I'm telling you Dell, Tyler Hansbrough is the perfect replacement for Anthony Davis.

With December 15th just a couple of days away, the day when free agents signed over the summer are eligible to be traded, and the Rudy Gay deal already old news, it’s probably a good time to take a closer look at the assets the Raptors still have, as well as the new ones, since it’s Masai Ujiri probably isn’t done dealing.

In the press conference to discuss the Rudy Gay trade, Ujiri gave this rather revealing quote:

“The one thing I can say is we won’t be trapped in the middle, I can honestly say that. We will not be stuck in no man’s land, that’s for sure.”

It’s really hard to claim, now, that the Raptors aren’t in rebuild mode, although it’s kind of difficult to call it a rebuild when there wasn’t much building there in the first place. The Raptors are currently sitting at 7-13, which is fairly similar to the starts they’ve had the previous two seasons1.

On a side note, I don’t recall a season that had so much trade discussion so early. Whether it’s because of the loaded upcoming draft, or the fact that so many teams are underperforming, but there are more early season trade rumours swirling around than I remember.

I had actually started this column before the Rudy Gay trade went down, and had written up a lovely breakdown of Gay and the options for trading him. Yes, Sacramento was one of them, but I also mentioned Cleveland, Milwaukee, Detroit, Washington and Minnesota, none of whom apparently wanted anything to do with him.


There is some confusion over my reaction to the trade. I never said I didn’t like it and in fact said the opposite. I like it, but I was hoping for more and I thought the timing of the trade wasn’t the best. I did mention, in my now deleted Rudy Gay portion, that Gay would be extremely difficult to trade and might need to be held onto in order to increase his trade value (something that admittedly may or may not have happened).

One thing I also hadn’t taken into consideration was the $4.6 million trade exception the Raptors now have from the Rudy Gay deal, which could come in very handy in any future deals this year.

With Gay now a memory, whether you are on board with the apparent rebuild or not, we now have to look at the rest of the team and try and evaluate what assets the Raptors have and what they may be worth around the league.


Important Stats:
PPG: 21.5
TS%: .527
3PT%: .347
RPG: 3.6
APG: 3.1
PER: 17.4
WS: 1.8
Salary: $9.5 million a season over next four years


DeRozan is having a career year in his fifth season and, apart from the game against Phoenix, is on a torrid pace offensively recently. He’s an incredibly hard worker, a solid citizen and has shown steady improvement since entering the league.

His play has been good enough to be mentioned as a possible All Star reserve, so that has many Raptor fans excited about his future.


Most of the teams that could have used Rudy Gay could use DeRozan. But there are more teams that would be more willing to trade for DeRozan because while he’s basically Rudy Gay-light, without the heavy contract and some of the other problems that come with Gay’s play (like Gay’s anger at the ball, which causes him pound it against the floor incessantly and recklessly throwing it against the rim).

Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Denver, Minnesota, Dallas and Oklahoma all could use his services and have the assets that the Raptors could use. Many of those teams are also in a position where they could feel some pressure to make a big move.


DeRozan’s value has never been higher and it’s not likely to get any higher. That’s not to say that he won’t improve any more, but trade value isn’t directly related to how good a player he is or what his production is. In the NBA, potential has more value than almost anything else, and right now DeRozan is at the apex of potential and production.

DeRozan isn’t quite as good as some Raptor fans seem to believe, but he’s become the Raptors’ most valuable asset, outside of Jonas Valanciunas.

Grantland’s Zach Lowe recently had this to say about DeRozan:

DeRozan has improved incrementally in almost every one of his pro seasons, and he has much wider appeal around the league than Gay. He’s passing better and shooting the 3-pointer at a career-best rate, though we’ve seen DeRozan have hot 3-point streaks that prove fleeting. He’s still a midrange type who plays (mostly) below-average defense and is due $9.5 million in each of the three seasons after this one.


There seems to be far too much angst over the possibility of trading what is basically a slightly above average shooting guard who doesn’t really have a lot of the traits that you find on Championship teams. He can score, yes, but he’s a below average rebounder, defender, and he doesn’t have a very high basketball IQ, despite the work he puts in at the gym.

He’s endearing because he works hard and is a proud Raptor, but those aren’t reasons to keep him.

And while he’s a good scorer, always beware the good scorer on the bad team. DeRozan isn’t any more an elite scorer than Aaron Afflalo (21.9 ppg) or Evan Turner (20.7 ppg), two young shooting guards who score about the same as DeRozan does. But Afflalo does it far more efficiently, and Turner is a strong defender, rebounder and passer, as well.


One of the reasons the Raptors have had the rather forgettable history they have is that they rarely end up selling high on their assets. They either hold onto a player too long so that his value declines (see Andrea Bargnani, Vince Carter and even Jose Calderon), or waits until he leaves via free agency.

Whether you agree with tanking or not, Philadelphia sold high on a player who wasn’t quite as good as he probably appeared, in Jrue Holiday, and now have a brighter future by having traded him.

I doubt Toronto can get the haul for DeRozan that the Sixers did for Holiday, but I think there’s a market for DeRozan and I think they should act quickly before Philadelphia and Orlando decide to offer up Turner and Afflalo respectively.

While he’s well liked, DeRozan is a highly replaceable player playing at a highly replaceable position. Keeping him would be more emotional than basketball. I’m not suggesting trading him at any cost, but he’s got value and there’s a good chance some team will get desperate enough to overpay for a young, athletic scoring guard.

As a footnote, my favourite DeRozan trade proposal involves a three way deal sending DeRozan to Detroit, Kyle Lowry to Chicago and getting back Chicago’s Nikola Mirotic (currently playing in Europe), Charlotte’s first round pick (via Chicago) and possibly Chicago’s first round pick and salary in the form of Charlie Villaneuva and Jonas Jerebko. Greg Monroe would also go to Chicago and Taj Gibson would be sent to Detroit.

This would be the perfect trade because it does absolutely nothing to help the team immediately and everything to help the team starting next year.

My second favourite deal is a much less complicated DeRozan to Atlanta for Dennis Schroeder, Elton Brand and either Atlanta’s first round pick or Brooklyn’s (which Atlanta owns for giving them Joe Johnson!!!).


Important Stats:
PPG: 14.6
TS%: .563
3PT%: .361
RPG: 3.8
APG: 6.7
PER: 17.5
WS: 2.4
Salary: $6.2 million (expiring)


When Bryan Colangelo traded for Lowry, the hope was that he would finally be the answer at point guard for the Raptors. He came to the team with a bulldog reputation on offense and defense. In just over a year, Lowry seems to be on his way out of town, just like so many other rejected Raptor point guards before him.

Still, like DeRozan, he’s having a career year, despite the presence of the ball-stoppin Gay, and has played well.


Unfortunately, there is not a huge market for point guards right now, especially fairly average starting ones like Lowry. If you look up and down the league, most teams are pretty set at the point guard position. Lowry would make a great backup guard for a contender, but I would certainly be hesitant to give up assets to bring Lowry off the bench, considering his reputation as being a bit difficult, and the fact he’s a free agent at the end of the season.

Most contenders would not want to risk the drama just to strengthen their bench. And if you’re a team that is rebuilding, chances are you’re not interested in giving up anything for what is likely a temporary point guard upgrade.

That said, there are a few teams that are in need to a point guard upgrade. Those teams are New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, the Lakers, and there’s an outside chance Sacramento would want to take on Lowry after losing all their depth at point guard in the Rudy Gay deal.

Edit: New York has been mentioned as a possible destination for Lowry, as well as Brooklyn and Golden State.


While Lowry has played well this year, he has two things working against him. The first is the afore mentioned strength at the point guard position around the league. The second is that Lowry could very well leave for nothing at the end of the year, so trading for Lowry would be considered a rental for less than a season. If the other team can get Lowry to agree to an extension prior to the trade, then more teams might be willing to discuss a trade for him.

There are things in Lowry’s favour, though. His contract, while expiring, is very good value for what he brings to the table. And he has good all around skills, which should, on paper, translate to him being able to fit into a variety of situations.



Due to Lowry’s expiring contract, it’s almost a given that Lowry is going to be moved. Better for the Raptors to get something for him now rather than nothing this summer.

The problem with Lowry isn’t that he’s a bad player, because he’s not. Unfortunately, he’s also not a really good one, either. He does play with a chip on his shoulder, but that comes with both positives and negatives, and those negatives are often too much to bare. His decision making, especially when times get tough, is often poor, and he is far too willing to get into a shooting match when the smart thing to do is get the ball inside.

