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The Mailbag

Mason (Raptors Report Card - 1st Edition):
I’d say CV Smooth deserves at least a B+… he’s a candidate for both Rookie of the Year and Sixth Man, and you can’t ask for more than what he’s given so far.

Mitchell a B? No way. He’s underprepared and doesn’t know how to use the roster… is it a coincidence the team’s resurgence started when Keady came aboard? Not at all. Fire Mitchell and hand the reins to Keady.

Howland: We still support CV Smooth, (even if Jack Armstrong hates the name but continues to describe Charlie's game as "fluid", "controlled", and pretty much every word that defines a smooth player) but he seems to be falling back into his old UCONN ways of late. A three game slide is nothing to panic about, and his defense has been STELLAR compared to his last season under Calhoun who used to pull him when they needed a stop, but he may be hitting the rookie wall sooner than anticipated.

A B+ seems high for a guy you can't rely on yet on a nightly basis. Mitchell is making his point by sitting him against the front-court depleted Bobcats, and we believe Charlie will pull it together. One of our fears is that he falls in love with the outside game, circa Donyell Marshall, and does not develop like he could on the blocks. Am I the only one that sees a little C-Webb in his game? Not the young Michigan C-Webb, but the older, "settle for J's C-Webb" now in the city of brotherly love.

The thought of a two-man game with Bosh and Smooth is still great to think about and look forward to, but a B+ grade requires a lot more than he is displaying on a whole.

The Mitchell debate rages on. Yes is if we had hired the Czar, Larry Brown, or Phil Jackson we might not expect growing pains, but Mitchell is fresh, new, green if you will. He is learning, he is not a master, not even close, but he along with the rest of the team is growing and making progress. When he was hired no-one expected magic, and we still don't. Sure sometimes we all think we could do a better job, but we have faith. First and foremost he motivates, and knows his players. The knowledge of the game that is required to be a successful coach is not something that develops over night. Hence bring in guys that can provide him with the knowledge aka Keady, so let's not get too down on a guy that cares (Lenny Wilkins), does not belong in an asylum (O'Neil) or that doesn't try to take over the organization (Butch Carter). Besides if we fire Mitchell, Bosh is leaving no buts about it.

And for the record, Brian Hill is the worst coach in the NBA.

Chris (Tip-In: Slapped Back to Reality):

That ending was the absolute worst! It was like being kicked in the nads. But watching that game reminded me how freakishly talented VC is, if he played with heart every night, he’d easily be the best two guard in the league.

Howland: Probably true. That ending was the worst and yes that describes our feelings exactly. VC is just not a lover of the game however. You know during some Raps broadcasts how they interview the players and ask them if they are a "Lover or a Fighter"? If VC were ever asked that question he would probably answer "C: Can my mom answer that, because I'm neither. Mom?"

Guys like VC, Tim Thomas, Chris Taft, Kwame Brown, all drive me nuts. They don't play cause they love the game and they are not motivated by their affection for the game. They also are not motivated by the money obviously. What is it with these guys? What do they need for motivation? Can someone explain why some of these guys just don't get it and use the talent they have to the best of their ability?

Vince could have been one of the best 2 guards ever. Instead he'll be remebered for a few dunks and the fact that he didn't win an NBA championship, not much of a legacy.

Diablero (Around the Mocks: 2006 Edition):

Why do others always steal your material? You guys talk about the draft and then others jump on for the ride? What's next? Other blogs having a European scout to give Euro Updates?

Chapman: Look, we know that we know more about ball than most people, especially NCAA ball. It's not being conceited. It's the honest truth.

So, it's not surprising people would come to our site looking for information. That's what we're here for. We watch ball, lots of it. We are all admitted hoops junkies. We have the NCAA Full Court package. We have TiVo. We have girlfriends who get upset when we watch Creighton-Bradley to peep Nate Funk and Patrick O'Bryant. Rather, we watch that game and TiVo Marist-Siena to see if we can spot the next Rik Smits or Prosper Karangwa.

As such, our draft articles contain OUR reviews of players, not someone else's thoughts. We won't review players unless we've seen them play (and if we do, we're sure to give credit where credit is due). You'd better believe that we were happy that neither mock draft had us picking Andrea Bargnani or Tyrus Thomas. We haven't seen either of them play and wouldn't be able to give an honest analysis.

