardless of the sport.
Bill G, North York
A: It doesn’t really change all that much, to tell you the truth. You’re always looking for good stories to tell well and it’s more about the people than the Xs and Os. Now, my knowledge of the minutia of football is not what it should be so I don’t try to get all technical; I’m not sure the majority of readers would want that even if I could.
But I will say the guys I’ve spoken to with the Argos are entirely normal and pretty much like any athlete I’ve covered regularly, it’s just that there’s an awful lot of them.
Oh, and football games last a lot longer than basketball games and I’m not at all in favour of that.
Q: Hello...Do you get paid extra to watch and report on the Las Vegas Summer League? It is a painful tv experience.
Any Joey Dorsey sightings? What is the deal with Stone?
Did the pink shirt make the trip?
Shouldn’t the Royal and Ancient insist that a club in their "rotation" be open for men and women members? They take the Ancient part seriously I guess.
Bob E, Kanata
A: I repeat: There were 75 fouls and 45 turnovers in one 40-minute game I was forced to endure, I can only imagine how bad it must have been on TV.
Nope, no Joey Dorsey but, in a blast from the past, Rasual Butler was on Indiana’s summer league team!
Stone has hip and knee issues and didn’t pass his physical, with Buycks on board, don’t imagine there’s any more interest.
Q: Hi Doug
I have a question about the news that Quincy Acy may see some minutes as a situational small forward next season. He's been working on his jump shot in summer league with less-than-stellar results, which is fine, since that's not the skill that got him drafted. I know he needs some offensive tools to prevent defenses from sagging off him if he's going to play the three, but I guess my question his, why wouldn't they try to have him work on dribble penetration for shots closer to the basket? Is his handle so bad that the coaching staff figures a midrange jumpshot is a higher percentage option? And how often can we really expect to see Acy play the 3 anyway?
A: I have a feeling – and this is after a very tiny sample size, mind you – that the Acy As A Three experiment is quickly coming to an end. Too offensively limited and his ball-handling skills are not nearly good enough to think he could remotely break down or get past a defender.
It was something to try, that’s all.
Q: It's clear that Quincy Acy, as a newly-minted small forward is struggling with his jumper in Vegas, but I have read a couple of blog posts that suggest his perimeter D is up to snuff.
Based on what you've seen in summer league, how's his handle? Do you think his combined defense and ball
handling/passing would be sufficient to make him a viable James Johnson-type SF off the bench when Rudy sits down, or is this one of those cases where Dr Frankenstein just can't get the monster to wake up?
Mike D, Toronto
A: He’s a good enough defender to maybe play a few minutes but as I mentioned, the offensive woes are too great to overcome.
Q: Why did the Blue Jays not want Bautista to participate in home run derby and what are your thoughts?
A: Given that he’s done it once and had that honour, I haven no problem with the team expressing its desire that he sit a second one out. I don’t know this for a fact but even if taking part slightly messes up his swing, it’s not worth the gamble.
If he’d never been in one, I might think differently just to let him have the honour but one would be enough.
Q: Hi Doug,
Can you tell us the status of Allan Anderson? Is he getting any interest around the league? As a regular in Duane's rotation last year, I think he showed he could at least be a serviceable back-up on a veteran minimum deal.
Can you tell us if there is any interest in Richardson coming into camp?
Does he want to play and do you think the Raptors have a use for him? If not, is another buy-out imminent? Where does this put the Raptors in terms of cap space and the luxury tax?
A: Lots of Alan Anderson love this week but I haven’t heard about a team having any interest, although I probably wouldn’t if there was. It’s been my history that guys like him are late-summer adds once teams are pretty well set.
Richardson? He doesn’t really fit into their plans so I’d be entirely surprised if he was in camp. Perhaps, but I’d put it at a longshot now.
As for the finances: Let’s put it this way, they have basically no money to spend at the moment but are under the tax threshold after the Kleiza amnesty.
Q: Hi Doug,
Love the move to get Augustin & Hansborough, never underestimate getting players from good teams that go deep into the playoffs and who are 1 years deals.
If there was any doubt, considering what's happening with other teams, this looks like a playoff team- which would be a pleasant change from the past few years.
By my count the Raps have one more roster spot - I wonder what the game would look like with both Tyler and Ivan Johnson on the court at the same time...not pretty , but I wouldn't want to play against them, you think Casey would be smiling? Do you see Johnson signing for the minimum or is there a stretch four out there that would come cheap?