The best point guards are generally smart, calm under fire and mature beyond their years, and none of that describes Lowry. A tough point guard oozing with attitude and with always something to prove might be entertaining for the fans, but that rarely translates into winning.

Because of Lowry’s expiring contract, to get maximum value for him, Ujiri must be willing to take back a longer contract (otherwise you’re just trading expiring for expiring), and that’s not going to return much value. It’s not as if we’re talking about Rudy Gay-type money, here, and the Raptors are going to be well under the cap, anyway.

Packaging Lowry with a valued asset with a longer contract (like DeRozan or Tyler Hansbrough) will minimize the risk the team has acquiring Lowry and maximize his value.

The Lowry to New York deal doesn’t make a whole lot of sense on the surface, since they have no draft picks to return and the only asset they have worth taking is Iman Shumpert, but if a third team is brought in then it might return a draft pick.


Important Stats:
PPG: 11.4
TS%: .643
MPG: 28.7
RPG: 6.6
BPG: 1.0
PER: 17.6
WS: 1.9
Salary: $6 million a season for this year and next year ($5 million is guaranteed next year)


I’ve never felt Amir has truly gotten his due in Toronto. Yes, he’s a fan favourite, but most see him as simply an energy player, easily replaceable and whose best role is off the bench. And he’s much more than that. He’s been the team’s best player since Chris Bosh left for warmer pastures, and still might be the Raptor who has the most impact on the game, despite the fact he’s not the scorer DeRozan is.

It’s no coincidence that the better he plays, the better the team plays. Amir actually shoots a better percentage of close shots than LeBron James, and only three players in the NBA shoot a better percentage from that range. And it’s not as if those shots are all dunks and layups. He’s got an incredibly accurate short hook that he can seem to hit over just about anyone.

And on defense, opponents shoot just 46.6% at the rim against Amir, which is the same as Andre Drummond and Al Horford.

There are not a lot of players that are as low maintenance, but with as high an impact as Amir has.

And while he started out the season rather poorly (for him), his improved play has him playing as well as he ever has.


I don’t know if there is a team in the league that wouldn’t jump at the chance to acquire a player like Amir who has the impact he does at both ends of the court, but not everyone has the assets or would be willing to alter their team enough to get him.

Amir would fit in far more seamlessly than DeRozan or Lowry because he’s such a low maintenance player who doesn’t need the ball to have an impact.

Portland, Denver, Minnesota, the Clippers, Golden State, San Antonio, Houston and ironically Memphis will probably all be putting together trade proposals for Amir.


Amir is one of the best values around, for his production, and because he is so low maintenance yet so impactful on both ends of the court, there should be plenty of suitors for Amir. He’s only 26 years old, despite this being his eighth season, plus he was developed surrounded by players who knew how to win.

Amir is never going to make an All Star team, and he is what he is, after 7 years in the league, but what he is will help any team win.


In any other circumstances, I would consider Amir close to untouchable because of what he brings and what he costs, but for a team in the position the Raptors are in, he’s a bit of a luxury. In many ways, he reminds me a bit of when Matt Bonner, another fan favourite, played for the Raptors during a time when his three point shooting and smart play was wasted on a team that was going nowhere.

Amir is more talented than Bonner, but like Bonner, having Amir play his prime years on a rebuilding teams seems almost a waste of his talents2.

Still, because Amir is still a role player, no matter how impactful, it doubtful that the Raptors could get the type of return on him that would make trading him worth it. The only way I can see Amir being traded is if he’s packaged with other players in a larger deal.

Even then, Amir is someone one of the few players on the team I would like to see sticking around because of the intangibles he brings to the team, both on and off the court.


Important Stats:
PPG: 9.3
TS%: .522
MPG: 27.4
RPG: 7.5
BPG: 0.9
PER: 13.2
WS: 0.9
Salary: $3.5 million in his second year of a rookie contract.


Last year, Valanciunas was touted by many as the future of the franchise. While he only played 23 minutes per game, he showed enough promise and production to be able to make it onto the All Rookie second team and had Raptor fans putting him on the ‘untouchable’ list. He had one of the best true shooting percentages in the league and in the last month of the season had one of the highest PPP in the entire league. He seemed almost unstoppable.

Unfortunately, this season has seen a bit of a regression for Valanciunas. His shooting percentage has fallen off a cliff (comparatively), he’s getting to the line at a much lower rate, and his defense has been spotty, at best. About the only improvement we’ve seen from him is in the rebounding department, but the improvement has been nominal.

That has caused many fans to suddenly question whether Valanciunas is ever going to live up the the hype.

There are several things to remember, though. The first is that Valanciunas is just 21 years old, and hasn’t even spent an entire year in North America. While he’s got talent, he was always going to be a project. And projects take time to develop. Most European big men come over after they’ve developed into a force in Europe, and that didn’t happen with Valanciunas.

Valanciunas is never going to be an elite center player, but it’s far too early to start making judgements on a big man as young an inexperienced as Valanciunas. Roy Hibbert spent four years in college and still struggled early, but is now one of the best centers/centres in the league. Serge Ibaka took time to develop.


No matter what you think of Valanciunas’ future, every GM would love to get their hands on a center/centre with his talent and skills. Because he would return a lot of assets and require time to develop, not a whole lot of teams would be able to have an enticing enough package to get Valanciunas.

Boston, Atlanta, Washington, Charlotte, Oklahoma and Phoenix would be the only teams in the league who have the desire and assets to be able to pry Valanciunas away from the Raptors. There are numerous other teams that will probably try (Lakers, San Antonio, Portland, Dallas) but simply don’t have the assets.


No matter how Valanciunas is playing right now, he’s still got loads of skill and potential. He’s still one of the most promising big men in the league and only 21. He plays with passion, works hard and doesn’t back down.


No, he’s not looking as good as he did last season, but he’s still the same player. Casey has never displayed much acumen at developing big men, and none of the big men looked all that good playing with Rudy Gay. It’s so difficult to acquire a center/centre with the potential Valanciunas has, and while the Raptors could definitely get good value for him, the chance they will end up regretting the trade is high. And since Valanciunas isn’t at the point where he’s having a big positive impact on the game, then keeping him in a year they seem to be tanking does no harm to the team’s prospects.

With Gay gone, maybe Valanciunas will end up getting more touches and more minutes, which should help his production and confidence.

If the Raptors are offered a ludicrous deal, then fine. Otherwise, it’s simply not worth trading him.


Important Stats:
PPG: 6.4
TS%: .559
MPG: 20.3
RPG: 6.1
PER: 14.6
WS: 1.1
Salary: $3.2 million (first in a two year deal)


Tyler Hansbrough is the kind of player that opposing fans (and teammates) hate with a passion, but hometown fans love to watch play. He doesn’t play a lot of minutes, but when he comes in you know you’re going to get hard-nosed play and hustle. He’s not quite as good defensively as his reputation suggests, but he’ll do a lot of things to annoy opposing players. And he’s got a very strange knack for drawing fouls on the offensive end.


Hansbrough is an acquired taste. You get the feeling he’s not the most well-liked player on his teams, and while he rebounds and hustles, he’s never come close to shooting 50% from the field. The fact that Indiana let him walk and the Raptors were able to pick him up for as little as they did might be an indication that he doesn’t have a whole lot of value around the league.

It’s likely that if he’s traded, he would be packaged with one of the more valuable assets, so it’s difficult to say where he might go, but Detroit (if they trade Monroe), Cleveland, Charlotte, Washington, Portland, Denver, Minnesota, the Clippers, Golden State, Houston and Dallas could all use his services, and since the Raptors wouldn’t be asking much back, they wouldn’t need a lot of assets to get him.


Hansbrough has a reasonable contract that extends just to next season, and, on paper, is a great big man to have come off the bench. But Indiana not wanting him back and the fact that he didn’t seem to have a whole lot of suitors around the league makes me wonder about his value.

Perhaps other teams wondered whether Hansbrough wouldn’t flourish as much outside of the Indiana system?  Who knows. Maybe his play on a team like the Raptors has actually increased his value.

Either way, he’s probably a guy who is going to be traded within a bigger package, so as long as he’s not a negative, which I don’t think he he, then his trade value is fine.


Hansbrough is 28 years old, and doesn’t actually do a whole lot on the court. He’s a nice player to have off the bench for 15 mpg, but you don’t want him having a bigger role than that.

Hansbrough’s biggest asset right now is that he can be thrown in on a bigger deal to make it a bit more enticing and to make salaries work. There is really no point in keeping him, especially now that the Raptors have acquired a couple more front court players.


