Just came back from a Chinese Hakka joint and got a fortune cookie at the end of the meal. Got me thinking, what would fortune cookies for the current crop of Raptors be. Without further ado:

There’s light at the end of the tunnel – Jose Calderon

As Sam elaborated on in his rather optimistic trade options post, he’s bound to get traded. The Raptors should get a better return than what they would’ve gotten a year or two ago, which is odd, but once you consider the stage of his contract and his recent form, it adds up. He’s given the proverbial 100% since he’s been here and didn’t even let the botched Charlotte trade affect his game or attitude. Honestly, how many players could keep their head straight after going through that? Calderon’s been patient through the years as the front office unsuccessfully tries to build a winner, while his youth passes away season after season. No worries though, a move to a contender could be what he needs to cement his legacy as a very good point guard. Right now, he’s got the “good player on a bad team label”, that needs to be shed because overall, barring injury, he’s a good player. Period.

One day you’ll need to pass, that day is soon – Leandro Barbosa

I find that he adds zero value to the team, not because he’s a bad player, but because he’s the antithesis of a what a rebuilding team’s sixth man should be. Barbosa leads the team in FGA/36MIN with 17.7, a stat that’s peaked in his two years in Toronto. The last thing the Raptors need is a one-dimensional player who takes a high volume of shots, has a poor assist rate, and is basically a black hole on offense. His acquisition made sense at the time because the primary objective of the move was to get rid of Hedo Turkoglu. However, after the euphoria of having exterminated Turkoglu wore of, the reality of the Raptors acquiring a player who is best suited on a contender as a niche scorer set in, and here we are now. It’s time for him to pack his bags, and for the Raptors to look to add some long-term depth to this position.

Be wary of the invisible defender a the rim – DeMar DeRozan

I was having a do-over of the 2009 draft and even if you view DeRozan in a critical light, here’s what I came up with: Blake Griffin, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Jennings, DeJuan Blair, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson, and DeMar DeRozan. Even if you throw in Darren Collison ahead of him, DeRozan comes out #13 in the draft. He was picked #9. Sometimes I think we need to realign our expectations of the man and see him for the player he is, not what he’s portrayed as by the club – a franchise player. We made the same mistake with Bosh, and could be doing it again with DeRozan. He’s a player on you wait as long as you can before making a decision on, his qualifying offer is for $3.9M in 2013-14. He’s played heavy, pressure-free minutes in his short NBA career, and has been given a great chance to shine, it hasn’t happened as brightly as we’d hope.

The skills that you got here aren’t the skills that’ll take you forward – Amir Johnson

According to 82games.com, he didn’t play center at all last year and is playing it consistently this year, the result is a significant reduction in PER and WS/48. Johnson is a very “pluggable” player (at PF) who any team can find a use for – he plays hard, rolls well to the basket, is a career 70% FT shooter (was 79% last season), and accepts his role as a “garbage man”. The problem is that the standards for his type of player are rising. If you look at backup PFs around the NBA, they all seem to be able to shoot and score adequately, something Johnson can’t still do consistently. Taj Gibson, Brandon Bass, Thaddeus Young, Ryan Anderson, Glen Davis, and Carl Landry immediately pop into mind, as bench players (I know Anderson got promoted this year) who bring more than just the hustle element.

This cookie fouled you, here’s your chance for revenge – James Johnson

People seem to hate this guy because he looks like he thinks things are owed to him. Like, after he throws up a brick in the lane, he’ll give the ref this look. Your first reaction to seeing this is this. Fair enough reaction, because somebody who is entirely unproven in the NBA should be channeling each call that didn’t go his way into motivation to get it right the next time and earn respect, not be petulant about it. Leaving that aside, though, Johnson has been a capable defender, and more importantly, a capable help defender. His offense sucks, pure and simple, but that’s not what we necessarily need right now. What is imperative, though, is that he improve his three-point shooting which currently stands at 32.1% for the season (career 29.6%). The Raptors are 19th in three-point shooting (32.7%, better than 31.6% which was dead last the year before) which is still not good enough, and one of the main reasons why the offense is 28th in the league. For a player who clocks 25 minutes a game at a perimeter position, he needs to add something consistent to the offense.

  • Pesterm1

    so glad u posted this. ive been up all night with a new puppy lol

  • bob

    Collison, Blair, teague and Gibson are not better than Derozan lmao. 

    • Lorenzo

      Blair and Gibson definitely are.

  • Bubber

    @bob ….. Sorry bro, but Gibson is better than Derozan IMO….

