Enough talk about Chris Bosh’s possible exit from Toronto or whether Calderon’s been injured or just crappy. It’s time to look towards the end of the bench and see just exactly what we have there and whether any of it is worth bringing back. The Raptors core consists of Bosh, Bargnani, Calderon and perhaps Marion but after that everything’s a question mark, in this post we’ll look at at 7 Raptors who are barely swimming in the NBA, the question is do we throw them a flotation device or a cinder block.
Kris Humphries: The argument that he needs more playing time so that he can carve his way into the rotation doesn’t hold water, not anymore. We’ve all sang the “play Hump” chant at some point and all he’s done is return is have a good game followed by two bad ones. He’s got some very soft hands and when you combine it with his tendency to play outside his talent level (e.g: taking 15-footers midway through the shot-clock), the bench will come calling regardless of the coach. Sam Mitchell rewarded hustle and you would’ve thought Kris would flourish under him but it wasn’t the case, even Sam couldn’t look past the lapses. The one great part about him is that he’s always ready regardless of how much pine he’s been riding and that makes him good enough to be on the bench of a team that’s trying to find its way. He’s got a reasonable contract: $3.2 million for 2009-10 and a player option at the same number the following year, ssuming he comes back healthy next year there’s no reason not to have him as an extra hand. Bench.
Nana Papa Yaw Dwene “Pops” Mensah-Bonsu: AltRaps thinks he’s a conman and I say there’s only one of those on the team and he’s a southern Californian hippie. It doesn’t take much to figure out that Pops is the hustle big man that we needed to sign in the summer or acquire through the draft (remember Robin Lopez). He’s got an affinity with the boards that I haven’t seen since the Willis/Oakley days, no, I’m not exaggerating. Who was the last Raptor big man that wanted to rebound and tear the rim down? I can’t even remember. For a team that’s been bottom 3 in rebounding all season long, I appreciate the 18.0 PER48 rebounding he brings. To put that in a Raptors perspective, the next guy on that list is Humphries and he’s 5.3 rebounds behind him. Sure, these games don’t mean a damn thing but hustle and rebounding is something that you’re free to evaluate regardless of the standings. Playing time.
Marcus Banks: I had high hopes for him, I even did podcasts with Miami bloggers to make myself feel better but it’s evident that Banks, well, isn’t every good. He can play some defense but so can Roko and he’s younger and cheaper and smarter and plays harder. I was told that Banks could take it to the rim but I’ve only seen him do that twice since he’s been with the team which means he can’t take it to the rim. He’s in his 9th NBA season and if he was going to become a serviceable player it would’ve happened by now. We already have one highly paid termite that’s eating away at our cap and we definitely don’t need another one. Buyout.
Patrick O’Bryant: The Celtics freed up a roster spot and the Kings got paid but I still can’t figure out what the Raptors got in this deal. Oh yeah, the soft feathery outside touch. Nobody knows how much he makes and whether it’s guaranteed or not but one thing is for sure: we don’t need him. Even if Humphries, Bargnani, Pops and Bosh go down I’d still rather Colangelo trade for a big man than give him extended minutes. He’s just not an NBA player and I figure Colangelo knows that, I fully expect him to be released, cut and clobbered. Buyout.
Nathan Jawai: Does anybody care or have the patience to see this guy “blossom”? We sent him to the D-League where he got special treatment (his own room and fresh razors) unlike anyone else and this guy wasn’t close to the best player on the team (his numbers). In fact, he wasn’t very good and did anything but dominate which is exactly what he needed to do to earn the confidence of his GM and the fans. Sticking by Bargnani is one thing but there’s no way I’m living with his mistakes for the next three years. We got a team option of $736,420 for next year, this might be a good opportunity to save some money. Bye bye.
Jake Voskuhl: Call me crazy, call me insane, call me a dumbass and slap my ass silly but I think this guy could pass as a 12th man. Best part about him is that he’s going to come cheap, won’t complain about playing time and try his gosh darn hardest. He’s good for 6 fouls against a big man and could platoon with Humphries as the next edition of the Banger Brothers. Offer him the bare minimum on a non-guaranteed contract and he’ll bite, hey, NBA beats the night shift at Sobeys. By no means am I suggesting he should get an automatic call to training camp, but if we’re tight for cash and need to fill in a roster spot, I’d take him. The fact that I’d pick him over Jawai should tell you just how low I think of the Aussie. Bench.
Joey Graham: Numbers last year: 38 games, 8.7 MPG, 3.6/1.8/0.4, 43% FG. Numbers this year: 69 games, 7.7/3.8/0.6, 49% FG. Nothing spectacular but a marked improvement. He’s been playing a very irregular role in the rotation, sometimes he’s the first guy off the bench, sometimes the fourth. The increased minutes have helped his game but role-definition is still an issue under Triano. He was most effective early in the Triano days when we actually ran plays for him, usually a weak-side flash which got him decent post-position or a baseline screen followed by a quick-hit pass. Don’t underestimate the impact of Calderon’s off year on Joey, he moves without the ball and presents himself far more often than what he’s given credit for. The official backup SF role next year and a place in Triano’s playbook will be good for him and us. Playing time.
Quincy Douby: Looks like Tupac.Follow @raptorsrepublic