Important Stats:
PPG: 6.9
TS%: .524
3PT%: .371
MPG: 19.9
RPG: 2.6
PER: 10.2
WS: 0.5
Salary: $2.7 million in his second year of a rookie contract


Right now, Ross’ biggest claim to fame is winning the dunk contest last year,in one of the more forgettable dunk contests. Raptor fans will, unfairly or not, too often view Ross as the guy the Raptors took instead of Andre Drummond.

He was drafted with the reputation as a excellent three point shooter and defender, neither of which he’s shown a whole lot of consistency at. He’s shown marginal improvement in a couple of areas, but it’s still difficult to tell whether he’s got much of an NBA future.


There was a rumour going around the Cleveland was offering Dion Waiters for Ross, but it’s doubtful there was any truth to those rumours. I’m not sure there would be a lot of teams lining up to trade for Ross, and he would most likely simply be an enticement in a larger trade.


Ross has shown very little so far in his young NBA career, but is still young, athletic and has some potential. Players in Ross situation are common enough that his value would be fairly low.


It would be disappointing to give up on Ross so early, but I’m not sure he’ll ever become good enough that the Raptors will regret trading him away. He’s young enough and with enough potential, it’s probably a good idea to keep him around during the rebuilding process, but if adding him to a deal gets something nice back, then the Raptors probably shouldn’t hesitate to add him.


Important Stats:
PPG: 3.2
TS%: .411
MPG: 15.2
RPG: 2.9
PER: 8.5
WS: 0.2
Salary: $6.25 million this season and next season


Let’s be clear. Landry Fields is horribly overpaid. Colangelo overpaid someone in order to try and block someone else from signing someone so they would have no choice to sign with the Raptors. The fact that those two players are Landry Fields and a 82 year old Steve Nash makes it all the more stupid.

And to make matters worse, it turns out Fields’ decline in play had been because of a nerve problem in his shooting arm. Not good.

While he can’t shoot, he is a very good defender, passer, rebounder and high IQ player. If he could actually shoot, he might be quite valuable.


None. Nobody wants to take on that contract for a player who can’t shoot.


Did you read what I wrote above? It’s still true.


Despite what I’ve said, I simply don’t understand the desire of Raptor fans to try and trade Fields. He’s got negative value, so the Raptors would have to give up something for another team to take him. They already will have loads of cap room this summer (and maybe more if they trade DeRozan or Amir) so there is no reason the Raptors need to be unchained from his contract.

And despite his shooting problems, Fields is actually the type of player that usually ends up on a Championship team, somewhere. He’s smart, plays defense, understands how to play in a team concept and plays better the more talent he has around him.

Fields’ contract only goes for one more season after this one, and it’s doubtful the Raptors will need the extra cap space before then, so it makes far more sense to hold onto Fields and then when his contract comes up, if his shot has improved, sign him for a more reasonable contract when his present one expires.


Important Stats:
PPG: 4.2
TS%: .478
3PT%: .347
MPG: 14.3
RPG: 1.4
PER: 8.6
WS: 0.3
Salary: $3.75 million this season and $7.25 over the next two years


Steve Novak came over from the Knicks in exchange for Andrea Bargnani, so no matter how Novak plays, fans will probably be forgiving. For a guy with such a deadeye reputation, though, Novak has been pretty mediocre from behind the line this year.

Of course, one needs to only look to Dwane Casey to understand why. In New York, Novak got lots of open looks. In Toronto, Novak has had to create a shot himself more times than I care to think. When you have a shooter of Novaks talents, getting plays to make him open is probably smart.


There are plenty of teams that would love to have a shooter like Novak, but not a whole lot that would want to take on his salary. It’s not obscene, but he’s definitely overpaid. Like Hansbrough, Novak would probably be a throw in on a larger deal to sweeten the pot. “How about I throw in Novak? I know you guys need three point shooting. Will that get it done?”

Lots of contenders would probably like a guy like Novak, and it’s conceivable Ujiri could move Novak alone just to clear his contract. If that’s the case, I would look to Brooklyn, Detroit (who aren’t contenders, but need outside shooting), Miami, Portland, Oklahoma, Minnesota (see Detroit), the Clippers and Houston.


If it weren’t for his contract, more teams would be interested in a shooter like Novak, but he’s overpaid, so the deal would have to be just right.


Novak is a very nice shooter, but his talents are obviously being wasted on a team like the Raptors. If the Raptors can add him to a larger deal or move him for an expiring contract, then they should do it.


Important Stats:
PPG: 9.8
TS%: .536
3PT%: .320
MPG: 25.8
APG: 5.3
PER: 14.5
WS: 0.9
Salary: $2.1 million this season with a qualifying option next season


Greivis Vasquez is really the only decent player the Raptors got in return for Rudy Gay. He’s a hard-nosed player who distributes the ball well and watches opponents drive by him like a McDonalds drive-through clerk.

Because of NBA rules, Vasquez would only be able to be traded by himself until about a week before the trade deadline, when he can be packaged in a larger deal.


Vasquez would make a very good backup point guard, and teams are always in the market for one of those. Indiana, Chicago, Milwaukee, Oklahoma, the Clippers, Golden State and New York are probably the teams that would be most interested in acquiring Vasquez.


Vasquez is a nice point guard in a league full of nice point guards. He had a very good year in New Orleans, but he’s best suited in a backup role. Lots of team would want a guy like Vasquez, but not a lot of teams would want to give up a whole lot for him.

He has a very good salary and the team receiving him has the option of matching any offers for him at the end of the season, or letting him go, if they want. That’s probably the most valuable part about him.


Vasquez is probably a very good player to have for a team like Toronto. He’s not good enough, especially defensively, to make an impact in the win column, but he moves the ball and will keep players and fans happy by making the offense look better.

And with his contract situation, the Raptors can choose to re-sign him or let him go for cap space at the end of the season.


Important Stats:
PPG: 6.9
TS%: .457
3PT%: .231
MPG: 24.4
RPG: 5.8
PER: 10.4
WS: 0.3
Salary: $3.1 million this season with a qualifying option next season

The Raptors were looking at Patterson in 2010 before drafting Ed Davis, and I have to say I couldn’t understand why. He was a big man who played small, wasn’t good defensively and really didn’t do ANYTHING at an above average rate.


Patterson is at the point now where he’s only a throw in for another team, but he’s young enough and has a few talents that might sweeten a trade deal.


Last year, Patterson was traded for the 5th player in the previous year’s draft, so he might have some value to someone. Of course, it was Sacramento that gave up Thomas Robinson for Patterson, so maybe that says something.


Who cares?


I put all these guys together because they have zero trade value, bring nothing to any team and are only good as throw ins to make salaries work.

Still, they all are in the NBA, so they have to be proud of that.

  1. Last season the Raptors were 4-16 in their first 20 games and the previous season they started off 6-14. Ironically, their first season without Bosh, which was SUPPOSED to be a lost year, the team started off 8-12. The more talented the team is supposed to be, the fewer games they seem to win to start the season.
  2. Wouldn’t it be ironic if, like Bonner, Amir somehow ends up on the Spurs? That would be great for both the Spurs and Amir, who would flourish in that system.

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  • rapierraptor

    Good write up per usual but pretty funny how confident you are in proclaiming that Jonas will never be an elite center.

    • I meant player. I think he can be a top center in the league, on a similar level of Brook Lopez, but he’s not a franchise player.

      • matt

        I was pissed at Casey back when he said the ceiling for JV is to be a Joakim Noah-type of player. But now, the more I watch JV play, the more I’m afraid Casey’s prediction is true

        • jjdynomite

          Noah’s actually a phenomenal player when healthy, so I’m not sure what your issue is.

          • Louvens Remy

            Guys like Noah and Chandler may be more of a product of system and the fact that there aren’t too many good big men in the league. You could argue that guys like Oakley, Camby, Dale Davis bros, Rik Smits, Brad Miller would be “phenomenal” in this era as well. I think, Noah is really good but its not like he’s “phenomenal.”

            • Considering that Chandler has had a major impact on the wins and losses of three different teams, and how much Dallas fell off a cliff defensively when he left, I’d say Chandler is a little more than just a product of a system.

              And Noah was good before Thibodeau was the coach, and won a couple of titles while at Florida, I’d say he’s a bit more than just a product of a system, too.

              • Louvens Remy

                Chandler is very a good defensive player but in Dallas it had to do more with the system. In New Orleans and New York the players around him were putrid defensively so it made sense that they would fall off a cliff without him.

