This week on The Dr is In with PhDSteve, I begin by looking at the first two games of the NBA finals and offer some thoughts on the highs and lows for the Heat as they seek to repeat against four-time champs the San Antonio Spurs. I like what the Spurs have done to date but I’m sticking with my original pick of the Heat in 5.

Then…well…it gets a little bit more intense. After coming under attack last week for speaking out against the motivation behind the Ujiri hire- I offer several more reasons why I’m still not sold- beginning with the words of Leiweke and Ujiri themselves. I can’t help it but with each passing day I’m less impressed with the current state of the Raptors (editor’s note: when I recorded this pod on Sunday night the news had not yet broke about the Raps next asst GM- I’ll speak to it directly next week but for my immediate impression visit me on twitter @therealphdsteve).

Full disclosure- I wish I could be as optimistic about Ujiri as many of you, and I too want him to be successful, but as I explain in the podcast- I need to see it to believe it and even withe new asst gm hire I have yet to see anything I can get behind. From talking publicly about tanking to not making a pitch for Karl, I’m still waiting for something to believe in.

Its all the nonsense you’ve come to expect from me, with a touch of truth and analysis.

And now you know and knowing is half the battle.

Grab the iTunes feed or the plain old feed. You can also download the file (30:03, 27 MB). Or just listen below:

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  • footarez

    Please try to buy a decent microphone or at least make the sound better. It is always hard to listen to your podcasts. I don’t mean to offent but since a lot of people actually want to listen and you are already doing it if you record the podcasts with slighlty better quality of sound all those people that want to listen actually will.

  • Curious

    Where does the $5 million a year (said three times) come from?

  • Tom

    now that was a more insightful and aggressive podcast. Lots of great points, and I couldn’t agree with you more that Karl should be a priority for the many reasons why.

    I can’t understand why a guy like Doug Smith ,(the worst of the worst) adamantly says he would never come here so its a none topic. I’m so sick of him, how does a guy like that get a column. Offers nothing and shoots down everything.

    • ItsAboutFun

      “I can’t understand why a guy like Doug Smith ,(the worst of the worst)
      adamantly says he would never come here so its a none topic. I’m so sick
      of him, how does a guy like that get a column. Offers nothing and
      shoots down everything.”

      Maybe you don’t understand because you’re not privy to the conversations that Smith actually has with Raptors’ management and others around the NBA, and unlike people who don’t rely upon their relationships with these people to do his job, and to you know get a paycheck, he isn’t going to betray his sources.

      I’m often not crazy about Smith myself, but a couple of simple concepts need to be understood when judging the work the man does. He doesn’t write “columns”. He’s not a columnist whose job it is to express opinions. His primary job is as a reporter, which is vastly different than that of a columnist, and just deals in cold hard facts. His blog is a different story, but if when you say “he shoots down everything”, you’re expecting him to entertain speculation/crystal balling, he’s made it very clear numerous times that he simply doesn’t. He certainly let’s people express varying opinions, but does shut down incessant attacks on himself or people he respects, for which I pat him on the back. Look, all indications are that he’s respected around the league, and has a large following of his own. If you hate what he does that much, don’t go there. There’s plenty of other places to go and find kindred spirits that please you more.

      • SR

        I completely agree. I don’t love everything Smith writes, nor do I agree with everything on his blog. However, the guy just spent two years as the president of the Professional Basketball Writer’s Association (!!!) and has personal contacts not only with players and management throughout the league, but with pro basketball writers of all stripes on both sides of the border. He can’t speculate/gossip because the rumours are about a) people he knows, and b) people he’s gonna go back to as sources in the future. Do you talk public shit about how your coworker is underperforming and ought to be laid off/transferred? Think of how making public written statements about all office rumours would screw up your work relationships.

        Needless to say, when good chaps like our friend Tom troll RR screaming about how horrible Doug Smith is, well let’s just say Tom’s inability to spell words and punctuate a sentence kind of puts a proverbial log in his eye when he’s in the midst of criticizing a basketball WRITER.

  • RapierRaptor

    No backing down from the doc! I’d like to hear more about what kind of plan you would want to hear out of Ujiri at this juncture? Thanks for the podcasts, I enjoy them. I agree with an earlier poster that this podcast in particular was very quiet. You seemed to be speaking very softly.

