Full disclosure. I have no idea which words to capitalize in the headline. I gave this a read and it didn’t help much, for example, I really didn’t want to capitalize the ‘who’ in the headline, but was compelled to because it’s a pronoun. I really hate English, sometimes I wish English was a bike lane and I was Rob Ford.

Today’s topic: Which Raptors could benefit from a shortened NBA season?

Linas Kleiza
He only played 39 games last season after he was shelved with a right knee injury in February. Before he went down he was running at a career-low PER of 10.1, and had trouble staying in the starting lineup. His advertised strength of being a 3/4 tweener was working against him because he was being challenged too frequently on the perimeter, and was only making 29.8% of his threes. In short, it was a forgettable year for Kleiza. Now, as much as he would like to get back on the court and erase the bitter memories of season past, it’s better he step back and reflect on what his future NBA role will be. The positives are that he’s a good rebounder at the small forward spot, and that he’s strong (which is why he rebounds well). The negatives are that he’s got slow feet, is an inconsistent outside shooter, and is not a good defender.

His game needs to be tightened so that he’s an effective role player. He was only starting because he was our prime free-agent signing last summer, which in itself, is never a good reason to hand out starting duties. Kleiza needs to fully recover, regain his strength, smooth out his outside shot, and then shed a couple pounds so the Raptors can think about honestly playing him as a backup small forward, and letting the power forwards do their job. Right now Kleiza’s half-ass power forward skills are contributing to the logjam at the four, he’s got a part to play if he wants to help fix that.

Amir Johnson
He played 72 games last season, whether he should’ve even played 60 is a question of debate. His back and ankle issues had him well below 100% for weeks, and the extended summer is all about recuperating those ails and and becoming stronger. Time off isn’t a bad thing for Johnson, he put last summer to good use by adding a nice little jumper to his limited offensive arsenal, and improved his footwork so he can play less defense with his arms and more with his feet. Sure, his jumper takes 10 seconds to unleash but at least he put his time off to good use. If he comes back 100% healthy and with a two-dribble post-move where he doesn’t look like he’s about to keel over or dribble it off his foot, I’ll say the lockout has helped him.

Solomon Alabi
David Thorpe says that Solomon Alabi has progressed this summer and has learnt the application of the physical tools at his disposal. If Casey and Colangelo stay true to their word and acquire that elusive defensive center, then it’s hard to see Alabi getting major minutes yet again. Playing time is what this man needs, and if he’s getting them in scrimmages in Thorpe or anybody else’s camp, it’s a good thing. When I looked at him last, I felt he needed to spend as much time in a gym as on a basketball court, and the lockout provides that opportunity.

Jose Calderon
I want to say he benefits because even at only 29, he looks like he needs a big rest. For the third straight year he played 68 games, the difference this time was that he looked healthy. At least until you look at the numbers. Of his last three years, this was his worst in terms of three-point shooting (36.5%), points (9.8), turnovers (2.2, he did play a more aggressive style), TS% (52.2%), eFG% (52.2%) and offensive rating (112). I confess, these are just numbers I randomly plucked to support my argument that Calderon could use some time off to be invigorated again. However at 29, you can’t really afford to go on a sabbatical to rediscover a lost touch. If he is to turn his career around and come close to the form he showed in 2006-2008, I figure he needs to take a breather and re-think just what his role should be, and more importantly, with what team.

Leandro Barbosa
Two straight years of injuries (44 and 58 games played). First with the ankle and then the wrist. This guy needs healing. I was hoping he’d had that second surgery he was mulling over, but him and the doctors figured it wasn’t absolutely necessary.

Jonas Valanciunas
He gets to play basketball in a competitive league, the rest of his peers don’t.

That’s that. I’m off to the Apple website to ogle at hardware I can’t afford.

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  • Ice_man

    Barbosa? He could certainly use the time off to heal up.

  • Milesboyer

    I don’t know how you find the motivation to come up with a new topic every few days, it’s like trying to describe the rain when you live in the desert.  Next article – “Which Raptor would benefit most from getting a university degree while the lockouts on?”