                As for Noah, he’s a complimentary piece. He’s really good at what he does, but in Florida it was they system. Don’t get me wrong, he’s productive but if it wasn’t the system in Chicago then how do they manage to consistently be good with arguably a top 10 player out for so long. Rep[lace Noah with Asik and I am pretty sure the Bulls are getting the same type of production, minus the assists and the crying.

                I like Noah but his numbers he would be the same on any team in the NBA. The offense doens’t run through him he’s just a really really good intangibles player in a PG driven league in my opinion. Anyway, do a comp of Dale Davis and Noah and tell me what the difference really is in their first 7 years in the league.. We are in a different era where a guy like Noah is regarded as phenomenal because the league has evolved and changed to the point where what Noah brings to the table is really over valued because there aren’t that many big guys in the league that can walk and chew gum (TM Jalen Rose)

                • Both Chandler and Noah have a major impact on the success of the team. I would say that says everything you need to know about how good they are. And I think you highly underestimate Noah’s ability to defend all over the court and pass the ball. Asik is a very good defender, but hehas little to no impact on the offensive end. Noah is a VERY smart player, which I don’t think you’re accounting for.

                • Andre Julian Ward

                  loll, all of you trying to predict the future of a player are ridiculous. Let’s be honest, no one knows how good Jonas will be a few years from now; we only know it’s his second season and he’s improved much from last year. Keep the potential talk to yourself and lets just see how high his ceiling really is.

                • If we didn’t try and project or predict, then you probably wouldn’t have much basketball writing to read.

                • Louvens Remy

                  I am not denying that these guys are good. They are not otherworldly like the hyperbole being thrown around. There are tons of guys that have a positive impact on the success of teams but that doesn’t mean they warrant the “phenomenal” talk. There has been lots and lots of players that played the centre position better than Noah, but weren’t called phenomenal.

                  Their play is really more of an indictment on the state of the league, the systems they play in than how great those guys are. Its a perimeter driven league my friend, any semblance of an inside game will get everyone wet.

                • You seem to be taking issue with the word phenomenal. Instead of that word, insert the word, really good.

                • Louvens Remy

                  Ya, of course I do. Phenomenal was the word being bandied about. That was my argument in the first place, to prove that they weren’t phenomenal, but really good. That’s what I did from the beginning. Replace the word phenomenal with really good.

                • Seems like you’re arguing semantics, here. I don’t see the point of that.

                • Louvens Remy

                  I was arguing the what I was arguing. You brought up the semantics. I didn’t. Phenomenal is not the same as really good. Semantics has nothing to do with it. If you tell someone something is phenomenal as opposed to really good, you tend to get a different reaction.

        • Ya, I’m not sure what you have against Noah. he’s one of the best centers in the league.

          • matt

            My point was JV has the potential to be a really good center but no way will he ever be a franchise player that people think he can be. He’s not a lebron or a Melo or even a Dwight. That was my point

            • Valanciunas never had the upside of a franchise player. I always saw his absolute ceiling as Brad Daugherty with being as good a passer. That’s very good, but not elite.

  • DDD

    i wanna keep derozan, amir, and jonas! hopefully lowry as well…

    • Kevin

      Sorry Lowry is pretty much guaranteed to get traded…

    • So you don’t want to give up anything of value? That’s what Colangelo did when he “tanked” the year after he drafted Valanciunas. He didn’t want to give up any of the players and keep the core intact. They didn’t get a high pick and the core sucked.

      Most of the players are not worth keeping, quite frankly, and they worst thing the Raptors can do is try and keep slightly better than average guys like DeRozan and Lowry when they can get something of value for them now.

      • Louvens Remy

        We don’t have to tank/lose to get good basketball players. Most of the players that come from the draft end up being avg NBA players or just as good or worse than Lowry and Derozan.

        • If most players that come through the draft end up being average players, then how do all the good players get to into the NBA? As undrafted free agents?

          LeBron, Durant, Chris Paul, Paul George, Tim Duncan, Kobe, LaMarcus Aldridge, James Harden, and just about every other player of note were drafted.

          • Louvens Remy

            The players listed is about 1% of the NBA. 80% are avg and the other 19% are below avg. All numbers are approximate. I’m just saying trading away guys like Lowry and Derozan, you are more likely to get guys like Lowry and Derozan or worse. It comes down to chemistry, system and great management. The San Antonio Spurs are rarely in the lottery and their roster isn’t filled with lottery picks except for Tim Duncan. Their squad is filled with avg NBA players. How do they do it?

            • DanH

              How do they do it? Tim Duncan is how they do it. Shows you the value of a good pick at the right time.

              • Tanks-a-lot

                When Duncan retires, Popovich will retire.

            • But every player comes in through the draft. That’s my point. And most of the best players are drafted high. Plus, there aren’t any more TOny Parkers, Dirk Nowitzkis or Kobe Bryants anymore because international scouting has improved vastly and there aren’t any more high school players any more.

              How does San Antonio do it? Great drafting and they have Tim Duncan and before that David Robinson, both #1 picks. Once you have your franchise player, you can surround him with players that compliment him. Until then, you’re just a mediocre team, at best, spinning your wheels.

              • d_1212

                Duncan is past his prime. Tony Parker was a good player coming in the league, but it’s Popovich who pushed him to the next level, and they are now both the main reasons the spurs are still and NBA championship contender. They make everybody else better on that team. Remove Popovich and Parker I’m pretty sure the Spurs are not in that category. You can have the best players, but if you don’t have a very good coach and system with chemistry you won’t win period. Even if the raptors trade all their current players, and tank and get draft picks and great talents, they need to start a system somehow with a real coach, and Casey has no clue what he’s doing.

              • Louvens Remy

                I know where players come from. My point is that there are more players that come through the draft that are as good or worse than DeRozan or Lowry. That is what the NBA is made of. There are more DeRozan’s (ie avg players than mega stars)

                You listed LeBron, Durant, Chris Paul, Paul George, Tim Duncan, Kobe, LaMarcus Aldridge, James Harden etc..who do not represent the majority of the NBA. The odds of getting one of those players is just plain luck. If drafting was such a slam dunk then, Paul George, Kobe or Parker or Dirk or Nash, should have been taken within the first 5 picks and every team should try to “tank” every year to get what we deem “surefire” picks. But they weren’t surefire picks but evolved into that, because drafting is NOT an exact science. In the last 20 years I can only remember 4 players who were undeniably can’t miss. Duncan, Durant, Lebron and Shaq. So out of the 36,000 + players, only 4 were undeniable, can’t miss, your life depends on it, your franchise will be changed players.

                Drafting is all we got but it is not an exact science. For example, this was what was said about Russell Westbrook coming into the draft “He lacks the advanced dribbling skills needed to create his own shot and change directions sharply in the half-court..” DraftExpress.com You wouldn’t say that about him now would you? The reason guys like Nash, Parker, Kobe, Dirk, Westbrook got to be the best is a product of landing finally on the right team, coaching/development and their work ethic. Demar has shown the work ethic and he’s been stuck on some bad teams and the coaching/development aspect has really stunted his growth. I could guarantee you that we would be saying different things about Kawhi Leonard if he was on the Bobcats right now.

                That brings me to my point about San Antonio, they are good because, yes, they have Tim Duncan (all kinds of luck and injuries went in to play to get him) Remember Boston “tanked” to get him and didn’t. San Antonio is really good because they draft well (always at the bottom), they have a great coach and an even better system. They draft well, because they draft guys that fit within their philosophy and system. Also, more often than not when you surround a great player with mediocre players without a true system you don’t win championships (Lebron/Cavs, Dwight/Magic, Iverson/Sixers, Nets/Kidd etc) You win at basketball by playing a team game and system.

                Look, I’m not denying that the Raps need top flight talent but I think that Demar could be a piece of the puzzle in Raptorland.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  Whoahhhh, good stuff! Tim often speaks to his love of the Spurs, but this well reasoned and near perfect description of their formula/”system”, doesn’t include numbers or quotes from media, so it’s going to be a hard sell.

                • Louvens Remy

                  Oh, I can’t wait to get eviscerated by Timmy Dubs.

                • You’re making me work here, aren’t you?

                  Okay. The Draft.

                  No, it’s not an exact science, but if you have a good organization and GM, then you’ll hopefully draft well. If you’re a poor organization and a bad GM then nothing you do will really help.

                  And the lower you draft, the less likely a player will end up being great.

                  And, no, elite players aren’t the norm, even in the top five, but not every draft is created equal, either. Everyone knew the last draft was weak, and it was. And this draft is the opposite.