    • Theswirsky

      “Blake Griffin, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Jennings, DeJuan Blair, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson, and DeMar DeRozan. Even if you throw in Darren Collison ahead of him, DeRozan comes out #13 in the draft”

      Ty Lawson and Marcus Thornton push Demar to #15.  Gerald Henederson, Rodrigue Beaubois, Chase Budinger, Tyler Hansborough are all right there with him and likely would be ahead of him if they were given the same opportunity Demar has been.

      • bob

         LOL no. This doesn’t even deserve a serious answer. Buddinger better than Demar? LOL this actually made me laugh out loud. AHAHHAHAHA

        • mountio

          agreed. Completely ridiculus. Even in shitty dunk contest appearances, Chase is way worse than DD (let alone game play).

          • Bendit

            Whaaat? You didnt like the peekaboo blindfold dunk? 

    • bob

       Gibson is also 4 years older than Demar. Put Gibson and give him a role as big as Demar’s on this team and he would be exposed. Every player looks good on a good team. Not imo but straight up fact. DD>>>>> Gibson. Demar has now become underated.

  • bob

    YO IM STILL LAUGHING AT THE DUDE WHO SAID BUDINGER WAS BETTR THAN DD. AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAA!!

    • Theswirsky

      “are all right there with him and likely would be ahead of him if they were given the same opportunity Demar has been”

      Budinger ORTG – 114  DRTG – 105  WS/48 .140 WP/48 0.174
      Derozan  ORTG – 94    DRTG – 107  WS/48 .024 WP/48 -0.59 (yes thats a negative)

      enjoy

      http://www.thenbageek.com/players/compare?utf8=%E2%9C%93&player_ids%5B%5D=100&player_ids%5B%5D=318

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
       

      • bob

         Ok keep believing that Budinger is better than DD LOL

        AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh my goodness.

  • JHP

    Old sayings alert :-)  You can’t look good losing and you can’t look bad winning.  There are no stars on a 10/?? team.  With that being said,  I believe DD would look good with the Bull’s (actually saw a few games last year) and Gibson would look worse with the Raptor’s.  But what really annoys me about the Raptor’s is the downward spiral of the talent level on this team.  2/3 years ago the last 5 guys on the end of the bench looked way better then what we have now.  So JV shows up next year and we get a 1st run draft pick.  That’s only 2 bodies and I would not be surprised if this year’s draft pick (unless number 1) turns into a project. 

  • Sam Holako

    Yes yes…I was super optimistic with my trade proposals, but the fact is there isn’t a straight-up trade for Jose that makes any sense for the Raptors; unless I’m not seeing something. 

    • mountio

      You wouldnt do the obvious Jose to Lakers for a first rounder and a salary plug?

      • Sam Holako

        That’s one of the bs trades I’d like to avoid.

        • mountio

          interesting. Im pretty sure thats the market for him give or take .. if BC doesnt think thats enough .. we will probably being seeing Jose play out his contract here .. (which isnt the end of the world .. I just think it cuts short our long term future)

      • hateslosing

        Not in a million years. 

      • why

        on the balance of probabilities The Raps would likely come out on the short end of this trade  …. you are trading a proven NBA point guard for a late 1st round pick where the odds are heavily against you finding a player who will have a  meaningful NBA career.

        • mountio

          agreed – except you arent getting Jose for the last 8 years .. you are getting him for the next 2 or`~5 years (if you choose to resign him). So – you have to measure the probability of Jose being an effective, non-injured point guard the year after next vs the probability of a late first rounder pairing out. Unforunately, niether is greater than say, 50% chance of panning out .. but Id take my chances with the draft pick .. especially since you can spend Jose’s $12+ mm elsewhere …  

  • hateslosing

    “I was having a do-over of the 2009 draft and even if you view DeRozan in a critical light, here’s what I came up with: Blake Griffin, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Jennings, DeJuan Blair, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson, and DeMar DeRozan. Even if you throw in Darren Collison ahead of him, DeRozan comes out #13 in the draft. He was picked #9.”
    This is ridiculous. Demar was a player that when he was picked was expected to be a project and he is still improving. Also if you look at just scoring, the only guys on that list averaging more points than DD are Harden, Evans, Jennings, and Griffin. I mean we are talking about a guy who is the 36 leading scorer in the NBA on a per game basis. If you look at just February, he is scoring 18.5 pts per game and only Blake is averaging more from that class. Is he scoring as efficiently as we would like? No, but he is getting better, learning to use his three and attacking more.
    Point is, Demar is still getting better and still has a much higher ceiling that most of the guys on that list. Give him a chance and we’ll see.

