With three days off between games for the Toronto Raptors, it’s time to rest up, get healthy, and answer some questions to help ease the collective panic. In others words, it’s time for another #RRMailbag. You can find all of the previous editions of the mailbag here, if, for whatever reason, you wanted to read old mailbags.
Before we go ahead: A reminder that we have a Patreon page at patreon.com/RaptorsRepublic. If you appreciate the content we produce, want to support RR, and have the means to do so, any contribution is greatly appreciated and will help us continue to do what we do (and try to do even more). You can also follow me on Twitter for, uhh, tweets, and on Facebook for all of my writing/podcasting/radio stuff. Validate me. You can also ask me questions at any time using #RRMailbag, and I’ll be sure to include them in the next mailbag, no matter how long between.
Alright, let’s get this money.
In the future, sure! I like doing the mailbags in text because they can live a little longer and people don’t have to listen for certain spots in the podcast. It’s easier to direct someone here when they can Ctrl+F. And as much as I’m on them, I’m not really a big podcast guy, so I just instinctually think to do things in text first. But I know Will likes taking Twitter questions on the podcast, and the Weekly Extra show on Fridays will probably have time for a bit more of that between now and the postseason.
— Daniel Reynolds (@aka_Reynolds) March 6, 2017
Toronto Raptors fans wished for so long to just be respectable, and consistently OK. They got that wish when James Dolan declined to acquire Kyle Lowry. The cost, though, has been the curse of expectations. Expectations of constant improvement, of linear growth, and even just of health.
If you don’t consider the weight of expectation to be a curse, then no, it’s not. The curse is only that the Raptors have improved on their Best Season Ever multiple times in a row, and it feels really weird to no longer be moving forward. It’s also strange, after last season, to be getting hit with injuries. Yes, DeMarre Carroll missed a ton of last season, but he also kind of wasn’t really a part of the team yet at that point, so his loss didn’t feel as big. Jonas Valanciunas got hurt in the playoffs, too, but Bismack Biyombo was around to fill in, and the Raptors still got as far as they could have. The injuries to DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Patterson, and Kyle Lowry have been different, because they’ve cost the team core players they haven’t played much without, and because the replacement level in some cases was low. That the timing of Lowry’s injury was so unfortunate, coming right after a pair of uplifting deadline acquisitions, made it feel all the worse.
But no, they’re not cursed. Injuries happen, especially when you tax guys so heavily season after season.
(Related to curses: Consistently getting enough questions to do really big mailbags, but then also having to answer Reynolds as a result of your “answer all questions” policy.)
@BlakeMurphyODC how many healthy players will they have left by the end of the season?
— Danny Middaugh (@Middaughsome) March 6, 2017
None. They’re all going to be hurt. Injuries from head-to-toe by order of minutes played. Hair follicle injury for DeMar DeRozan, eyebrow issue for Serge Ibaka, beard problem for Jonas Valanciunas, nipple chaffing for Patrick Patterson, tummy ache for P.J. Tucker, all the way down to a pinky toe hang nail for Bruno Caboclo.
(They’ll be fine, probably. If you go into the playoffs with your two stars healthy and even just one rotation piece hurt or banged up, you’re in pretty good shape at the end of 82 games. The bigger concern, of course, is getting Lowry back in time to find a chemistry with Ibaka and Tucker, and in time for Dwane Casey to figure out his preferred rotations for the postseason.)
@BlakeMurphyODC time to move on from Carroll? He's been a disappointment since getting here.
— Jason (@bluejays2012) March 6, 2017
I’m not sure I understand exactly what you mean by “move on” here. If you mean move on in the sense of “don’t commit to 30 minutes for him, because it’s clear he’s not going to reach 2014-15 Atlanta Hawks levels,” then sure. At this point, Carroll has probably gotten back to what he’s going to be – a decent defender who plays up on that end when there are like-sized defenders around him to switch with, and a guy who can make some cuts off the ball and knock down open threes – and there’s not a great reason to believe he’ll get back to being a lock-down guy. He’s still useful, though, and of late he’s played pretty well outside of a cold shooting stretch (and keep in mind that threes are, by their nature, very high-variance).
