So this blog is on hiatus -- that's what my last post said, right? Right. But I've been reading a lot (A LOT) of drunkjaysfans recently as the prospect of the impending baseball season is the only light at the end of the proverbial tunnel of ice, sleet and Raptor embarrassment. Stoeten does this great thing where he answers Richard Griffin's mailbag questions, answers unseen.
And since this blog has a monthly readership of -3 people (okay, maybe a few spam bots looking for email addresses to peddle misspelled erectile dysfunction pills) and there's nothing on TV but Justin Bieber tributes, I'm diving into the Doug Smith mailbag. If this doesn't work out, I promise to send you a pithy Valentine as compensation.
Q: Hi Doug. I hope you don't mind a non-Raptors question about a certain star coach in the news: Jerry Sloan.
Most of the talk surrounding him is that he's lost the confidence and ears of his players, but it seems obvious to me that he's quitting now, so that he'll have a better chance to win by replacing Phil Jackson when he retires.
So with all your insight on the league, I ask you: Is this truly Jerry Sloan's swan song, or is he just setting himself up for the best chance at a championship?
Charlie D, Montreal
I'm not sure why Charlie D (love your strip club, by the way) thinks DS has any insight here. Maybe Jerry Sloan was tired of babysitting petulant millionaires who'd never been coached until they landed on the Jazz, maybe he wanted more time to bird watch. Insofar as coaches can be "good" I think Sloan passed the test. His teams consistently won, despite the fact that they play in Utah and many of their fans wear magic underwear.
The flex offense encourages inside play, passing and a lack of stupid shit that leads to turnovers. The Jazz would have probably been awesome this season if it weren't for the fact that Deron Williams is the only NBA-calibre guard on that team. Sorry, what was the question? Is Jerry Sloan going to stalk the Lakers job? Let's say no, okay Charlie? Now pump some Def Lepperd, I have a pocket full of loonies I can't wait to deposit in Josiee's g-string.
[Skipping trivia questions. Have Smitty's readers yet to discover Google?]
Q: Hey Doug! Read the blog every day and always enjoy when you let us know of different anniversaries of the day. I was just wondering though, when is the Raptor Blog's Birthday? More importantly, is it what you thought it would be when you first envisioned it?
We appreciate all the hard work Doug!
Steve T, Ajax
Glad to see Super Son finally got one of his questions in the mailbag. Why the pseudonym, "Steve" from "Ajax? If this blog were to have a birthday, I nominate Remembrance Day (Veteran's Day in the US) because if you read it for too long, you may consider enlisting for combat.
Oh wait, I'm supposed to cross out Doug's name and pretend these questions were addressed to me. Fuck. I knew I'd mess this up.
No, "Steve," when daddy started writing this pile of goat shit, I never believed the Toronto Star and you, dear readers, would ever let him carry on this long. For shame.
[Some long-winded soliloquy disguised as a question that I couldn't bear to read to the end. Shit, the next one's even long-windier. I can't skip two in a row. Goddamn]
Q: Hey Doug. I posted this in the comments this week and you didn't have time to answer then so I thought I'd try again here, as this is likely a better place to ask this kind of question. And since they will have just left town, it rates as somewhat timely:
Brandon Roy is poised to return to action for Portland, and the fact the Trail Blazers have posted a winning record in his absence, prompted me to look up their current active roster to see if it was readily apparent why their record is significantly better than the Raptors. They have experienced a similar injury profile this season (worse over the last couple of years) to the heart of what was supposed to be a promising young team. When I look at the Blazers rotation made up of LaMarcus Aldridge, Wes Matthews, Nic Batum, Joel Przybilla, Andre Miller, Rudy Fernandez and Patrick Mills it really makes me wonder how they've managed. I think if you concede that LaMarcus Aldridge is better than Bargnani (which is debatable, but for the sake of this comparison I'm willing to do) I'm still hard-pressed to see that rotation as appreciably better than the Raps.
So first, between the Blazer group or the Raptors current 8 man rotation which do you think is better?
And second, to what would you attribute the relative success of these Trail Blazers, given their injury woes and having to play in the Western Conference.