                  As for the franchise changing players, I’m not sure what your point is. None of the players coming in in the 2014 draft is Shaq or Tim Duncan, but neither was Anthony Davis (who I said would be an elite NBA player when he was in high school), or Derrick Rose, who was the number one pick and became the youngest MVP ever, or Chris Paul, who everyone knew was going to be special, or Dwight Howard, who looked like a beast and potential Hall of Fame big man…

                  You’re apparently looking for guarantees, but there aren’t any. There aren’t any guarantees that if the Raptors try and make the playoffs they will end up becoming more than a mediocre team year after year.

                  There aren’t any guarantees that even IF the Raptors make a push for the playoffs this year that they’ll make it there.

                  There are no guarantees that if the Raptors try and trade for or sign an elite player that they won’t end up like Atlanta, waiting year after year not going anywhere.

                  And yes, how San Antonio got where there are was a whole lot of luck. I’ve said exactly that many times. But if they didn’t get Duncan, they don’t get their Championships, despite their great organization and drafting. As I said, it’s a hell of a lot easier to find useable players near the bottom of the draft when they are players who will play in a system that is designed for a guy like Tim Duncan (or now Tony Parker).

                  DeMar is a nice player, but he’s being vastly overrated by a lot of people around here. And my feeling is that if you’re going to rebuild, you should do it the right way with the right type of player. That means getting high IQ guys who can defend their position. That’s what makes most of the Championship teams so successful. All their players are smart and can defend. Neither of that describes DeRozan, unfortunately.

                • Louvens Remy

                  I’m not overvaluing Demar. I know what he is, but I can see him growing and becoming the high IQ guy, and the tough as nails competitor that a championship team is built on. Will he become a plus defender like Tony Allen? No, but I can see him getting better on defence and recognizing situations and adapting to what is thrown at him. Defence is not easy. A lot of becoming a above avg NBA player is being a two way player. I can see that happening with DeMar.

                • DeRozan has been in the league 4 years already, and played major, major minutes. While he’s still going to improve, he basically is what he is. Name the last NBA player who went from a below average defender to an above average defender after four years in the league (with regular playing time). Same with going from a low basketball IQ guy to a high one?

                • Louvens Remy

                  Plus my original point was to argue that you aren’t guaranteed of getting anyone that is better than DeRozan or Lowry no matter what draft picks you get. It’s much better and safer getting an NBA ready player that comps closer to them who you think will be better than them, but who’s gonna do that? I would trade DD for Barnes but not for a draft pick and Mirotic.

                • Teams that play it safe never win Championships. The perfect example is when Jerry West traded a top ten center in Vlade Divac for a high school kid who wasn’t even a top ten lottery pick.

                  The teams that play it safe usually end up stuck in mediocrity, which is where Ujiri is trying to avoid.

                • Louvens Remy

                  That’s a tough question. The only player that comes to mind is Tim Hardaway. I don’t remember him being considered as a great defender but remember that he was better than avg in Miami. I don’t have the stats. just trying to remember.

                • Hardaway was never a bad defender. He was often overmatched because of his small size, but never a bad defender. I was a big fan of his since he came into the league (I like guys named Tim, for some reason).

                • Louvens Remy

                  Oh my god Tim. According to you, Derozan is below avg at everything so it makes sense that we aren’t gonna get anything much better in return and seeing as there are no guarantees in the draft of 2016, where we may get “lucky” and draft a Kobe then why not keep him and do the same thing and get “lucky” in the next few drafts and actually draft the right guys for the system and develop them?

                • No, DeRozan is an above average scorer, but he’s below average at everything else. It’s not as if this is controversial thinking, here.

                  And a player’s trade value often has no relation to how good that player actually is. I know you know that.

                  Look, my feeling is that if you’re going to build a contender (which is what I hope the Raptors are building) there are certain qualities you’re looking for from players, especially your core guys. You need them to be high IQ guys. This is something you can see from a guy before he’s even played in the league. There are certain players who just seem to have a better understanding of the game than most of his peers. DeRozan simply doesn’t have that. Yes, his IQ will improve as he gets older, but so does every else’s.

                  The second thing is defense. If you’re going to be contending for a Championship, you need all your big minute guys to be able to, at least, defend their position and be able to help out the team, defensively. Indiana is successful because every single starter can defend their position.

                  If you’ve got an otherworldly skill, then you can afford to be average defensively, but DeRozan doesn’t have an otherworldly skill, and he’s not even average defensively.

                  As for waiting to get lucky, it’s called luck for a reason. You can’t plan it. The chances of getting “lucky” and finding an elite player outside of the top five is miniscule. Chances are you’ll be waiting a LONG time.

                • Louvens Remy

                  I’m ok with your reasoning on DeRozan. I just don’t agree with the fact that he isn’t or can’t be a high IQ guy. He’s not a superstar. He is a guy, I think who is a great complementary chip for a championship team if it ever were to come to that. If we can get someone better than him, than of course, but for what he’s getting paid and for his mental makeup, dedication, hard work and competitiveness, I like that kind of player on my team. I project Demar to being a great 6th man off the bench and I see that his defence is improving and his awareness of situations is getting better. I really think that we just need a new coach and a lot of untapped Derozan stuff will come out. Should he be there by now? I don’t know, he was pretty raw to begin with. If he had stayed in a college a little longer he may be further along. But hey, I accept your point. I am not in love with Derozan but I don’t think he’s as bad as you make him out to be. I won’t bother you with Derozan stuff anymore, since he’s obviously not a guy you think highly of, so lets move on to the the next one.

                  Also its funny, we’re both on the west coast so we can stay up later arguing bullshit!. Love it.

              • Milesboyer

                Anybody at this point, who doesn’t see the value of tanking in a loaded draft, is delusional. To do that you’ve got to shed mediocre talent, otherwise it’s just more of the same. We can debate it all day long but Masai is much more informed than anyone else and I’m pretty sure he knows what needs to be done. Everyone but Valanciunas and hopefully Amir, should be on the table, which is exactly what the article suggests. Maintain your vision Tim, it tends to be one of the more reasonable ones on this forum.

      • BoeBoe15

        What is your deal with Demar? It’s a team sport, so teams win and lose games; not individual players. How easy could it be for me to say Jonas is average and we should trade him? Pretty damn easy, but that doesn’t mean I’m right. He should continue to get better, and the same should be said about Demar because, oh I don’t know, he’s only done it every year he’s been in the league. For a team to be successful it has to be able to play together well, and if we’re always moving pieces, how is the team going to be able to learn to play together well. Demar is a very good player who will probably only get better, so I don’t understand why trading him for any unproven asset, like a draft pick or rights to a player in Europe, would be a good idea.

        • Yes, basketball is a team sport and DeRozan simply doesn’t bring enough team play to winning team for me to want to keep him. He’s a scorer who doesn’t bring anything else to the table, and he’s not even that great a scorer. I think his trade value is worth more than he will actually bring to the team.

          I look at DeRozan as empty calories. And what you want is nutrition.

          • BoeBoe15

            Ok, whatever. Even if I agreed with you on Demar as a player (which I really do not), what else would we get in return that would be a proven commodity? I honestly don’t think we’d get anything but a less proven player or draft picks, which will probably end up putting the Raptors into the same situation as they are in year in and year out.

            As for Demar DeRozan as a player, I think the biggest part of your game that you’re overlooking is the part where you only kind of give him credit, which is his scoring. He doesn’t need someone else to get him a shot, which is probably the hardest attribute to come by for players. If you compare him to someone like Klay Thompson, who is putting up similar numbers, the difference is that DeRozan can get his own shot without someone else setting him up. That’s where my point comes back to being a team game: who’s going to set up guys like Novak, Amir Johnson, Ross, etc. if you let him go? The point guard could, but it would only work if you have a point guard who is good enough to get enough attention for someone else to get open. Demar’s presence is enough to get guys open and make the offensive game easier for them, even if he isn’t the one getting assists.

            • Trading DeRozan for another proven commodity would be pretty pointless, at this point. The whole reason for trading DeRozan would be to acquire draft picks and/or a prospect. Those are assets that can can appreciate in value, and you can strike gold with a draft pick.

              Teams that want to win Championships need to take risks. Playing it safe is what keeps teams where they are year after year.

              As for comparing DeRozan to Klay, don’t. Klay is an elite shooter who has a true shooting percentage of nearly 60%. In the NBA that skill is incredibly valuable as the three point shot is more and more valuable.

              Add the fact that Thompson is a much better defender than DeRozan, and it’s no comparison.