If by “move on” you mean “proceed forward without him entirely,” then no, absolutely not. His contract is what it is, and at this point it’s a sunk cost. You can’t really look at it as the Raptors giving Carroll two years and $30 million from here, because the damage is already done on the deal, and there’s no recourse to get out from the contract – you’d probably have to pay a team to take him on, and waiving him with the stretch provision would eat cap space for five seasons rather than two.
It already looks like a bad contract, to be sure. Even if Carroll is only going to be measured by his playoff impact, it’s hard to imagine he’ll get to the level the Raptors hoped, let alone maintain it for two more years. But separate of the salary, he’s still a useful rotation player and one of the team’s best shooters, and so they’re better off with him than ditching him for nothing and eating the money owed to him. (If there’s unexpectedly a market for Carroll this summer, then the thinking changes, but I’m skeptical.)
@BlakeMurphyODC do you think TOR losing to the bulls all the time is karma for those NBA Canada comercials with the 96 bulls?
— Van Adam (@ShirtlessSuds) March 6, 2017
More monkey paw scenarios! The Raptors beat Michael Jordan, but the cost was that for eternity, a random Bull would become Michael Jordan each time the teams met for eternity afterwards. Normally, I don’t believe in such things, but considering what this has done for Tony Snell, Doug McDermott, and others in the past, and considering Joffrey Lauvergne is almost certainly dropping 40 in the next meeting between the teams, I’m inclined to agree with this theory.
— #ThanksPKWelcomeShea (@christodafur) March 6, 2017
Jokes and curses aside, I actually wouldn’t be that worried by the Bulls in a postseason series. It will only take one win to shake off the bad vibes, and once that’s out of the way, the Raptors are a better team. The Bulls have been outscored on the season and aren’t particularly sharp at either end of the floor, and outside of the problems that Jimmy Butler presents, the Bulls aren’t that tough a matchup on paper. They’re light on shooting, the Raptors have multiple defenders to throw at Butler and Dwyane Wade, there’s a huge edge for Toronto in terms of point guard play, and Robin Lopez is the type of center Jonas Valanciunas should be useful against.
Screenshot this for when the Bulls sweep the Raptors in round one on the back of Anthony Morrow shooting 40/45 on threes for the entire series.
— #GoBlue (@gobluecanada) March 6, 2017
The Wizards own the most difficult schedule from here. Toronto’s is quite easy in terms of the teams they play against, and they skew home-heavy once this current trip wraps up. Boston has perhaps the easiest schedule remaining in the NBA, with a home-heavy slate and the league’s lowest opponent winning percentage from here. Once they’re done this brief west coast trip, they’re going to be cruising the rest of the way, so long as they continue playing something close to as well as they have over the last few months.
If I had to guess, I’d guess that the standings finish as they currently set up, 2-through-5: Boston-Washington-Toronto-Atlanta. The Raptors are only 2.5 back of Boston, but the Celtics’ schedule is just so easy, and that’s a big gap to close out in 19 games. They’re just one game back of Washington and own the tiebreaker, but the Wizards have been playing better of late, and I only have the Raptors down for roughly a .500 records while Lowry’s on the shelf.
I hope I’m wrong, because…
— #ThanksPKWelcomeShea (@christodafur) March 6, 2017
…Getting the three seed would be pretty damn helpful! The season has played out such that the Raptors can’t really afford to look ahead to the second and third round of the playoffs, but it’s hard not to a year after getting to the Eastern Conference Finals. If the Raptors believe that the return of Lowry will make them a favorite in round one (spoiler: it will), then trying to avoid Cleveland’s side of the bracket is a worthwhile goal, and they should do what they can to get the three-seed, within reason. Lining up with Boston in the second round would be much better for the Raptors’ chances of an extended run (assuming the Celtics even make it out of the first round).
At the same time, the Raptors’ season didn’t have to include a conference finals return. Really, Cleveland is the stopping point and the measuring stick. If the Raptors gave Cleveland a better test than a year ago, even if it came in the second round, that could be considered progress (especially if they get through the first round more decisively). The injuries and poor performance during the season are what they are and may have conspired to lower the postseason ceiling, if the Raptors can’t catch Washington, but the 4-seed wouldn’t make for a lost season. Just perhaps an earlier exit.
