From an X’s and O’s point of view, the thing that sticks out for me from this weekend is Philly’s decision to have a guy guard the inbounder when they knew the Celtics were going to looking to throw it in the back and run the clock out. In that situation I’m a believer that you get all your guys in either a deny position or a fouling position. Granted, Philly did have a foul to give so it was going to be tough to get the ball back for a chance to tie with three seconds left, but still, in theory you don’t guard the inbounder there. IMHO.

On the Raptors front, things are dead quiet as you can tell by glancing at the Latest Web Articles section. The next date of significance is the lottery on May 30th, which will provide the Raptors with a sense of what players they should be bringing in for workouts. A nice enough piece speculated on some options the Raptors might have if they get creative with the draft. If I know my Bryan Colangelo, he’s no good at that so there goes that. I expect him to draft a shooting guard with the pick because we got nothing there right now.

I sense it’s going to be a positional pick, which could be a mistake as this humble servant of yours believes that the Raptors definitely have to go the “best player available” route and not the “needs” route, so if it happens that Jared Sullinger is available, you grab him and figure out your options. Targeting positions in the draft is risky with higher picks, because you’re essentially acquiring fit at the expense of talent. Looking at the draft from a position point of view, there are arguably needs at the 1, 2, and 3 positions, leaving the Raptors with a range of options. If you subscribe to the theory that the 4 is up for grabs too, you’re not alone on that either and here’s why.

Remember all those years we spent building around Chris Bosh, knowing fully well that he’s not actually a centerpiece to build around? We kept plugging away, drafting around him, signing free-agents around him and it never quite worked. We hoped that he would somehow transform into the player we wanted him to be, when his ceiling had long been hit and he was what he was. We wasted five years in that process, knowing deep-down that it was a fruitless proposition to begin with. Now, here’s what I don’t want: I don’t want the Raptors to repeat the same mistake with Andrea Bargnani.

We drafted Bosh to play alongside Carter, hoping it would be the combo to take us forward. We then drafted Bargnani to play alongside Bosh, thinking that was the answer. We then drafted DeRozan to play alongside Bargnani…in each combination, there’s been a lead man and a secondary option. Batman and Robin type deal, except it’s more like Beavis and Butthead, but you get the point. In every mini-rebuild the Raptors have undertaken, they’ve carried forward a remnant of the past which has more often than not been, well, overrated.

Back to the point about the PF also being open. The main argument for that is that if the Raptors truly want to turn a new leaf they should shred the tie to the past, and if that’s not feasible (and it might not be), management need not make the mistake of portraying Bargnani to the fans and to themselves as something he’s not: a franchise guy. We’re still looking for our franchise guy, it doesn’t look like it’s DeRozan, and the hope has shifted to Jonas Valanciunas. Casey recently said that at the worst he’s a Joakim Noah, so we have a high enough starting point for him. In two years, though, he better be the clear-cut best player on this team, or this vicious cycle only bears to repeat.

  • pdjjw

    Hi Arse

    You wrote: “I expect him to draft a shooting guard with the pick because we got nothing there right now.”

    Did you mean point guard?  If not, can you elaborate on why you think they’ll take a shooting guard when he’s previously made comments about the need for a 1 or a 3?

  • Rus

    I agree fully with taking the best player available, and I think that’s what BC will do.
    but I have to disagree with your thoughts on past drafts.
    I don’t think drafting Bosh was a move based on drafting for needs, I think he was drafted because the brass thought he was the best player at that spot. I don’t think anyone saw Wade becoming the player he is today.
    Furthermore, the drafting of Bargnani and Derozan both IMO weren’t drafts based on needs, they were based on again, what I think the brass thought were the best players available.

    But, that said, I would like to reiterate that I fully agree with you on drafting whomever the best player available happens to be. Although Jared Sullinger imo isn’t the answer, that guy reminds me of Ike Diogu way to much. Lethal in college, pedestrian in the pros….

    • Brian Gerstein

      I was strongly in the draft Wade camp heading into the draft and was disappointed we drafted Bosh.  Having watched Marquette play a lot heading into the draft Wade’s explosiveness to the rim and his ability to take over a game was evident.  If we did not have Carter on our roster then I would still like to think that we would have taken Wade.  The Raps were looking for a big man to complement Vince.

