P.J. Hairston has talent. He’s just 6’5, which isn’t tall for a shooting guard, but his 6’9 reach more than makes up for it. He’s a powerful athlete that wouldn’t have any trouble playing immediately in the NBA. In fact, of all the players likely going in the second half of the first round, he might be the most NBA ready, after playing in the D-League this past season. He can shoot, has good defensive potential and is an aggressive and physical player.

So what’s the catch?

As a guest on the latest Raptors Weekly Podcast, I mentioned certain red flags that would completely turn me off drafting a player1, and Hairston has a couple of them.

1. Speaking of red flags, Spurs’ President, R.C. Buford stated in an interview with the New York Post, they have a “specific list of deal-breakers that are non-negotiable. If players want New York or LA, they’re not going to come here. … If someone’s more interested in winning scoring titles, this probably isn’t the place for them.”

After a successful sophomore season at North Carolina, Hairston was dismissed from the team after a months long investigation showed he had broken numerous NCAA rules (and not just silly ones). Hairston also has shown questionable behaviour on the court, doesn’t seem to have a high basketball IQ, despite having two years at North Carolina and a year in the D-League, and to top it off has been known to lose focus and lack intensity far too often.

A veteran team with strong leadership and a good team structure might be able to handle developing a player like Hairston and handle his influence, but for a young team his presence could hurt both him and the team.

He’s got some Mitch Richmond in his game, but he also reminds a little too much of Isaiah Rider, someone you probably don’t want to be compared to.

The thing is that Hairston could definitely help the Raptors and is one of the few players they could draft at 20 who could step in and contribute immediately. Normally to gamble on a player in the late first round means drafting a project, but Hairston has a fully developed game and in the right situation, could thrive. I’m just not sure the Raptors are in any position to make that gamble.

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  • joe

    he might even be available at 37

  • Ian

    I like his game and his size – he seems like he’ll contribute to an NBA team and could have a long career, just not sure he works for the raptors who already have a surplus of shooting guards and should look to use their first selection in the draft with a clearer need.

    • caccia

      The Raptors as of today have three point guards–Lowry, Vasquez, and De Colo–but only two good players for the shooting guard and small forward positions–Ross and DeRozan. It would help if Landry Fields could shoot, but at the moment, I see no one really capable of lighting it up in the second unit at the 2 and 3 positions. Hairston would surely help, although the reservations expressed are probably legitimate. Some guys do not grow up very fast.

  • Take it in

    We need rim protection all these shooting guards will put us in a tight position and they won’t get a lot of minutes due inexperienced we need back up big man to stop all those straight line drives to the basket and help out jv and Amir

    • Slap Dog Hoops

      I agree with you there. A veteran presence such as Anderson Varejao would be perfect for that role as he will be an excellent backup for JV along with adding front court depth in the roster. Perhaps the Raptors can acquire him using the expiring contract of Landry Fields, along with Amir Johnson, Terrence Ross and their first round draft pick to get not only Varejao, but also acquire Loul Deng in a sign and trade deal.

      • Take it in

        Make sense maybe, just maybe varejao can stay healthy in a good rotation with jv Patrick and a daft pick to build a strong front court with veteran presence

      • Nathan

        dude, you just suggested trading two starters for an older big off the bench. Varejao? wow.

        • Slap Dog Hoops

          If it means getting us closer to a title, yes. Varejao may be ” old” (he just turned thirty), but he can still provide an major impact on the right team. And in my opinion, save for Demar, Jonas, Kyle and Greivis, evry other Raptor is expendable.

  • Slap Dog Hoops

    I think the Raptors have enough wing players. What they do need is some playoff experienced veterans and glue guys to help the team take the next step. Loul Deng would be an excellent example. He’s a solid offensive threat if need be, can help with pushing the tempo with his ability to bring up the ball and has the reputation of being a Lockdown defender. Perhaps the Raps can use their draft picks and throw in Terrence Ross in order to get him.

    • ac1011990

      Ya no thanks, if Deng comes to the Raps as a free agent for less money, thats great, but id never give up the 20th AND Ross for him in a sign and trade. This team is not 1 piece away from being a legitimate threat for the title, so why should we give up young assets for a 29 year old Deng. Raps need to collect as many assets they can and if the right deal comes along that makes sense for the group and the direction we are heading then you use those.

      • Slap Dog Hoops

        He will go to the Raps for less money if there were a sign and trade, that’s for sure; however the Raptors need to mortgage the young talent it has to be anywhere near a championship contender. Otherwise they will follow the same pattern of floinder as a marginal playoff team for a couple of year to only crash and burn and be forced to rebuild in the future.

        • ac1011990

          If the Cavs could get our 20th and Ross for a guy who’s leaving anyways that would be an absolute steal for them. Deng isn’t the type of player you give up assets for, he won’t improve the team enough to warrant giving up Ross, a guy who could be a really good player and the 20th. Masai is known for drafting and finding talent in the later picks, this is where he gets to add value to the team. Once you collect assets and a trade opportunity comes up that could improve you team significantly that’s when you use those assets.

