My overwhelming thought watching the Raptors somehow lose to Golden State the other day was this: Why didnít the Raptors draft Stephen Curry?
Itís pretty clear on the strength of his play this year heís going to be a very special player. Is he the bundle of athletic potential that Derrick Rose is? No. But neither is Steve Nash, and he gets by pretty well. Watching Curry live, thatís what came to mind. Heís nowhere near the ball-handler Nash is yet. And itís probably a reach to suggest heíll ever be quite the passer Nash has proven to be. But he plays with the same calm, focused intensity. Heís much quicker and more athletic than his jumping ability (above average, but not great spectacular) would lead people to believe. And my God can he shoot, which in the case of each player compliments everything they do, rather defines it. And plus he likes the city and his girlfriendís family is from here.
The easy answer to the question is that the Raptors were picking ninth and Curry was taken seventh.
But Iím also curious why the Raptors didnít draft Ricky Rubio (taken fifth)? Or even Tyreke Evans, who went fourth?
This is nothing against DeMar DeRozan exactly. Heís been just as advertised: A very athletic player with limited elite basketball experience who has at time shone in his first NBA season but more often has been kind of meh. Heís no Sonny Weems, in other words. Heís put in a lot of time on his game and will surely become the player heís destined to be, itís just yet to be determined what kind of player that is.
But wouldnít the tone of the discussion right now be a little different if the Raptors had a rookie in the fold who not only was significant, game-changing talent, but quite likely a potential star?
Can we agree on that?
Which brings me to myself. A year ago the Raptors were on a winning streak, one that ended up with them finishing 9-4 in their last 13 games. What a waste.
This is what I wrote then in response to Tom Liston of Raptors Republic who Ė as a season ticket holder Ė objected to my argument then on the merits of tanking.
ďPresuming the Raptors scouting staff would never get this wrong, they should get a better player picking 5th than 9th, or 8th than 9th, for that matter. And I guess my view is that if you're going to miss the playoffs or just make them and get crushed in the first round, better to pick fifth than 13th, or 16th. But hey, easy for me to say.Ē