You might’ve seen the tweet from Stein talking about the Raptors shopping for a pick, and even settling for a second-rounder if they have to. We’ve come a long way as a franchise if we’re actually looking to buy a pick instead of giving them away. It’s welcome news seeing how the current salary situation puts premium on drafting well. Any trade the Raptors might execute with Bargnani, Kleiza, or even Fields is unlikely to yield returns that excite, making it imperative that the Raptors have a secondary plan as well. The chance of “fleecing” anyone is a trade is low to nil, but in the draft you do control your own destiny.

The general consensus about this draft is that it may not have any superstars in it, but will have serviceable players throughout the first round, thus making it a “deep” one. For example, looking at the small forwards in this crop, a shooter like Tony Snell (projected to go early in the second) could provide the shooting that Fields and Kleiza failed at. Swapping Kleiza (let’s say via amnesty) for Snell instantly makes this team better. It’s a low-risk move which can pay dividends, and if it doesn’t, nobody loses sleep.

The Raptors can peruse all the free-agents in the world, but getting at any of them (say, Tony Allen) isn’t even possible without getting under the cap, and that would be a feat in itself.  Fans are generally sympathetic to the situation that Masi Ujiri has inherited, and there are enough ‘problems’ on the roster that Ujiri has plenty to aim at to win support.  To be concise, there’s low-hanging fruit everywhere and simply getting a draft pick, picking a player, and shedding an unwanted contract would be considered progress.  Yes, that bar is set that low here.

A fruit that I didn’t even know hung this low was that of coaching, and the recent piece by Cathal Kelly which suggested that Dwane Casey is finally being “allowed to coach his way” by Ujiri already makes for some excellent PR at the expense of Bryan Colangelo.  Personally, I don’t like punching a guy when he’s down, but it seems the press is taking some pleasure kicking Colangelo now that he’s out.  That article basically reads, “Bryan Colangelo was holding Dwane Casey back”, and even though I’ve always believed that Colangelo’s had say in coaching moves (especially under Triano and Mitchell), playing this card for Casey doesn’t quite sit right and is, in my opinion, an unwarranted criticism.  There’s plenty to criticize Colangelo for, but preventing Casey from succeeding isn’t something you can lay at his feet. 

Back to the draft and Portland (10), Dallas (13) and Atlanta  (17, 18), are looking to move their picks, and if the rumour that the Raptors are looking to strengthen at point guard is true, there are a few options – projections in parenthesis: Schroeder (21), Canaan (26), Jackson (35), Wolters (38), Pressey (51), Kabongo (52), and Siva (53).  Schroeder’s my pick, and if you add 2 and 2 here, it seems like if the Raptors are able to grab a pick from a  team looking to off-load theirs, a point-guard is in reach.  Unfortunately, acquiring a pick by shedding a contract (say, Kleiza) alone probably isn’t enough.  For example, if the Raptors were to acquire Atlanta’s 17th pick, the Hawks would save $2.75M in salary over the two guaranteed years of the rookie deal, but Kleiza’s deal is at $4.6M.

The Raptors could also simply swap picks.  If a team is betting on the Raptors to be terrible next year, they might even give up two of their picks this draft for one next year, assuming it isn’t protected.  This could very well be a simple deal for Ujiri to make, only because it doesn’t involve selling teams on players that clearly have little to no market value.  You would think that a potential trading partner could be Ujiri’s former team, the Denver Nuggets, who have the 57th pick in this year’s draft.  However, with a payroll of $72.6M and 12 players on the roster, they might just use their pick to fill a roster spot.

Considering the Raptors don’t even have a pick in this draft, I’m surprised at how exciting this time of the real really is.

  • theswirsky

    “There’s plenty to criticize Colangelo for, but preventing Casey from succeeding isn’t something you can lay at his feet.”

    lol. Serious?

    Colangelo chose the roster. We can question if Colangelo influenced the decision making by Casey or not, and I don’t doubt for a second that he did, but Colangelo gave Casey a bad roster and a poorly assembled team.

    Colangelo gave Casey no chance to suceed.

    Yes he lowered the bar so far in 2011 that anything Casey did look would look like a sucess, but then 2012 rolled around and Colangelo started talking playoffs with a roster that wasn’t going to make the playoffs.

    Ofcourse there was also the ‘more offense, push the ball, use defense to create offense’ talk Colangelo used last offseason. Quite contrary to Casey’s, slow pace, run back on D not one offense, philosophy Casey used the year prior.

    Or what about the Lowry vs Jose issue? Only to see Colangelo trading Jose despite him being Casey’s preferred PG. Or Ed Davis? The guy Casey said it would be difficult to take out of the starting line up. He got traded to.

    Colangelo cut Casey off at the knees to start the season, and then kept chopping away when Casey finally fought back as he began to recognize Colangelo’s job security was disappearing.