  • ItsAboutFun

    Well, you seem determined to live up to your self-titled label: “all the nonsense you’ve come to expect from me”

    1. Karl: ASS-U-ME ing UM isn’t going after Karl because of some nebulous indifference is nonsense. UM has worked very closely with Karl for a few years, and likely knows where his heart and mind currently is, as much or more than anybody in the NBA, to say nothing of having plenty of evidence toward how they mesh together, or not.

    So, maybe he knows that Karl is simply not interested in moving to Toronto and taking over this team. Maybe he knows that Karl and him simply don’t see eye to eye very well, and he’s not going to gamble that it can be fixed. Whatever the reason (s), out of respect and class, UM isn’t just going to blurt it out for the rest of the basketball world to make any judgement of Karl and his pursuit of his next job.

    To say UM has made his first mistake because he’s not chasing Karl, without the slightest clue as to why, is irresponsible “nonsense”

    2. The Plan: Well, the exact same “nonsense” as last week. Since your so adamant about how they’re doing a disservice to Raptors fans, how about suggesting some examples, of the kind of parts of the plan, that won’t show their hand to 29 other GMs (which would be stupid), that you insist should be shared. Then there might actually be something to discuss/debate, other than some imaginary interpretation, basically speculation of what you’re talking about.

  • Blackjitsu

    Bravo. I don’t agree with you 100% but your premise is correct. The Raptors should be trying to take steps forward, not backwards, if the goal is a title. What is the point of building a team which is a few moves away from being in the playoffs to knock it down and start all over again? If the Raptors want free agents to look at Toronto wouldn’t making the playoffs for multiple years be a better strategy? Also, Wiggins may be the truth but there are no guarantees that in a lottery you get him. Why should a team that appears to be close to a playoff spot drop everything to MAYBE get a shot at a player? It’s all the same high turnover, little stability nonsense that BC has been selling people.

    Also, why make it public knowledge that Karl is out of the picture? Would it have been bad to fly Karl up here for lunch, start some rumors? Misdirection?

    What do you think of the Weltman hire?

    Isn’t it 3 Mill, not 5?

  • Brandon

    Steve, I agree, and I’ve said so in the past in the forums. MLSE, as McCown says, is really good at two things: making money and losing ball games. And every time action is taken to assuage the public’s outrage, there’s lots of accompanying talk about how much better it’s all going to be soon.

  • Ph.DSimon

    You are too dramatic. Weren’t you the one saying that Raps should go for Kobe or something? NBA GM is a tough job, not an exact science, give Ujiri some time to see what he does. Its like, can you assure that you will win in your fantasy pool against 29 other top players? What sort of plan can you have? A lot of the job probably has to do with playing it by ear and making good deals.

  • HogyG

    I enjoyed the podcast, and the fiery way you decided to defend your position on Ujiri, even if it is a bit shortsighted (I’ll explain what I mean in a moment). Your analysis of the finals so far was solid. I felt that in game one, both teams brought the kind of game they were playing in the rounds previous to this. I found in game two that the Heat team (as a collective) played their best ball of the postseason by hitting shots, creating turnovers,moving the ball, did I mention hitting shots, haha. Meanwhile, the Spurs had one of their worst games of the playoffs turning the ball over frequently,
    missing shots (other than Danny Green), and having Manu Ginobli show up like he switched bodies with the kid in gym class who had never bounced a ball in his life. Time will tell who win game three as it’s about to tip off. Personally I think the Spurs have the edge tonight, because overall they’ve been playing the better ball over the course of this post season(against tougher competition) and they have their fans behind them as well.

    Now, on to Ujiri. First off, I believe you made a mistake in that he is being paid closer to 3 million per year (for five years totaling $15 mil) as opposed to the five million you were insistent upon (still totaling $15 mil but over three years). I’m sure just an honest mistake (we all make them), and rightfully be pissed if that was your understanding, because at $5 mil per year I would hope for someone closer to Jerry West or Pat Riley.

    At any rate, aside from your preemptive disgust with Ujiri (which I believe stems from you wanting to be the man looked back upon to say “I told you so” if he doesn’t pan out. I will give you that, if he doesn’t pan out, you told us all first! Well done.), I generally agreed with everything you had to say about the direction the Raptors should be taking. I also think that the talk about tanking or blowing things up are as absurd as you do. Thankfully, I got that same impression from Tim L./Ujiri as well (the reason why they chuckle when they discuss tanking in interviews, just something that needs to be “acknowledged” to quiet the crazies more than anything. I consider it a bluff as much as anything.). I was grateful to hear someone feel like myself, that we have some reasonable talent on this roster and can do some good things with them.

