The start of the weekend mail
Good day, folks.
Seems we’ve scraped together enough questions to get us through a smaller-than-usual Saturday mailbag and there are quite a few left over for tomorrow morning.
But there’s always room for more, there are a few missing Irregulars, it would seem, and firstname.lastname@example.org is the place to go.
It’ll give me something to do this afternoon before I finally get a chance to see what this basketball team looks like this evening.
Q: The Revolver Man- an ex-Jock. Who would have guessed. Cool show and an appropriate number one. The stuff you know is rather impressive! Right to my non-Raptor question.
You probably meet all kinds of people all the time and I wonder which person has made the biggest impression and why? Keep up the good work. It is much appreciated over here.
Scot from the grand land of Norway.
A: The biggest impression came from a guy I never actually met: Press party before the Sydney Games and Muhammad Ali came strolling in; there’s just an air about him that’s fascinating.
Closer to home, Wayne Embry, for what he’s accomplished, how he carries himself, his grace and dignity made a huge impression on my the first time I spoke with him and it’s always a pleasure to be in his company.
And I may be inured of awe a little bit but other than that, these are mostly just people gifted in their crafts.
And, yep, Chuck Connors has to top the list.
Mike Bianchi had an interesting commentary piece in the Orlando Sentinel about the NBA's lack of action regarding Performance Enhancing Drugs. He points out that the whistle-blower in the Biogenesis scandal says their clients included NBA players - not just players from MLB and the NFL.
Bianchi says it's naive to believe the NBA is immune from PED's – the shortage of jobs, the huge salaries at stake, and the extreme wear and tear on the body over the course of a season, will cause a not insignificant number of players to cheat. He's sure that just as other major leagues have
had superstars nabbed for PED use, there are certainly major NBA stars similarly guilty. I'm paraphrasing Bianchi, but you can read his commentary here:
Bianchi feels that the NBA is currently where MLB was a decade ago - turning a blind eye in the hope this will all go away on its own accord. Then, when all hell broke loose, MLB was finally forced to act.
Doug, do you think a similar scandal will soon rear its ugly head in the NBA? Will David Stern make sure it doesn't come out during his watch? Or do you think writers like Mike Bianchi are blowing smoke and the NBA is really unique and is free of PED's?
A: I’m not naïve enough to think there aren’t some players using some PED, that’s nonsense.
But I also think Mike’s blowing smoke here; it strikes me as odd how many people see nothing happen and are sure something huge is happening.
But I guess we’ll see, I don’t think there’s any impending scandal cooking but I’m also not surprised some conspiracy theorists expect one in basketball because there was one in baseball, even if that makes no sense whatsoever.
Q: Hey Doug,
My first comment was that it seemed like a lot of people went to watch the Canada vs Jamaica game, which is great.
My question is I was watching the game and I noticed Andrew Nicholson actually being a lot more dominant than Tristan Thompson. We hear a lot of Tristan and he's a great player but do you see Andrew being a NBA day to day starter?
There isn't much news after raptors these days but I'll just throw this at you. What are you hearing and seeing about the progress of Kyle Lowry? Will he deliver the hype surrounding him last year? It seems like to me for this team, Calderón would have been a better fit since he's more of a pass first than shoot point guard.
A: That’s a pretty small sample size, isn’t it? The first senior international game for either of them? Let’s give it, say, three or four summers and games against other countries before we make any judgements.
Nicholson’s going to be a good player, multi-skilled offensively, and I’d suggest both are legitimate NBA starters in the right circumstances.
I know very little about Lowry except that people who saw him in Vegas before the summer league said he looked in great shape. What that translates into in October and November is anyone’s guess.
Q: Hi Doug,
I have always enjoyed reading your blog, but have never emailed a question to the mailbag.
I am wondering why Pangos, Sacre, and Stauskas were not even at the Canada Basketball training camp? Pangos was a leader on a high ranked NCAA team and Sacre was on an NBA roster this year. They also both have played for Canada before. Satuskas is still young, but you said that Canada is missing outside shooting, and that is what he did all year for Michigan.
If you could know why they were left off the training camp roster that would be great.
A:I do know and have mentioned it a few times but because I reaiize everybody can’t read every day, we’ll take a shot at this one again.
Pangos is a bit banged up after a long summer and need some rest more than he needed six more weeks of games, Sacre was invited but after discussing things with Canada Basketball and the Lakers, declined. Stauskas, while a pretty good NCAA shooter is a teen nowhere near ready to contribute to a national senior team playing against men at a tournament of such significance as a World Cup qualifier.
Q: Hi Doug,
Scotland has been dry and sunny for the summertime; it's a miracle. What kind of miracles do you see for the Raptors this year? You need to put your grounded and realistic expectations on hold and help feed the dreams of HOTH fans.
A: One of the most relaxing moments I can recall having was sitting in a pub just below the Edinburgh castle with my Dad having a pint while a lone bagpiper played. Was sunny and dry that night, too.
Realistically? You realize we’re in total guess mode but I’m going with my old standard: Barring catastrophic or multiple injuries, I’d suggest they are right the mix of six to 12 in the East and I have no clue where that hunt might end because so much depends on luck and what other teams do.
Q: Well Hello There...I guess there is not much sense watching any regular season games since the Wackos have decided which games the boys will win. I am looking forward to them playing Chicago in the first round. (Depending on when they trade Gay, and reaquire AB.)
How does the schedule work for you? Too many back to back, off the bat, I bet.
TOD query...Has Hobbs finally figured it out, or is it aberration time?
Bob E, Kanata
A: The odd start – home game, two road games, home game, two road games – may be a bit tiring right off the bat but a quick glance shows it’s not a bad schedule at all. Only one long trip and no horrid months.
Hobbs? Seems to me from what I read and see that he’s taking his craft a tad more seriously, a basic maturing process, and the kid’s got the tools to be pretty damn good if he’s figured it out.
We've read the stories about how the big-time agents put together the "pitch" for their free agent clients. In fact, I seem to recall that when A-Rod was negotiating his last contract there were stories about how his agent not only pitched his contributions to the team from a statistics standpoint but what the team might gain financially if he were pursuing all-time records for career HR's, etc. If those were relevant in the team agreeing to a long-term lucrative contract and the player then admits or is found guilty of achieving those accomplishments through illegal means, then why can't any of these teams treat the contract as void following a suspension?
Thanks, as always!
A: Part of the A Rod deal was indeed the team getting “marketing rights” to what they expected to be a chase to the all-time home run record, although that’s folly now and probably should have been then.
But here’s the question: Does that make the team a bit complicit in perhaps turning a blind eye to any indiscretions so it could recoup some of the salary in outside financial transactions?
Like I’ve said, there are no good guys in this story, no one should get off unscathed; whether a contract could be voided is only a question I think the courts could answer.
Q: Hey Doug!
Long time reader first time writer.
Did you seriously just write an entire blog entry about how the Raptor's 2013/2014 schedule will affect you personally? How spectacularly uninteresting and self absorbed, even by your standards.
Keep up the good work!
A: And yet you found it interesting enough to not only read it but to take time out from your busy life to write your very first note about it? Love it when my stuff resonates.
Gotta love ‘em.