    I also think we should keep Calderon.   

    • Theswirsky

      “Also if you look at just scoring”

      because as always the things that shows the effectiveness of a player is scoring.

      The more things change the more they stay the same around here.

      • hateslosing

        Demar is improving as a defender as he gets stronger, he’s already better than he was last year and with Casey he will continue to improve. The point I was trying to make is that Demar is better than a lot of those guys at some things and that I disagree with the order the article put those players.
        That said, I’ve always been of the position that the 2 and 4 should be your scorers and your 3 and 5 should be utility guys with the 1 as your play maker. So as far as I’m concerned, if Demar plays good defense and scores in bunches, he is the perfect shooting guard for this team so I rate his scoring as his most important attribute along with defense. The 5 is where I want my rim protector and elite rebounder and the three is where I want my utility guy. Actually, if the Lakers had a better point, like if we moved Jose to them, they would have exactly what I’d want my starting 5 to look like. 

        • Pizzaman

          only problem with your argument is Derozan does not fit that description because he is a poor shooter, and cannot handle the ball at all. Compounded with his horrible defense which is magnified by the fact that more often than not he is playing against shooting guards that can shoot and can handle the ball, he gets exposed for what he is; an athlete in the like of Joey Graham ( but tries harder), or Sonny Weems except that Sonny is a better all around player

          • hateslosing

            He’s a very good mid range shooter and his three is improving. He is also developing a post game that is pretty effective. His ball handling needs work but overall, he is already far more skilled than Graham ever was. 
            I think the problem is that you want a guy like a Reggie Miller at the two, someone who is very very skilled but doesn’t necessarily have elite athleticism. Demar will never have that elite all around skill level, not like a Kobe or someone like that, but if he can develop one area to an elite level, like his mid range shot which is very nice now he will be a great scorer. He isn’t the franchise, he’s the second banana. 
            Also, his defense hasn’t been that bad this year. He’s had some bad nights, but I wouldn’t say he’s been the worst on the team or anything. He’s getting better. 

    • j bean

      Agree with you on DeMar and he has shown he can play better defense but needs more consistency. I disagree with you on keeping Calderone.     

    • Ryan

       I thought the entire point of that blurb was to say that we were being TOO CRITICAL on DD right now and to lighten up on him a bit and not expect too much…

      He’s not slagging DeRozan…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ADFWRNJN3W3MGKNT3L5HPCC7UU DanielR

    Calderon is a good player and will likely remain a good rotation players for 4 or 5 years; keep him.

    Barbosa brings value to the Raptors because he is one of only three players on the team which can get his won shot. Bargnani, Bayless, and Barbosa. Bargnani is injured and Bayless is Barbosa-lite. I would not be upset if Barbosa is traded but neither would I be if he’s renewed for 2-3 years this Summer at a more reasonable salary.

    I am not sure where you get DeMar DeRozan was supposed to become a franchise player. I think most people which are upset with DeMar because it’s yet to be determined if he is a starter-quality player; a very reasonable reason to be upset in my opinion.

    Amir is a good versatile big but he’s a bit overpaid. Teams can certainly afford one of two such contracts so it’s no big deal.

    James Johnson was an excellent acquisition for a late first round pick. He will be a solid rotation players for years to come and that’s a lot better outlook than the career of a typical late first round pick. I find it amusing you want to set higher goal for him when you preach to lower DeMar’s projections based upon his draft position.

    • Ryan

      I don’t think Bayless really gets his own shot. He forces it a lot of the time.

  • Jeffrey Thompson

    I agree with you in saying that Amir is expendable.  The same can be said for Barbosa. You should take it easy on James Johnson, however.  He’s more than just a capable defender: he leads TO in steals and blocked shots per game.  The only reason his offense is not so great is because he never got a chance to showcase his skills.  if you saw him in Wake Forest, you would certainly see how much of a potential offense threat he could be.  His play is reminiscent of David West, to tell you the truth.  I think Demar Derozan is not franchise player material either.  He had a solid second year and is live up to all the hype the Toronto media has put on him. I can see him being another Mo Pete.  

    • Destro

      of course Amir is expendable but whos going to want that ridiculous contract…
      and Demar is better than Mo was and his ceiling is higher…and J.Johnson compared to David West is just terrible,there games are nothing alike…West is a true PF,Johnson is a SF with alot more athleticism and a much more multi faceted game…