The start of the weekend mail
Lovely night, wasn’t at a concert having a good time or anything but The Old Triangle and the Economy Shoe Shop were good alternatives, I suppose.
Allowed me to get this done but, folks, there’s not much left for tomorrow so help me out, would you? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org will all your queries and innermost thoughts.
And apparently it’s Alexander Keith’s birthday today, wonder what party I can finagle my way into.
I know it's early in training camp, but have you been able to figure out who's team it is this year? It was clearly Vince's team, then Chris's team, then maybe Andrea's team but secretly Jose's - and now? And who looks to be the go to interview guys? I don't think of any of them as big talkers - so curious.
A:I don’t think it’s anyone’s team, nor do I think it should be, actually. And the feeling I’m getting – and we all realize how early in the process it is – is that these guys don’t care about that, they’d to win some games. And I’m not sure how you define it being some specific player’s team. Is it the most vocal guy? Not sure who that is, maybe DeMar. Is it the guy who always takes the last shot? That’s going to be determined by matchups and the imagination of play-designing by the coaching staff.
As for go-to interviews? That hasn’t become clear, either; don’t think anyone stands out in that regard, making it a bit tougher for us.
Q: Hi Doug.
Well, for better or worse, we do live in a branded, celebrity world. And players and fans do make a life out of these imagined identities. These identities become real and meaningful.
So, maybe, just maybe, Drake will offer a Toronto-Proud feeling to players and management and that will carry over into proud play. It's a theme worth watching this season and next.
Is it possible that by distinguishing the team's look and feel with a very Toronto guy and performer like Drake, with PanAm Games coming up in 2015, with NBA All-Star Game in 2016 that even older fans :) might get "caught up" in a fresh, energized proud feeling about the team and city? And that such civic pride and good performance will become a mutually reinforcing positive cycle? What do you think?
A: I think that’s a distinct possibility and at some level unable to be explained adequately, energy begets energy and the connection between team and fans and events feeds into the others.
Now, the question is, where does it start? Does the success of the team start it? Can the fans, or the magnitude of the event, or a sequence of big events that fill one with pride trickle down. That’s the part I don’t know.
But I do think there is something there, it’s not tangible nor easily explained but then “feelings” seldom are.
Q: Hello Mr. Smith
Couple of questions for you to ponder.
It has been said that many NBA & NFL players have gone bankrupt after their playing days are over. You never hear that about players in MLB or NHL. Just wondering why you think that is?
Reading your blog on Friday you mentioned that training camps are " so legislated and short that we probably need to find another way to describe it."
Why does the NBA make it so restrictive? I would think that they would allow each team to have as many scrimmages and full contact practices as they want.
As always Doug love the blog and look forward to another season of IGBT where you share your pearls of wisdom with us common folk.
Ken L, Bath
A: I think there are probably as many hockey players and baseball players who fall on tough times as the other sports, it’s just that their stories don’t get out. And, truth be told, it is such a small fraction of basketball or football player that do.
And, trust me, if NBA coaches had their way, some of them would have the players in the gym two or three times a day for hours on end; it’s a collectively bargained issue with the union wanting to make sure that its members are worked to death.
Teams would love it, players wouldn’t and they seem to have found a compromise.
Q: Hey Doug,
You had mentioned before the raptors are probably a 6 to 12 place team. Has your opinion changed now?
Lastly, there seems to be a different vibe this year, I been following the Raptors ever since I can remember but this year there seems to be more of a positive feel than recent years. Is this true from your account? Also, what kind of shape is DD in this year? Any improvement? We heard lots about Rudy and Lowrey but not so much about DD.
Maybe I'm being to optimistic but do you think raptors will have a breakout year?
A: No, nothing has changed in the three days of training camp. Given good health, a bit of luck and highly dependent on what other teams do, I think you’re looking at a team that could finish anywhere from six to 12 or 13 in the East. I have no clue how it will shake out, nor does anyone else.
And, no, things have been far more positive in the past, in the Vince years when this was a very good team, specifically. Sure, it’s positive but it was positive last year and the year before that and the year before that. Is it more legitimately positive this year? Perhaps but the mood hasn’t really changed.
DeMar? He’s in fine shape, looks good, moving well, haven’t seen him shoot enough to know if his range has improved substantially. And, trust me, we’ll be writing about him enough over the next few months that giving him a couple of days off now isn’t a bad idea.
Q: Morning Doug
Wanted questions, so I got one for you. Has anyone commented on the exit of Bargnani (on or off the record) and what is the feeling about the trade from the players and coaches?
A: Sure, all kinds of on the record talk when the trade was made three months or so ago. The feeling is the same as it always was: It was time for a change, for both the team and Andrea. So now? Now he’s gone, out of sight and out of mind, to tell you the truth. Haven’t heard his name in the gym all camp and don’t expect I will.
Q: Hello Mr. Smith
Just a couple of questions. One, I haven't seen or heard you around the TV media scrums so far in the pre-season. Is that because you don't want to be seen or heard associating with the mindless guys asking lame-o questions about JV's Dora backpack or Amir's elephant ride or what the coach thinks about tanking? (And who could blame you)
Two, what's your take on a single, not all that good university (oh, let's say Notre Dame) 'owning' an entire broadcast network (oh, let's say NBC)?
Thanks as always for the great blog!