So, while frustrating to see our thoughts and opinions show up elsewhere, we aren't surprised. We just take pride in the fact that others enjoy our ideas so much that they have to share it with the rest of the world. As they say: Real recognize Real.

As an aside, will we be checking out Bargnani and Thomas soon? You bet. Next time, Benetton Treviso or LSU is on, you can be sure we're checking them out to see what these guys are all about.

Is it because we want to provide the best insight to our readers? Partially.

Or is it because we are so passionate about basketball? Absolutely.

Aaron (Tip-In: Bulled Over):

Listen, all I’m saying is that without defensive players we’re looking at continuing the cycle of out of the playoffs-8th spot-out of the playoffs. Can you really picture Villanueva and Graham battling it out with the best in the league three years from now? I can’t, that’s all I’m saying. We don’t have one single player who can defend anyone, that’s a BIG problem.

Franchise: Aaron, Aaron, Aaron. Love your posts, always starting a riot like the Kaiser Chiefs. I do agree with you that this team sorely needs better defensive players but let's not write off the rooks just yet. As one of our other readers pointed out, it took Tayshaun Prince almost 3 full seasons before he started looking like a player in this league. Even though he had great length he was viewed by many "experts" as being too thin to guard bigger 3's in the league. Now...not many other players you'd rather have guarding the opposing teams best player.

Joey and Charlie definitely have the tools to be great players in this league so let's leave the jury out on this matter for a while. And as for the Raptors being the worst defensive team ever...I think some of the Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Clippers teams of the past 10 years would certainly be capable of giving the Raps a run for that title.

Also Aaron you were asking about some of the foreign players in this year's draft. Watching the Eurobasket this summer I did get to see some of these players like Rudy Fernandez and Tiago Splitter and both looked quite good. Splitter has an NBA type body and looks like he'll at least be a solid defensive presence in the league provided he gets out of his contract situation. Rudy is the opposite...nice offensive game but looks to be too thin still to take the rigours of the League and he'll need to work on his defence ala Calderon. I've yet to see Bargnani or Belinelli play but as the year goes on we'll get a chance to touch on both of their games. This might actually be the year that Euro players get drafted too low if anything. With the Fran Vazquez incident still fresh in GM's minds many teams may feel Euros are too risky to take and thus pass on them. Unfortunately this may result in another case of "the rich get richer" allowing teams like San Antonio who will be drafting late and looking for someone to help them down the road, to pull off some more steals...

Walker (Tip-In: Sleepwalking...or...When You Deserve To Lose):

Forget James for Darko, I just don’t see Joe Dumars giving up on him until he at least gets some minutes and puts up some numbers. How about this: Mike James and Eric Williams for Shane Battier and Jake Tsakalidis. Memphis needs a point with Mighty Mouse down and might be willing to give up Battier with Williams being a hald decent short term replacement and Hakim Warrick waiting in the wings. I’m not super hot on big Tsakalidis, but he’s 7′2″ and his contract expires after next season, just like Williams will. If Memphis would give up Battier he would be a great young presence in the locker room, really tough on D and he is locked up for years. The salaries match, maybe some 2nd rounders could be thrown in if someone feels a little shorted, and it might really help both teams. Am I crazy or does that sound like not a bad deal?

Franchise: I love this deal for the Raptors for several reasons. First of all, as a huge Duke fan I would love to see him in the purple jerseys. But secondly, and most importantly, Battier and Mo Pete would form a great 1-2 defensive punch on the perimeter; the first the Raptors have had's just leave it at that. Battier would be another player with a great basketball pedigree too who could do those little things to help the team win. No he's no Lebron James...but he'd be a Raptor for the next few seasons and could be an interchangeable defensive piece if the Raptors were forced to deal Mo Pete.

However...I don't think Memphis would make this deal. They need another point guard after losing Damon but if the rumours are true and they won't deal him for a chance at Artest...I don't think they'll move him for James, especially only for a season if he resigns elsewhere. No, I think Memphis will make a play for Chucky Atkins or someone like that as opposed to Mr. Space Mountain.