Always a pleasure.
EP, Richmond Hill
A: No, I don’t. I think they’re quite done and, frankly, Ivan Johnson does nothing for me at all.
Q: Hi Doug,
While I am somewhat encouraged by reports that Jonas is the best player in summer league, isn't that a dubious distinction? Like being the tallest mountain in England, or the warmest beach in Poland?
A: He was good, very good at times. Might have been the best big man there but it borders on dubious and inconsequential. It was, however, better that he was good rather than bad. That’s about it.
Q: Hi Doug,
Camby wanting to go to a legitimate contender (which begs the question why did he signed with the Knicks in the first place... but I digress) got me thinking about what the ceiling and the floor for the Raptors might be next season?
Notwithstanding they didn't make the playoffs last season and enter this season with pretty much the same team that ended last season, how bad does the rest of the league think this team actually is?
If all goes right for the Raptors - Lowry playing like the first 5 games last season and not mid-season Lowry, DeRozan developing a 35% 3-pt shot and a bit of a handle, Gay playing a bit more efficiently, Amir just doing Amir things, Valanciunas adding a few more pounds of muscle and continuing his development, and the bench being at least ok - where do you think the Raptors could be?
Obviously it depends on what all the other teams do, but I don't think this is a horrible roster. Even if none of these things happen, there seem to be so many teams in full-on tank mode in the East already, I can see the Raptors making the playoffs by attrition. Is this a team that is 2-3 pieces from being a legitimate contender or 1-2?
A: I didn’t think it was a horrible roster at the end of last season and nothing has happened to sway my opinion. I think they need time to see what they’ve got and they might very well surprise some people.
But I can’t even guess how far away they are from being “legitimate contenders” because when you look at it, there probably aren’t seven “legitimate contenders” throughout the league.
Q: Hi Doug,
Listening to Sid solo on the FAN590 going on about how Dwayne Casey told Lowry to get in shape for the coming year. I find this bizarre that a veteran has to be told this considering his job is hanging by a thread, he's worn out his welcome at least twice and is in his contract year. On top of everything else he's playing with his best buddy - Rudy. He would think he'd feel some self pressure in that enormous ego to be ready this year. You think it would be too much to ask for him to actually show up for work in shape?
Doug build us a point guard for this current team....I don't think he looks like Lowry?
Enjoy the heat.
EP, Richmond Hill
A: For this team? You want someone about 6-7 with great court vision, the ability to run elbow screen-roll with Jonas and, most important, one with three-point shooting range.
And someone who doesn’t gamble on defence, putting his team in difficultly in transition while he chases offensive rebounds he might get one out of 15 times.
Q: So the NBA sets the cap level at 58.7 million and the tax level at 71.7 million. Why is there a penalty-free gap in between those two levels?
What's stopping a team from going to 70 million? Is that gap where mid-level exceptions and the like end up?
A: There’s nothing to stop a team from going to $70 million, the vast majority get close to it. And, yes, that’s where mid-level guys and Bird Rights contracts tend to fit in.
I am wondering why teams need to buyout player's contracts in situations when it is the player themselves who refuse to go to the given team they are traded to, case in point is Marcus Camby.
It makes sense for a team to buyout a player of which the team doesn't want, but if it is the player's decision to not show up then I feel the contract consequences should be held by the player.
Can you shed some light on the process?
A: Quick misconception to correct: Marcus didn’t “refuse to report” by any stretch of the imagination. He let it be known he wanted to negotiate a settlement of the remaining time on his contract. The Raptors could have said no but they agreed in order to clear a roster spot, be seen as an accommodating franchise willing to work with players and save a little cash in the transaction.
I don’t see what the harm is and I don’t see why you’d want to play hardball with a veteran who would be marginally helpful at best.
Marcus was in the deal at the start because the money worked; he was never in Toronto’s plans as a player.
Q: Hi Doug
I didn't believe they'd actually amnesty Mike Miller. More of a comment phrased as a question, but if the HEAT desperately need a shoeless '3' or 7, don't get it and lose in the finals or conference finals, how much will Mickey Arison look back at the business decision of amnestying Mike Miller and wonder if that wasn't the move that lost him Lebron in 2014?
Just seemed topical to today's Kleiza discussion. Thanks as always
David T (Ottawa).
A: Letting Miller go ran counter to everything Pat Riley said he wanted to happen after the season ended, which I found quite interesting. And yes they will miss him; guess they're going to have to dust off Rashard Lewis or something.