The usual trade stuff, some Siakam and trophies in the mailbag

There’s not a ton here but that’s okay because I needed a slow Saturday afternoon/Sunday morning and there’s a 4 p.m. game that I have to figure out how to write about and some TEB stuff that I’ve neglected.

But there’s enough to get us through and thanks to all who played along.

Q: Hello Doug,

I couldn’t agree with you more about Tony Romo as a broadcaster. His enthusiasm is infectious. I get that same feeling watching games called by Matt and Jack, and to a lesser extent Matt and Leo, although Leo has really loosened up the last few years. I especially appreciate the Raptors broadcast and how spoiled we are after watching the local broadcasts of other teams. Man do some of them just drone on over the game.

On to my question. I often notice players moving their teammates to the other side of the line on free throws. I’m sure it’s not a big deal, but I’m just curious as to why they do that. Better match up, superstition, more favourable side to rebound from?

Santino

A: The defensive team generally likes its second guy on the lane on the side where the two biggest players are. They tend to tie each other up which leaves space. Most of time, it’s random, though.

Q: Sir: Who are the best dribblers in the NBA? It’s the most basic fundamental of basketball, but, you rarely hear it discussed who’s good at it, unlike  shooting, scoring, shot blocking even taking a charge. Historically Pete Maravich was the best I’ve seen and today Steph and Kyrie stand out. Do you agree, and do have any others?

Paul M

A: I’d put Mike Conley on the list of current great ball-handlers for sure but you’re right on Maravich. You can’t forget Isiah Thomas, that’s for sure, and Jason Williams was pretty darn good, too, if you’re on the all-time list. And I’m not sure any list is complete without Steve Nash on it.

I wouldn’t discount guys like Kemba Walker or John Wall or De’Aaron Fox in this era, either.


Q: Siakam

I follow Canadians in the NCAA. In the mid teens a few were at N Mexico State.  Siakam, who barely had a mention preseason, started putting up numbers especially rebounds.  I was surprised nevertheless when he was picked late in the first.  Masai knows all.  

Frank

A: That was in the time of the Bhullars, no?

But yeah, Masai and his Henchmen – who do a TON of the scutwork watching video and going to games and tracking kids for years – deserve tons of credit.

Q: Hi Doug:

I love Pascal’s story and quick rise to becoming an All-Star.  I hope that means we can be cyber-friends, since we are not likely to meet in person.

The story of how he chose his number is very special.  I did not know that.  He is such a fine young man, and no doubt his father would be very proud of him.

Kyle Lowry should be chosen as a reserve.  He is the heart and soul of the team and gives 101% every time out there. I was hoping Fred might be chosen, and maybe he will be another year.

Wondering why you think the fans got it wrong re: Trae Young?

Do you think the Raptors should be looking to improve at the trade deadline, or are you happy with this team?

Personally I think they should stay the course.  With what I have read of the possibilities available, there isn’t a player that could significantly improve the team, unless Masai has some tricks up his sleeve.

Great stories.  Thanks Doug.

Raven

A: I’m fully convinced the coaches will add Kyle to the roster, it’d be a shock if they didn’t.

Trae Young is interesting. I’ll probably talk more about it/him when I blow a morning discussing all-star backups but I place such a high premium on winning that I cannot abide an NBA all-star starter from the team with the worst record in the league. Yes, he’s a fine scorer with unlimited range but he also takes every shot and is such a defensive sieve its not even funny. And I absolutely guarantee you that if wasn’t a starter, he wouldn’t be in the game at all.

A few of us have had many a discussion on which guy might make the Raptors better rather than just different and the consensus, which I totally endorse, is that there is no deal to be made. As the saying goes, ride or die with these guys this year.

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Q: Hi Doug. I enjoyed talking with you and your Star colleagues at the Raptors Chalk Talk last October and if there’s a similar event held again, I’ll be there.

A couple of questions for you – now that the Raptors have closed down the Championship Showcase, where do they keep the trophies that were there? Do they intend to put the O’Brien Trophy on public display as the Spurs do with their 5 trophies in the AT&T Centre? Also, now that the Raps have consolidated all their Atlantic Division championships on one banner hanging in Scotiabank Arena, what did they do with the old banners?

Keep up the great writing.

Neil

A: I don’t know of any plans to put the Larry O’Brien that they have on public display, it’s a team thing they keep to themselves for the most part. Maybe one day but finding a place at the arena is an issue as is the joint tenancy and that’s a thing, corporately.

The division banners? In storage, maybe with the Jon Bon Jovi one but I’m not sure about that.

Q: Good afternoon Doug

I hope the weather in Atlanta is warmer then here but we do have a brilliant sunshine. I just want to comment on the excellent piece on VC. Yes it was not earth shattering but is sure brought out the soul of the man. That is last game will be in Toronto should be something else. Hopefully it will not be carried by SN which is not in my package. Again – superb writing!!

Bob

A: After consulting with the team’s broadcast schedule we got very early in the season, that’s listed as a TSN game and I haven’t heard any suggestion that will change.

And, yeah, I think it’s going to be a very special night and having spoken to Vince about it last week, he expects it to be very, very emotional.

Q: Hey Doug:
Great to see Siakam need a starter to the All Star game. I think it’s richly deserved, and appropriate. It remains to be seen whether Lowry, and/or VanVleet (whom the Raptors were urging fans to vote for) will be named reserves. If Siakam is the only Raptor to be named to the All Stars, that would be quite remarkable for a reigning championship team. Am I wrong that past championship teams have had at least 2, if not 4 players at the All Star game? And it’s not like the Raptors are keeping the Knicks and Hawks company in the cellar. (I also don’t think this is part of any ridiculous conspiracy by the NBA, TNT, ESPN, etc.)
So, since we’re in the midst of looking back in this 25th year: were there any Raptors in the past 25 years, that you were surprised were named to the All Stars?
Who among past Raptors, do you think should have been named at least once, but never made it to the game? For example, was Calderon ever named? Should he have been?
Appreciated as always
Phil

A: I’m not sure how remarkable it would be to have one starter and one backup. I can’t recall, say, Cleveland or Dallas or Miami having more than two or, maybe, three after their championship runs. My best guess would be the coaches put Kyle in and Fred would be an add if injuries knock out a player two.

I do recall one year thinking that Jose got jobbed by not getting a backup spot but that’s about it as far as any major Raptors “snubs” that I can think of in coaches voting.

Q: Hey Doug,
Seeing our heroes at full strength allows us to dream Of another glorious post season run. Although I do believe they have enough to get to the East finals and maybe enough to get to another finals , they could use an addition or two.
OG drives me nuts with lack of consistency but he’s still a young player, but that is where an upgrade would be nice. So as the deadline approaches if we focus on that area. With no Star available out there would like to know your thoughts on who the Raps may target – I’m thinking Bogdanovic in Sacramento or Thaddeus Young in Chicago would be an upgrade…would even throw in a 1st, perhaps get a 2nd or two back in a package.
Also feel good about the Raps being able to pick up a Big in the buyout market as insurance for Gasol/Ibaka.
Always a pleasure, be healthy!
EP
Richmond Hill

A: I don’t think they will, or should, “target” anyone because the cost of major upgrade would be too great for a team that’s damn good right now. I think they’ll sit the trade deadline out but I do know conversations are becoming much more frequent know so who knows, really.

TORONTO STAR