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Thread: Chisholm: What to do about the C position? Forget Tyson Chandler (212)

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    Default Chisholm: What to do about the C position? Forget Tyson Chandler (212)

    There are a lot of questions that surround the Toronto Raptors as they head into their 17th NBA season. However, from this vantage point, it seems like none are as immediately pressing as what they are going to do about the centre position this season. Whatever solution they choose will have ripple effects up and down the roster and could even spill into next year and help (or hinder) the development of prized draft pick Jonas Valanciunas. What is the issue at the centre position? I'm so glad you asked.

    The issue breaks down like this: Andrea Bargnani played centre last season for the club and failed miserably. Opposing centers averaged 21.1 ppg against him, he ranked dead last amongst centres in rebound rate at 8.6 (a career-low) and his help defence would best be described as non-existent. Long term, both Bryan Colangelo and head coach Dwane Casey see him as power forward, and would like to get him plenty of minutes at that position this season to see how he fares there. That's the core of the issue, anyway. But wait, there's more.

    The Raptors need to start Bargnani at power forward this season because they need to evaluate two things: one, how badly his lack of defence would hurt them if he wasn't the team's last line of defence, and two, how much would it affect his rebounding if he wasn't tasked with fending off the opposing team's biggest player.

    Essentially, they need to gauge if he'd be a suitable frontcourt partner for Valanciunas going forward, and perhaps more broadly, they need to assess how realistic it is to believe this team could seriously compete with him in the starting lineup going forward. In other words, if the team designs its entire starting five around mitigating his limitations, does he provide enough positives to make it worthwhile?

    So, simple solution, right? Go out and get a centre and try it out. Well, it's not that simple. Firstly, the team would have to consider how much money and how many years they'd be willing to commit to a centre with Valanciunas coming over in ten months time. Secondly, the team would have to consider the ramifications on the other young frontcourt players on this team if they were to shift Bargnani full-time to power forward in an attempt to assess the full measure of his game.

    Remember, there are not only other power forwards on this team, but if Bargnani proves unable to elevate his quality of play this year, they may outlast him on the roster, which makes their development as much of a priority as Bargnani's evaluation.

    So, that means that while the team needs to move Bargnani (and his roughly 36 minutes per game) over to the power forward position for at least a good chunk of those minutes, they also need to find regular, productive minutes for Ed Davis and Amir Johnson in the frontcourt as well, whether or not they import a new starting center. Davis, in particular, probably warrants more than the 24.6 minutes he averaged last season, especially after averaging 10.5 ppg and 8.2 rpg as a starter in 17 games.

    Now is probably also a good time to point out that Linas Klezia, last summer's not-inexpensive pickup, is more of a natural power forward than a small forward. Just throwing that out there.

    Also, one last point: Bryan Colangelo is aware of this problem. It's why he tried to trade for Tyson Chandler last summer. It's why he flirted with signing Erick Dampier last fall. It's why he drafted Solomon Alabi, it's why he traded for Alexis Ajinca. He knows this team needs a real centre that can play at least a few minutes per game, so if you want any insight on how management sees this situation, there's your answer.

    So what's the solution going to be this year? Well, there is no one obvious way to go. One course of action would involve the team throwing money at Tyson Chandler or Sam Dalembert and working out the rotation this season and next season as needed. They'd both be big-minute players but both offer defensive and rebounding abilities that dwarf anyone else on the current roster.

    Another option would be to pick up a cheap centre like Joel Przybilla, Jeff Foster or Jason Collins, use them at the start of each half for five-to-eight minutes, then shift Bargnani to centre for the rest of the time and play Davis and Johnson at power forward in whatever minutes are left over.

    Yet another option would be to keep Bargnani at centre, Davis and Johnson as the power forwards, and wait to evaluate Bargnani and Valanciunas together next season, although that would seem like a significant waste of time and a season.

    Those options, of course, are the least aggressive available to the Raptors. If they were open to trading Bargnani or Johnson, they could look to significantly reshuffle the deck this season in anticipation of next summer's big man heavy draft and the arrival of Valanciunas. You'd be hard pressed to find too many observers who see Bargnani in particular as a starter on a legitimate contending NBA team (which one assumes the Raptors are at least going to try and construct), and making him someone else's problem to work around may simply be an inevitability.

