The Toronto Raptors acquired four players in the Rudy Gay trade. While we’ve already given you our piping hot takes and these names should be familiar, we thought we’d dig in a little further and provide a brief, high-level scouting report on each acquisition.
Blake’s take: We’re probably not going to like Salmons, given that he seemingly fell out of favor with Kings fans. Add in that he once (thankfully) spurned the Raptors and that any touches he get will be touches more important players don’t get, and there’s an easy path to possibly-unfair hate.
Synergy Pro: Ranked 32nd in points allowed per possession defending isolations in 2012-13.
Synergy Con: Turned the ball over on more than 20 percent of plays where he was the pick-and-roll ball-handler in 2012-13.
ESPN Insider snippet: Good shooter and playmaker, but lacks the ability to create his own shot. “Solid” defender.
Guest blogger take, by Jonathan Santiago of Cowbell Kingdom: In terms of offense, John Salmons may not be able to give the Raptors much. The veteran swingman has seen his shooting percentages steadily decline over the last few years. But like Hayes, what he can provide is defense. Despite being the oldest player on the Kings, Salmons was actually their best perimeter defender before being dealt.
Patrick Patterson, aka 2-Pat
Blake’s take: Many were enamored with 2-Pat as a prospect, and I remain hopeful he can be an effective stretch-four. He and Jonas Valanciunas are nice offensive complements but would give up a lot defensively, so it’s unclear how that pairing might work in unison.
Synergy Pro: Ranked 10th in points per possession off of offensive rebounds while with the Rockets in 2012-13.
Synergy Con: Despite doing well in isolation situations, struggled guarding post-ups while with the Rockets in 2012-13.
ESPN Insider snippet: Can grab offensive boards and make plays from the wing but can’t create his own looks. Can defend in man situations but struggles with help.
Guest blogger take, by Michael Pina of Red94: When healthy (he always seemed to be nicked up with something or other on his lower body) Patterson had a solid back-to-the-basket post game. His turnaround jumper from about 10-feet was modestly reliable. But the part of his game everyone talked about before he left was the corner three. Somehow, someway, Patterson morphed himself into a guy who could legitimately stretch the floor with a good average from the corner. He wasn’t afraid to take the shot, and with defenders constantly sliding in to help on James Harden, he was open a ton.
As a defender he was solid, albeit unspectacular. I’d say his athleticism was a bit underrated (thanks to those injuries that were really limiting) and he could attack the glass with most other power forwards in the league. He wasn’t getting bludgeoned in the post, but in open space he sometimes had trouble.
Blake’s take: He’s exactly the kind of point guard Raptors fans will mistakenly fall in love with, because he’s going to provide something they haven’t seen for a while in the sticky-ball offense of the Rudy Gay Era. He is creative passing the ball, but that’s his only above-average skill. That has value on this team, but please don’t expect to anoint him as PG of the Future Part 47; his defense and scoring limit him to being “just” a good back-up.
Synergy Pro: Some of this may be due to classification, but he ranked 16th in efficiency on hand-offs, averaging 1.1 points in 90 possessions.
Synergy Con: Got torched in isolation and pick-and-roll defense situations in 2012-13.
ESPN Insider snippet: Pass-first player who can create but struggles to score or get to the hoop. Poor lateral quickness, hurting his man and pick-and-roll defense.
Guest blogger take, by Jason Calmes of Bourbon Street Shots: Greivis Vasquez is half great player, half replacement player. His excellent skill is his passing, and he passes a ton. It will look like he’s turning the ball over more then you would hope (because that is true), but when you look at the amount of passing (not just assists), you see that it is a volume effect, not an efficiency effect. He also scores more than you would expect from such a great passer, and one who takes that job to heart. The problem there is (here’s where the bad bits start), he’s about as efficient and Rudy Gay. I’ll spare you the numbers, but this is not hyperbole; it’s a warning label. On defense, he’s just too slow. Not too slow for this, not too slow for that . . . just too slow. Any NBA backcourt player can get around him seemingly at will (when Vasquez is healthy). This amounts to a net zero if he’s a starter, which is really a minus since people need to contribute something to win (assuming this not some cryptotank). If he can get minutes and the not-ready-for-primetime players, he’ll show better. He’s a great guy to have in the locker room, in the community, and he’s passionate on the court. There’s so much about him to root for, but you can’t ignore the cost. Most nights, he’ll be involved in 3 of the 5 best plays and 3 of the 5 worst plays for the Raptors, and this makes him sooo polarizing.
Blake’s take: I love me some Chuck Hayes. Undersized guy using smarts and effort to close the gap? That’s exactly the kind of guy you want around a young, developing team, setting the tone for the other frontcourt players. He’s also apparently a really good dude, so there’s that, too.
Synergy Pro: Ranked 16th in the league guarding the dive man on pick-and-rolls in 2012-13.
Synergy Con: Didn’t rank in the top-100 in a single offensive play type in 2012-13, peaking at 105th in production off of offensive rebounds.
ESPN Inside snippet: Uses effort, positioning and IQ to make up for size disadvantage, though he rarely scores. “Elite” post defense.
Guest blogger take, by Jonathan Santiago of Cowbell Kingdom: What Chuck Hayes can provide the Raptors is good low post defense. He’s also a pretty good rebounder despite being an undersized power forward. One overlooked aspect of his game is his passing. Hayes has great vision and is excellent at finding cutters from the high post. He’s also a very good outlet passer. However, that’s about all you can expect from Hayes on the offensive side of the floor.