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.
The rumors have already started to fly about the possibility of the 37-year-old soon to be free agent returning to Toronto to finish his career with the franchise that he single-handedly put on the NBA map. This would be more than just a farewell tour. Carter has lost a step from his prime, but he accepted a role off the bench in Dallas these past two seasons and still averaged double-digit scoring in about 24 minutes per game. Carter also averaged about 40 percent from three point range which fits into Head Coach Dwane Casey’s offense perfectly. Carter can still play. Also, from a practical side, after earning over $160 million in his NBA career, if Carter is truly interested in returning to Toronto for a season or two, money is not going to be an issue. Carter could be that veteran wing player off the bench that gives the Raptors some additional scoring punch and in a winning environment, his return could add a very positive vibe to the ACC. It would almost certainly sell truck loads of Raptors jerseys with his name on them again. It is past time to bury the hatchet with the Raptors most famous player and bring him back to finish his career.
Like it or not, Toronto may be on to something if the price is right, and despite the widespread belief that Terrence Ross is headed for greatness, Carter outperformed the struggling sophomore in every major offensive category during both the regular season and the playoffs. Most importantly, even if Ross develops into the offensive threat that many feel he could one day be, the minute he takes the final step towards becoming an All-Star, the chemistry in Toronto is likely to revert to what it was when Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan ran the floor together. No, Carter’s return won’t lead to an NBA title, erase the disappointment felt when he left, or make that missed jump shot against the Philadelphia 76ers fall. But it would add an experienced veteran who has done a lot of maturing over the years to a team looking to gain stability.
There probably won’t be much financial wiggle room left after some or all of those priorities are taken care of, so the Raptors will have to do some bargain hunting to address their remaining roster needs. The draft and trades will also play a likely role in shaping the roster for next season. For now, though, here is my opinion of five inexpensive free agents who could wind up in a Raptors uniform in 2014-15.
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10. Patterson’s Game Winner. In the midst of “Patman” coming to fruition, Patrick Patterson wore his now famed mask while facing off against the Brooklyn Nets, who would later take on Toronto in the playoffs. Being a spark off the bench all season and playing great with the mask on, it was a no-brainer to keep Patterson in the game until the very end. He was having a good night already, and it only got better as he stole the ball off a poor pass by Deron Williams that was intended for Joe Johnson. He hesitated as Williams flew by and then rose up to cleanly knock down the jumper and seal the game for the Raps. In a season where close games weren’t Toronto’s friend, this was a great moment.
The City of Toronto will proclaim this coming Monday “Raptors Day” in celebration of the team’s “incredible” season. Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly will make the announcement at Nathan Phillips Square on Monday morning at 8:30 a.m., alongside Toronto Raptor Greivis Vasquez and coach Dwane Casey. “Toronto! Join me, @greivisvasquez & Dwane Casey on Monday morning (8:30am) at Nathan Phillips Square to proclaim @Raptors day! #WeTheNorth,” Kelly tweeted on Saturday.
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