    For now, though, the order of the day is probably the one with the least long-term ramifications. The team wants to keep a good chunk of cap space available to them next summer, with only $40 million in salary commitments (reduced to $29.5 million if they amnesty Jose Calderon) leaving them as big players in a huge free agent class if they play their cards right. The only fear with that plan is focusing too singularly on the future without given due consideration to the needs of today to help set up that future.

    Figuring out this Bargnani thing is a huge part of that future, and the sooner it can get sorted out, the sooner the team can start to bring that future into focus. It's all well and good to have 2012 circled on the calendar, but there is still a season to play before we get there.
    Source: TSN.ca

    Chisholm says a lot without saying anything!

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    Unmentioned option: Trade Bargnani and don't worry about whether he'll be able to fit in.
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    I think "If they were open to trading Bargnani or Johnson, they could look to significantly reshuffle the deck this season in anticipation of next summer's big man heavy draft and the arrival of Valanciunas." qualifies as a mention of the trading Bargnani option.

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    Sean Deveney: Story out of Spain has Marc Gasol seeking $9 mil per year. Grizz intending to keep him, maybe not for 5 and $45, but something close. Twitter
    I am surprised by this. I thought Gasol would command more than this on the open market.

    I would not be opposed to Toronto shedding some salary and offering a large 4 years and $40M.

    The thinking is if Memphis does not match, then Toronto has a starting C and can ease JV in to the league. If Memphis does match, then they have a large payroll with still some holes to fill and it may cause Gay to become available (key word is may).

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    Quote Tim W. wrote: View Post
    Unmentioned option: Trade Bargnani and don't worry about whether he'll be able to fit in.
    But we still need him this season bro. Without, a bottom 5 finish merely becomes likely. With him, a bottom 5 finish is guaranteed...bottom 3 even becomes possible to aim for.

    The Catch-22 is that for whatever reason people are still stupid holding out on the hope that moving him the arguably deepest position in the will make him better...and the whole slowing of Amir and Davis' development for no reason thing.

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    Quote Tim W. wrote: View Post
    Unmentioned option: Trade Bargnani and don't worry about whether he'll be able to fit in.
    It's absolutely ridiculous that this management team is still making decisions based on Bargnani's presence. We hate talking about the guy but everything comes back to Bargnani and, until he's gone, this team simply can't, or won't, take any steps forward.

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    Quote Hugmenot wrote: View Post
    I think "If they were open to trading Bargnani or Johnson, they could look to significantly reshuffle the deck this season in anticipation of next summer's big man heavy draft and the arrival of Valanciunas." qualifies as a mention of the trading Bargnani option.
    Missed that part. Thanks.
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    I am surprised by this. I thought Gasol would command more than this on the open market.

    I would not be opposed to Toronto shedding some salary and offering a large 4 years and $40M.

    The thinking is if Memphis does not match, then Toronto has a starting C and can ease JV in to the league. If Memphis does match, then they have a large payroll with still some holes to fill and it may cause Gay to become available (key word is may).
    I would be very surprised to see Gasol get signed for that kind of money.

    It is a guard driven league but good big men are few and far between and he is not only good but young. I

    f the numbers (which I still doubt) reported are accurate forget about waiting for Val, and contemplating Chandler and go out and sign a guy who can patrol the middle for years.

    Yes, it will affect your draft position for next year, however the draft will be deep enough that they will get a solid pick as they would still most likely be lottery bound.

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    The article was pretty much like every post here in RR, it starts off on one topic, and ends up becoming a Bargnani thread! hahahahaha

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    Quote slaw wrote: View Post
    It's absolutely ridiculous that this management team is still making decisions based on Bargnani's presence. We hate talking about the guy but everything comes back to Bargnani and, until he's gone, this team simply can't, or won't, take any steps forward.
    This exactly sums up the Raptors problems. Bargnani is actually hindering their freedom to make decisions and act upon those decisions. They really need to be firm on what to do with him. Trade him or keep him. Fairly simple.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar TheGloveinRapsUniform's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    I am surprised by this. I thought Gasol would command more than this on the open market.

    I would not be opposed to Toronto shedding some salary and offering a large 4 years and $40M.

    The thinking is if Memphis does not match, then Toronto has a starting C and can ease JV in to the league. If Memphis does match, then they have a large payroll with still some holes to fill and it may cause Gay to become available (key word is may).
    This is a legit question and im not being sarcastic, Why Marc Gasol?

