And to think I almost made burner accounts: I’d threatened it a week or two ago, which was drastic considering how few of these mailbags I’d done. But this time around, I’d had but one Raptors question as we headed into Thursday. I said I’d take anything—and anything is exactly what I got.
Let’s dive in to this week’s HQ Mailbag.
Sixers-Raptors question of the night:— 40 & Dunking? (@MidlifeVertical) October 30, 2018
Would you rather have Norm Powell or Markelle Fultz at around 10M/yr on your roster?
My bonus "who would you rather have" question (just came to me today):— 40 & Dunking? (@MidlifeVertical) November 1, 2018
Pascal Siakam or Jaylen Brown?
Both averaging 10.9 PPG in 25-30 minutes/game.
Both inconsistent shooters.
Siakam gets more rebounds, but Brown better at 3FG (especially corner 3's)
There’s an old economic thought that you tend to value your own assets at a higher rate than those which belong to someone else. That’s why trades never seem like perfect matches. That’s why you never feel like you’re getting appropriate bang-for-your buck, even your $20 for a dinner out or whatever doesn’t feel like a fair swap since you’re absolutely trying to maximize what you have already.
Siakam and Powell are not mine: They are human beings who are employed by the Toronto Raptors to play basketball and they are good basketball players, too. But let’s really explore these hypotheticals.
Markelle Fultz is younger—and, as a former number one overall pick, he’s presumably got more upside. But right now, teams are letting him hang out on his own. Fultz cannot shoot and he is useless to the Sixers in that regard, specifically when he shares the court with fellow number-one-pick and fellow non-shooter Ben Simmons. There is upside there: Fultz is shooting a little better than he did last year, which is to say he’s shooting. He’s also showed a strong slashing ability and has a good array of off-the-dribble kind of stuff.
Meanwhile, Norman Powell is coming off his GoDaddy Curse. He’s looked good enough in his minutes and there’s been quite a fair bit of action with him as a dominant ball-handler. Norm needs the ball when that shot’s not falling, and him creating that downhill action and getting to the basket can be terrifying.
Jaylen Brown looks like he’ll be good, but keep in mind his growth will be stunted now that the Celtics have good players to play around him. I really like Brown’s game and he’s smart. But Pascal Siakam right now is just so fun, leading the fast break, hustling, diving, and dressing up for Halloween (more on that later).
Give me Siakam right now, especially value-wise. As for Norm versus Markelle, I think Norm’s a better fit with the Raps. I love what I think Markelle can do, but that shot has to fall for him to be a fit anywhere. He’s not worth $10M, Norm might be able to earn it. Am I valuing the Raptors’ assets to highly? Am I being a ridiculous homer?
what alcoholic beverage is each of the raptors’ players favourite and why— Sean Woodley (@WoodleySean) November 1, 2018
To note, I am in no way an expert on this matter. My best friend for answering this question was probably the Internet, right after I properly judged every player's personality type on my own. Basically, what I’m saying is I did BuzzFeed quizzes in-character as Raptors players.
Kawhi Leonard: Scotch, neat. A man’s man. Straightforward. The team’s Ron Swanson, right down to the peculiar laugh. This, I guess, means OG Anunoby has a similar drink of choice but probably something lighter and easier to drink. He’s not there quite yet.
Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet are so similar in their working-class-hero basketball-playing ways that I think they’re both beer guys. I’d say something like Molson Canadian, but I think they probably drink local. Kyle’s Philly through-and-through, so he’d pair whatever Philly beer with his cheesesteak. And Freddy’s got Rockford or Wichita if he wants it.
Serge Ibaka’s drinking a nice French wine. And snide jokes about his, uh, previous DUI aside, give Jonas Valanciunas an apple juice — what a kid he is.
Pascal Siakam uses too many hot-pepper emojis to not be a Bloody Mary or a Caesar.
C.J. Miles is Bench Dad. So, he’s also a beer guy—Official Dad Drink (tm)—or he’s really good around the kids and enjoys a glass of milk with his Oreo cookies. Either works. And yes, Sean, I know it’s now twice I’ve strayed from the original question.
Watching Norm Powell occasionally bug his buddy Freddy during interviews sparked a connection to some spiked lemonade. Give Powell some Mike’s Hard and let him loose.
That’s what I’ve got at this point. Happy to keep the good times rolling on Twitter on this.
will we get pictures of kawhi at the christmas party??— John Gaudes (@johngaudes) November 1, 2018
First things first, those Halloween party pictures were amazing, even as Kawhi-less as they were at first (he did eventually appear, Yeti-like, as a Navy S.E.A.L). Shoutout to incredible costumes from the Miles family doing the Bob’s Burgers thing, Danny Green in full Riddler getup, and I also really liked Pascal Siakam as Usain Bolt.
That being said, of course I hope we get Kawhi-at-Christmas photos. Can you imagine Kawhi sitting Kyle on his lap asking him what he wants for the holidays? (An NBA title.) If not, how about this: Kawhi in a sweater vest, formally loitering around the office, maybe sipping that scotch I know he drinks? There are two very extreme ends of a basketball team Christmas party situation.
I have clear visualizations for both and everything in between, and I hope something comes of it. Bottom line here is this: we need more pictures and video of Kawhi Leonard doing normal things (as opposed to the superhuman things he does on the basketball court).
Woj is reporting that the Raptors are in the process of signing Ramon Sessions on a $4.8M deal over two years. Thoughts? #HQmailbag— Nate S. (@Feurns) November 1, 2018
This question comes courtesy of a good friend of mine. He duped me with a fake rumour: Well, actually, what happened was I read it, said “What?”, started to Google it or go to check Twitter or whatever before pausing for a good minute or two. I then read who sent it, and yelled out “Nate!” (as in “Khannnnn!”), and then I laughed really hard. We like Ramon Sessions. Well, Nate likes Ramon Sessions and I’ve tagged along for the ride.
So, let’s do some quick Ramon reminiscing. Ramon Sessions was born on April 11, 1986 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He’s played for eight franchises in 11 seasons after being drafted by the Bucks with the 56th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft (ahead of Raptors legend Georgios Printezis). In his career, Sessions has averaged about 10 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds a game in about 23 minutes.
Okay, next question:
My non-basketball-watching friend took the rules to places I never thought they'd go. (On that front: It’s a good idea to stay as informed on the news as you can, while doing what you can to speak out when necessary. But here’s your reminder to obviously keep your mental health in mind. Bad and sad news can be draining.)
I don’t know who it is. But I do know what it is: It’s a beautiful sport. Just look at the way Pascal Siakam leads a fast-break or Kawhi Leonard strips Ben Simmons of the ball. This sport is fun to watch, so here’s to enjoying many more games to come.