  • Bukowski

    A non-doctor’s question about Linas Kleiza. He had that microfracture surgery on his knee, which may be the result of longterm stress on the joint. It can be a cumulative thing. Anybody know if it inhibited his play last year before he got the surgery. i.e. was he slower and less agile last year because his knee was holding him back and he could be faster when he returns, or is he just naturally slow-footed and always will be?  

    • apparently, he hurt it in the first pre-season game, but tried to play through it.  if that’s the case, then hopefully it’s a reason he was so putrid, and we can hope that when he does come back, he’ll actually be worth the coin.

  • Johnn19

    Kleiza initially hurt his knee in the preseason, and played with knee and achilles issues improving enough to let him play, until they decided his knee was never going to get completly better without surgery.

    • Ya.  I think a lot of Kleiza’s struggles had to do with the fact that he was playing on one leg for the entire season.  

      • Sek99

        Lets say the knee affected most of his game, the guy still couldn’t dribble more than 2 or 3 times without traveling. I don’t think an injury will cause you to travel. The first game he played in preseason, he was brilliant, so maybe the injury did play a huge part, but I’m still not sure how good exactly he can be in the NBA considering his ‘tweener’ position.

        • Bendit

          You dont think an achilles injury (one practically drags their foot with one) contributes to a travel possibility?

          • Sek99

            If he was dragging his foot, he wouldn’t be on the floor playing. So no, I don’t think that well respected doctors who the teams hire to keep their million dollar investments healthy would allow a guy who is dragging his foot, to play. So I believe it was simply bad footwork/ bball IQ.

            • oops, i should read the comments before posting.

              and yeah, i agree, it seems he picked up some bad habits (in europe perhaps).  although, he seemed to be getting a lot of those calls against him based more on rep (like some of amir’s fouls, or the lack of calls for DD going to the hoop) than anything.  it’s a star-based league, obviously, and refs just love to show that they do call things like travelling.  well, at least against the schlubs of the league.  kobe can take 6 steps on his way to the hoop, lebron can ‘crab-step’ out of trouble, but if joe-schmoe shuffles his pivot foot 40-feet from the hoop, well, TWEEET!

            • Stephen Brotherston

              Yes his knee was injured in preseason and no those respected team doctors doctors didn’t figure it out until Feb.  Try to keep up – this is very old and over discussed news.

              • Tinman

                Brother Steve – you forget the sight your on.

                All in all a great post, but I think a better angle would be what teams benefit more from what looks to be a missed season. The Raptors would be near the top of that list.

              • Sek99

                I’m not sure it was all injury. I think maybe some of it has to do with the inability of his tweener game to translate. Hopefully it was all injury, but at this point, he’s big for a three, but can’t dribble or defend, and small for a 4, but can’t shoot consistently (like most other stretch 4/tweeners do) or defend, and I wasn’t really impressed with his rebounding either, to be honest. It’s like this. I watched the David Haye boxing match where he fought Klitchko. He talked shit for three years, had a shirt of him and his brothers decapitated heads, then he fought, wasn’t good at all, and said he broke his toe earlier, going as far as to show the toe afterward. Sure it looked broken, but then you don’t fight. You don’t talk shit (or in the case of the Raptors media push Kleiza as a great find) then just excuse away bad play by citing an injury. If the guy is injured, he shouldn’t compete until he’s healthy, and if he was injured, and not just hurt as most NBA players are day in day out, then he should have told the doctor that he wasn’t 100% and therefore his play would hurt the team, and sit out. That’s just my view on the whole issue of injuries and the like. Arse says a very similar thing about Amir, he played a lot of games last year where he just didn’t look like regular Amir, and maybe he should have rested. Right now though, there is no previous play by Kleiza to compare pre-injury version (in the NBA at least except for those years in Denver as a shooter specialist, not a starter) vs. post injury version.

                • Nilanka15

                  I think the injury was only part of the problem.  Triano wasn’t exactly known for his ability to clearly define roles and responsibilities.  It’s possible that Kleiza’s poor start to the season was mainly a result of trying to figure how he fits with the Raptors roster, which coincided with his leg progressively getting worse.

                • Sek99

                  This is true, but his overall ability just seemed lacking to me as a starter in the NBA. Like I said, I hope it was all due to injury and plays more like he did that first game in preseason.