              DeRozan is a nice scorer, but you just have to look at guys like Afflalo and Turner to realize that he’s not as good as some are arguing.

              • BoeBoe15

                Don’t even start with the DeRozan/Klay Thompson sass on me, man. If Thompson is such a good defender and DeRozan is just an average score, why did Demar score 26 on him? But that is beside my point because, like I was saying, it’s a team sport. You build around your assets, which Demar is. For example, Thompson works well with the Warriors because Curry, Lee, and Igoudala all can create their own shots and warrant extra defensive attention. If you put Thompson on a team where he is the best threat on offense, your offense probably won’t work as well. Just as if you put Curry with Russell Westbrook or someone else who controls the ball, maybe that offense doesn’t work so well.

                As far as saying you can strike gold with draft picks? What are those odds? Just look at the Raptors past picks, and it’s easy to see that drafting isn’t an easy thing to do, so common sense should be telling you that once you have a proven player who is good who has proven he will work to improve, you keep them. It’s like you don’t want to understand that DeRozan is still working to get better.

                • So that means Tim Duncan is a below average defender because Valanciunas was able to score 22 points on him last year and shot 6 for 8 against him this year?

                  You obviously can’t pick and choose games to point to who is a good defender. Besides, I’m pretty sure DeRozan was on the floor when Thompson went off in the 27 point comeback, wasn’t he?

                  Thompson is an elite shooter. Period. He definitely has the advantage of being on a team that uses him well but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s an elite shooter. And Thompson is the is getting those numbers on a playoff team in the West.

                  DeRozan is a good scorer on a bad team. He scores less efficiently than Arron Afflalo and does less on the court than Evan Turner.

                  I do understand that DeRozan is still working to get better, and that’s great. But so are most NBA players. That doesn’t mean they’ll all end up being great.

                  Again, I don’t think DeRozan is a bad player, but outside of scoring, he does nothing at an above average rate, and he’s not really great at scoring.

              • ItsAboutFun

                Klay Thompson is NOT “a much better defender”. The oft claimed “bad handles” (bs, getting better by the day) DeMar made him look like a pylon in their game. It’s also time to stop this “one-dimension” bullcrap too. This year his 3P% is way up, his assists are up, his blocks are up, his steals are up, his FTs are up, and btw, if you understand the game beyond stats and what you read via media and blogs, you understand that there’s multiple dimensions (to benefit the team) to just the increased FTs alone.

  • I added a video clip I thought was relevant. Please enjoy.

  • Roarque

    I’m glad Masai Ujiri has the time to evaluate the duo of Kyle Lowry and Senor Vasquez at point guard. A trade of either or both could be made near the trade deadline when their respective values will be higher than Kyle’s is today. And there is always the possibility than the Raptors will excel with the current lineup and Kyle may be convinced to re-up with the Raps.(Nice alliteration, eh?)
    The thought of Amir on the Spurs is so repugnant as to make me throw my coffee mug across the office at the portrait of my grandfather – the man who gave me my height.

    • If the Raptors were to trade Amir, the place I’d want him to go the most is the Spurs. But I don’t see what they have that would make it worthwhile.

    • cd hall

      If the Raps wait till the trade deadline before trading Lowry they may just win a few games that they would be better losing (not good). But if they trade now and start losing now, that = more ping pong balls!

  • desktom

    Jonas gets twelve in the first quarter and nobody looks at him or helps him in the adjustments that were made against him and he sucks ? If we had a coach that liked him he might have a chance of going crazy. The guy runs up and down the court and nobody looks at him and then he starts to get unhappy and I don’t care who you are your defensive attitude is going to suffer. I am so sick of reading this crap about Jonas , its the fing coach not coaching him. What a horrible article twenty games in and we are trading everybody, Toronto Expos baby Toronto expos. Trade your good players away and never compete lololol you tankers are such a joke.

    • Did you actually read the article? I said don’t trade Valanciunas and I also blamed the coaching for his bad play. Before you start casting aspersions about others, make sure that you’re not coming from a place of ignorance.

      • desktom

        Yea I read your article, your ripping a 21 yr old kid that is being treated like hes a smelly turd by the coach. Your basketball knowledge is sorely lacking if you think that Jonas has regressed this year. He has been under coached and on a team that the coach actively agreed not to look for Jonas and shoot whatever shot you want without repercussion by your leading paid player. Jonas and Amir go 15-17 and the coach goes away from them or cant make the adjustments lololol basketball knowledge I understand 15-17 Tank this .

        • Actually, I never ripped him at all. I wrote that he’s regressed this season and it was likely due to poor coaching. Again, I said the Raptors shouldn’t trade him because they’ll likely end up regretting it later, unless they get blown away by a lopsided deal. Not sure how that’s ripping him.

  • Antoine Rose

    You guys are killing me with the trade Demar shit. I wonder if you all remember Tmac. His first few seasons he was getting better every season. Then they trade him and becomes the superstar some people rather have then even Vince (at that moment). LOL you bloggers and columnist kill me.
    Another thing is, what makes you think we are going to get the 1st overall pick and what makes you think its a guarantee we are going to get a good player, remember darko or even OJ when he was supposed to be a team changing point. Don’t make me even talk about Greg Oden. I say KEEP someone who actually likes being in this city and grow him as you did Mo Pete. I think Demar can be the best home grown talent since Vince. It will be a mistake if they trade him.

    • DeRozan is NOT McGrady or Vince Carter. Not even close.

      And I find it ironic that you compare those two, but then bring up that’s its not guaranteed that the Raptors will get a good player in the draft. It’s not a guarantee that DeRozan will become anything more than a poor-man’s Corey Maggette.

      • Antoine Rose

        Its not ironic at all because we see what Derozan is and what he can become .. And:
        “As a footnote, my favourite DeRozan trade proposal involves a three way deal sending DeRozan to Detroit, Kyle Lowry to Chicago and getting back Chicago’s Nikola Mirotic (currently playing in Europe), Charlotte’s first round pick (via Chicago) and possibly Chicago’s first round pick and salary in the form of Charlie Villaneuva and Jonas Jerebko. Greg Monroe would also go to Chicago and Taj Gibson would be sent to Detroit.”

        Really, really … come’on. Your willing to trade all your valuable assets in one trade and all you get back is Mirotic, charlotte’s 1st pick, chicago’s 1st pick (which is a bad pick), and charlie V and jerebko .. but the real gem of the trade Greg Monroe will be going to chicago, really.

        My dude I’m happy you are not our GM

        • Take a closer look at how Mirotic is doing an Europe and you might understand why I’d do this trade. Plus, considering where Chicago is right now, I doubt their pick is going to be that low, even with Lowry and Monroe.

          • Antoine Rose

            LOL we all know that Europe does not translate to the NBA .. I’m just saying

            • Europe doesn’t NECESSARILY translate to the NBA, but if you know what to look for, you can see different things.

              I like the future of Mirotic, right now, more than DeRozan. But I’ve never been a big fan of wing players or big men who are below average defenders.

              • Louvens Remy

                So what dude. People liked the future of Tshikivili, Jan Vesely, Bargnani, Biedrins, Darko, I could go on and and and on. Its all good and well that you like what he’s doing in Europe but, Joel Anthony could put up those numbers in Euroball. I ain’t that impressed.

                • Well, considering I HATED the selections of most of those guys, then I’m not sure I see your point. I was railing against the Bargnani pick immediately. And believe it or not got A LOT of flak for it. Gee, sounds familiar.

                • Louvens Remy

                  My point is who cares about Mirotic.

                • And my point is that you should. I do. And I think the Raptors should try and get him now, because it might be impossible to get him after he’s entered the NBA. I’m not guaranteeing anything, by any means, but I have a gut feeling about Mirotic, and I think getting him would be a good gamble.

                • Louvens Remy

                  I guess, I feel exactly the opposite. Is he SF/PF? Do you think he will ever develop the quickness and strength to be more than above avg? I’m saying that because he has to project better and develop to being better than the guy you are replacing in my opinion. If he comps more like a Toni Kukoc and less like a Kapono/Novak (which is what he can end up being) then I am in. He may be a great passer but if he can’t create off the dribble then what is he? Anyway, I would like to hear your thoughts on why you are so high on him. I see him being good/serviceable in the NBA. He’s also 22 and DeMar is 24 with 4 years NBA experience for a guy that may not have the chutzpah to make it in the league.

                • I like his makeup, his skills, I like what I’ve seen from him, I like his scouting reports. He’s got a high basketball IQ, is tough, skilled, is one of the best shooters the European league has ever seen (and that’s saying a lot).