          • Bendit

            Absolutely re MU. He is a talent picker at heart and by trade. I think he relishes picking in the draft and I for one am looking forward to his selections.

            • ac1011990

              Yep me to, should be exciting to see who he drafts and what he thinks this team needs. Their are a few teams who have some extra picks (76ers) which I think Masai should target. This draft could fill a few holes for us.

              • Slap Dog Hoops

                I personally think that the Raptors have enough young talent to build upon with DeRozan, Lowry, Vasquez, Patterson and Valanciunas. They don’t need another young player that will take time to develop with the hope he will become halfway decent in two or three years. the Raptors need players to contribute RIGHT AWAY so we can build upon the momentum created by this season’s success. This is a dangerous time for both the team and us as fans where we can get lulled into a false sense of security. We have to strike while the griddle is hot.

                A young player like Ross may seem to have plenty of potential and upside, but I am sorry to say he has shown me that he will never get any better than what he produced this season. Sure he has freakish athleticism and in some ways is more polished skill wise than Demar DeRozan; however, he does not have that ingredient that can take his game to the next level and from what I have seen, he’ll probably never get it. At best, I see him as a solid rotation player or even a sixth man on a good team, but certainly not a player worth investing in the long term, because he has basically reached his peak.

                The same goes for Amir. Sure we love the guy and he has developped into quite a solid player since coming to Toronto, but he has essentially reached his peak as well. It is time for the Raptors to make the tough decision and let go of those guys in order to make this team better next season and hopefully a true championship contender instead of just settling with mediocrity. I’ve seen this scenario played out before–all of us Raptors fans have. I am sure, just like me, you don’t want history to repeat itself.

                • Nathan

                  wow, you really believe Ross has peaked? that’s insane. I can see it with Amir, but Ross? wow, you need to not post again for 2 weeks as punishment. wow.

                • Slap Dog Hoops

                  Don’t let his high flying dunks fool you. Terrence Ross has basically shown all that he can give to the team and his stock is right now at an all time high. It would be wise to trade him and get the bast value now than keeping him and watch his efficiency and production level off and drop.

                • ac1011990

                  Ya the internal growth of those 5 guys is never going to win you a championship unless maybe you add a Durant or Lebron. This team is not a Deng away from being a a threat either. The worst thing you can do is sacrifice young assets for guys like Deng, that’s exactly what BC was doing and look where it got us.

                  Ross is not a finished product at all, i’m not sure what your looking at but he is nowhere close to being done in terms of growth. Hes already showing flashes of being a very very good defender and a great shooter. He has Derozan, who is a great influence, to show him what hard work can do. At the end of the playoffs he looked so excited to go workout in the summer so he could become stronger and bigger in order to defend a guy like Joe Johnson. He needs time to play and make mistakes so he can learn from. What makes you think hel never get to the next level? Last year he looked completely lost and this year hes gotten much much better. It took Demar 5 years to get to where hes at and honestly i dont think even Derozan had show that much potential in his earlier years compared to Ross.

                  The problem with your idea is that you just want to trade guys for the sake of trading them. Who would you replace Amir with? I agree that hes hit his peak but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a solid contributor. There arnt many attainable PF that will do what Amir does, only better.

                  Personally I want Masai to go after a good 2 way SF and a long/big defensive center. Im really hoping Masai doesnt do something like what BC would have done and trade young guys or draft picks for a guy like Deng or any other short fix.

                • Slap Dog Hoops

                  It’s so funny how you guys love to diss and put down what Bryan Colangelo did since he is the reason why the Raptors did so good in the first place. Who hired Dwane Casey? Who traded for Kyle Lowry? Who selected Demar DeRozan,Terrence Ross and Jonas Valancinas? Who signed Amir Johnson to probably what can be considered “a steal” now despite fans booing about it?

                • ac1011990

                  He drafted pretty good and knew talent, but he couldn’t put it together. If you can’t produce a winning club with the talent you have it’s kind of useless. BC did a really good job drafting, your right, the team has his fingerprints all over it, but he got fired for a reason.

                  I don’t think we agree on much, so let’s just leave it at agreeing to disagree lol.

    • ItsAboutFun

      lolololol, between your Varejao and Deng suggestions, Cavs management would love you and Raps management would laugh at you. Either trolling or haven’t been listening and watching MU, eh.

      Ross peaked?????? lmfao, you start watching NBA this year? Troll.

  • Microaggressive

    This guy is a nut bar and a probable future black eye for the NBA

  • ckh26

    PJ Hairston = Michael Beasley….. Proceed with extreme caution. Million dollar talent merged with a 10 cent brain.

  • Junior Maurice

    he has a little bit of James harden in his game

  • JP

    His game looks tight but I say avoid due to off court troubles.

  • Marnix Saynor

    he game reminds me of Dion Waiters and his attitude as well