It's short but sweet but the weekend mail is delivered

It's short but sweet but the weekend mail is delivered

Who do you recommend we follow for an Orlando perspective on the series?

David H

A: I’m so late to this and I’m sorry. My man Josh Robbins at The Athletic would be a good one – he’s the president of the PBWA and as a former one I can attest to his knowledge and work ethic – and I can recommend John Denton at the magic.com site for sure. I miss my guy Brian Schmitz, though.

Q: Must be the first story on a team’s victory where the scribe failed to include the score.

Robert M

A:  Seeing that the score actually was in the game story not sure where you’re going with this.

Guess you might be new to a years old process here where the morning recap Three Pointers blog  is a bit more informal and mean to augment the game story but that’s okay.

Funny you didn’t see the link to the actual game story.

It was 111-82.

And thanks for being a loyal – if part-time – reader.

Q: Good morning Doug,

Man did you ever come down hard on Tiger after his win at the Masters. Like most I was happy for him and how he over came his physical problems. After reading your comments the brain (mine) switched back on and is in complete agreement with you. What odds are you giving that the orange headed jerk of a president south of us makes the ceremony of the Freedom Medal sound like he (the jerk) is totally responsible for Tiger’s comeback and says zip about their mutual traits??

Bob

A: It’s hard to even comprehend ranking the idiocies that have come out of the White House in so many different ways over the last couple of years that are crippling to people and society and the country and the world; I’m saddened every day that such a buffoon was elected. He is the least-qualified “leader” I have ever seen.

The idea of awarding the presidential medal of freedom to a golfer who happened to win a tournament is, to me, an embarrassment and disrespectful to many who have been awarded it the past. Yes, other golfers have been awarded, all worth recipients, this was a knee-jerk reaction from a president who got caught up watching TV. And not all surprising coming from a guy who is a disrespectful embarrassment on a daily basis.

Q: Hi Doug

Is Joel Embiid at risk of going down the Dwight Howard path? It seems like he’s at a crossroads between becoming a dominant player or spending his time trying to be a big goofy kid. For Howard that meant a career where he is now viewed as an unfocused professional who underachieved based on his talent. Too harsh?

JM

A: A bit too harsh, yeah.

I am not at any level a Dwight Howard fan, nor am I big Embiid booster but at least Embiid has expanded his game. Howard is no better an offensive player today than he was in his long gone prime and when the write the list of most disappointing players in the game for this era, he’s going to be at the top of any legitimate list.

Howard, however, was much more a “character” than Embiid can ever hope to be, for what that’s worth and it’s worth nothing in my opinion. Embiid bores me and Howard didn’t.

Q: Hi Doug:

With the way Pascal is emerging as a player, would it really be a catastrophe if Kawhi doesn’t sign with the Raps going forward?

I can’t recall how much money Raps brass will have to spend this summer if they don’t sign Leonard, or if they could contemplate

any other major free agent signings.  Can you refresh my memory.  Thank you.

Raps have a good core going forward except for the ages of Lowry and Gasol.  I don’t see any players emerging from the 905 with potential for the future.  Boucher is still a work in progress and McCaw is unproven.

Maybe OG will emerge going forward – that was always the hope.

It is too early to ask you, but I’m going to annoy you anyway – if the opportunity arose to trade Lowry for a decent younger point guard, would you advise it?

My idea of a dream guard would be Kemba Walker.

I expect Delon Wright will sign with the Grizzlies since he seems to be doing well there, but if he became available at the right price,

should the Raps pursue him?  He would certainly be better than Lin maybe even better than Freddie, although I like Freddie.

Bit of a nail biter last night but the boys pulled it off.  Is there anything Raps brass can do to draw attention to the fouls and free-throw disparity, other than coaches and players complaining to refs at game’s end, which is probably a waste of time.

I get really ticked when I see the way Kawhi is being manhandled with no calls.  Surely he got more respect as a Spur.

On to game 4, and hoping for more balanced officiating.

Raven

A: Happy Easter, Raven. Thanks for being a regular Irregular here.

I don’t think it would be a crushing blow if Leonard doesn’t re-sign because of the emergence of Siakam but you’d obviously would want them both. They are position, either way, to still be good.

Regardless, they will have no money to spend on free agents next summer but they didn’t last summer and still ended up with Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green and that’s not too bad. Masai and Bobby can do interesting, bold things.

Lowry is a very interesting case and I don’t know how it will play out. I believe he is the team’s heart but if they do have to move on to another era, moving him for a younger piece would make sense, even if it was a tiny step back. That, what can you get for a 33-year-old, high-usage point guard near the end of his career knowing you have to take back $ 30 million salary. It’s going to be a fascinating decision and I cannot today get a read on what they might want to do.