    • arsenalist

      What you’re saying applies to every GM/coach combination. Of course the GM puts the team together. What I’m saying is specific to influence coaching, in that I don’t feel that Colangelo impacted Casey’s decision making to the level he did for Mitchell or Triano, and that Casey can’t play the “the GM made me coach this way” card, as the Star article suggests.

      • theswirsky

        “I don’t feel that Colangelo impacted Casey’s decision making to the level he did for Mitchell or Triano”

        is a much different than Colangelo having little to no influence. Smoking a couple spliffs has less influence on my ability to drive well than driving drunk, but it still makes an impact.

        I’m not here defending Casey or calling him a good coach or anything of that nature. But there is little reason to believe Colangelo didn’t influence Casey, and plenty of reason to believe Colangelo did influence Casey

      • RapOfDay

        The Star?!! Lmao. Nobody here reads that smuck Dough Boy Smitty.

    • Guy

      Completely disagree. With Lowry, Colangelo handed Casey an aggressive, playmaking PG that looked to score & what happened? Casey totally mishandled it. Instead of designing an offense that plays to Lowry’s strengths, he forced Lowry into playing an unnatural role of facilitator. He tried turning him into Jose Calderon. Big mistake. It’s no coincidence that Lowry’s production improved the last month of the season when Casey admittedly let Lowry take more control.
      I also look at Casey’s many questionable decisions regarding substitutions & how many games were lost in the 4th quarter. When a team blows as many 4th quarter leads, a number of them double digit, and loses, you have to look at the coach. It wasn’t Colangelo leaving Valanciunas on the bench in favor of Aaron Gray. It wasn’t Colangelo leaving Alan Anderson on the floor to continue chucking it up.
      No doubt Colangelo made his feelings known, as all GMs do, but I don’t think it’s at all accurate to suggest BC cut Casey off at the knees.

      • Marz

        I believe Casey may have mishandled the Lowry situation, but recent evidence has come to light that Lowry showed up to camp out of shape. Given that, I’d say Lowry did his fair share of pushing DC toward favouring Calderon.

        • Guy

          While arriving a bit out of shape is not a good plan, I’d hardly classify it as Lowry doing his fair share of pushing Casey towards Calderon, especially when you look at his stats the first 15 games…. 16pts, 6 asst, 5 rbs & 41% shooting. The only disappointing stat is his 3pt%. Seemed he did well to make up for arriving out of shape. But rather than appreciating his efforts & embracing what Lowry brought to the table, Casey put him on the bench & turned him into a passive facilitator. Poor decision.

          • Marz

            Lowry’s coming to out-of-shape was implied as the main reason for his constant injuries, which allowed Calderon to get more playing time and provide consistent production and a win streak.

            Also, Lowry wasn’t really forced into a facilitator role until after a team meeting when players called him and Bargnani out. At least that’s how my memory serves.

            • Guy

              Again, I disagree. I don’t attribute either of Lowry’s injuries to being out of shape. In November he rolls his ankle landing on another player’s foot. Just bad luck. In December he hurts his shoulder in a fall. At this point, the season is 6-7 weeks old & Lowry is playing 30 minutes a game. A player with fitness issues doesn’t play 30 minutes a game. When he returned from injury on Dec 28, he missed one game the rest of the way.

              Whether KL was forced into that role as a result of that meeting or beforehand is irrelevant. What is relevant is that he was forced into it. It should never have happened.

    • RapthoseLeafs

      [” The guy Casey said it would be difficult to take out of the starting line up (Ed Davis). He got traded to. “]

      IMO – A number of Toronto fans misjudged Davis – he was a good back-up – but a Starter he is not. Not right now.

      I
      feel sorry for Ed in the Memphis system. He made have made the
      play-offs, but the Grizzlies showed no confidence in him. Had Davis
      stayed and played his role, his “value” would have remained important to
      the team. Success with the Secondary is essential during the play-offs.

      That being said, I’m glad Rudy came here. I’ve always doubted a
      Star choosing the Raptors in free agency, so to me, Plan B is to
      reconfigure an out of focus Star.

      [” We can question if Colangelo
      influenced the decision making by Casey or not, and I don’t doubt for a
      second that he did, but Colangelo gave Casey a bad roster and a poorly
      assembled team. “]

      In the first part of this comment, you
      basically believe Collangelo coached the team. With little to no
      meaningful role played by the actual Coach.

      For me, Casey played
      it right in his first year. In his 2nd, he made a number of mistakes.
      Jonas – and this is my opinion – should not have started. Ever … …
      that year. Maybe occasionally as a fill-in, but not this year. We make
      this mistake too often. Give the rookie the keys, and then wonder why
      their development gets stunted. Then when they move on, they get it
      together.

      Bargnani should never have been given the #1 option
      either. The talk – and this does go to Collangelo – should have been,
      that the Raptors were looking for that Franchise player. No deviation
      from this focus. AB would complement the Star. In a role that would’ve
      also featured Derozan in the mix.