Richard E, Toronto
Is Richard in Toronto on E? I know I'm not supposed to peek at Doug's answers but I did so fuck you. Doug chalks the Blazers success up to experience followed by big-gameness followed by coaching. Good show, old boy!
Here's the deal, Dick E: LaMarcus Aldridge is the Blazers third-best centre this season (and fourth-best if you take a longer view). Andre Miller has never, ever, ever had an unproductive season, Nicholas Batum is better than any swing the Raptors have employed since the first season of Anthony Parker and they have MOTHERFUCKING MARCUS CAMBY!!! (tm)
Hey, Rich. If you're going to make a snide, "Andrea Bargnani is better than..." quip and the end of said quip isn't "Earl Barron" you should probably shut your MDMA-popping, phallicly-named mouth.
[More trivia. I am not joking]
Q: Hi Doug, this isn't a Raptors question but a Kevin Garnett question. I just read he cursed out Spike Lee at a Knicks game. He allegedly made comments about Charlie V being a cancer patient early in the year and a couple of weeks ago he punched a guy in the groin during a game.
Is there any kind of cumulative action discipline in the NBA for this type of behaviour
It seems like no one wants to say anything bad or do anything about KG.
Jeff F, Toronto
Yup. Garnett's totally a douche.
[You won't believe this but more trivia]
Q: Hey Doug. Karl Malone was on NBATV discussing Coach Sloan's abrupt departure, when he mentioned that he wants to carry on Jerry Sloan's coaching legacy. Chauncey Billups has also expressed interest in a front office job with the Nuggets. What level star do you have to be before you can just start asking management for those coveted jobs. Do you think it affects coaches and scouts and GM's who put in years before they reach any position of real importance?
Tilak J, Buffalo
The real question is do you feel comfortable putting your favourite team's precious cap space in the hands of Chauncey Billups as he does battle with top NBA agents? I thought the whole point of NBA TV was to give these guys "jobs" and keep them out of important, possibly team-killing positions.
Q: I have followed the team for many years but the expectations have hit an all time low. Since this season seems to have gone South what would be the best way to go in the draft? Assuming no work stoppage/top 4 pick, trade down and go for volume or keep the top pick and hope for a difference maker? I know you think it's way to early but it's been that type of year.
John P, Vernon Hills
Vernon Hills sounds mostly made up, John P. Did your town once have an outstanding season and sign an ass-gapingly disgusting contract? Doug has a history of excellent draft insight so I feel almost bad I'm not reading his answer to this one. Okay, we're assuming a decently high draft pick? And, I suppose, assuming King Colangelo is still pillaging and plundering this team?
Obvious disclaimer is I follow very little college basketball and know shit-all about any of the prospects this year. So I'm speaking only from an understanding of the history of shoot-from-the-hip drafting and assurances this year's crop is going to be poor due to the lockout.
Here's what Bry Bry wants to do. Draft a European. He'll be a jump-shooting, 6'10 four, despite the fact that the only position with depth on the Raptors is PF. This draftee's career will mimic Yi Jianlian's, yet BC will sign him to a max extension and the Raps will not win a playoff game until 2023. DraftExpress is indicating a Swiss-born, currently ineligible Kentucky player, Enes Kanter, may fit the description.
Here's what the Raptors should do:
Option 1) Clear, no-brainer pick at our draft position who actually projects to be an NBA player, not some chuckster who happened to get to the Sweet Sixteen. If the player plays anything but PF, keep him.
2) Trade down. Learn how to draft for value and draft the next Landry Fields... Okay, when you've stopped laughing at the prospect of BC learning, we can continue. We have immediate needs at the two, three and five. Offer Andrea Bargnani to anyone for anything. I'd trade him for a sesame seed bagel. Even a poppyseed bagel.
3) Package that sexy, high draft pick for some players, even if it's to sweeten a deal to send DeRozan, Kleiza, Barbosa or Bargnani out. Hey Andre Iguodala, I'd bet you'd love Tim Hortons!
Three strategies. No chance of any of them being employed.
[Well, fuck the heck. There's, like, 16 more bullshit trivia questions and I have to go to sleep. This was a bad idea. Valentines are in the mail.]