      Having said that, there was no way in a million years that Wade would have reupped with us, but knowing the Raptors they likely would have gambled and lost that they could keep him and get pennies on the dollar for him.

      Having said that, had Darco Milicic fallen to us, we could have drafted him, and needless to say, that would have been a complete disaster.

  • Pesterm1

    After hearing all the speculation on the raptors signing steve Nash i highly belive this speculation to be correct and feel like we will get Captain Canada. Having said that… even more recently its been speculated the raptors will be targeting Jeremy Lin. I know alot of people may disagree but if we can sign both Nash and Lin we would be in a great possition and the raps would finally have the face of the franchise in Nash. Once nash retires and Lin takes over we have our New face of the franchise.

    Raps need Jeremy Lin and Lin needs the raptors even more…. think of the marketing possobilities for both parties. 

    • Ihatehaters

      Think of the marketing possibilities? Do you work for Rogers/Bell?

  • Phil

    I think the problem for Toronto is lack of defined roles for the players its hard to imagine what type of players our draft picks like DeMar,Andrea and Ed would be if they were assigned roles based on their skills and tendencies as opposed to future all stars, Bottom line, we need that number one option and frankly,there aren’t enough in the NBA. This whole culture change b.s only goes so far… 

    • Destro

      I kind of agree but i also think its more like certain players on this team are in roles that they shouldnt be in….

  • Brian B

    If JV = Joakim Noah and is best player on team, is that even a playoff team? Noah is great at being Noah, but is hardly a franchise player.

    Agree that trusting BC is dangerous- after all, he is the guy who used the first overall pick to draft a guy that played the same position as his best (and only good) player, then failed to trade either, hanging on til he lost one through free agency (yes, technically a sign & trade, but for nada). 

    I don’t think there’s a two guard in this draft who is better than DD, so would prefer that another hole get plugged. If going for “best player available”, better blow up the roster… the one we have now is a good three years away from respectability

    • Nilanka15

      Beal is already a better SG than DeRozan.  He’s a better shooter, rebounder, passer, playmaker, and defender.

      • sleepz

        J.Lamb is a better shooter, passer, playmaker and defender than Beal.

        Beal reminds me of Hersey Hawkins. Nothing to be ashamed about with that comparison.

        In regards to the comments on Bosh being  built around, BC built ‘with’ Bosh, not around him. You don’t take a guy #1 that plays the same position as Bosh if you are building around him as a previous blogger has mentioned. Colangelo has shown he lacks the ability to build and construct a proper team in his time as GM of the Raptors

        • Bendit

          I believe Bargnani was drafted to play centre. There are quite a few hits that will attest to this. If memory serves me, BC himself mentioned this and he started out as such. Argue if you will that he was ill suited for the position. 

          • sleepz

            But he’s now described by the same person who drafted him as a “natural” power forward.

            No accountability.

            • Bendit

              Yes he misjudged. But this is nothing new in the NBA. Happens all the time. Ergo, Dumars in Detroit. He is still there…why? How about his whiff on Darko (forgoing Melo). And draft day exchanges of Novitzki for Traylor and Roy for Foye. I think we came off easy!! As for accountability? BC is the chief poobah of the Raptors in an org. owned by faceless corp types….while in the midst of a 5-6 yr deal. That “offence” did not reach the fireable level imo. Worse was thinking Bosh was a franchise player and willing to give him the max. Now, I could get on board if that came to pass.    

              • Bendit

                One more, in the Bargnani draft…the irony…Aldridge for Thomas. Oh boy. And this was Chicago who are not in the habit of screwing up on high picks especially.

                • sleepz

                  Once again, bad move but both teams have been playoff contenders consistently since then.

                • CJT

                  Do you mean contenders to get in to the playoffs?  Or do you mean legitimate contenders?

                • sleepz

                  Only a few legitimate contenders every year but both those teams have managed some form of organization stability. Portland fell back a bit this year but with a top 10 pick in hand they will be back to normal next year.

                • CJT

                  Aren’t they both in that category where they aren’t really good enough to contend for anything but not usually bad enough to get better through the draft?  I think they have had good FA signings and trades etc. but it seems like they are both in that middle ground that we ofter hear about.