#RRMailbag What would your ideal rotation + minutes dist. be now with DC & KL out? How will that change for the playoffs, if both are back?
— Myles Moose (@MylesMoose) March 6, 2017
The last time we did a big mailbag, I drew up the entire rotation in an Excel sheet, and it was…a lot. I’m not going to draw it back up. What I think will happen, though, is that DeRozan and Lowry will return to their roles propping up bench units at the end and beginning of their respective quarters, because Casey has long seemed comfortable with that setup, and it makes sense to stagger their minutes. There’s a good argument that Ibaka and Valanciunas should be staggered similarly, so that there is always an offensive post threat with one of the stars. Another thing I’m fairly certain of is that there will be no backup center in the postseason, as Casey shortens his rotation, and that rotation shortening may be such that only two of Carroll, Tucker, and Norman Powell play in the second halves of games (don’t forget that Lowry’s return cuts into wing minutes, because the Raptors will return to playing two-point guard lineups more often).
Forced to guess, I’d imagine the minutes break down something like this: Lowry (42), DeRozan (38), Carroll (26), Ibaka (35), Valanciunas (24), Joseph (18), Powell (12), Tucker (17), Patterson (28). Obviously, this is very rough and will depend on the specific matchup, but that’s a best first guess.
@BlakeMurphyODC ppl seem to know whats wrong with raps offense (little ball movement etc) yet offensive system hasn't seemed to change. why?
— Matt fisch (@mattfisch) March 6, 2017
A big part of the reason the Raptors’ system is what it is is because of the personnel. The Raptors employ Lowry and DeRozan, and employing those two players dictates how they’ll play to a certain degree. They’ve consistently been a top-five offensive with those two at the helm, and Masai Ujiri has looked for pieces that complement them offensively, namely lower-usage shooters and screeners. It’s one thing to suggest the Raptors should have been built differently, with different weapons who make them more versatile, but simply suggesting they should change how they play with this roster ignores who’s on the roster. They don’t have elite passers and playmakers around the floor. They have two terrific attackers and some smart players who can make the right play or the next pass, but nobody with the talent to make overhauling the offense realistic.
Now, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to vary things more, they’re just built to always be a low-assist team. With Lowry shelved, the Raptors have leaned on their motion sets a little bit more to initiate action, for example. But Lowry’s absence only exacerbates the problem of ball movement, because Lowry’s also their best distributor. It can be frustrating to watch when it stalls out, and the Raptors should at least make an effort to mix things up, but they just don’t have the tools to become a Spurs/Warriors-style offense on the fly.
@BlakeMurphyODC Am I crazy or was JV considerably better offensively and defensively last year in the regular season? He just looks lost now
— Vtec Papi (@Lil_moh23) March 6, 2017
Qualitatively, this absolutely feels true. It feels like we’ve had two or three Crises of Valanciunas already this season, and if nothing else, he certainly hasn’t taken a step forward. Diving into the numbers, he remains an effective dive-man when used, and his per-36 numbers outside of blocked shots are fairly similar. But he’s also dropped off as a post scorer, is hitting slightly less effectively from mid-range (albeit on a higher volume, which is nice), and has seen his offensive efficiency tick downward ever so slightly (mostly because he’s getting to the line a little less). It doesn’t feel like he has that occasional dominance in him as much this year, but the numbers overall are similar enough that maybe we’re just tricking ourselves because his role has been up and down, and because it’s frustrating that he’s the exact same for the fourth year in a row (useful, to be clear, but without that “next step” taken).
On the defensive side, Valanciunas remains what he is. It’s not so much that he’s bad as that the Raptors as a whole are better off with a rangier, switchier big. He’s not an elite rim protector, he’s a little slow of feet, and the Raptors have given up 4.8 points per-100 possessions more with him on the court than off. For what it’s worth, Valanciunas has graded out as a slight defensive positive by Defensive Real Plus-Minus (which tends to be kind to centers), but he did last year, too.
