The end of the weekend mail
There were absolutely no redeeming qualities to that dreadful game last night (I think Monday’s scrimmage in Rama is going to look like Game 6 of last year’s Finals in comparison) so I wil not waste your time going over it.
No one got hurt and I think that’s the best thing you can say about it. I’d have rather been napping than watching as I presume smart people were.
Here’s what I had left from the mail and I’m off for a Sunday stool session while you eat turkey or whatever. Think kindly of me.
Q: Thanks for the update on Bargnani. He showed a lot of class by staying positive. It would have been very easy for him to even suggest some discontent or disappointment with the Raptors or the fans, but he showed some true diplomatic skill. The Toronto fans should appreciate him for that.
Is it fair to say that the hatred for Bargnani stems from the fact that he was a number 1 pick? Do you feel that the expectation was that he would be the franchise savior. Vince didn't want it, Bosh couldn't do it. But none of them were picked number 1 overall. Should the fans really be upset with Bargnani, or with Colagelo for not drafting a real franchise savior? Is that realistic. Should fans just be upset that the Raptors got the top selection in a weak draft? If this is how we treated Bargnani, should Bennett be concerned in Cleveland? Would we feel differently about him if he had been picked 6th or 8th?
A: Take a look at the horridness of that draft by examining these top 10 picks:
Bargnani, who despite revisionist history in these parts, averaged about 20 points a year for three years in a row.
LaMarcus Aldridge. Yes, maybe they take him, maybe not, maybe he works alongside Bosh, maybe not.
Adam Morrison. Enough said.
Tyrus Thomas. Yeah, right.
Shelden Williams. Who?
Brandon Roy. A great flash. Great player, now retired.
Randy Foye. Yeah, right.
Rudy Gay. Was Colangelo’s second choice.
Patrick O’Bryant. Good Lord.
Mouhamed Sene. What?
That’s one butt ugly draft.
But, yes, if Bargnani had been an eighth pick or a sixth pick, expectations might have been lower but is that his fault? And you can rip on Bryan all you want, I would have probably made the same choice with the No. 1 pick that year. Did it work out? Sure did when they were making the playoffs, sure didn’t the last two seasons when Bargnani was always hurt and played fewer than half the games.
I am curious about the noise levels in the arenas. I found the noise level here in Halifax for the intersquad game to be very high. Too high for these old ears. Is the noise level about the same in the ACC, lower or higher. I will likely never get the chance to attend a game in TO but if the noise level is as high as it was here, I won't feel like I am missing anything. I will stick with watching the games on TV. Which arena has the highest noise levels, or are they all about the same, or are there arenas where they tend to keep it down.
A: I’d say Toronto is middle of the pack, and by that I mean too loud. The most ear-splitting, to me, is Dallas, it’s practically unbearable, but Cleveland and Miami are close for volume of unnecessary noise.
I’d say the Lakers are the quietest and therefore best. The rest are about the same, they all approach the top decibel level the league allows as part of its game ops procedures.
Q: Dear Doug
Thanks for the vid of Marvin. The album version of "Grapevine" is one of the finest arrangements of a pop song ever.
There's an aura of undue expectation regarding the ascendancy of Jonas Valanciunas. A casual glance of the presumed starting centres in the East features an array of seasoned and mobile stars (Horford, Bosh, Noah), young giants [Drummond, Hibbert, Bynum (?)], skilled scorers (Jefferson, Lopez), wily vets (Nene, Chandler) and emerging talents (Vucevic, Sanders).
Apart from Boston and Philly, on a nightly basis Valanciunas is not going to have an automatic advantage. Where is J V's place on this spectrum? What is a reasonable expectation for his progress this season?
A: With such a small sample size, I’m not sure where you could slot him into those categories; if I had to pick one, I’d put him in with the young group. Definitely somewhere in the middle and not that close the top but he is improving and just going into his second year.
I think reasonable expectations – and I won’t do numbers because I’m not sure they’re relevant – would be that he learns to play hard and well without fouling, develops enough offensively that he can not only score himself but create for others by passing out of the post and that he’s a better communicator in the back line of the defence.
I think there has to be subtle improvement that we may not see but that his coaches and teammates appreciate and that impossible to quantify.
Q: Hiya Doug.
After three exhibition games, I was wondering if TL has planned any parade routes for the Raptors? Could they use the same route as the Leaves? Perhaps have both team parades at the same time? Since the Raps are Canada's team, do they use Yonge Street and start at say Moose Factory?
Will the starters average say 47 minutes per game? Any chance they break up the starting five and have Gay or DD be the 6th person?
Does Casey design those plays coming out of time outs, or are they practised ad nauseum on their days off? Why are they so crappy after a time out?
What ever happened to governments doing the honourable thing and resigning when they should?
Bob E, Kanata
A: If they do have a parade we’ll be so far away in the media seats we won’t be able to see it.
Not sure what the record is for starter minutes all-time in the franchise but I have a feeling they might have to break it to have a so-so season.
I also think one of my tasks this year will be to chart out-of-timeout plays to see how effective they are; not a lot of creativity but through four pre-season games, I can only remember once when they had to blow a timeout to get the ball in. That’s one time too many.
Honourable things and government? Surely you jest!
Q: Hi Doug:
I will have to sympathize with you on the location of your new seats at the ACC. They're terrible and definitely an impediment to doing your joy. Where do most members of the local media in other NBA cities sit?
My second is in regards to Bryan Colangelo. Is he still a consultant with the Raptors and is there any possibility that he might resurface in a management role with another NBA team or at NBA headquarters in New York?