              • sleepz

                Dumars has made soem bad decisions, but let us not forget he has put together a championship team. That is an important distinction.

                I don’t know what has to happen to reach the fireable level but I know this is a result based business and BC’s results have not only been mediocore to sub-par, he has not laid any solid foundation or established a clear plan on changing this. His approach to building a team changes year to year. 

                • Bendit

                  Sorry I dont understand the argument…I thought we discussing the faux pas GMs make when evaluating players i.e BC miscalculating on Bargs (PF or C) and other comparable/worse examples I mentioned. You are making the argument for me that even accomplished gms make mistakes. That BC should be fired is a subjective opinion for many just as the retention of Dumars whose team has been reduced to rubble and devalued since the glory days now 8 yrs ago. How long do you suggest that Dumars keeps getting a pass on signing such luminaries as Gordon & Charlie V to unmovable contracts.  

                • sleepz

                  The pass might have already been revoked after those signings.lol

                  How much of a pass does another GM get (BC for instance) with less huge errors but also less accomplishments on his resume?

                • Bendit

                  Until the fan base makes it known that enuff is enuff. Its been known to happen you know…and this town too…same building.

                • sleepz

                  I don’t know man. The only way they make it known is to stay away but Toronto fans are usually more ‘blind’ supporting of their teams.

                  I agree that this type of action is required though.

      • Destro

        A college player never played a game in the NBA is better than a 17 PPG player in the league ?

        smh the things i read in here….

  • Bendit

    ”    when they knew the Celtics were going to looking to throw it in the back and run the clock out.” 
    Aren’t you being presumptious that the Sixers did in fact take that Celtics play into account? I believe they missed it.

  • jclaw

    I agree with the sentiment that it was a losing strategy to draft around Bosh.  Argue or bring up the rare exception as you may, but not many teams have won it all with their best player being a PF in the last 10-20 years.  The difference is, we’re not drafting around Bargnani.  We just have a lot of holes and PF is one of the smaller ones.  Where we’re drafting, it all comes back to luck anyways.  There’s just as good a chance that the SF we pass on to chose a PF goes on to greatness as the PF does so in the reverse scenario.  We might as well take a flyer in a generally weak area (123) rather than 4/5.  Unless there is a game changer.  Which there might be.  But nobody will know that for a while.

    • Mike

      “Not many teams have won it all with their best player being a PF in the last 10-20 years”

      I disagree, most recently Dallas with Dirk, Spurs with Duncan, can even argue Garnett was the best player for Boston in their Championship run. Gasol, though not the best player on the team, was vital part to the Lakers Championship run and at times was the their best player in the playoff.

      Bargnani is entering his prime years, I see him improving from what he did in the 2011-2012 season and establishing himself as “the best” on the Raptors.  Drafting best player for a position needed ie wingman or point would be the raps best move at the draft.

      • Nilanka15

        I disagree.  Drafting the best player available is the best move IMO.  Collect valuable assets, and then shuffle the deck as required. 

        I don’t like the idea of taking a lesser player simply because he fits a need.  If the best player available is a PF, so be it.

      • BKing

        After 6-7 seasons in the NBA, you are what you are. – Charles Barkley

        So this idea that Bargnani will improve significantly is just delusional.

        • j bean

          I think Andrea improved and played the best ball of his career last season even though it was only for a couple of short stretches.  If [and it is a big if] he is able to maintain that level of play next year  the 4 spot will be the least of their worries. 

        • CJT

          Charles Barkley is your reference?  Seriously.

          • BKing

            Only Steve Nash is the exception to that. – Kenny Smith

            You feel better now.

            • CJT

              Yes, now i feel better.

        • hye hye

          rap of the day

  • rapsallday

    It’s simple… Take the best availbe player… EVERYTHING is a need on this roster. It’s just that some spots may have a glaring hole more than others. Once you have the best talent availabe at the time your selecting. figure out what you want to do from there. *Does anyone know what’s the highest pick and lowest pick we can get??
    (Like i think we’re garunteed to get no lower than 10th or something…)

    • Hi

      Only the top three spots are winnable via the lottery, and all 14 teams have a shot at them. It’s an incredibly long shot, but three teams behind the Raptors in the lottery pecking order could feasibly leapfrog them—leaving the Raps with the eleventh pick. The highest they could go is number one. Their possible picks: 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11.

