Kawhi Leonard isn't an upgrade over Juju and the Karate Kid. All three have good size, good defensive instincts, and underwhelming offensive game. I'd take Singleton over Leonard.
Remember JJ and JuJu were both lottery picks in much stronger drafts. Singleton is a better shooter, leader and has shown that he can defend three different positions well.
JuJu doesn't look like he is coming back, although with Triano not behind the bench the odds do seem to increase, but you'd still have to pencil him as "unlikely to return", which Kleiza not likely to be around for a good chunk of the season and weems doing d*ck all at the 3 spot, we are as thin at the SF as we are at C. Arguably thinner. I still have no idea who I would take if I was picking 5th.
"We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon
His free agent track record - outside Nash - is borderline dreadful. He is known to give too freely. Marcus Banks? Kapono? Hedo? Fred Jones?
The Jermaine O'Neal trade was a calculated risk that failed because - as O'Neal has shown with 2 other teams - he has not been nor ever will be the same player as in Indiana in the early to mid 2000's. Much like the Marion trade, that was another one where it would have been nice to not include the 1st round pick.
But I digress.
*EDIT* Just realized your comment was more in agreement. Sorry if it came across defensive or argumentative.
My Raptors draft board:
"When Life gives you lemons, you clone those Lemons to make super lemons!"
I was very impressed with Leonard during his workout/interview yesterday. Wouldn't mind having him but I think the 5th pick is too high for him. If we could somehow get a 2nd pick in the 7-12 range, and he's available, I'd take him. Everything BC has done this off-season speaks to a man who is under a lot of pressure to get this rebuild project moving fast. He only has 2 seasons to show progress with this team. That's why I believe he will take the player that is most NBA ready with the 5th pick. Leonard will likely be a nice player but it will take 2-3 years to begin to see it. So, I can't see BC taking him at 5. I still think Knight or Kanter are their guys should they be available at 5. Unfortunately, I can't see them being there. I still think the draft will go like this:
1. Cleveland: Irving
2. Minny: Williams
3. Utah: Knight
4. Cleveland: Kanter
5. Toronto: Kemba Walker
BC has always loved fast PG. Kemba fits the bill and I can see him fitting in with Toronto. He can fulfill his center and SF needs via trade, free agency, or next year's draft.
Your right money is always spent freely with him. It's tough to find a good signing outside of Nash, Parker or Garbo that stands out as the right move or great value. I'd prefer BC to make a trade rather then a free agent signing.
Personally i wish he didn't move O'Neal until the following season where his expiring was so much more desirable to team like Miami, New York, Chicago and all other teams looking to get in on the 2010 free agency sweepstakes. Your right though if the trade went through the pick was not needed but great move by Mr.Riley.
It would look pretty bad on BC to draft a SF after he traded our second round pick for Johnson. Still, if he could get a second top 10 pick Leonard would be a great pick up.
Yeah, I'm really starting to like the guy as well. I can't think of any negative words spoken against him. His biggest weakness - his jumpshot - is something he's apparently killing himself to improve and the work is paying off. Weak jumpshots are so easy to fix if you're willing to work on it. Probably the easiest skill to learn in the game. There's a fluidity to his game on offense though that's missing from Chris Singleton's game, which is why I think he's getting ranked higher than him on all the boards.
If Kanter's gone by 5, to me, it's a toss up between Walker and Leonard. I'd throw Singleton in the mix, but I can't picture any realistic scenario where he goes that high, so it's moot to really talk about him with the 5th pick.
Instead of looking to trade up, if the Raps were able to grab an extra pick at 6-8, a Walker/Leonard combo, or Kanter/Leonard combo would be a fantastic win for the Raps. And I don't think it would be that difficult to do: I still believe Bargnani would be a great fit in SAC, and I think Detroit's pick can be had as well.
One thing I like about Toronto sports fans is that they place hard workers on pedestals - regardless of whatever skill they have. Tie Domi and Reggie Evans come immediately to mind. It's probably the best intangible to respect, and having Derozan and Leonard together on the same team would win a lot of fans in the long term I think.
At a pick as high as #5 I think the Raptors have to look at something more than rebounding and perimeter defence. Individual rebounders can be found through free agency or trades. After all, Reggie Evans was an elite rebounder in the NBA last season. Team rebounding depends on coaching and a team-first attitude. Perimeter defence is important, but is not as important as defending the interior and the rim. Colangelo had this idea last year in the aborted trade for Chandler. So, I think that the Raptors should consider a good center such as Kanter or Valanciunus, before a wing player. Offensively, a PG that can break down defences and/or shoot from long-range is also key. Kemba Walker and Brandon Knight would seem to be good fits there. At #5 the Raptors should have a choice of a good PG or C, and I think they should use it. If they get another pick in the lottery, I suppose that they could go with Wing player, and Leonard might be a good fit (if his shooting picks up). But, if they are able to pick up another pick as high as #8 (from Detroit), there is a chance that they might be able to get both a PG (Walker) and C (Valanciunas or Kanter), depending on what Washington (Vesely?) and Sacramento (Fredette?). Biyombo is in some ways more intriguing than Leonard because he has the same sort of physical skills, but is bigger and can protect the paint and the rim better due to size and position.
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