    I, like so many it seems, enjoy that they want to evaluate things before making moves, take (for a poor example) releasing Bargnani. If we make coaching changes we may have a need for AB’s strengths (for example if somehow we found ourselves with [shutter] D’antoni as the coach) so, I appreciate his approach of “let’s wait and hold out to see what’s best moving forward”. No offense to AB, but I doubt if anyone is blowing up Ujiri’s phone in the hopes to swap for their star player, So, why rush things?

    On one hand, you couldn’t be more right, that we need to “strike while the iron is hot” and land a coach with the credentials of my main man George Karl (that may be all I’m contractually allowed to say on George Karl’s behalf, so +1 to what you said regarding him and his detractors). However, this is where you begin to be what I referred to as “shortsighted” (maybe not the best wording, but allow me to explain). In just a few days since Karl’s departure from the Nuggets, There is now word out that Lionell Hollins and Doc Rivers are both moving on, Not to mention there are other potential suitors for the position as well (McMillan, Sloan, Shaw, Laimbeer, etc. etc. etc.). It would be short sighted to not allow a small amount of time to pass for these things to unfold and allow to see a bigger picture (the full group of potential candidates) before hopping on one prematurely. Even one as qualified as George Karl. I believe July 1st is the date the team can begin to talk with potential players so why rush it.

    I’m reminded of the old bull and the young bull standing on top of a hill, looking down on a herd of pretty looking cows. The young bull say “Let’s go down there and have one of those cows”, the old bull replies “Lets walk down and have ’em all”.

  • Sprechen

    I don’t understand the vitriol. The season is not even over yet, the ink ins not even dry on the contract, and you want a detailed five year plan out of the guy fresh off the boat. He can’t even make deals yet and you want a detailed five year plan. Many assumptions littered throughout.

  • Joshua

    You should keep track of your prediction rate.
    You seem wrong more than your right.
    The Spurs are ahead.
    Generally people should have at least 6 months on a job before they receive such angry criticism.
    I believe his contract with Denver ends on June 30th. Correct me if I’m wrong.
    As for hiring staff it takes time. He’s fired a lot dead wood which is a good sign.
    The idea that a GM should tell you his 5 yr plan is stupid.
    Did Boston do that when they brought in the KG & RA. Nope.
    Did Miami do that when they brought in LJ & CB. Nope.
    Do the Spurs do that. Nope.
    How about the Lakers. Nope.
    Here you are sitting on your high and mighty horse saying this GM is no good because he hasn’t shown
    the world his 5 yr plan yet all of the above teams don’t do what you want our GM to do.
    To be a successful GM is similar to being a good poker player. Don’t reveal anything. Period.
    If you do, your stupid and lowers your chance of winning.

  • one relaxed guy

    I agree that not pursuing Karl is a mistake. In my opinion Casey is not good enough to work as a head coach. He’s good defensively, but that’s about it when it comes to his strengths. Everything else what he has to offer as a head coach are things like being unable to run offense efficiently, he’s poor tactically, poor when it comes to make in-game decisions, his rotations are bad and he doesn’t look like an authority to the team. And this is not the final list. I’ve been reading raptors republic for almost a year now and I’ve noticed that most of you most of the time talk about individual players skills, their performance and the need of a new GM but there is a lack of consideration about the head coach. And this is what i don’t understand. Actually, the only reason why I’m interested in raptors is because JV plays here and he was playing in my home town before coming to the NBA. So i understand that I’m just another guy with just another opinion who doesn’t even live in Toronto. So I’m just an outsider and my opinion isn’t worth a thing.. Still, I think that a good head coach is what you, raptors fans, should want badly. You should want this more than dealing Bargnani. Because a good head coach can create an actual team, not just some guys that run the court randomly and play with no idea what is a team basketball and ball movement and an open shot selection. This is what I’ve seen in this season but that can change, especially when MLSE wants to splash money left and right. So why don’t spend that money by signing good, strong, talented head coach. If you want to be successful head coach is one of the key persona in the organization.

  • Dr Scooby

    C’mon PhD Steven, Ujiri has barely started his tenure with the team – Chill my man. You want a ‘Plan’? Stalin had a Plan, the 5 Year Plan. How did that work out eh!

  • Dr Scooby

    What did Shaq call Stan Van Gundy…oh yeah Master of Panic…there’s a lot of panic in your podcasts.