Hollinger, Joey/Hump and a Nash trade idea

Sam Smith woke up this morning and couldn’t figure out what to write, so he thought he’d make something up. He came up with this. Let’s play along though, commenter BujuBosh came up with this trade idea which would send Nash, Barbosa and Barnes to Phoenix for Calderon (BYC), Kapono, Parker and Jamario Moon. The best player in this trade might be Nash but I think Jose Calderon’s inflated NBA value might be high enough for this to happen. Is it a good trade for Toronto? I don’t think so, we already saw how Dallas got burned trying to acquire a PG whose best years were behind him. And they were much more serious contenders than we are. Instead of a quick-fix which is what a Nash trade would be, I’d opt for going young and rebuilding. Or even status quo.

John Hollinger’s take on the Raptors recent good play (3-2 in 2009):

Toronto might have lost 115-109 in OT in Boston on Monday, but there’s a lot of things to like about how the Raptors have been playing of late. Roko Ukic (16 points Monday) has looked like a real NBA player lately, they’re finally playing Kris Humphries after half a season of hearing me beg them to play him, and the reinsertion of Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker as starters has helped seal up the leaky perimeter D. Now if they can just convince Jason Kapono that he’s a 3-point shooter, they’ll be most of the way there.

But the big change has been from Andrea Bargnani. The frustrating Italian was as worthless as any player in the NBA in the season’s first month and a half, but has played his best stretch of basketball since, shooting the ball confidently and consistently while Jermaine O’Neal sits out and raising the question of whether the Raps should bench and/or trade O’Neal once he returns from injury.

Bargnani’s month-by-month splits jump off the page — in seven January games he’s averaging 20.6 points on 53.6 percent shooting. He’s made 60 percent of his 3s, grabbed six defensive boards a night and he’s even gotten to the line occasionally.

I mentioned last week that we should monitor whether this is more than a little hot streak. It’s becoming apparent that it’s something more momentous — and that after two years of more fizzle than sizzle, the Bosh-Bargnani pairing, for whatever reason, is really clicking. All that has the Raps on a trajectory to salvage their season and, perhaps, make it to the playoffs after all.

It’s a shame that our goals have gone from winning a playoff round to making it to the playoffs. Those of you who actually voted correctly in the What would be considered a successful season? early season poll need to stand up and take some credit.

Here are those results in which 240 people voted:

Playoff Appearance 2%
1st round win 9%
1st round win, good fight in 2nd round 46%
2nd round win 16%
2nd round win, good fight in EC finals 16%
Eastern Conference Champs 11%

Now to Joey, how many here at the start of the season thought he’d be out of the NBA in a year? Lots of hands going up there. Graham was the most to gain from Sam Mitchell’s firing, check his numbers under Triano and Mitchell. They’re not mind-blowing but you can tell that he’s made the most of his opportunity. What the stats don’t show is that he’s been the most aggressive Raptor this season. He’s always been driving the paint but of late he’s added – dare I say this – a new dimension to his game where he catches the ball in the paint and executes a scoring move. I don’t want to call it a post-up but its something going to the rim!

Mitchell 12:25 4.71 2.71 0.29 0.21 0.14
Triano 21:47 7.82 3.77 0.77 0.50 0.14

On the other end, Triano’s not been kind to Hump. A lot has to do with Jake Voskuhl’s signing, him getting bruised up and his “I need to score ASAP” play when he does get in. The numbers support the thoughts:

Mitchell 11:17 4.93 3.35 0.35 0.36 0.29
Triano 06:58 3.00 1.69 0.31 0.23 0.08

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