Everything from Bruno to Barnes in this edition of Ye Olde Mailbag
After a few lengthy Ye Olde Mailbags, we’re back to a manageable word count, which is good because it’s going to be like 16C around these parts and you all have stuff to do outside, I’m sure.
Enjoy the relatively quick read and we’re back for the big game tonight in Cleveland, right?
Q: Hey Doug
Hope all is well and you are taking it easy. You are on the Mount Rushmore of Sports Media writers in this city and we are lucky to have you.
So on to my question. Can you see any similarities between Bruno Caboclo and Precious Ezinna Achiuwa in how we viewed their ceilings at the beginning? Did the Raptors learn any lessons from Bruno they are now using on Precious? Where do you see the ceiling being for Precious?
Dan from Toronto
A: I really can’t.
Bruno arrived as a teenager who couldn’t speak the language, did not have nearly the right support system in place for his development as either a young man or a young basketball player. I would have loved to see what he’d have become had the 905s existed then.
As players, Precious is way further along at the moment. I don’t really do “ceilings” but I think he can be a big time rotation player on a very good team if he figures out what he does best and works on it without getting too far ahead of himself.
I said the day they traded for him – and he was absolutely the key part of the Lowry deal – that he was in the middle of a Pascal Siakam-Pape Sow spectrum and I didn’t know which way he’d go. He’s much, much further towards Siakam today.
Q: Hello Doug,
I know one of your least favourite topics is grousing about the refs. However, in one of your latest blog posts, you noted that Canada faced some pretty poor officiating in their latest qualification games in DR. I didn’t see any of the games. Was the officiating equally poor for both sides, or did it look like they were tipping the scales in favour of DR? How blatant was it? Is this a theme in FIBA qualifying games?
I recall that officiating was also a sticking point in international hockey games for Canada. Maybe we have a different standard in our professional leagues, or is that our natural bias?
A: It’s mostly a FIBA issue and has been forever. The game’s too fast, the players too good, the physicality too much for refs to get hold of. Mostly it has to do with the fact a lot of them don’t see that calibre of play enough to know how to control a game.