Q: Hello Doug,

I’m a first time contributor to your mailbag and my question concerns Raptor free throws. I found that during the regular season the Raptors consistently went to the free throw line fewer times than their opponents. This has continued during their first round series against Orlando. In game three the Raptors were better in every statistic except free throws. In fact, the main reason the game was close at the end was due to the large discrepancy in free throws. What, in your opinion, is the reason for this? I apologize if you have already addressed this issue previously.

Richard

A: The reason? Style of play and not some nefarious conspiracy against Toronto. The Raptors don’t have a true post presence who would shoot a ton of free throws, their two-guard is a corner-three shooter rather than someone who attacks the rim all the time, their backup centre is a pick-and-pop guy, they don’t want their backup big to attack because he’s a horrible free throw shooter.
It’s really horses for courses.

But welcome to the mailbag, I am truly glad you’ve decided to play along and I hope you have other questions in the future.

Q: Hey Doug,
Lay off the chocolates, I mean happy Easter.
In your view, how has players’ perceptions of playing in Toronto changed since the early years of the franchise?  I guess if we could bucket players, kindly differentiate between super stars/all stars vs role players.
Thanks as always,
Mark D

A: The only thing – and I will take this to my grave – that stood between the Raptors and top free agents for more than a decade between, say, 20002 and 20012, was the team wasn’t very good. Sure, in the Sam-Bryan era on the mid-2000s they were okay but so were a lot of teams. The Raptors went through a stretch of muddled management and muddled rosters and muddled coaching that would automatically turn people off.

And that hasn’t been the case in the last five or seven years. It’s always been a great city and they were always willing to spend if they could but the winning and, yeah, the culture wasn’t there.

Chocolates? I need some Cadbury eggs and cannot find ‘em with a search warrant around this hotel.

Q: Hi Doug
A couple of word usage things.
Uninterested is not the same as disinterested.  Someone who is uninterested is not paying attention, someone who is disinterested does not have a stake in the outcome.  In particular we want referees to not be uninterested, but we very much do want them to be disinterested, like, not betting on the game.
Exponentially does not mean large.  It is a math term describing the shape of a function.  All such functions eventually get large, but that is not the same thing.
Given that these words have formal definitions, misusing them annoys me a lot more than Jack saying the Raptors are stuck 6.
Also, get off my lawn.
Jim R

A: I have probably been guilty of misusing uninterested and disinterested. I know precisely what exponentially means.

Also, go shake your fists at some clouds.

Q: Hi Doug

Hope you’re enjoying some good weather in Orlando – though I’m sure it’s tough to be away from your family on the long weekend.

Not sure if you’ll remember me, but I used to write in for your mailbag with some regularity a few years ago.  Two young kids in these last few years has me sort of scrambling through the day now without much time to type up a question (or generally watch the games until after the kids are asleep – thank goodness for PVRs), but I still read your articles and blog faithfully each day.  For my money (and I do subscribe to the paper), no one in the city has better perspective on the team than you do, and your putting up with (and providing some sober advice when we all get too high or too low) some of the fanaticism of us fans is much appreciated and much needed!

Just wanted to share something fun my colleagues at work have done around the Raptors playoffs, working with Serge Ibaka and his team to curate a playlist of some of his favourite tracks.  It’s an eclectic mix of songs featuring artists from all over the world, and has some big hits sitting next to some lesser known tracks – a really great mix.  It’s part of a partnership we have with Apple Music and the TTC called “Tracks On Tracks” and I thought this playlist might be one you would enjoy checking out:

https://umc.lnk.to/TracksOnTracks_SergeIbaka

All this aside, I wanted to thank you for all the work you put into covering the team for us.  I’ve been really happy to read that your recovery from everything that happened about a year ago is going so well – for whatever it’s worth, I hope you know that all of us have been sending good thoughts your way since that time – and we all hope that you’ll continue to do, first and foremost, what’s best for you and your family.  That said, here’s to a very long and very successful playoff run for the Raps!

Have a great day!
Mike

A: I saw that Ibaka sound track thing the other day somewhere – likely on the Magical Tweeter Machine – and it’s well worth sharing. I think Serge is one of the more interesting players the Raptors have had in years and I hope to be able to explore that more as the post-season unfolds.

And I really appreciate the kind words.

Q: Hi Doug:

Firstly, I would like to comment on your colleague, Bruce Arthur’s excellent op-ed, regarding his Dad.  It was very moving and made me realize more than ever how lucky I was to have such a well-adjusted family unit when I was growing up.  Luckily, it sounds like he coped very well with his situation.

Secondly, I hope it was simply the jitters of playing Game 1, last night.  The Raptors have to get their game legs on and start playing like we know they are capable of. 

Lastly, thanks for your super coverage of the Raps all year.  It is a joy to keep up with all your blogs and articles. 

Alice

A: Bruce’s piece was wonderful and poignant and I know we don’t often open ourselves up like that but I think we should more often.

And, as I type this Saturday night there are no more jitters and I think the Raptors have realized who they are and what it takes to establish that.

 

TORONTO STAR

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