I think it’s likely that Valanciunas is the same as he was last year, it’s just our own expectations for him and Casey’s fourth-quarter usage of him that makes it feel like he’s taken a step backwards.
— Super Saiyan (@NorrisNT) March 6, 2017
It depends how long-term we’re talking. If we’re talking future-of-the-franchise, then no. He’s almost definitely getting shopped this offseason if things go well and the Raptors decide to try to keep the bulk of the core together. If long-term only refers to the remainder of the season, then yes, I think Valanciunas has some additional leash. He’s still a useful piece, and starting him allows Casey to stagger Ibaka and Patterson such that they’re both available and fresh for the end of games. He’ll also be useful in certain postseason matchups, like potential battles with Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, or Miami.
I don’t think it’s realistic to expect Valanciunas to play like he did last year in the postseason as a baseline, but he can definitely be better than he’s been so far this season.
— Mark R (@MR_Malice14) March 6, 2017
The Raptors have been terrific with Ibaka at the five. In terms of his own effectiveness, what they’re already doing is the approach: Let him play rim protector, free him to hedge on to ball-handlers or switch on to wings as required, and surround him with flexible pieces who can perform similarly. Basically, the PG-3-Wing-Ibaka is going to be Toronto’s best defensive group, and it provides a lot of natural spacing on offense despite a dearth of wing shooting because of the speed and Ibaka’s own shooting. There are some opponents against whom the Raptors might even be able to go two point guards and two wings, or to use Patterson as a second shooting big alongside Ibaka. There aren’t a lot of ways to go wrong downsized like this, and there are precious few opponents against whom you couldn’t get away with this look in closing time.
As a side note, keeping Valanciunas as a starter is probably the best way to maximize Ibaka as a five. I understand the pull to start the team’s best five out of the gate, but Ibaka at the four with a slide over to the five with bench units and late in the game should keep Ibaka and Patterson fresh without leaving Valanciunas as the lone big too often.
@BlakeMurphyODC Lots of talk on whether anyone foresaw DD ever being this good. How much do you attribute to situation w/ Raps (1/2)
— Kevin O'Brien (@KWOB33) March 7, 2017
It’s always impossible to separate these things with players like DeRozan, who were given every opportunity to succeed and grow and flourish, and Kawhi Leonard, who was in part the product of a great development system, and so on. You can never take away credit from the players, though. DeRozan has worked tirelessly year after year and never grown complacent, and he’s improved areas of his game every season. Ditto for Leonard, and most player success stories – guys don’t just get better without the work. In DeRozan’s case, the Raptors deserve credit, too. He was given the keys out of the gate, the player development staff has obviously helped, and they’ve built a roster in part around his strengths to further help him succeed.
I don’t have a good answer here, in terms of a split of credit or responsibility. DeRozan and the Raptors have been a pretty perfect marriage.
@BlakeMurphyODC do you think the 2 two-way contract guys for next year are already on the 905? If so, who would you expect?
— Alexandre MacDonell (@amacdonell) March 6, 2017
@BlakeMurphyODC also how does it work for player rights? On a 2-way, with affiliate club, but what if released, would be original rights or?
— Alexandre MacDonell (@amacdonell) March 6, 2017
The new two-way contracts in the collective bargaining agreement should allow the Raptors (and all teams) to better develop young talent without the specter of losing them to another organization. The best example is Axel Toupane, a Raptors 905 prospect who has twice been called up to the NBA now, having used the 905 as a launching pad. That’s a success for the organization, but in the future, his development could have benefited the Raptors, instead.
Looking ahead to next year, I’d imagine Toupane is the leading candidate to grab one of the Raptors’ spots, assuming he hasn’t caught on elsewhere. He’s a guy the organization really likes and who can contribute in some ways right now but hasn’t been worth cutting another prospect for. Next year, the two-way deal could allow him to make a salary closer to his market value in Europe while getting him up to 45 days on the NBA roster (plus time before and after the D-League season ends). With the Raptors out a second-round pick in a quality draft, I could see them signing an undrafted free agent for the second spot, using it as more of a true development slot rather than the NBA fortification that Toupane would provide. This past summer, Fred VanVleet and Jarrod Uthoff would have been strong candidates for the slot.
