The end of the weekend mail
Totally lost Saturday night in a fog of naps, much to my chagrin because there was important stuff I didn’t get to but got this finished relatively on time so I guess that’s good.
Have at it, enjoy the day; I plan to bug people a lot and get the NBA and Raptors preview stuff well in hand for the next couple of days. Oh, and maybe find a stool for a bit.
Q: Hey Doug,
I see some teams are going to start with 13 on the roster. Why wouldn't the Raptors do the same?
A: Think there might be a bit of confusion on what “roster” is. Teams are allowed to have up to 15 players under contract but only 13 can be active for any one game; the inactives have to be declared an hour before tip-off.
As it stands now, the Raptors are planning to keep the maximum 15 on the team and will dress 13 of them each night.
Some teams don’t keep 15 for cost reasons mainly but the Raptors are planning to.
Q: Hello Doug,
There's a show on NBA tv called "The Association".
It offers a behind-the-scenes look at teams at practice, during games, on buses, having dinner etc.
For us armchair fans, it gives us some nice glimpses of the on and off-court personalities.
Two years ago they featured the Denver Nuggets. (And a newbie GM, Masai Ujiri.)
Last year they featured the Brooklyn Nets. (Big drama when Avery Johnson was fired last year.)
Which team will be filmed for The Association this season?
Gary from Uxbridge
A: It was really good but at this point, I don’t know that another season is planned.
Q: Greetings Mr. Smith
You have the opportunity to go back in time, with unlimited power and authority, to fix one television series finale. Which show do you change and why?
Yet Another Mike
A: Just one?
Boy, that’s tough but I guess I’d rather have had some definitive ending to the Sopranos, wouldn’t you? I understand vague and leaving the viewer to wonder but I was left a bit cold.
And Seinfeld just drifting off kind of bothered me, too.
Now, the drama of the M*A*S*H* last episode was incredible with the mother and her child but no was does Klinger stay in Korea.
Q: Hi Doug,
Just wondering if you are eyeballing thousands of empty seats surrounding an end-of-pre-season game that means nothing to many (all?), or, is it a better-than-expected match?
What is the most intriguing question about the Raps in your mind as the season is about to launch?
Thanks for your continued energy and insights (a job / payroll is not enough of a reason to do the quality of work and effort you put in - hope you enjoy your job as much as I did ALL my career).
BBall Barry / Sarasota - North Bay
Ps played bball 3 times this week in Sarasota (twice at the Y group of 30+; and once with a group of "oldies" who are 40+ at a church) for 2-3 hours per time. Mention this as I LOVE the game and it's nuances and am amazed to observe (in others - not me) some very special talents - even at this level - and how they can do dazzling things with a ball, teammates, etc.
A: I try to put each pre-season out of my mind as quickly as is humanly possible but the crowd – and I use that word in the loosest possible interpretation – Friday in Milwaukee was miniscule.
Most intriguing question: Can this group of starters expand on the cohesion they showed at times in the final 20 games last year. And can they defend as a group, all with some limitations, and will they buy what Dwane is selling. If they do, it could be an interesting season.
Q: Tristan Thompson and the Cleveland Cavaliers are on the rise. I can actually see that especially with that Kyle Irving guy. Could we even go so far and say that Cleveland is Canadas team considering that they also have Bennett? Could be good times in Cleveland and the last time anyone said that was when a certain Lebron James was in town.
Are super son, super wife and super dog ready for the new season with less Doug in the house?
Thanks for the blog as it is much enjoyed.
Greetings from Scot in the grand country of Norway.
A: Here are two numbers that make me leery of thinking the Cavs are legit:
51 and 59.
Those are games played by Irving in his first two years, missing at least a quarter of each season.
But is an intriguing team that’s young with a lot of room to grow, I’m not sure they’re ready to make that big leap this year; they will be in that 6-10 mix in the East, though, I can say that confidently.
As for “Canada’s Team” I guess that’s a distinct possibility but I also think fans are going to watch Boston for Olynyk and the Lakers for Nash just as much.