  • FAQ

    Demar has peaked and plateaued … Bargs is.. Bargs … JonasV is still an untested rookie … and Jose is waiting to be traded.  The rest of the team are fillers and scrubs.

    Okay, now let’s drop another draft pick rookie into the mix … and talk playoffs….

  • Raps Loyalist

    The Raps should package the #8 pick and Bargs to Atlanta for Josh Smith.  J Smoove proved this year that he’s a franchise level player and that is what the Raps desperately need. Atlanta needs to shake up its core a bit and get new blood and I think they’d strongly consider this deal.

    • sleepz

      That move is unlikely by the Hawks unless they feel they can get a real difference maker at #8. If it was top 5 pick, I could see them perhaps entertaining it as J. Johson’s contract is going to get real brutal in the next few years and they want to stay relevant in the East, but the #8 pick and Andrea for Smith? Food for thought.

      • Rus

         Why would Atlanta even consider this?

        • Nothx

           why would raptors even consider that ?!?

        • Raps Loyalist

          Bargs with Horford would be a really good frontcourt tandem and then with the #8 pick they could get a good young wing to help Joe Johnson and Jeff Teague in the backcourt.  Also, because of JJ and AH big money long-term contracts it’s gonna make it really difficult for the Hawks to resign J. Smith next year and still have money for other players.  Hawks have peaked with this group and they need to make a move.  J. Smith and Al are their only bog chips and Al’s locked-up long-term so Josh is the obvious trade bait.

          For the Raps, J. Smith gives them a legit all-star level player for the up and down Bargs and the 8th pick (a nice pick but probably not one that is gonna add a bigtime player to the squad.)  The #8 pick plus Bargs would be roughly the same cap hit as a J. Smith contract in the 15 million a year range so it makes sense for to make a move for him if the Raps are trying to build a defensive team (and J. Smith is still young so you can continue the rebuild around him as the central piece)

          • Rus

             The hawks can still amnesty a contract could they not, and whether that be JJ or Marvin, I was drafted before Paul, Williams I don’t know? So J.Smith could be resigned.
            I’m not saying I wouldn’t like to see J.Smith in a Raps jersey, I jsut don’t believe he’d ever resign with Toronto. Plus, does any other team really want Bargnani, I mean really, if you were another team’s fan, would you want Andrea coming your way? I know I wouldn’t….

            • Raps Loyalist

               Good point about the amnesty.  As for Bargs’ demand around the league I get the impression that he is very highly regarded by a number of teams because he can spread the floor so well for a big man and can be a very good secondary go to scorer (plus is contract at $10 million per season is very manageable with regards to the cap).  This year Bargs showed that he’s not a big liability on defense and the team played good defense when he was on the floor so that helped the perception of him around the league

              • Destro

                He is huge liability on defense *cut eye* you werent watching the games…lol @ you thinking the perception around the league is he’s a good defender hilarious !!

          • Nothx

             rebuild around Josh Smith? Really how so? I mean he’s a good piece to have ( he’s got good D, suspect O ) but he can’t even go deep into the playoffs with J.J and Horford with him……. Bargs for Josh, no need to give the #8 pick imho.

            • Raps Loyalist

              C….JV, Solo
              PF…Amir, Ed
              SF…J Smoove, James Johnson
              SG..Demar, Forbes
              PG…Calderon

              With this line-up we’d have $20 million to spend on free agents this summer. $4 million more if Kleiza gets amnestied I think that is a good place to start from.  Raps lack a true “star” player and J. Smith would give us one.

              Alternative/Status Quo

              C….JV, Solo
              PF…Bargs, Ed, Amir
              SF…James, Kleiza
              SG…Demar, Forbes
              PG…Calderon

              With the 8th pick we can land a PF that we don’t need, a project SF like PJIII or reach for a point guard about 5 spots too high (Marshall or Lillard).  If Barnes fall to the raptors then great but otherwise we are getting a back-up/project with the 8th overall pick.

              IMHO the fair trade would be Bargs (with the 8th, and 37th overall picks) for J. Smith (with the 23rd overall pick).

              I’m looking forward to seeing what BC does cause we all know he’s gonna try and make some huge attempted job saving move this off-season.
               