In terms of rights, I’m not sure exactly what your question is. If a player is released from a hybrid NBA contract, their D-League rights would revert to whoever had them initially. I can’t tell from the language of the CBA if a hybrid contract also acquires you a player’s D-League rights, but this hasn’t been the case in the past – the 905 had to acquire Brady Heslip’s rights in a trade this year despite him being in camp with the Raptors, for example. If you mean NBA rights, the team would lose them if they cut a two-way player, the same way it would work if they cut a player now.
This is a great question, and a tough one to answer. There’s not one guy I really gravitate towards, but different players are good to talk to for different things. I immediately loved talking to P.J. Tucker about the intricacies of defense, for example, and what goes into his ability to deny position and deny the ball. Fred VanVleet’s great for keeping it real 100 percent of the time and giving you honest, direct answers. Lucas Nogueira has absolutely no filter. Jared Sullinger was a funny quote before he left. And then there are other guys who give fairly empty quotes or say what you expect but are still interesting to talk to. DeMarre Carroll, for example, will critique shoes and give fashion tips. And I really like discussing the offense with Nick Nurse, when I get the opportunity.
So I don’t have an actual answer. Depending on the story I’m telling, what side of the ball I’m writing about, or what the mood of the locker room is, I’ll target different players. You guys probably have a pretty good idea from the quotes that come out who is/isn’t all that useful to talk to for stories. (And then I just won’t get the Kyle Lowrys and DeMar DeRozans of the world one-on-one, anyway.)
How old do we think Serge Ibaka is, really?
How is this a thing in 2017?
— Spencer Smith (@SpeSmitty) March 6, 2017
I think Serge Ibaka is 27. I know people like to joke about him and Bismack Biyombo, and that there was speculation about Thon Maker before the draft, but until we hear something substantial to the contrary, I’ll assume that the NBA and its teams did the requisite due diligence to confirm the players’ ages. Now, if the market bottoms out for suspicious reasons, then we can revisit it.
(What I’ve always found weird about these jokes: Biyombo looks young up close! Ibaka doesn’t look that old either, and I think if he shaved his goatee, nobody would question it anymore. Ibaka is also the first person in recorded history to wear a goatee and not be asked “You okay, man?” constantly. My dad grew a goatee around the holidays and I thought for sure it was Divorce #2 coming. It was not, but something was up, and I’ll get to the bottom of it one day.)
@BlakeMurphyODC If the nba ran an expansion draft which would toronto protect today? (ignore any of the free agency rules)
— halifaxian KD (@rapsfan1237) March 6, 2017
I’m going to answer based off the rules the NBA used when the Charlotte Bobcats entered the league in 2004, not the NHL’s new expansion rules or some other format. When Charlotte entered, NBA teams were allowed to protect eight players who were either under contract or were restricted free agents (the expansion draft took place before the NBA Draft, so Kyle Lowry, for example, wouldn’t be eligible anyway). If the team had fewer than eight players under contract, they would have to declare at least one of them eligible for selection.
So for the Raptors purposes, the current roster except for Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Patrick Patterson, and P.J. Tucker would be eligible. The Raptors would have to leave three of the remaining 11 players unprotected, then, and I’d probably do the following:
- Protect: DeMar DeRozan, Cory Joseph, Jakob Poeltl, Lucas Nogueira, Delon Wright, Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell, Fred VanVleet
- Eligible: Jonas Valanciunas, DeMarre Carroll, Bruno Caboclo
The logic here is that because the expansion team could only take one player from the Raptors, you can leave multiple valuable players unprotected without the risk of being too thinned out. By leaving Valanciunas and Carroll unprotected, the hope would be that an expansion club flush with cap space would pick up a useful player despite the sizable contract, which would help the Raptors as they enter a summer in which they’re facing a luxury tax crunch and may try to unload those pieces, anyway. No, it’s not ideal to lose a player for nothing, especially a young, useful one like Valanciunas, but an expansion draft assumes they’re at risk of losing assets regardless, and the priority then should be maximizing the 15-man roster under those constraints. That means trying to use the threat of an expansion pick to shed salary and allow more players to be retained.
