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!