Yesterday was a fairly slow new day with regards to the draft, so until I have enough time to properly describe my hatred for Damian Lillard, I thought I might explore some hypothetical trades. Granted, hypothetical trades might be the biggest waste of one’s time possible, so by all means abandon ship now.
As I stared at the many mock draft boards that inform almost all of my opinions, I kept coming back to MKG and thinking, he’s going to be a solid NBA starter for the next 15 years. Other than Anthony Davis, I don’t think there is any other player you can say that about. There are quite a few with higher ceilings (Beal, Drummond, Robinson, PJ3, Waiters if Hollinger is to be believed), but none who have such a high floor. This past season on the Raptors roster, there wasn’t a single player who provided the kind of consistent play and effort that MKG is projected, and I believe will, bring. Sure, Toronto has many players that ooze the kind of potential that dominates the discussion surrounding the NBA draft every year, but none who were consistent, solid players. The Raptors are in the danger zone of listing in-between mediocrity and an 8th seed in the playoffs, which is the death knell for franchises in the NBA.
If Raptors prospects like DeRozan, Bargnani (prospect or established vet?), Davis and JV reach their full potential, and a quality player manages to fall to them at 8, there could be the start of something special. What is far more likely to happen, on the other hand, is that about half the prospects will pan out with varying degrees of success, and the 8th pick will turn out to be a middling prospect that has the potential to be quite good. We have been sold on the idea that players like Bargnani and DeRozan are cornerstones of the franchise, however, for the most part, we now this to be untrue. Waiting in the wings is a young Lithuanian, who many believe (even outside Toronto) could be a legitimate player to build around. If this is indeed not just the latest delusion we’ve been peddled by Bryan & Co., then I see no reason to do it halfway.
There is no player on the Toronto Raptors that I would not gladly bundle with our first round selection (JV being the exception) for the opportunity so select MKG. Embrace mortgaging the present for the future, as the present didn’t look so bright anyway. Powerhouses are being built in the East, and it’s no longer a place where a ragtag group of misfits and other NBA team’s outcasts can actually compete. I’m actually a big fan of DeRozan, Baragnani and Davis, but building blocks of a championship they are not. There are teams desperate to sell their fans some tiny glimmer of hope (here’s looking at you Charlotte); I say give it to them, whatever the cost may be. Allow Dwayne Casey to instil a true culture change, and have the Raptors be reborn in his defensive minded image. Mortgage the farm, and soon the flock may prosper.
So, if you managed to stay on the ship, I did warn you what a fantastic waste of your time this would be, so you really only have yourself to blame. The blame game aside, I really do think MKG and JV are legitimate building blocks for a championship contender, and an imaginative GM secure in his job might be able to see it and execute. Unfortunately, these things we do not possess. Talk to you tomorrow Republic.
Draft Party on June 28 – Yonge/College. Good times for all, MKG or not.