                • Bendit

                  “..if he was injured and not just hurt…”

                  Is there a difference?…though I think I understand what you are trying to express. Sometimes doctors will give permission to play under the “you wont/cant hurt yourself any further” pronouncement. We just dont know the facts (behind the scenes discussions with doctors and management). Except he finally stopped and next we heard he had microfracture surgery and there were all kinds of observations and innuendo etc. The facts are also he had a very successful Euro tournament the previous summer where he was by all accounts very active and led his team to a good showing. I suggest we give him an opportunity to come back after recovery and see if he has improved from his play last season.    

                • Sek99

                  Well, first of all, there is a difference between hurt and injured. Hurt is like when you have the flu, or something similar, which may keep you from being 100%, but doesn’t drastically affect your game. Injured, on the other hand, is when you are playing at a level clearly below your usual or your potential due to an ailment or injury. Beyond that, I agree we should give him another shot after the surgery and all that, but from what I’ve seen so far last year, he doesn’t seem to be a good fit for the Raps or even a starter in the NBA. We’ll just have to wait and see if it really was all injury, at which point I guess I’ll have to eat my words.

                • yertu damkule

                  hey now!  having the flu (or ‘flu-like symptoms’) is DEFINITELY injured!

  • Rpsfan95

    if Dolphin could get his 3 pointer back he might be worth all that $

    • ‘Dolphin?’  i thought he was ‘russian tank commander?’

      • dru

        ‘russian tank commander’?
        i thought he was an owl?

  • Te-I-O-U

    Only thing I remember from Linas Kleiza from last season was the 5 second violation on the inbound vs New York. We ended up losing that game on a Felton Hail Mary, but the Kleiza FAIL!!! had me ROFLOL.

    • Pesterm1

      that was a fast count, i remmeber the videos and threads about it already.

      • exactly…like i said above, it’s a star-driven league, and that goes for on-court officiating.  you think kobe or dirk or wade is getting that call against them?  fuck no.

  • Sheptor

    Weems should also benefit considering he’ll play a full season over seas. I would also consider DeRozan since he will get a few extra months (ballparking) to work on an outside jumper. Just think if the season starts in December and DeRozan is stroking jimmys that entire time.

    • Sounds like YOU’RE stroking jimmys…

    • i think arse was just talking about guys who’d benefit THE RAPTORS by playing overseas (i.e. hoping that he’s never going to be a raptor again).  though even so, they own his rights, so if he becomes some star over there & attracts interest from an NBA team, (like delfino did), maybe they can flip him for a 2nd rounder?  or maybe a happy meal?

    • Stephen Brotherston

      Weems will make more money next season than he has so far in the NBA – So Sonny is really going to “benefit” by playing overseas.