                  I’m not sure why you’d bring up Toni Kukoc, though. They are NOTHING alike.

                  As for DeRozan, again, he’s a nice player, but his only above average skill is scoring, and the only reason he does it as much as he does now is because he’s on a bad team. And if he’s not scoring, then he doesn’t help the team at all. He’s not a smart player and he’s not a good defender.

                • Louvens Remy

                  You just described Toni Kukoc almost to a tee. A 6’10 european with limited athleticism and quickness, who is a great shooter, tough, skilled with a high basketball IQ. Sorry, he doesn’t have the handle of Toni Kukoc so I’ll just compare him to, say, Andrea Bargnani. If Mirotic gets the ballhandling skills than he compares very much to Toni. Apparently that is all he’s missing. He’s not particularly a banger inside and I imagine he will not like it much in there when he gets to the League. So what is he then? A highly skilled spot up shooter with a high basketball IQ? Gross.

                  I like Derozan as a piece of the puzzle. I don’t mind for my team to trade and make great moves that better the team. I don’t mind that they trade DeRozan but if its just for draft picks and not for a NBA ready prospect a la the Pelicans, than I’m not interested. A team needs a foundation to work from. DeRozan is not the franchise but he can work in the right situations for a team that needs to learn how to win.

                • That description also described 50% of the players in the NBA. It was a pretty vague description. Kukoc and Mirotic are not alike at all. Kukoc is more Magic whereas Mirotic is more Bird. Skill-wise. Kukoc was also not the hardest worker and content to just compliment his teammates.

                • Louvens Remy

                  All Mirotic is missing is a better handle, my man and he’s exactly Kukoc. Ok, so without the handle I’ll just compare him to Steve Novak. You can’t be throwing around this sort of hyperbole about the guy, my dude. He’s playing in the Euro League. Once he gets over to the NBA, he will become a perimeter player and will not go inside. So my comp with Kukoc is probably exactly right, except I’m maybe doing disservice to Toni.

                • Well, they’re both European white guys who can shoot from outside. Other than that, I’m not seeing your comparison.

                  Kukoc was a wing player whose main skill was his ability to set up his teammates, hence his nickname, “The Waiter”. Mirotic is a PF who can shoot from outside, but posts up a lot, as well. Why not compare Mirotic to Dirk? That’s a far closer comparison, but it doesn’t advance your narrative.

                • Louvens Remy

                  Mirotic is not a power forward. he plays with his back to the basket in the Euro League. He is a perimeter player in the NBA. Trust me on that. He will get about 4 boards a game, not 9 or 10 like Dirk.

                • So you are questioning me on why I like Mirotic, but now are guaranteeing that he will get four boards in the NBA and become a perimeter player. You’ve suddenly become an expert on him? That was quick.

                • Louvens Remy

                  I was asking you why YOU liked him. I am questioning why you think so highly of him. I just gave you my assessment of him. I do know a bit about basketball, and follow it pretty damn close. I broke him down the way I see him. I see his Euro game and I gave you my assessment on what I think it will look like in the NBA. I was just wondering if you were seeing something I wasn’t. And apparently you are. It just so happens that you like him more than me. That’s fine right?

                • But you want me to trust me that he’s going to only average 4 rebounds in the NBA, but you won’t trust me on my assessment. Why is that?

                • Louvens Remy

                  Because i just broke down for you what is going to happen to him in the NBA. He’s 6’10 220. In the NBA, he is not going to be able to do what he does in the Euro League. He will be not strong enough to operate down there and not quick enough or have the handle to be a 3. He will end up being more of a spot up shooter who can avg 4 boards a game at best. Maybe a Peja? I don’t see the Dirkness in him. So then my question is why trade for that?

                • One relaxed fella

                  I agree with you. With European players it’s always too difficult to predict weather the guy will play well or not. Most of the times they struggle simply because of the differences of strength, athleticism and speed. Players like Veseley, Darko or Teletovic comes to mind. For instance, Teletovic was averaging 21,7 ppg in Europe before coming to the NBA.

                • Vesley had no skills beyond running and jumping when he was drafted. And Darko was an enigma because he had never played in any of the big leagues. Mirotic plays in the top league in Europe. The same league that the Gasol brothers played in.

                  You also have to looked at their skills and not just their stats. That’s what scouting is all about. College stats can mean little in a vacuum, as well.

                • One relaxed fella

                  I’ve seen both Teletovic and Mirotic play in Euroleague for number of times. Teletovic was absolutely amazing before coming to NBA and he also just like Mirotic was playing in Spanish league. I didn’t say that I don’t like Mirotic. If you want to get a player who currently plays in Europe, than Mirotic is absolutely the best one you could get. All I’m saying that despite that, he’s 6.10 footer with about 210 pounds (at least 40 pounds less than most of the starting PFs in NbA). Do you really think he can play against NBA starting PFs or SFs? The PFs would push him around because of their strenght and SFs because of their quickness and exlposive athleticism. That’s what concerns me. And I also would completely agree with Louvens Remy that Mirotic just screems Kukoc in his game. While he’s playing in Europe – no, but in NBA – I think that’s exactly what his role would be.

          • RaptorFan

            LMAO….thats all I have to say. Wow. You cant compare Euroball to the NBA! Demar would be a super duper superstar in Europe! lol

            • Wait, weren’t you the one who said you’d rub it in my face when you said I was way off about my 6-14 prediction and that Rudy Gay would get traded before Christmas? You’re right, though. They won more than 6 games. I was wrong about that.

              • RaptorFan

                Yes, i will give you credit for that.

                Likewise, I always said that Demar is better than you gave him credit for. Remember when you said he was a below average inefficient chucker? You also said he wouldn’t improve his 3pt shot much and that his value wouldnt get much better than last year.

                I guess we’re even 🙂

                • I said that Gay was an inefficient chucker. And the thing I was most down on DeRozan for was his lack of defense, which I would have said won’t ever become above average. I’ve often said that getting a three point shot is probably one of the easiest skills to learn, in basketball.

                  And no, I wouldn’t say we’re even. Not by a long shot.

              • ItsAboutFun

                Bitch about everything and everyone and you’re sure to right sometimes, then the bonus of having a reason to say how it pleases you when you were wrong. Genius!

          • ckh26

            If I am Toronto I do that deal in heartbeat . Two first rounders plus cap space. Not so sure about Detroit letting Monroe go. They will likely see what the market price is and match,

            • My guess is that Monroe is gone before the trade deadline. He wasn’t extended and he really doesn’t fit on that team, anymore. Moving Josh Smith to Monroe’s PF position would increase his effectiveness. With Drummond now looking like the guy the team will build around, and not Monroe, Monroe has become expendable.

        • sleepz

          I would make that deal. For a rebuilding team its a good move.

          Highly unlikely of course as a don’t think Chicago has any intention of trading away Mirotic and a pick for Monroe (looking for a nice fat contract) and an expiring Lowry but it would give the Raps many picks in a strong draft and a young stud in NM.

          No brainer

      • Pennypacker

        Tim you are almost as bad as Skip Bayless. Your analysis is quite good and I applaud you on that but there are times where its clear you either have no idea what you’re talking about, or you don’t care. So long as you get your say. That’s cool and everything, but you should know you’re not as smart as you think you are.

        • ItsAboutFun

          lol, very true, but knowing one’s limitations isn’t a requirement as an internet writer, nor is much knowledge of the game one writes about.

    • Ian Reynolds

      Grow him as we did Mo Pete, a guy who averaged 11 points, 3 boards, and 40 percent shooting over his career.

      Demar isn’t TMac for a billion reasons. You know that. We all know that. He doesn’t even get better. He’s OKAY at one thing, scoring on bad teams, and he’s making 9 million a year to be arguably the 3rd best player on a notoriously terrible team.

      Who cares if he likes being in this city?? That has nothing to do with how overpaid he is and mediocre at everything he’s become.

      • Dalil

        Please shut up.

    • One relaxed fella

      DeMar is average or above average SG who’s also overpaid considering what he brings on the table.

      And sorry, man, can’t believe you’re comparing DeMar to Vince Carter… uhhh.

    • Plus

      Derozan is no Tmac and Tmac wanted out.

  • Holler at me

    I don’t understand trading Demar at all. He may get us some pieces, but how often do you find guys that get better every year, work hard in the gym and wants to be in Toronto?

    He’s also got the potential to improve his defence just like he has with his mid range game, 3 point shot and post game. He’s a complimentary player I agree, but I don’t see how trading him puts us any further ahead.

