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The HQ Mailbag - March 5, 2007 Edition

February 22nd, 2007 (Trade Deadline Recap - HQ Edition) - Jeff says: I've always liked Juan Dixon's game as a backup. Mind you, I liked Freddie's game too and look how that turned out. But what I think this does is give the Raps one more consistent guard to come off the bench. Before the trade, at the wing position we had AP, Mo Pete, and Joey. Now, Juan can take away Joey's minutes and put a couple of years back on our collective lives.

With the Raps roster, you pretty much know what you are going to get from all of the rotation guys, with the exception of Joey, who can be anywhere from really good to absolutely terrible. Now, with Dixon, you get a guy that at the very least will bring a consistent effort. He should be someone that Sam can get a feel for relatively quickly.

Bottom line, I like the deal. We moved a part that didn't fit for one that might and is a little cheaper to boot.

Franchise: Jeff, some interesting points now that we’ve had Dixon for a few games. When the trade first went down I really didn’t think Dixon would get this much time. Sure the injury to Anthony Parker opened up some spots but even prior to this Dixon was getting burn over Joey Graham.

If anything, this really speaks volumes as to how the organization views Graham and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on his way out after the season if Colangelo can package him in some fashion. Dixon’s half the size of Graham yet was taking his man off the dribble and driving hard to the basket whenever he could against the Cavs and while he gets a bit trigger happy at times, I think he had to considering the way the rest of his team was playing Saturday night.

As a final point, I’m curious about Pape Sow. He provided some nice energy and athleticism off the bench last year and in the past few games Toronto has really needed a boost, especially on the defensive end. Unless he’s still not healthy, I’m at the point now where I’d rather see him, Slokar or PJ Tucker before Joey off the bench.

February 23rd, 2007 (Trade Deadline Recap - HQ Edition) - dkmo says: I think the real deadline story was that the Raptors ALMOST got darko millic! I heard Colangelo on Prime Time Sports allude to (no name dropping) the attempted trade for Darko. He made it pretty clear that he will attempt to sign him in the offseason. He didn't want to give up all of what Orlando was asking for GIVEN he'll be a free agent in the offseason, albeit restricted. I am pretty sure this is why Kris Humphries got the minutes. (Colangelo's ability to make something from nothing is uncanny... Arajuo for Humphries... Jones for Dixon) Colangelo wants Darko on the team - that's not speculation. What he wants, he gets? Chances are that Darko will be a Raptor next year. What does everyone think about that? Will he reach his potential with the Raptors?

Howland: Darko is tough to figure out. In reality this has been his first season with any noteworthy minutes. He’s logging 24 minutes a game and 8.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. Nothing really jumps off the page here and his numbers are strikingly similar to Rasho’s. The main difference is that he is more athletic, blocks more shots, but shoots a lower percentage. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is that Darko is about nine years younger and is still just a pup at 21.

If Colangelo is going to find a way to get Darko to sign a reasonable contract, a few things need to go Toronto’s way. First off, Orlando is going to have to want to spend their money elsewhere, i.e. Vince Carter (although I would take Darko over that bum.) Second, Darko’s play has to stay consistent for the rest of the year. If he manages to string a bunch of solid games together or elevates his game in the playoffs, provided Orlando gets in, then the price tag is going to go up in a big way.

You would have to think that Toronto would be an appealing destination for the kid. Rasho could help mentor and he would be playing with a couple of his 2003 draft mates, in Bosh and Ford. When you add in the obvious international flavour he would have to consider it. The fact that Darko is still in the developmental stages at the right price it could be a great signing for the team and we have seen that Mitchell likes to play the big boys together at times. On Friday against the Bucks, Mitchell had Rasho, Bosh and Bargnani on the floor at the same time. Sub Darko for Rasho and you don’t miss a fact given time, a front-court with these three guys could be completely unstoppable.

At the end of the day if Colangelo thought it was a good idea, you would have to be a fool not to agree with it. I would be surprised if Orlando didn’t try to keep him, but I would support a Darko signing in Toronto.

March 5, 2007 (Tip-In: All The King’s Men) - PayMoPete says: Bosh is playing like he was when he was hurt earlier this season. That plantar fascitis doesn’t just go away, so could be that or the knee that’s giving him troubles.

Franchise: Interesting thoughts about Bosh as it’s very true that both types of injuries can linger and flare up without notice. There’s yet to be any word out of the Raptors’ camp that Bosh is experiencing any of these issues…however that may just be CB4 trying to play through them. I think the day off that Toronto was given will do the team some good. As many of our readers have mentioned, the Raps simply looked gassed (the starters in particular) and hopefully some rest and a re-focussed club will do wonders against Washington tomorrow night and Memphis the night after.

February 26th, 2007 (Game Day Preview - Raptors vs. Spurs) - Tfan says: Sam is not coach of the year. I think the Raps are winning in spite of him. I hope we don't extend the guy...

Howland: Tfan, we will be talking about this point later on this week. There seems to be some debate over whether Mitchell has earned an extension. For me it boils down to a couple points. The first is how much of this year’s improvement is the result of simply having better players and how much of it stems from better coaching. Second, who else could be available, and third (and perhaps more importantly) how do the players feel? Do they and will they still listen to Mitchell’s words? Seems to me the players have a lot of respect for Mitchell and he seems to have gelled with the European guys. I think the biggest thing in Mitchell’s favour at this point is that the team has exceeded expectations and he and Chris Bosh seem to have a really strong relationship. Under Mitchell’s tutelage Bosh has really developed and Mitchell has to be given some credit for that as he has put the franchise player through the school or hard knocks.

I actually think that Colangelo hasn’t made a decision and it will be the playoffs that will make or break it for Mitchell. It is during the playoffs when coaching can make a huge difference between moving on and being sent home. If Mitchell does a solid job with the X’s and O’s during the playoffs and shows some coaching savvy, then I think Colangelo starts drawing up a new contract. If Mitchell is clearly out-coached come playoff time then BC will have a good reason for cutting ties and moving on. Can you imagine if he brought in a coach from the Euroleague? Just throwing it out there...

March 1st, 2007 (Tip-In – Respect the Architect) - Jon Freir says: I was involved in a loooong string of emails with Marty York when he called out Swirsky…If I could have I would have attached it. He kinda always seems to miss the mark, doesn’t he?

Franchise: Last time we talk Marty unless he publishes a Chris Bosh for the top pick in the draft type rumour...

Yes, poor ol’ Marty never really gets the picture does he? I mean it’s one thing to criticize an organization and spew venom, but it’s another when there’s nothing to back it up! I would have loved to see that string of emails Jon. Did he threaten to sue you? From Real GM’s message boards, it looks like Marty sure can dish it out but

March 2nd, 2007 (Game Day Preview – Raptors vs. Bucks) - Sam Bowie says: I think we should re-nickname Bargnani "Rocky" and get the chant going in the ACC. He is the Italian Stallion after all!

Franchise: I like the Il Mago nickname, but a "Rocky, Rocky, Rocky" chant would be hilarious. Not to mention that it would give the in-game folks an excuse to play the theme music from the movie...which would be about a billion times better than "Let’s Get Loud, Let’s Get Loud..."

March 3rd, 2007 (Tip-In: Trap) - Frank says: What the hell was this Cavs game?! I come home from a night of drinking to see the Raps have performed like this!! Well, Juan Dixon had, like, 24, so that's a bonus.

Howland: Nice to see our readers have a variety of interest...many of them we here at the HQ share in common.