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    Refreshing that the thread has yet to mention the "no more euro" argument. Well, maybe I jinxed the possibilty !!!

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    Great article because it sort of addresses the elephant in the room. Say what you want about 4's and 5's being interchangeable but at the end of the day we have three 4's and no 5's. If the master plan is a duo of JV and AB, where are Ed and Amir going to get their minutes to develop? I guess maybe that's the point...whoever survives this "4" of attrition, the others are expendable.

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    Quote sleepz wrote: View Post
    I would be very surprised to see Gasol get signed for that kind of money.

    It is a guard driven league but good big men are few and far between and he is not only good but young. I

    f the numbers (which I still doubt) reported are accurate forget about waiting for Val, and contemplating Chandler and go out and sign a guy who can patrol the middle for years.

    Yes, it will affect your draft position for next year, however the draft will be deep enough that they will get a solid pick as they would still most likely be lottery bound.
    However much the guards and wings are the marquee players, you still can't win without a great big.

    And while I like Marc Gasol, and he's a very good center, he's never even been an All-Star at this point. He's a good defensive center, but not a great one. He's a good scorer, but not a great one. And he's a decent rebounder, but that's it. The fact that a guy like Gasol is that sought after tells you just how valuable decent centers are.

    As for the Raptors going after him, I don't think it's a good idea. He's not the game changer that will turn the team around, but he's enough of an impact player that he'll help it. It EXACTLY a move like that that would push the team onto the mediocrity treadmill.
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    Quote tbihis wrote: View Post
    The article was pretty much like every post here in RR, it starts off on one topic, and ends up becoming a Bargnani thread! hahahahaha
    It's because everything is about Bargnani. The development of both Ed Davis and, to a lesser extent, Amir Johnson, is subject to Bargnani. The decision of what kind of player they go after at the SF spot (more defense-rebounder or more scorer) is subject to Bargnani. It even appears that Valancunias' future (starter or backup to veteran centre) is to be dependant on Bargnani. Who you draft in 2012 is subject to Bargnani. These decisions, in turn, affect what you do at the guard spots and off the bench. It's madness. Madness! Argh!

    Apologies for the rant but the moving goalposts on Bargnani drives me nuts. I sincerely hope this is all just speculation and management isn't really basing anything around Bargs but I fear the worst.

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    Quote Bendit wrote: View Post
    Refreshing that the thread has yet to mention the "no more euro" argument. Well, maybe I jinxed the possibilty !!!
    I think most of those guys are gone, thank goodness.
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    Quote Tim W. wrote: View Post
    And while I like Marc Gasol, and he's a very good center, he's never even been an All-Star at this point. He's a good defensive center, but not a great one. He's a good scorer, but not a great one. And he's a decent rebounder, but that's it. The fact that a guy like Gasol is that sought after tells you just how valuable decent centers are.

    As for the Raptors going after him, I don't think it's a good idea. He's not the game changer that will turn the team around, but he's enough of an impact player that he'll help it. It EXACTLY a move like that that would push the team onto the mediocrity treadmill.
    This is very sad for me to read because I have serious doubts JV will ever be significantly better than MG and thus, our hopes of getting off the mediocrity treadmill rely entirely upon the Chosen One issuing forth from the 2012 draft.

    Oh no!

    It's a good thing I am used to your generally pessimist posts and can keep on smiling.

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    Another option would be to pick up a cheap centre like Joel Przybilla, Jeff Foster or Jason Collins, use them at the start of each half for five-to-eight minutes, then shift Bargnani to centre for the rest of the time and play Davis and Johnson at power forward in whatever minutes are left over.
    If Alabi and/or Ajinca can't hold the center position next year on their own this is the option i would go for. Maybe even reggie evans if we can get him to play center
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    There is no reason why paying 10 million a year for Marc Gasol would be a bad thing. A championship team could absolutely have that contract on its roster.

    But the rumor that he is going to sign a 45 million contract with the Grizzlies strikes me as not credible at all. He is going to be paid more money than that.

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    Quote malefax wrote: View Post
    There is no reason why paying 10 million a year for Marc Gasol would be a bad thing. A championship team could absolutely have that contract on its roster.

    But the rumor that he is going to sign a 45 million contract with the Grizzlies strikes me as not credible at all. He is going to be paid more money than that.
    He could be setting up the opening bid.

    Look at what starting C's in the league make. Hell look what C's on the bench make.

    He'll be getting much more than $9M per season.

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