Raptors mailbag: Could Kyle Lowry be a coach candidate?

Another excellent Ye Olde Mailbag and I continue to offer my heartfelt thanks for not bringing the “O.G. Anunoby or Pascal Siakam to Portland for Anfernee Simons and the third pick” or the “who are they targeting with the 13th pick” questions. The blood pressure remains only slightly elevated and my doctors appreciate it.

So, have fun with this and we’ll be back again next week.

1. I’ve been watching baseball and am fascinated, in spite of myself, by the strike zone. I cannot wait until it’s automated. What effect do you think that would have on the coaching position as catchers wouldn’t have to frame their catch anymore? Would it speed up the game?

2. Thinking about the Raptors coaching job. Heard lots of wild rumours, but wondering if Kyle Lowry could be a candidate. He knows the game, the city, and the players.

3. Lastly, I am enjoying the current round of playoffs. It’s got me watching basketball again. But, as usual, I am surprised at the sudden recognition of Jamal Murray and the Heat. American prognosticators seem to be blinded by big cities and their stars. One so-called pundit admitted she hadn’t watched a Denver game yet apparently had a MVP vote.

4. Thank God for you, your wisdom and your work.


I go back and forth on robot umpires at home plate. I’ve never been a big fan because I like the human element and I don’t know if technology can replicate every different strike zone. But …

Things are so bad so often it may be time to at least experiment with technology. It would eliminate framing, which is an underappreciated skill, and I guess the only way it would speed up games is that there might be fewer pitches. But how does technology “call” pitch time violations?

I think Lowry would make a good coach even if he once told me he didn’t think he could coach guys like him. Plus, he’s got about thirty million reasons to play at least one more season.

If anyone can’t find enough compelling stories about the Nuggets to get through a series, they’re lazy and need to retire their quills.

When Nick and the Raptors parted company, the first guy that I thought of as a replacement was Jerry Stackhouse. I know he coached the 905 and by all accounts did a very creditable job. However, not once have I seen his name mentioned anywhere.

Is he no longer in the Raptor fold?


-Ronald R.

A few people — myself included — tossed Stackhouse’s name in the hopper right off the bat but I don’t know if he had any interest. Saw his name linked to the Pistons job, too.

I think he would be a fine NBA head coach but it could be he’s quite happy at Vanderbilt, where he’s been since he left the Raptors organization about three years ago now.

He didn’t reply to a couple of texts I sent him but it could be the number I have is no longer his.

Sir: It has been mentioned numerous times that this is Denver’s first appearance in an NBA Finals. It should be noted that the season before they joined the NBA, they played in the last ABA championship series vs. The New York Nets. The Nuggets featured three HOFers (Bobby Jones/David Thompson/Dan Issel) and the Nets had a HOFer nicknamed Dr. J. It was not a “minor league” of talent in any way.

-Paul M.

No, it wasn’t where those teams were concerned — and didn’t Larry Brown coach that Denver team — but I think everybody writing that it’s the first appearance in the NBA Finals is right.

And I guarantee you’ll be reading tons about Denver’s ABA history this week.

Hi Doug. Love the mailbag and always anxiously await the next one.

You’ll probably get a dozen similar questions, but, how about Doc Rivers coaching the Raps?

-Gerry B.

I can’t see it and I like Doc a lot and have known him forever. He would be great for the reporters because he’s willing to have conversations on any number of issues and is a very socially aware man with a full life lived.

But for where the Raptors are, and where they need to go, I’m not sure he’s the best fit. I think they need a fresh voice, or a relatively fresh voice, and approach.

Hi Doug,

Hope you are enjoying the last few games of the post-season and all the potential storylines. It will be fun to see how it all eventually plays out.

Some Questions:

1) Comparing the remaining teams Denver reminds me the most of the championship Raptors in terms of depth (I forgot about Reggie Jackson being on the bench, a guy who did start in L.A.). Having said that, I do feel Blake Griffin can be allowed on the court during a playoff game (shame on Boston). Your thoughts?

2) A general question about “sources” referred to in NBA rumours or trade talk articles; who are they (not to name names) in general? By that, I mean what kinds of people supply information? Agents? The guys who mop the floor during games? Current or former teammates?

3) Following up on that, for some of the big stories, specifically the infamous Jimmy Butler-Minnesota scrimmage leading to his trade and the Draymond-Poole fight/punch, did it eventually come out who leaked the story ? (although the Butler story I think had media witnesses, correct me if I’m wrong)

4) Last follow up question: any idea how often these sources are fired or let go from their jobs? Or do the same people manage to stick around and leak info repeatedly? (All these questions are based on the assumption that journalists talk shop and that you share war stories with other writers months or years after the fact. So you may not have answers to these questions, or ones that you can share!)

Sorry for being in gossip mode, but inquiring minds want to know !

-Bernie M.

Depth is certainly a good thing in the regular season but at this point, most teams play eight at the most to keep their best players on the court and Griffin, who could eat some minutes in the season, isn’t among the Celtics top eight.

Most sources are agents, some players, some front office officials who might want to float something to judge reaction around the league and perhaps create some bidding.

I haven’t seen anyone linked by name to either of those events, especially Green-Poole because that was obviously a team employee who took the video and likely one that leaked it, too.

Often there are repercussions — demotions or departures — but they tend to come quietly long after the fact so there is not a big hue and cry. Teams like to keep that internal stuff and discipline very, very quiet.

Hey Doug,

As a fan, I find it important that teams play an entertaining brand/style of basketball. I truly hope that is factored into Masai and Bobby’s choice for the new coach as I have not enjoyed our style of play for the last few seasons. Will ‘style’ and entertainment influence their decision?

Winning a championship is important, but only one team can do it each season. Would you agree that basketball executives allow themselves to become too obsessed with analytics and winning, even at the expense of fan engagement and entertainment?



Last few seasons? I’ll agree wholeheartedly that last year wasn’t a fun team to watch, the season before that was 48 wins and a pretty entertaining club, the year before that was Tampa and no one watched since they punted on the year in about February and they were one of the very, very best teams — and highly entertaining — when the world came to a stop in March, 2020. So I’m not buying “last few seasons” in the least.

But, yes, the style a coach brings with him is high on the list but it also has to do with the talents of the players. It also can’t be No. 1 because No. 1 is winning, that tends to be fun.

I do agree there can be an overemphasis on analytics — this franchise hasn’t fallen prey to it — but there can never be too much put on winning. It’s what matters most, even if 29 teams fall short of the ultimate goal.

Doug Smith is a sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @smithraps


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