Q: Hello Doug,
So you've told us that as Joe hit that iconic homerun 20 years ago this week you were typing furiously. And I thought to myself that for you it's probably toujours la meme chose. Except, that when you were chronicling that mighty Blue Jays' season you might have used words such as 'inspired', 'sensational', 'spectacular' and maybe even 'magnificent' - words that you've perhaps not had much call to summon up over the last couple of decades in covering the HOTH.
However, hope floats but doesn't soar (that Icarus thing) and with a tempered forecast and measured expectations we approach the Raptors 19th. Which we hope to be similar to Joseph Haydn's 19th but with more sturm und less drang. (You should listen to it; it's very good!)
My question (eventually it appears!) is this: While perhaps not 'magnificent' what positive words and/or phrases might you look to be able use this season to describe the Raptors' progress and development? Thank you!
Lorie P, London
A: I think the best I can think of right now would be “interesting” or “intriguing” because no one knows what might happen and the men in charge haven’t given any indication, either.
Q: Hi Doug,
I thought it was one of DeRozen's off season objectives to improve his 3 point shooting. Have you seen any improvement in this regard? Is he taking any more 3s? Does the lack of 3 point shooting mean that he hasn't improved or is this needed all around?
A: He’s actually taking fewer and has never played better so I don’t know that he needs to press that issue. Right now, three-point shooting is a bit of a problem but offence isn’t – if you see my point – so I don’t think there’s any urgency on that matter.
I would suggest, however, that since all the other parts of his game seem improved after a summer of hard work that if he has to start taking more, he’ll be better at it.
Q: Hi Doug,
The little I have seen and read about the pre-season there appears to be a lack of explosive scoring on the Raps second unit.
Their is a need of instant offense and noticed that Shannon Brown was released today (he certainly fits that bill ). Not sure who the casualty would be - Stone? We certainly don't need 4 point guards.
Always a pleasure.
Enio P, Richmond Hill
A: When he clears waivers, Brown will have his choice of teams to sign with and I cannot for a minute believe he’d give Toronto a second look. Last I read, he’s headed back to the Lakers.
Would he be an improvement – on this team at this time, all things considered – over Ross and Fields? I’m dubious.
Q: Good Morning Doug,
I am a huge Tyler H. fan and think he found a perfect fit here and will an opportunity to show more of what he can do. Someone who still holds the all time leading scorer and dozens of other records at UNC , has more than one dimension to his game than most people think. Not sure why they say he is a "thug" when all he does his not get pushed around. Do you think we can start any comparisons between TH and Oakley?
Second question is regarding the back up point guard position. I am surprised none of the suspects took advantage of the opportunity to step up. How comfortable do you think Masai is with that spot starting the season and how long do you think he will wait before he does anything about it if things continue as they have in pre-season?
AT, Niagara Falls
A: No, I cannot and will never be comfortable comparing Tyler Hansbrough to Charles Oakley. Oak was a better, smarter player who was a leader; Hansbrough may get close to that level but I’m even dubious about that. He’s a pretty good backup on so-so bench.
I’m sure Masai would like better production from a backup point guard but I’m dead certain he’s not going to make any panic move after eight pretend games. I don’t think he’ll do a thing until a quarter of the season or so has passed.
Q: Here's a question for your mailbag.
What's your over-under on Terence Ross turning out to be this generation's Joey Graham? He does have that jaw-dropping athleticism, but so far his inconsistent flashes of greatness have me thinking of Joey more than a poor-man's Ray Allen. I hope I'm wrong.
Ken from Toronto
A: It’s too early, it really is. He’s in his second season and is a notorious slow starter so my expectations are for spotty inconsistency for the first 35 or 40 games of the season and then maybe we’ll have an indication of what he might be.
And while I totally understand your Joey Graham thing, Ross is far smoother and far less physical or physically imposing as Joey was.