              • Nothx

                Josh Smith played with 2 all-stars and they as a team haven’t done anything in the east. What makes you think him with our roster is any better ? I rather B.C keep the 8th pick (PJ3rd) and watch him pound the rock with Casey till he reaches his potential.

                • sleepz

                  Johnson made the all-star team but most NBA observers acknowledge that Smith should have been the Hawks representative at that game. He affects winning on that team more than Johnson does currently.

                • Nothx

                   Fair enough. But my point is the above trade scenario involving him and bargs and the #8 pick is too much, my opinion. Plus josh has stated he wants out of ATL, which could mean he can be attained without giving up more than needed.

                • Destro

                  Bargs played with an all star who was much better than both and couldnt make the playoffs….

            • Destro

              Absolutely pick + Bargs for J Smith without hesitation…pair him with Jonas and bring in a new PG….now your making moves in the right direction…

    • Destro

      I wish we could but ATL isnt going to trade him for a one dimensional volume shooter…

  • j bean

    I’m hoping Casey is going to have a strong influence in the way things are put together.

  • guest

    I think Toronto fans and management have been too desperate in the past for that franchise guy.   Not every team is lucky enough to draft and Durant or Lebron or D Rose.   We should be taking notes from teams like Indiana and Memphis, because that is the trajectory this Raptors team is best of taking

    • Nilanka15

      Indiana and Memphis are good teams, but based on their current talent levels, they’ll never be great teams.

      If making the 2nd round is our goal, then yes, we should be using Indiana and Memphis as our templates.

      But if competing in the finals is our goal, then we need that elusive “elite” player(s).

      • NyAlesund

        What elite players? The point is: are there any elite players willing to come to Toronto? Nope.

        The Grizzlies are only a good SG to make at least the conference final. Unfortunately for them both OJ and Allen are not fit to score points when needed. Give them Eric Gordon and now we are talking to them as one of the candidate for the title.

        • Nilanka15

          Where is Memphis supposed to find the cap space for Gordon?

          Elite players can be obtained through the draft.  Hence the importance of tanking for a team like Toronto (that isn’t considered an attractive free agent destination).

          • NyAlesund

            You said throught the draft. So it means to have a big big ass to pick a real great player. Unfortunately the great player are not avaible every year.
            What do you suggest if we will pick the number 8to10? Another tanking season?

            The Grizzlies have space to sign Gordon if they want. Is enough not to sign OJ. Of course they willing to go in luxury.

  • koko_b_ware

    sorry dude…but the raptors didn’t pick bargnani as a perfect compliment to bosh…that’s nonsense…bc thought he was gonna be the best player

    • 2damkule

      you could argue that BC picked bargs because, among other reasons (CALIPER TEST, YO!), it would allow them to move bosh to PF (a position he had asked to play to lessen the tole it was taking on his body).  it could also be argued that one of the other candidates for the #1 pick that year (aldridge) played a very similar style to bosh (outside-in PFs with solid mid-range games), which may have left a hole at the 5 (leaving one of them – aldridge or bosh) to defend 5s. 

      personally, i think BC saw bargs’ skill set (agile big man with deep range who aced some psychometric testing – CALIPER TEST, YO!!) , and fell in love with the IDEA of being the guy who drafted the guy who ‘revolutionized’ the game.  one of the typical TO beat grunt refrains when it comes to bargnani is that he’s ‘uniquely’ skilled.  it never really comes up whether those ‘unique’ skills are going to lead to anything significant, but it seems important nonetheless.  i guess if you aren’t going to be good, you may as well be uniquely not good.

      • CJT

        Agreed.  I woud add that with his ability to spread the floor AB created more space for Bosh to operate in the post and mid range, take his man to the tin etc. with as much of a risk of a double team/shot blocker presence.

        • Destro

          you’re a terrible poster….AB created space for Bosh now ? hilarious…
          just like Bosh and Reggie Evans took away his rebounds…smh
          A guy who averaged 11 and 4 his first 2 seasons created space for a 8 time all star…you idiots dont even TRY to create sensible talking points anymore….

          and you have the nerve to say your not a AB stan…

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    Any Raptors team with Bargnani & Calderon on it going forward gets the Gas Face:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYp28tEAVvs