Thursday July 16 2009 – 1:59pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)
POPEYE ON PUCKS
Very interesting segment on the FAN 590 earlier this morning.
I was co-hosting the Morning Show (“The Big Early”) with Gord Stellick and we had a chance to talk to former Raptor forward Popeye Jones.
But we didn’t talk much about basketball at all.
Jones’ son is one of the top young hockey prospects in the U.S. – a passion for pucks that was born in Canada but truly bred in Boston and Denver (Popeye’s other NBA stops after Toronto).
I know, I know, some of you out there are so anti-hockey that you’re frothing at the mouth right now but give the interview a chance. I think you’ll enjoy it. Our chat had more to do with life and parenting … and raising a young athlete … than specifics about the sport of hockey itself.
For those that have been asking, there is nothing new to report RE: Carlos Delfino, Rasho Nesterovic, Jarrett Jack, or anyone else.
Whether or not the reports of Delfino being “upset” at the Raptors (for coming at him with a supposedly low offer) are true or not isn’t really known. I haven’t had anyone within the Raps confirm that story for me. But I’d caution folks on getting too worked up over a player allegedly being upset over $4 million instead of $5 million. If that’s legit, I’m sure it can be worked out. We’re talking about a million bucks here (supposedly) not five or six.
As for Nesterovic, the interest is still there – and it’s mutual – but don’t freak out if something doesn’t happen right away. Keep in mind … it’s only July 16. We’re a little less than 3 months away from Training Camp and the Raps have already been pretty busy this summer with the additions of Hedo Turkoglu, Devean George, and Antoine Wright … and the drafting of DeMar DeRozan. It’s not like they’ve been “quiet”. So let it breathe for a few days. Things will come together.
Finally, the Pacers have until Tuesday to decide if they want to match Toronto’s offer for Jack or not.
LOOKING BACK AT BARGS BLOG
For those that didn’t read the COMMENTS section of yesterday’s blog, I have to address what I originally wrote RE: Andrea Bargnani.
I had some critical responses on the blog, on Twitter, and on email (with people sending me links to critical postings in some chat rooms and message boards as well).
Did I not say that Bargnani must improve on the glass?
Thus, I don’t know where some of you got the idea that I was “defending” the big Italian. He must be better on the boards.
However, some folks have to be realistic about how Bargnani plays (and how the Raptors play overall) – especially on the offensive end. He’ll likely never be a guy that averages 8 or 9 boards per game. And keep in mind … there were only 21 players in the NBA last year that averaged more than 8.0 rebounds per game. Just food for thought.
But while most of us want Bargnani to bring more in the rebounding department (on both ends), it should be noted that he went from 3.9 REB in his rookie season … to 3.7 REB in year two (the season he struggled through, big time) … to 5.3 REB last year.
So the bar has been set. Bargnani went up over a board-and-a-half from year 2 to year 3. If he does even half of that this season, Bargs should be coming in around 6 to 6.5 rebounds per game.
Again, realistically, it’d be highly unlikely to jump from 5.3 REB to 8.0 or more in one season.
Having said all of that, I’m not sure why I was getting ripped in comments, emails, Tweets, and postings on message boards. I’m not quite sure what was so wrong with what I originally wrote. Oh well … to each his own.
MORE ON BARGNANI
I’m not sure if I’ve ever made the Bargnani / Dirk Nowitzki comparison (though over Bargs’ 3 yeras in Toronto, I’m sure I have to have done it at some point). … But many people have drawn that line and it’s probably not fair.
As much as I hate comparing players (because each man is unique and has his own unique skill set), it’s probably better to compare Bargnani with Mehmet Okur of the Utah Jazz – at least for now. Plus, Okur plays alongside a big man that’s gobbling-up a ton of rebounds (thus taking away from his totals) in Carlos Boozer. Bargnani has the similar challenge with Chris Bosh in Toronto.
Okur’s last 5 years on the glass have looked like this:
2004-2005: 7.5 REB
2005-2006: 9.1 REB
2006-2007: 7.2 REB
2007-2008: 7.7 REB
2008-2009: 7.7 REB
Okur’s best season – on the glass and in scoring was 2005-2006 when Boozer was injured and appeared in only 31 games for the Jazz. With an increased roll Okur ballooned his numbers to 18.0 PPG and 9.1 REB.
That’s the bar that should be set for Bargnani right now. And based on the rebounding differential with Okur, as I said in yesterday’s blog: He’s got some work to do … but it’s only year 4 for him and he’s got a fair chunk of help around him.