Another solid late rally by you folks, well done.
This should get you through the morning, I hope, until you stop by for the IBGT around 1. You will be there, right?
Q: Dear Doug
I understand that the head coach makes ultimate decisions, but am wondering how much and what type of differences it makes to have different assistant coaches. Since the Raptors changed the assistant coaches but not the head coach or the core players, it seems like a good time to make a comparison. In your assessment/opinion how much of the changes you see from last year is due to the change in the assistant coaches vs. other factors (change in Dwane's strategy, players, etc)?
Have you noticed any in-game decisions likely influenced by the assistant coaches? If so, could you elaborate?
MH St. John’s
A: I don’t think there’s been a huge difference because of the new staff at all. They do pretty much the same thing as any group of assistants in the NBA does, act as advisors to the head coach on strategy for the Raptors and how to play different opponents, they work on skill development with the players in practice.
And I don’t notice an awful lot of influencing durng, they will suggest strategy during timeouts and quarter breaks, one of them might say to Dwane: “Hey, so-and-so looks like he needs a break” or “Do we want to go back to this guy or that guy” but the final decision all rests with Casey.
Q: Hi Doug
I love a high-energy barnburner of a game; it makes everything much more entertaining. The Raptors seem to be erratic in the energy department. Which five teams score highest in watchability for you based on high octane performance?
A: I suppose I should just go to “pace” stats and figure it out but I’d rather give it the eye test so I’ll give you these, in no particular order:
Golden State, Oklahoma City, the Clippers, Minnesota and Miami.
And, no, I don’t find it odd that four of them are in the West, it just seems to be a far more entertaining conference. Makes for late nights if you want to see them a lot, that’s for sure.
Q: Hi Doug!
Hope your week has been great.
Here are my questions for this week:
In your opinion, out of all the commentators for the Raptors, so Leo, Jack, Matt, Sherm, etc., who has the best basketball mind and really knows what he is talking about?
Is Masai's wife expecting?
Of all the Raps, who comes off as the most vain?
If you had to go for a beer with 3 of the Raps, who would they be?
A: Hello. My week was fine; not great, but fine, thanks for asking.
Now, this is a bit of a bailout but I really cannot answer the first question because it’s impossible to say one has a “better” mind than the other, they each have “different” minds and experiences and it’s a matter of personal preference. I don’t have a problem with any of them but, if I had my druthers, I like Jack’s more verbose personality a bit, I enjoy story telling a lot.
Yes, Masai’s wife is due to have a child sometime, I’m not sure when.
Vain? I actually don’t see any vanity, they all seem pretty down to earth in my dealings with them. It might be different on buses and road trips and in the locker room when we’re not there but I can’t speak to that.
Of this group of Raptors? I tend to gravitate to older players to sit and tell stories with because they have more of them so I’m going with Novak, Aaron Gray and Amir. I think that might be a nice table to sit at.
Q: Hi Doug!
We're so proud here in London (and after the Not-As-Awful-As-Toronto's-But-Still-Shameful-Nonetheless antics of our own Mayor and some members of city council it's nice to have some positive press about our city) that our own little community of Wortley Village was recently named by the Canadian Institute of Planners as the Best Neighbourhood in Canada. I don't know if you've ever wandered the streets of this lovely little area in London, but it is certainly worth a visit - gracious older homes, tree-lined streets, splendid assortment of bistros, bars, bakeries, galleries, and it's bike-friendly and great for strolling. And I think strolling, and meeting one's neighbours and friends as you do it, is a great way to nurture a community. And I guess the CIP agreed!
So my question: You've revealed to us that you're a guy who appreciates a good stroll now and then while travelling. Can you list your favourite cities - or perhaps it's a neighbourhood within a city - to explore on foot? And for you, what makes one city more 'walkable' than another? Climate? Architecture? Historical interest? A generally pedestrian-friendly design? The people themselves? Thank you!
Lorie P, London
A: Best walking cities in the league?
Boston (a wise friend once said you can see Sam Adams’s grave it the morning and drink his beer in the afternoon), San Francisco (although the over-zealous panhandlers can be a bit much) and the absolute best, and I know this is shared by some of the smartest people I know) is Chicago. Wander along the water and the Miracle Mile and down to Navy Pier and it’s a great day.
Q: Doug, not sure if you heard that Michael Jordan offered this week that his choice for an "unbeatable" pick up team would be himself, Pippen, Worthy, the Dream, and Magic. Bill Simmons said MJ choosing Worthy over Bird or Lebron was a clear mistake. If you could pick any five to play against the team Jordan named, who would they be, and how would you like your chances?
Gary M, Ottawa
A: I did see that and it’s quite an interesting team, I probably wouldn’t have picked Worthy, either, but that’s pretty good.
Now, my team? With a point guard, two wings and two bigs from this basic era in a pickup game?
Give me Kobe, LeBron, Durant, Bird and Garnett and I like our chances. Be a helluva game, no?
Q: Hi Doug
I had been meaning to ask you if the Raptors had regretted sending Ed Davis to Memphis instead of Terrence Ross (I think it was you who had mentioned that Memphis tried hard to get T. Ross instead) in the Rudy Gay trade. However, I was shocked to read in one of the Yahoo sports articles that not only was Ed Davis not developing properly but that he had a "bad attitude". He seemed like a decent enough kid who was a reasonably hard worker when he was here. Any idea what happened (or is this a report from someone who perhaps isn't all that close to the team)?
A: I don’t think there’s a lot of regrets, actually. They knew they’d have to package one of young kids and Davis was the guy Memphis wanted in the end; for Toronto it was more about who was coming in.
Early in his time here, there were some questions about his work ethic – as there are with a lot of young players – but he got through it just fine.
And, yes, Lionel Hollins took some shot at Davis’s skill development (I wonder if it was just a ploy to motivate Davis) and there was a bit of friction between the two.
I don’t think there are any issues now.