(Alternatively, you could protect Valanciunas and hope to trade him to said team, although an expansion team is unlikely to be dealing assets. I imagine leaving Valanciunas unprotected will be an unpopular opinion, but I’m trying to be realistic about the financial situation the Raptors will face if things go well in April and May.)
Note: I’m not 100 percent clear on how Lowry would be handled here given his player option, but I’m going to assume he would be treated as a UFA.
#RRMailbag What is the status of Chris Bosh? Any chance on seeing him play in the NBA again?
— Myles Moose (@MylesMoose) March 6, 2017
I have nothing inside on the Chris Bosh situation. He recently said during his debut on TNT (a great spot for him, by the way) that his health is “great” and that he’s working out and trying to stay ready. He avoided commenting on his exact plans or a return, but it’s pretty clear he doesn’t want to give it up just yet. Which is cool…I’d love to see him back, I just hope he gets about a million medical opinions first to make sure it’s 100 percent risk-free, because I like Chris Bosh the person way too much to risk his health for another glimpse at Chris Bosh the player.
The Miami Heat, meanwhile, worked out Jared Sullinger this week in anticipation of opening up a roster spot by clearing Bosh from their cap sheet. Bosh’s deal doesn’t run out until after the 2018-19 season, and the Heat would obviously like to get that $25-million-ish cap hit off their books in the next two seasons. He’s going to get his money regardless, but if Bosh’s medial condition is deemed career-ending, a significant portion will be covered by insurance, and Bosh won’t count against the Heat’s cap. (He can’t ever play for the Heat again in that scenario, and if he plays 25 games in any one of the seasons his contract covers, he’d go back on the Heat books.)
It’s a complex situation the public doesn’t have all of the information on. Here’s hoping Bosh is at least healthy enough to live a complication-free life, and that if he ever does return to the NBA, it’s not with his pal LeBron James in Ohio.
@BlakeMurphyODC who do hate more? Paul Pierce or Roman Reigns?
— Szechuan Kenobi (@flavourjedi) March 6, 2017
I’m going to go heel here and reveal that I don’t actually hate either.
Paul Pierce was obviously a major thorn in the Raptors’ side for a few postseasons, but it’s really difficult, in retrospect, not to laugh at it. Yeah, the actual on-court developments were annoying – James Johnson sitting on the bench, Landry Fields getting hurt, Pierce hitting shots long after he had any business hitting them – but this man who can’t even figure out how to post images on Twitter had memes at the ready to stunt on the Raptors. Memes! The guy uses two flip-phones at a time, makes his first “blew a 3-1 lead” joke months after it’s already dead, and has botched posting images and emojis online. And he dunked on the Raptors, figuratively.
Roman Reigns, meanwhile, is #ActuallyGood. He’s been booked terribly by WWE in terms of getting him over with the larger audience, but it’s hard to argue with his actual work, especially when he’s allowed to just be himself as a character rather than spouting cheesy, Vince McMahon-written lines. Reigns is a quality, if not plus, worker, a great seller, and a good in-ring storyteller, especially when it comes to brawling, and he’s among the best in the business from a facial expression/one-liner perspective. “This is my yard now!” at the Rumble? Amazing. Last night’s close to Raw? Excellent. His match with Braun Strowman at Fastlane? Great, if you ignore the bigger picture booking, and he made Strowman look great. He’s good.
It’s not his fault he’s booked the way he is, and I can look past that to appreciate the worker, like I can look past Pierce doing his damage against the Raptors to appreciate the hilarity of 39-year-old NBA Twitter Dad.
@BlakeMurphyODC which will be the larger total. Total length of lesnar goldberg match at wrestlemania or 2017 Bruno nba minutes
— halifaxian KD (@rapsfan1237) March 6, 2017
This is an awesome question in spirit, but realistically, Bruno Caboclo has already played 89 minutes at the NBA level and will probably get at least 50 more over the next year-and-a-quarter. I’d be surprised if Brock Lesnar and Goldberg at Wrestlemania goes even 10 minutes, so let me tweak your question: Caboclo career minutes vs. Lesnar-Goldberg seconds. So a 10-minute match would be the equivalent of 600 NBA minutes. Suddenly, this is really tough.
