Despite there being less than 48 hours to the actual selection, Colangelo, given his druthers, wouldn’t mind making the pick right now.
“It’s almost like the draft can’t come soon enough,” Colangelo said. “Right now is when things get really muddy. All the clarity you had gets a little bit scrambled because as the draft nears, names start to creep in. Is this guy going to go here and if this team trades pick No. 5 — which has been talked about a lot and is readily available if you are willing to part with the assets they are asking for — that’s a scenario where it would change the flow of the top 10.”
Colangelo did clarify that it’s no slam dunk that he will be purchasing or trading for a second pick in the draft.
“If the right player is there, we still may consider it,” Colangelo said. But at this time, he doesn’t think that will be the case because it will cost him flexibility down the road.
Wake Forest small forward James Johnson, a 6-foot-7, NBA-ready swingman who’ll move from college power forward to the more athletically challenging small forward spot in the NBA, has already been in for a second session, while Jrue Holiday, a 6-3 UCLA guard who teams hope can play both backcourt positions in the NBA, is also going to get a second chat with Colangelo and his gang of talent evaluators and coaches.
“Just to make sure that we look at them in a different light and get a second chance to sit down and talk,” Colangelo said yesterday.
If they stay on the sidelines they may be the exception on what is expected to be a busy night for trade activity.
“There are two things going on,” said one Western Conference executive. “The salary cap is going to be flat or come down this year and may shrink again next year, so teams are really watching their costs. The other is that after Blake Griffin [the unanimous first overall pick] there isn’t a lot of difference between the next group of players, so teams will be looking to move down and get a player they like at a cheaper price.”
With a buyer’s market for talent looming, Colangelo says the Raptors’ best move may be to resign their own free agents and then – once over the salary cap – use the mid-level exception to add a quality player.
“The Shawn variable is a big one,” Colangelo said. “I think we’ll prioritize it to make him a part of this team, because I really do think he’s a good fit, and I think you saw that at the end of the season, when we were really rolling … The message has been that he wants to be here.”
Then there is the mid-level exception of about US$5.5-million, likely destined for another wing player, and after that, various bits of housekeeping. Of course, all these are complementary pieces; the core is already here. The Raptors will rise and fall based on how hard Chris Bosh works this summer, and how hard Andrea Bargnani works this summer, and how hard Jose Calderon works this summer. Add Marion, and you’re down to filling in the cracks.
9. Toronto Raptors: Earl Clark F Louisville
Though point guards Jrue Holiday and Brandon Jennings are still on the board, the highly expected departure of Chris Bosh after this season scares many Raptor fans. Clark, who is 6?10?, showed he is a highly versatile player at Louisville. He can shoot, and also use his height to his advantage, as he averaged nearly 9 rebounds a game at Louisville last season. Clark will learn much from Bosh this season, and will get extended playing time in 10-11, and if injuries don’t affect him, he should be a fantastic player.
9. TORONTO: DeMar DeRozan 6-6 211 SG/SF Fr. USC
The Raptors need a wing player who can penetrate and get to the rim. With DeRozan still on the board, he would be a wise choice. The pick would come down to DeRozan and Gerald Henderson. Either one could be a reincarnation of Vince Carter, something Toronto fans would like to see.
There’s also a chance that Hinrich might be a part of a bigger deal this summer — or before the trade deadline in February — for a big-time big man. With a slew of expiring contracts and young talent, the Bulls might be the favorite if the Toronto Raptors decide to deal All-Star forward Chris Bosh before he can become a free agent next summer.
It’s not that Bargnani has been a bust, but he’s definitely been slow to develop and the Raptors have been slow to improve because of that, costing coach Sam Mitchell his job. So if GM Bryan Colangelo had to do it all over again, of course he would take Roy, who would’ve teamed with Chris Bosh for a sparkling Canadian combo. Many scouts took Roy’s game for granted, especially since he was hidden at the University of Washington. But he is unquestionably the best player of this draft and the Raptors don’t pass this time.
Befitting their status as the only non-US team, Toronto are an international franchise. They pride themselves on their worldly scouts. When it comes time to pull the trigger on an oversized white man who’ll undoubtedly struggle against superior NBA competition, the Raptors don’t hesitate.
Araújo wasn’t any good when he was drafted, and he never got any better. In his rookie year, he averaged 3 points and 3 boards; a slightly better contribution than what he offered to the Jazz in his last year in the league, three seasons later. Oversized, a bad shooter, and consistently incompetent at fundamental basketball tasks, Araújo was a badly wasted opportunity, drafted ahead of Andre Iguodala (9th) and Al Jefferson (15th).
Toronto Raptors – DeMar Derozan, SG, USC : A lot of people are saying DeRozan could very well be the Raptor’s pick this year. DeRozan can develop into a great player with his Athletic prowess, he can pave his way to being the next Vince Carter. Since Anthony Parker could be leaving Toronto, it makes sense to draft another SG to fill their SG role.
9. Toronto Raptors – Jonny Flynn PG – Video: In The Scrum With Jonny Flynn
20 years old; 6?0?; 172 lbs.
Bryan Colangelo said the other day that the Raptors have pretty much narrowed down their choices to five players.
Here’s my take on the five in no particular order.