David M, Ottawa
A: I’ve kind of been laying low in the big scrums, am trying – after discussing things with people whose opinion I respect greatly – to work more independently this year, to work hard at getting stuff that doesn’t come out of scrums. Isn’t easy and won’t happen all the time but that’s the goal. Of course, you have to listen to the scrums and take part in some way as part of the collective – plus I like that people I know can hear me on TV – but I’m trying to make sure every day that the story I write isn’t the one everyone heard on TV the night before.
The unholy ND-NBC alliance kills me; it just shows that anything is for sale and a three-hour recruiting show every Saturday might be the best money the school has spent. I don’t watch but lots do.
Q When a player retires- I am remembering Hakeem O from the Raptors many years ago, does he still get the remainder of his contract? Does he have any responsibility to the team? Morally if he is getting a payout I think he should "work" for the team that he retired from.
Tait from Mississauga
A: No, once the retirement papers are filed there is no money, no responsibility, no nothing. Now, teams and players might come to an arrangement to buy out the final year or two of a contract if a player wants to go on maybe 60 cents on the dollar but if a player simply ups and retires, he leaves whatever is left on his contract on the table. That’s why you so seldom see guys hang it up before their current deals expire.
Q: Hi Doug... Only number 7 that resonates with me is Mr. Mantle. Speaking of a number 7 that can't rebound, will AB wear Eddie Gaedel's old number? (One eighth, if I remember correctly)
Are they still Pounding the Rock at the ACC practice facility? After a couple of two a days , is it still kumbaya there?
Who is the irritating woman in all the scrums, asking Casey and the players about "tanking"?
Will Oklahoma become a wasteland if Durant bolts?
That's it for today!
Bob E, Kanata
A: I believe it was one-eighth and The Mick is the iconic No. 7
(Waits for the pucks crowd to shout Espo)
Yes, the rock is still there, my people say; but haven’t heard a pound the rock cliché all week, now that I think of it.
As I think I mentioned in the chat yesterday, it’s all puppy dogs and rainbows around here now; never a discouraging word is heard. At least publicly.
Q: Hei Doug,
I must say I do like the fact that Drake is ambassador to the Raptors. Can imagine it livens things up a bit. I hear Jay Z is the ambassador to the Nets. And I figure a guy that is both keen on basketball and music could find appropriate ambassadors to the Heat, Knicks and Lakers. Who would you suggest? However, the real test for your music knowledge is finding an ambassador to the Trailblazers. Good luck with that. As for me, I suggest the Queen of Pop Madonna for the Pistons.
Anyhow have a good weekend in Halifax.
Scot in the grand country of Norway
A: Liven things up? I don’t imagine I’ll see Drake until 2016, if then. It was a one-day story and has gone away at the moment. I don’t know when it will be resurrected or if it will and I’ll likely pay it scant attention.
No I’m not a guy who is current so my musical associations would probably be Billy Joel for New York, Jimmy Buffet for the Heat and I can’t guess a Laker, one to tell you the truth, probably too many to choose from.
Portland? I’m going to take the easy way out and say, no, I’ve got nothing.
Q: Hey Doug!
I have been following your blog for some time and I gather that you do some coaching yourself (baseball I believe). If the opportunity presented itself would you consider coaching basketball for some young kids or have you done so in the past?
Thanks for all the good work you do to keep us Raptor fans from getting bored and listless!
Jerry from Strathroy
A: The trouble with trying to coach any basketball is that it happens during basketball season and I tend to be pretty busy.
Baseball, which I’ve played or coached practically my entirely life, fits far better into my life; plus I love it.
But if I could do some basketball, I might but that’s not a possibility at the moment, no way I could commit the necessary time.
Q: Hi Doug
Haven't heard a word about Hansbrough. I read your blog daily. Did I miss something? I will admit I am not a huge fan of his but was interested in how he is blending in.
To me the season is going to come down to PG play. If Lowry plays selfish again and is hurt we are in trouble. JV has to depend on someone getting him the ball and actually passing on a pick and roll, and not getting the ball with 2 sec left in the shot clock. Jose was far better at that but I have always been a fan of his. Anyway since the mail box was low I thought I would through this at you. Appreciate the blog.
A: No, you haven’t missed anything, at least not from me. Just haven’t gotten around in three days to writing about Hansbrough but I’m sure I will shortly. Am told he’s blending in just fine but it’s been less than a week of practice so that’s a pretty small sample size, for anything really.
Sure, point guard play is vital to any team’s success but it’s just part of what this team has to do. They have to defend better, shoot it better from three-point range and Valanciunas has to command a double-team now and then. There are so many areas that need improvement that to chalk it up solely to one is wrong.
Q: Hi Doug,
Just reading about the re-branding and wondering why it is a 2 year process?
Raptors have used various colour schemes/logos etc. Does that mean that all of these different versions were done 2 years in advance as well?
Anthony, Niagara Falls
A: Actually, they haven’t changed the logo at all, they have used adaptations that have been around forever but really haven’t deviated too much from what was there 19 years ago. Same with the colours, they did add more red and take away purple but the basics have been the same.
What they are talking about now is pretty much a complete makeover and as Adam Silver told me on Monday, it’s a process that involves registering trademarks, testing everything to see how it looks on the camera and on the phone camera and the computer screen and it’s a time consuming process.