    Also, I’m a fan of this site but I often wonder what basketball credentials these guys have? They seem to know it all but I don’t think any are really connected in NBA circles or played at a high level. Just sayin.

  • drg

    Article of the Season! Thanks Tim.

    • Thanks. It might take a season to read, though.

  • hateslosing

    BestaArticle I’ve read from Tim W. Well done
    Amir Johnson is the best player on this team, people need to recognize that and apprecite him accordingly. I know Tim said he’ll never make an all-star game but there are a lot of bigs who will that he should get in ahead of.

    • hateslosing

      why can’t I spell….
      Best article I’ve read from Tim W. Well done!
      Amir Johnson is the best player on this team, people need to recognize that and appreciate him accordingly. I know Tim said Amir will never make an all-star game, but I think he will if the Raptors start winning.

      • Thanks. I really don’t like the idea of trading Amir at all, but at this point I don’t think anyone can be off the table.

  • Louvens Remy

    I don’t agree with trading guys like Amir.But I agree that you agree that you would like to keep him. (That sounded like a shitty Drake lyric or a good one depending on how you view Drake)

    Anyway, he’s an asset and a tradeable piece, but eventually the team will need a guy like Amir on your team to help with the psychology of your team, to teach the system and to foster a culture of continuity and hard work.

  • Saskatoon Raps Fan

    I honestly like your trade with Atlanta better than the Chicago trade, im really intrigued by Schroeder. and we’d still have Lowry to make another move with.

    • I’m really intrigued with Mirotic and have been since before he was drafted. I was sure he’d end up in San Antonio because they always pick those guys, but he didn’t drop that far. And he’s killing it in Europe.

  • AB4EYE

    Hansbrough actually asked to get his offer receded by the Pacers because he wanted a better opportunity at PT and many teams don’t do businesses with restricted FA since other team can just match wasting all their hard work.

    Miami could use Tyler bad with the way they get smashed on the glass, do they have anything we would want other than the stars they wouldn’t move?

  • Paul

    How great is Masai?

    This Lowry deal sounds like another fleecing.

    Felton, MWP and a 1st for Lowry OR Felton, THJ/Shumpery and a first rounds for Lowry.


    Previous regimes would have waited and let Lowry walk for nothing.

    Masai is in the driver’s seat here. The Knicks are desparate for help at pg, and we can wait all the way to the deadline if we have to.

    AND its been leaked that Brooklyn is interested too, so there’s the element of competition b/w the two new york teams.

    Masai is just going to stock pile 1st rounders until a Harden type player becomes available, and we’ll be able to put the best offer forward.

    Finally the front office is doing what us diehard fans have been advocating for years!

    Its an exciting time to be a raps fan!

    • Louvens Remy

      hahahahahahahahaha. I think its more of an indictment of the stupidity of those two franchises, but I’ll take it. Also, I like this approach. That trade is not a tank trade. It’s a get better trade, change the philosophy trade and then bam, have enough assets to get a proven player! Whoohoo. I like that better than sucking dog balls.

  • lewro

    tim w,
    exactly the article we need. i’d like to read similar articles from the rest of the rr writers.
    one criticism: the “keep or move” section reads solely as your opinion, void of any consideration/speculation of masai’s mindset. Don’t get me wrong, I want your opinion as well but masai’s is the most pertinent. Obviously only masai knows for sure but I think factoring that into your argument makes it more relevant. For example, i think amir is such a masai guy that his value is really high, like almost jonas high. your point about amir’s value on a rebuilding team is a good one and that might be the factor that changes masai’s mind. i also think masai slightly values derozan more than you do (but not nearly as much as derozan fans do) because of the commitment factor. i don’t think your vince/t-mac free agency comparison to derozan is apt. demar is happy to play here for the fore-seeable future. you’re right that he is not the talent of vince/t-mac tho.
    again, great job, keep it up, bring more writers to the table (please).

    • sleepz

      need more comments like this one on the site, as well

    • Thanks. Masai is pretty enigmatic to me, and I literally have no clue as to what his thinking is, at this point. I figured my opinion was as good as guessing.

  • StabbyRaccoon

    All right I agree, Derozan shouldn’t be untouchable, he really isn’t THAT good, he’s just plain good and flashy; he could probably be replaced within this lineup. But it would also hurt, like with Amir he has been a Raptor for a while and the fans like him, we need some level of team continuity and Amir Johnson is just one guy, a damn good sole survivor but not enough. I would like to have 2 at least (and of course we would still have Jonas who’s popular now and for good reason). Demar isn’t as valuable as Amir and that shooting percentage isn’t all that stellar but realizing that he’s a more high maintenance player and tends to need to be set up by a “traditional” point guard he might be worth holding onto for when the Raptors get a couple of good pass-first guards. His rookie season he shot nearly 50% FG with Calderon and Jarrett Jack at PG and his skills have improved since then.

    But I also understand the concept of trading at the peak of market value, I wouldn’t want Masai to hold onto players irrationally, I just think that we should add a little more value to Demar’s potential future role as a Raptor.

  • IMO

    Maybe Lowry to NY or Milwaukee? I feel like with trading Gay to Sac perhaps Ujiri is trying to look first at increasing the talent levels of teams who are currently situated with a record worse than ours should a reasonable deal come up? Maybe ? Haha

    • ckh26

      Lowry to PHX for one of their bazziliion first rounders this year.. then Lowry to NYK for Shumpert as PHX can use help at SG.
      Lowry to the Bulls for one of their two first rounders and then Lowry to GS for Draymond Green and 2nd to CHI. Chi will need help at SF to either backup Luol Deng or or help fill the void of CHI trades him before the deadline.

  • mountio

    Good article as per usual. Im in agreement with pretty much everything except that Amir’s trade value is high. I think hes a very solid player .. I just dont think that many (if any) teams out there feel like they are an “amir johnson” away from being over the top. Reason is that, while he does a bunch of things pretty well, but doesnt specialize in anything. In addition, most teams would say they have a guy that is + or – what he brings. Hed be great on a team like the Heat with a bunch of scorers, but dont think they could make it work.
    Anyways – just my piece .. I personally think KL and TR would both get more in return than Amir would.

  • James

    More of Tim W’s picket fence trash.

  • Dalil

    Hello Raps fans !
    I’m french and I’m maybe the biggest fan of the Raps in Europe AHAHAHA
    Just to say one thing : we have to keep DD. No matter what. He is improving season afrer season and he had the All Star level this year. He will be a great lieutenant for our future superstar

  • nyStef

    Why would Masai be in Europe *right now*, I wonder? It can only be that he needs to see a player with his own eyes before making one of whatever possible deals that are floating around for him right now. I’m liking Masai more every day. I like the way he said ‘we won’t be in the middle, I can tell you that’. Cool enough to be damn cold. Which the best GMs have to be, imo. Exciting time.

  • MrBlack

    It was probably mentioned somewhere down here in the comments, but how do you get to the $4.6 TPE at the top of the article? (Rudy 17.8m + Gray 2.6m + QA .788m – Vas 2.1m – Salmons 7.5m – Hayes 5.7m – PP 3.1m = 2.8m TPE)

    • You’re correct. The information I read was wrong. Thanks.

  • P_T_Raps

    Please explain to me how DeMar DeRozan is a slightly above average or average shooting guard? My assesment is that he is a top 10, likely even top 5 alongside D. Wade, Harden, Thompson and Ellis, when you include his progression, age, numbers, etc. Your assesment is purely based on not your own opinion, rather that of the ESPN trolls, which points solely to stats. They ride each other’s opinions more than Whitney rode Bobby. Given that you follow the Raptors and watch them closely, your opinion should be a little more intuitive rather than repeating what ESPN says.
    You claim that all he can do is score, and that he is limited in other regards. However, you forget that offense is 50% of the game and he is FAR above average at getting the ball in the basket. You point to his passing, yet he has played alongside average Joe’s his whole career. When you wanna fix a problem, why would you remove the one bright spot on the team? Realistically, he is and has been the only GOOD NBA player on this Raptors team in the last 5 years. You point to players like Amir and others and praise them because of their efficiency, however it’s very very easy to visually evaluate the two and come to a conclusion that Derozan is a MUCH better player. Also, who says you can’t tank and keep a piece or two? A Parker alongside a Derozan would be pretty nice, no?
    Raptors are just a sorry franchise that devalues their own players, has terrible player development, management, and coaching. Additionally, they beleive more in the public opinion rather than their own beliefs. He is the one player on this team who should stay, period. People say Valanciunas is the other, yet he consistently performs like crap.

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