I see that some of the other teams are cutting their rosters down to the limit and was wondering if you see anybody that might be of interest to the Raps. Haven't seen all the names but was curious. I suspect not but thought I would check with you. Any names that made you shake your head?
Sooner or later everybodys name has to drop off the roster of course, some voluntarily and some not, but occasionally I would think some must come as a surprise even to you with your experience with the league.
A: No real surprises around the league with cuts, mostly marginal talent that’s only different rather than better than what’s here right now.
But if you go through the cuts and see how many lottery or top half of the draft guys washed out – Diop, Joe Alexander were two we talked about in Milwaukee on Friday night – you see how much of a crapshoot the draft really is.
I, like many others, share your disinterest in the preseason. While we are all eager to see the HOTH in action after another extended off season, we want to see them competing to win against a team that is competing to win.
Are the number of preseason games and for that matter, the number of regular season games part of the CBA? I imagine that the league wants so many preseason games as a way to generate additional revenue. As a fan, I would much rather see a regular season game. Again, I imagine I'm not alone. Wouldn't more revenue be generated if they reduced the number of preseason games and increased the number of regular season games? What would be the impact on teams and players? Would it just mean that many more games where Pop would rest his starters?
Terry, Antigonish NS
A: I don’t know that the exact number of pre-season games is in a CBA clause – it would make sense that put an upper limit on them – but they have settled on eight as some magic number. I think part of what the league wants is pre-season games as a way to increase the reach of the league, which is why there are so many in Europe and Asia and South America and a lot of North American neutral sites.
But seeing how I also think the regular season is at least 12 games too long, I cannot get behind a move to switch pretend games for real ones. My utopia is a 70-game regular season and a four-game pre-season in the same number of days as they have in a year now.
Q: Greetings Mr Smith, Couple of things this week.
Firstly regarding this "delay of game" call for making contact with the ball after the basket has been made. I, if I make the effort, can see the rationale behind this new call. However, historically I can't say that I have ever perceived that this really was a huge detriment to the flow of the game. Certainly there has been incidences of applied petulance but by and large a bounce pass to and from an official and back we go. Presuming that the goal is improving the flow is there some definable history that would indicate that this is, in fact, a positive step?
Secondarily, in following a colleague of your's writings on the Fall Classic I have been going through the memory banks for recollections of championship teams and just how they were constructed. As postulated in assessing John Farrell's return to the BoSox the success that the Boston's have had may be more related to how JF has filled a niche and a role that has allowed the other parts of the equation to blossom. Thinking a "facilitator" may be as good a job description as "manager" for Mr Farrell. Absolutely no disrespect intended just that this season may well be the classic example of all the parts "fitting" and great things resulting.
In a team sport, or office etc, there is always some form of pecking order and having the one, two or three people that are the "glue" that allows the group to function enmass can be the most difficult people to find.
So, if we were to consider some hoops teams that have had big success could it be fairly said that most will always have the two or three people that are absolutely critical to the team's long term success?
We must be getting close to real games, had to scrape the windshields this am. B-ford seems to get the winter starting a week or two later (and the inverse in the spring) than I remember from my Hazelville days so it is now at the point where rather than being outside, being inside with the fireplace going and a cool beverage, following the IGBT sure seems fine.
Thanks for what you do
Doug from B-ford
A: In games where there are eight or 10 delay of game calls I certainly don’t think it’s any improvement and I can imagine the hue and cry when a team loses by one after committing four or five delay of game calls. But I also think the players will get used to it and it’ll be a non-story pretty quickly.
Sure, leadership and fit and a hierarchy are important in basketball but talent helps more. I would suggest Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers would be considered two excellent leaders and coaches but they also benefited from tremendous talent and had their best players – Jordan, Garnett – share their leadership values.
Q: Hey Doug
Wy do you ban anyone who is critical of MLSE from your blog and mailbag?
A: I’m sorry, no disrespect intended but I have no clue what you’re talking about. Take a read back a few days/weeks/months and see the folly of your statement.
Thanks for reading, though.