I’m still going to go with Caboclo, though. Let’s give Lesnar-Goldber a whopping seven minutes between bells (entrances don’t count), or 420 seconds. This is about five times the length of most of Goldberg’s matches so far, so we’re being very liberal, but I’m giving some wiggle room for some pomp and taunting and general shenanigans. That would mean Caboclo needs to play 333 more NBA minutes. Here’s a list at some recent Raptors who played 300-360 minutes in a season, to give you the context of just how little a role that really is:
Ben Uzoh, 2011-12
Quincy Acy, 2012-13
Landry Fields, 2013-14
Jakob Poeltl, 2016-17
We’re not talking a lot of time here. And considering the Raptors have already picked up Caboclo’s option for 2017-18, he’s got more than 100 games to get there. He’s got a better chance of that than Goldberg does of last seven-plus minutes in a match in 2017…or 1997, to be honest.
Caboclo, by the way, has made nice strides this season as a defender. Given his length and the fact that he’s looked comfortable at power forward as much as small forward, and that he’s still one of the 20 youngest players in the NBA, there’s still reason to believe he could develop into a depth piece. He’s not really that close, yet – his 3-point stroke, while pretty, isn’t consistent, and his role under coach Jerry Stackhouse has been fairly limited – but you can still watch him and see what the Raptors are still hoping on.
@BlakeMurphyODC What do you think Joe & Balor will be doing at Mania? Not sure I'd want to see them together again so soon after NXT
— Mark R (@MR_Malice14) March 6, 2017
I had to hold off writing this until this morning in case something materialized on Raw. It did not. My honest guess is that WWE is keeping Samoa Joe in a holding pattern as destroyer/enforcer and holding off on Finn Balor’s return until they have a better idea of what Seth Rollins’ role can and will be. I remember reading on one of the dirt sheets this weekend that even if Rollins is cleared, they may only run an angle rather than a match. That could require Joe’s involvement alongside Triple H (and they may need Joe to take out Rollins again in the event Rollins can’t go). So, really, I have no idea. I don’t think throwing them together would make a ton of sense – Balor has no beef with The Authority and little reason to help Rollins – and Sami Zayn has already lost to Joe pretty cleanly.
I don’t have a good guess here. I literally have no idea what they may do. Luckily, if they get word Rollins will be alright, then they still have a month to build something for Joe/Balor, and I’ll talk myself into any matches involving those two pretty damn quickly.
I do not. I’m a proponent of throwing hot sauce on a lot of things because I’m pretty boring in the kitchen, often just cooking the same few things over and over again. Spiking a dish with loads of hot sauce is never a bad idea to break up the monotony. But Cholula is my preferred brand.
I love this. This has been the closing question in multiple mailbags now. I don’t want to rip things off from other writers (beyond, you know, the entire mailbag concept), but I’d love if “Who killed Jason Blossom” becomes my own Simmons-adjace “these are my readers” sign off for every edition. For as much as I love the question and the obviously robust RR readership interest in Riverdale, the best bad show on television, I’m hesitant to answer for fear of spoiling anything for anyone who may be reading and intending to watch in the future. There’s a statute of limitations on spoilers, but I was told recently that a tweet one week after initial airing was in violation of the socially acceptable timeline (it wasn’t a very big spoiler, I was just calling Jughead names and let something slip), so I no longer know how long I have to wait before discussing specifics publicly.
So let me end this by throwing two questions back your way:
- How long do you have to wait before tweeting/writing about a show? I was told once when I got annoyed at a Game of Thrones spoiler on a Tuesday that the window for safety is only 24 hours. I’ve personally always thought 72 hours was fair. A week? Can we just never tweet specifics now? I’m trying not to ruin anything for anyone, but I need this engagement.
- If you aren’t watching Riverdale yet, what the hell are you waiting for?
As a reminder, if you appreciate the content we produce, want to support RR, and have the means to do so, we’ve started a Patreon page at patreon.com/RaptorsRepublic. Any contribution is greatly appreciated and will help us continue to do what we do, and try to do even more.