      The Starting Big should’ve
      stayed Gray & Amir after Andrea went down. And Amir should’ve
      started with Andrea at the beginning. Ed can’t handle Bigs, and Jonas is
      a Rookie.

      [RapthoseLeafs]

  • Andre

    I like the idea of the raptors FINALLY drafting a PG. Kabongo or even Schroeder would be nice to groom. Maybe they can move up far enough for a trey burke.

    • robertparrish00

      I would love for the Raps to draft Kabongo. Love it.

      Anyone know what year the pick was that we traded away for Telfair?

      • raptorspoo

        I’d even trade Lowry for the rights to draft Myckie… and resign Jose to groom him.

  • RaptorFan

    Theswirsky beat me to the punch! I agree with theswirsky that Colangelo gave Casey no chance to succeed. It started when he tried to sell Bargnani as a main piece and a Nowitzki like clone (hence why Casey felt pressured to play him even though the team performed better when he was on the bench – “come hell or high water”).
    Colangelo deserves ALL the blame. He was the only person in charge of everything basketball related. He had the power to hire an fire coaches, draft players and bring in players through trades and free agency.
    EVERYTHING is Colangelo’s fault…..get it right! Thank GOD he’s gone like most of us expected.

    • cdub

      I’m not defending BC, but if you don’t think DC had anything to do with those 15 or so blown 4th quarter leads last year, you might want to think again. I’m pretty sure BC wasn’t forcing him to play AA.

  • RapierRaptor

    Like you I’m intrigued with Schroeder but reports are out that he’s really struggled with the physicality of American basketball in workouts. I’ve watched a lot of his German interviews and he seems like he’s a pretty nice, intelligent kid but it remains to be seen whether he’s the next Rondo or Beaubois. The Raptors needs are clear: Shooting, Rebounding, Backup PG. Mid-first round guys who fit the bill: Allen Crabbe, Mason Plumlee, Tony Mitchell. Cheap 2nd rounders: Wolters, Colton Iverson & Erik Murphy.

  • Jack Hodgins

    Well Snell looks like Kawhi Leonard so we should sign him, then trade Bargs for Parker and Poppovich I mean if the Clippers nearly did we can! then JV will turn into Duncan and we will be awesome!

    • Jack Hodgins

      Hope people are aware of my sarcasm…

  • elkabong

    while BC gave him the players and we parachuted in a lot as the season went on to the point of 18 players got a good chunk of playing time so i’m assuming BC had a hand in trying get some exposure for guys to see if they fit or not but Casey still had control of the floor so i don’t know how anyone could be happy with what he slapped together. he seemed like a mad scientist to me cobbling lineup after lineup after lineup and if you look at Derozan’s 5 man unit times as a guy who was here all season and should have gotten the biggest burn at the 2 you’ll see some silly low numbers in the minutes played together. ya there were injuries etc but holy cow that’s just not the way to bring consistency to a basketball team! after the Rudy trade it seemed so obvious to me what the best unit was but even then they only got 343 minutes together in the 33 games Rudy played which is 1584 minutes of game time….i am hoping this changes drastically this year but i suspect Casey will continue with his obsession to match up to the other side and i’ll spend another season hollerin’ at my TV

  • Duncan

    i would really like to get dallas’s pick and get schroeder. he’d be a good backup. Maybe we could even go for Kabongo with a later pick. if we do this, then we should amnesty kleiza, assuming bargs is the one we trade for the pick. then go out and sign a solid vet pf like millsap or landry. :)

    • elkabong

      i’m not seeing where Bargs can be moved at the draft. you really think some one is gonna take on 10.750 + 11.5 mil for the next 2 seasons and give up a 1st rounder? i think the only way he’s moving is if we take on an equally bad deal until he plays and plays good enuff to establish at least some value so i’m not getting my hopes too high. Dallas is trying to shed payroll to the point they don’t want to pay the mandatory 1st round money so you’ll need to figure out another way to acquire that particular pick like trading our 2014 1st pick ? no i wouldn’t want to do that either 😉

  • FAQ

    MU’s Raptor 2013 Tanking Strategy makes Casey the perfect coach for the job… oh, and keeping Bargs is mandatory now…. soooo obvious.

  • Buddy

    the Raptors should draft Lorenzo Brown for a backup point guard he’s got NBA level pg skills

  • Andre

    Bro, you dont need to swear at the dude for his opinion. He makes some good points. Your GM and Coach need to be on the same page. ultimately, the GM has an idea of what the team will be, then he adds a coach that vocally issues his vision, then hires the players that will create that vision. There was obvious flaws. Casey prefered Jose, BC wanted an attacking PG. Casey loved davis, but BC wanted more time for Andrea to showcase his skill. They did not match. One had to Go.