      • omar

        Sonny will make more money if unconfirmed report is correct however the biggest “benefit” to sonny from playing overseas is that had for the first time in his professional career the opportunity [albeit limited due to the raps qualifiying offer] to determine where is the best opportunity to advance his development as a player! Sonny is an alfa-dog always has been, he led his high school to state championship, led his jr college to National championship, led arkansas to ncaa berth the first in yrs and a first round win where he dominated eric gordon,made  a stacked playoff contender in denver as a second round pick and when sent to the D-league led his team to the championship this is alpha-dog stuff, you either have it or you don’t it is Not something that can be bestoyed upon someone because it fits your organizational plan ie andrea and now demar! They are both scorers period although i will say demar has the desire to be more than a one dementional player and perhaps he will be under coach casey, i fear that andrea may be to far down that road and could be a lost cause! Demar is at the same point in his career as andrea was with sam but bc intervened and time has rendered its judgement on that decision. but i digress back to sonny,he came to the raps as financial filler in the amir for delfino deal destined to be cut from the roster, however in true alpha-dog mentality proceeded to not only make the roster but beat out the likes of bellinelli,wright and hedo for playing time not ot meantion he also outplayed demar and earned a starting role the final 19 or 20 games that season and excelled! Again alpha-dog stuff! What did his teamates think of sonny when asked to comment? andrea- he scored almost 20 pts per game no one expected that of him, antoine-sonny has a chance to be a special player in this league just on the defensive side of the ball, reggie- sonny is the X-factor on the team! Having overcome such obstacles and acommplishing so much sonny was justifiaby excited about his future with the raps, however sonny’s leadership was Not part of bc’s plan particularly given last yr was sonny’s contract yr so what did he do? He  signed klieza to a 20 mill deal and pronounced him as the starting sf. He took away sonny’s starting position as sg his natural position and returned it to demar. He aquired barbosa with the great help from his dad in order to rid himself of his great mistake of hedo at a cost of 15 mill for 2 seasons therefore no time for sonny at his natural position sg.problem solved bc’s plan restored and sonny is again put in his managerial place not as a team leader but as bench fodder! One would expect after all of this that sonny would acead to bc’s dictates and lay down and play dead!except that is not the nature of alph-dogs! So despite being whofully undersized and out of position at sf and robbed of his greatest asset his stunning quick transitional speed [2.95 3/4 court speed the fastest in combine history over the last 10 yrs] he proceeds to beat out klieza after a1-7 start to the season and at one point over 19 starts is the teams 2nd leading scorer at 13.5 pts per game! bc’s plan is once again sidetracked by sonny! Sonny hurts his back seriously, klieza gets his starting position back.Plan back on track! klieza is out with surgery on his knee, sonny tho still not fully recovered from his back starts at sf undersized and with a bad back. The last game sonny started he scored 19 pts and led the team! The next day bc trades the miami pick to chicago for jj and immediatedly gives sonny’s starting position to him! without even as much as a practice with the team!End of season and the start of sonny’s free agency. The raps extend a 1 mill qualifying offer to retain their last rts under sonny’s contract as if to now be doing him a favor!! Sonny said thanks but no thanks i will determine my market value by playing for 1 yr for a team who wants my alfa-leadership skills and not one that only sought to extinguish them and limit my development as a professional basketball player! It is sonny taking his career path out of bc’s hands into his own that is the Greatest “benefit” of his signing overseas the only out he had and to his benefit or detriment in true alpha-dog mentality he siezed it! Best of luck sonny you are my favorite raptor or ex-raptor. I look forward to your triumvirate return hopefully post bc! one last thing my best memory of you as a raptor was that unbelievable steal and behind the back blind pass to bosh as time ran out, if bosh makes that layup we win the game make the playoffs and perhaps the course of raptor history would be different and that play would have gone down as one of the greatest in raps history, akin to bird stole the ball! The raps today do Not have an alpha-dog.

        • Nilanka15

          I got about half way through this post, when I realized that I’m exerting far too much effort reading about a player who is all but guaranteed to never play for the Raptors again 😛

          • omar

            Why in your opinion is sonny ” gauranteed ” to never play for the raptors again? Is it because in your opinion he defied the great italian racist colangelo! just like chris bosh? therefore those on this and other raptor internet boards who support the racial apartide system purpetrated by colangelo and his italian henchmen will attack sonny even more viciously than they already have thereby asureing the raps would not dare to their right to match whatever contract sonny may obtain upon his return to the nba? Perhaps you are correct If the colangelo mentality survives in T.O. i am betting that it will not! You obviously disagree.

            • Malefax

              I’m just guessing here, but I think he thinks Sonny will never play for the Raptors again because he’s not a very good basketball player. I don’t think racism has anything to do with it — italian or otherwise.

              • Nilanka15


        • barenakedman

          One hell of a post omar. I’m hoping Sonny has a great time overseas and comes back strong in the NBA.

        • First

          Wow dude that is one solid block of mumbo-jumbo there. I’m sure there might be some good information in there, but please learn about indents and paragraphs. 

          • yertu damkule

            …and how to spell…

  • Mike

    The only player on that list that can benefit from a lockout would be Jonas. The other players mentioned have already peaked, plateaued and are just not that good to begin with.

  • J Y
  • No ONE! This only pisses me off….Bring back my NBA. The Tim and Sid Kid did a great comparison of the ’98 lockout and this one. The Grant Hill commercials are hilarious. http://t.co/RSZxHCH