However a strong, athletic wing type may be an option. The old adage “you can’t teach size” applies here and the draft does provide some options for Toronto. While these players may be raw, all could give the club a boost defensively off the bench, right off the bat, supplanting the likes of John Salmons and Landry Fields. DraftExpress.com currently has the Raptors slotted to take Syracuse’s Jerami Grant, a 6-8 athletic wing specimen who does a pretty good job fitting that bill. Other options later in the first round might include Clemson’s K.J. McDaniels and Wichita State’s Cleanthony Early. In terms of second-round options, I’d be intrigued to see Toronto take a shot at Florida’s Patric Young, Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes, UNLV’s Khem Birch and UNC’s James Michael McAdoo.
Masai and The Henchmen spent a tremendous amount of time this past season out watching college games and in Europe and I know they will have narrowed their list down to perhaps five or six possible selections. The Chicago camp is a huge first step in seeing how the draft will shake out. Players are poked and prodded physically and mentally for the better part of a week. The on-court stuff is telling, there are individual workouts, strength and agility testing, three-on-three games and some full court work. It gives a better indication of overall skills than just watching college or European games where the competition level may be suspect. The other stuff, however, is probably more important. The meetings with these kids, with medical exams and sports psychologists around to check them out, give a greater insight into personality and that’s a huge part of figuring out, or trying to figure out, how a teenager might fit into the hard life of the NBA. The draft, as we all know, is a bit of a crapshoot and that’s even more the case when you’re picking at No. 20 where every possible selection will have some flaws. It’s figuring out how serious those flaws are and whether or not they can be fixed that’s the biggest test for the GM and his staff and the job really starts in earnest next week.
I love Kyle Anderson’s fit in Toronto, where his tremendous passing instincts should be valued. Anderson is a point guard at heart with a small forward’s body, but his ability to facilitate and shoot could be a nice complement to DeMar DeRozan’s scoring prowess.
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Councillor Josh Matlow announced Thursday that Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly will be sending Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams a Drake CD along with a Toronto Raptors jersey signed by the Toronto rapper. “Toronto doesn’t welch on a bet,” Matlow told council. “We the North.” Ford made the bet on the Raptors series with the Brooklyn Nets before he took a leave of absence for his admitted problem with alcohol.
The extension gives Ujiri the chance to see what a full year’s worth of a team that ranked ninth in the league in both offense and defensive efficiency – scoring 107 points per 100 possessions while surrendering 102, per NBA.com/stats – post-Gay can do. If the Raptors re-sign Kyle Lowry, pivotal to the Raptors’ transformation and the team’s production proves sustainable, terrific. If not, the Raptors have young, valuable assets they can flip for a franchise player or draft picks. Dwane Casey may not be the coach to lead the Raptors to the championship, and that’s fine – the Raptors aren’t quite there yet. They still need to develop their young players like Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas, an area in which Casey’s proved adept. So even though Casey may not be The Guy, he’s the The Guy Right Now, perfectly suited to Toronto’s needs, at least for the moment.
Let’s consider our roster the day after Kyle announces he’s becoming a Los Angeles Laker, or whatever. First off, we just “found” about $11 million in our budget, that being the amount allocated for Kyle. The salary cap is around $63 million, so if we simply retained everyone we’d be under the cap by $3 million. The buyout of John Salmons (but not Amir Johnson, please) will happen regardless of Kyle’s status, so we’ve now got another $6 million. I hope Masai Ujiri hasn’t cut ties with Greivis Vasquez, because he just became our Game 1 starter at the point. Vasquez’s backup will be either Dwight Buycks or Julyan Stone, at least according to the depth chart. I happen to think Nando De Colo would be just fine at point.
What would Monroe bring to the Raptors? 1st is a go-to big man scorer, who will score 16-19 points per game. Jonas Valanciunas is a very talented young center, but he isn’t a go-to big man option in the NBA. He is an excellent rebounder, he is a very capable scorer and defender and is a strong hustle player, but scoring 16 points or more is a lot to ask from him, especially as he hasn’t even averaged 12 points per game in the NBA. Monroe scored 15.2 points per game this season, but Josh Smith’s inclusion in the rotation was a big reason why and he only played 32.8 minutes per game. Regardless, Monroe has the talent to score at least 18 points per game if he is given the chance. Monroe is also an excellent rebounder, averaging at least 9.3 rebounds the previous 3 seasons and a very gifted playmaker, as he averaged 3.5 assists per game during his best season (coincidentally, when he was the 1st option and Josh Smith was in Atlanta). How would he fit on the Raptors? He would slide right into the starting power forward spot and give them a 2nd or 3rd option offensively, teaming with All Star DeMar DeRozan and star point guard Kyle Lowry. He would team with Valanciunas to give them elite rebounding in their frontcourt, a player who can hit a mid range shot or score in the paint and someone who they can run their offense through. He is a versatile and very talented big man on offense and would take the Raptors’ offense to a new level. Still only 23, he would team with DeRozan (24), Valanciunas (22) and Lowry (28), assuming they resign him, to give them a young and ridiculously talented Big 4.
Kyle Lowry…you are the best. The tough guard stepped up every game of the series, scoring in volumes and delivering the ball as well as Andrea Bargnani delivers disappointment. His unsuccessful shot in the closing seconds of Game Seven was impossible to denounce, as he has well-earned the trust of his teammates and every Raptor fan. He is the undisputed leader of the Raptors and his performance over the past seven games instilled my confidence in this team’s future. Lowry’s probable contract extension with Toronto entails his current level of play. If he can maintain directorship of the Raps and continue the harmony between himself and DeRozan, this team will only improve.
“I just woke up one Sunday morning and asked, ‘What would happen if you held a winner-take-all basketball tournament, open to the public, for a ton of money?’” said Mugar, a 38-year-old television producer from Boston. Three years later, Mugar and a small group of private investors are unrolling the inaugural version of the idea, a 32- team showdown called The Basketball Tournament that is open to anyone, free to enter and carries a $500,000 prize. This year’s event will be held without sponsors, advertising or television coverage. It’s a $1.5 million gamble that word of mouth, social media and an on-court product that includes former National Basketball Association players and reunited elite college teammates from Princeton University and elsewhere will give them more leverage with potential sponsors and broadcasters next year.
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