Next Up: Amir Johnson

Ladies and gentlemen, the summer of doin’ work is officially over. BryCo, probably for the last time before the season starts, picked up the phone and turned nothing into something more then nothing…more or less. Amir Johnson (and some dude named Sonny Weems), of Detroit-Dumars fame, are the latest Raptors. The causalities: Roko “I hate my life because I’m playing behind Douby” Ukic, and Carlos “$3mill euros a year can’t buy me happiness” Delfino.

By my count, that is 9 new players on this roster. NINE. Seriously, 60% of our roster was assembled during 6 weeks of whirlwind activity. Integrating them all while fielding a team with playoff designs will be a challenge to say the least. Triano sure has his work cutout for him, and if he fails, I can almost hear the excuses now: “he had 9 new players to work with…” I don’t know about y’all, but I’m freaking wiped out.

Why I like this deal:
His contract expires at the end of the year if he doesn’t work out, we get some cap relief (almost $4mil) for the Summer of Bosh. The Raptors get much deeper in the front court, which will help when we face Orlando, Cleveland and Boston who have all become bigger and stronger up front. Amir potentially becomes the best shot blocker. Probably the sweetest reason: we never have to see Patrick O’Bryant play another minute in a Raptor uniform.

Why I don’t like it:
We had an offer out to Pops which he would have probably signed because nobody else has any interest, so he could have been our 4th big (instead of Johnson and ahead of O’Bryant). It can be argued that the drop-off from Johnson to Pops wouldn’t be very significant. There is drop-off, don’t get me wrong, but when you are talking 5+ minutes a game (between Evans and Rasho, I don’t see the 4th big getting lots of burn), the drop-off wont be that significant and wont cost us games. While Antoine Wright can play the SF, he is far more effective at playing SG:

SG PER = 10.7
SF PER = 9.0

SG = Opponent PER = 16.3
SF = Opponent PER = 18.0

Belinelli played zero percentage of the available minutes at the SF position for the Warriors last season, zero. We should stop talking about him as a backup SF, that’s all I’m saying. If we could have got Johnson for Delfino/Ukic, we could have gotten a lower tier SF who is a stopper on the perimeter, that’s all I’m saying.

Some quick thoughts on what this trade means:

  • We wont be getting that backup SF anymore, meaning that defensive stopper off the bench will have to be Wright or Belinelli…I’ll pause while you stop laugh at that last one
  • …DeRozan is assured a big role during his rookie campaign (I was hoping he would be eased in) from the get go
  • Belinelli will have a much larger role, regardless of his readiness
  • Joey Graham wont be coming back, but bizarro-Joey (Sunny Weems looks like a freaky Joey doesn’t he?) is more then capable of covering his uhhh…whatever he did on the bench
  • O’Bryant is now the 3rd big off the bench, which means if Pops signs that contract offer (didn’t know if that offer was rescinded at time of writing this article), he will probably be released, or bought out, or driven out to the bus station and handed a ticket to Iowa or something
  • People are super excited about this trade, we got 189 comments about it yesterday…man I love you guys.

I gotta say, I like this kid so far.

Oh, just in case you’re wondering why I didn’t say anything about Weems, I never heard of the guy until yesterday, and I expect him to be fighting with Douby for minutes. There, I said something.

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