Thank You and Happy Thanksgiving
Joe D, Mississauga
A: Without going through each arena in my mind, I’d say the most prevalent seats are either on the baseline in a corner or at the top of the lower bowl on the side.
Bryan has no connection to the Raptors and I fully expect he will be back running an NBA team sometime.
Did you catch the story about the Joe Thornton supposed off the record quotes that were posted by the Vancouver Post?
Should they have been posted? Is there an implied rule about what is locker room talk vs publishable quotes?
Have you ever taken heat over what you have quoted or have not quoted for a story?
A: I wouldn’t have written it because it added nothing to a story and was for titilation only; I wonder if the guy who did write it would have written it had it been a player on the team he covered every day (I’m dubious) but to suggest it violated some “locker room code” is utterly ridiculous. Everything is somehow on the record these days.
But I’m above writing crap like that, frankly.
Q: Hey Doug,
I'm not sure if your the one to ask but here goes. What is the point of subscribing to NBA TV formerly Raptors TV on Bell if they don't show the Raptor's preseason games? I would like to see the new Raptors as well as the returning ones but NBA TV is showing the Atlanta Hawks Miami game. Go figure.
A: I’m not the best guy to ask but I share your point of view. But in their defence, they are showing all the home games and did pick up the feed for the Boston game the other night. That they won’t spend the money to independently produce the games in Minneapolis and Memphis is a business decision that doesn’t best serve fans.
My beef with the network goes further, though. For instance, NBA TV showed all kinds of games from EuroBasket and NBA TV Canada, for some reason, did not pick up the feed and it should have. And there are other instances of things or events being on NBA TV that NBA TV Canada ignores. That’s shoddy, in my opinion.
Q: I hear coaches and players saying that we hold things back and that we don't show everything in the preseason. Do you see any advantage in that? I think it is silly as after two games with all the scouting, everything is out there. Wouldn't it make more sense to practice everything in the preseason and be up to speed to start the season? Does this contribute to slow starts in the regular season?
Dave B, Cornwall
A: Not a whole big advantage, no. But if you can catch a team by surprise in the first three or four games, why not? And it’s not like they hold back everything but, for instance I would be surprised to see Toronto play any zone defence in the pre-season but you’re likely to see it early when things start for real to confuse opponents for a few possessions.
And they do practice, a lot. In practice. So, no, it doesn’t contribute to slow starts.
Q: Hi Sir
This question is triggered by a couple of things so I thought I would go to the source of all things Dino and be enlightened by your insights as always. In constructing a successful team it seems that often they create a template or system where you plug in a certain skillset. It seems to be more prevalent in coaches with tenure (Pop, Sloans Jazz). While there is some flexibility based on your rosters talent (Jackson expanding the triangle to include a big man) it seems there are standard 'types' that every coach wants in their system. Here in TO, we hear of glue guys with high BB IQ(Garbo, Parker).
So long winded three part question here.. If you were putting together a team, what would be the component parts that you would look for? Second, who from the Raps past would best fill those roles on your team, and third, from that Dougs "thestar" team, who if anyone from this team matches your list the best. For example would Fields be this teams Anthony Parker or are they missing that component, etc.
I am not sure if this will fit easily into a Q&A format, would be conducted much better on a stool somewhere I imagine.
Thanks as always
A: You can give me a LePage’s factory full of “glue guys” and that would be nice but what wins in this league is talent.
So, the first thing I want is talent, the second thing I want is versatility since the game is moving towards guys who can play multiple positions and I want size. Oh, and I want guys who are selfless and smart.
Now, there are three that come to mind from the years: Vince because he was the most talented player in franchise history, I’d take Tracy because he could fill the stat sheet and since they really have never had size (Jonas is too young to put on the list), I’m taking Alvin, Garbo, AP and Fields as the selfless, smart guys.
From this team? I think Jonas will grow into something special and I think Fields might be as heady and intuitive a player as they’ve had.
Q: Greetings Mr Smith
Hope you are enjoying Minnie. Spent some time there at the airport during the course of a 20 hour adventure of a flight from Pearson to Vegas once.
Anyway, a statement and a question today.
Firstly I must say that I have found the subsequent reactions to the Chicken's unfortunate injury quite heartwarming actually. Nice to know that within the great economic machine that is the NBA and our HOTH that basic human concern can still be found.
Secondly, while I appreciate this may be a cringeworthy question I was reminded of the "Superfan" whilst driving the QEW the other day. Given that I typically follow the games through either the IGBT or subsequent press reports(with a household full of kids I rarely get dibs on the TV) I have been left wondering just what has transpired with the Superfan?
As always, thanks for what you do
Doug from B-ford
A: Now that you mention it, I haven’t seen Nav at either of the home pre-season games either but he’s probably just on vacation or something, getting ready for another year. I’ll check though, if I remember.
Q: Hey Doug,
Who's going to have a better year based in what you saw so far: Rudy or DD and why?
If DD keeps improving like this year after year, will he be a all star?
And lastly, article on SI predicted Rudy being a potential all star, do you think there's a fan base for him to get voted in or being a reserve?
Q: From what I’ve seen, I’d say DeMar but I’ve seen three pre-season games and no regular playing time so I could be 100 per cent wrong.
You look at the guards and small forwards in the East and tell me if DeRozan can be an all-star. I say no; not that he isn’t good but that’s a damn good group of players. Same with Rudy.
I don’t see it ever happening but I’m not sure it really means anything.