Who has earned a spot for next year?

13 mins read

There are going to be sweeping changes in Toronto, the question is who should go and who should stay. It’s obvious that our roster isn’t good enough and there’s plenty of dead weights, overpaid players and bad fits. Looking at the mess that is our roster, who would you actually keep, if anyone, who would you have patience with, and who would you slam the door on?


Jarrett Jack

The only Raptor that appears to be genuinely pissed off when we lose, to me that alone is good enough to keep him. From Game 1 to Game 82, if there was one Raptor that didn’t settle for the jumper it was Jack. He attacked the rim, tried to inspire his teammates with his play and carried the Raptors in many a quarter. At times he tried to do too much but that’s because nobody else was stepping up and he felt he needed to. He’s not a selfish player, he was just put in a circumstance where he looked around and saw nobody was doing anything and said, “What the hell, let me just see what I can do”. The mood-swings that are followed by depressed looks are a problem, but not close to the ones that cost the Raptors this season.

He improved his 3PT% to 41% this year (that’s better than Bargnani) and also upped his assists to 5apg while playing six fewer minutes. He reduced his turnovers per minute as he was asked to play a pure PG role for longer this year. He has adapted to what the Raptors need of him and that should not go unrecognized. Defensively, he’s better than Calderon but not as good as we had hoped, however, he’s far from the problem and has showed in previous years that he can defend his position as long as he’s not on a league-worst defensive unit.

Once you factor in a good contract ($5M/yr till 2012-13), it’s a no-brainer to keep him. Especially, if Bosh is staying.

Amir Johnson

It’s all about signing him to a reasonable deal. If it’s around $3-4M/yr for 3-4 years, great, if it’s not, then let’s see what we can get elsewhere. He’s an excellent energy-man who improved as the season went on but let’s not fool ourselves – he’s only a valuable member of this team if the rest of the team is well-constructed and he’s playing within his role. He’ll be turning 23 in May and other than DeRozan, is the youngest Raptor. His level of commitment and effort cannot be questioned and he appears to want to improve, there’s only upside here.

Sonny Weems

It’s funny how the Delfino trade worked out, if Colangelo hadn’t pulled that one off for Amir Johnson, we’d have literally no positives to talk about this season. Thank God Bryan Colangelo didn’t waive Sonny Weems as he was thinking of doing. Overall, it didn’t make an ounce of difference since we didn’t even make the post-season, but it did give us another option at backup SG. And let’s not lose sight of that word here – backup. Weems was a pleasant surprise because a) nobody knew what he could do and b) he could hit the jumper. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds next year when the scouting reports will be out and teams will close him down, I suspect he’ll have to work a lot harder to get the clean looks he was simply presented this year. You keep Sonny, he makes $800K, plays defense and looks for his offense. He could be the offensive spark plug that Belinelli wasn’t.

Nice, but willing to part with

DeMar DeRozan

For a guy who we didn’t run a single play for, he had a decent season, but we need a shooting guard who can create his own shot and DeRozan didn’t show much towards that this year. What he did show was good off-the-ball play, an improving jumper and some slashing ability, but that should be standard at this level. His loose dribble scares me and it takes away from his overall offensive game because he’s just not confident that he can go from point A to point B without getting the rock stolen. I could be convinced that he can create his own looks once he tightens his handles, gets an NBA body, and learns to finish at the rim without getting it shoved back in his face.

If the Raptors long-term plans are to rebuild, he could see major minutes next year. If we’re looking to compete, I can’t see him breaking through as a starter unless we are stacked at every other position.

Jose Calderon

A great backup PG that has been asked to play beyond his talent level the past two years. It’s obvious that Jack and Calderon sharing minutes at the PG doesn’t work so I don’t see how you can keep him. Unless of course, Jack is traded and we get a legitimate PG starter via draft or trade, an unlikely event. Calderon is owed $30M over the next three years and off-loading him for some cap-relief is far more beneficial than having him lead the second-unit to parity. It’s sad, because he truly loves the city and team.

Thanks for coming out

Antone Wright

There’s a lot of things you could shake your head at him for (like 3pt shooting, shot-selection, cursing loudly in front of kids, overrated defense) but giving a defensive effort isn’t one of them. You could make a case that we should keep him because of that and situational defending, but since we already have Weems and DeRozan, I’d rather invest in them.

Marco Belinelli

That Chicago game was too much. Four wide-open threes and he wasn’t even close. I’m not saying judge him based on one game, but that was a pretty big game and he was pretty wide open. Perhaps we could use him as a spot-up shooter and the occasional point-forward (very good ball-handler/passer), but once you look at his overall game, one word pops into mind – inconsistent. That’s what he is by definition; he had every chance to be the 7th or even the 6th man on this team and blew it. Not sure what else we could do to help him out.

His $1.5M would come off the books this year but Colangelo prematurely picked up his option of $2.4M. Sweet.

I guess we have to stick with them

Andrea Bargnani

His 5year, $50M contract kicks in starting next year. Makes you go ughhhhh, doesn’t it? They tell me he’s got trade value but I don’t see it. Not unless we’re taking back Darko in a max-money sign-and-trade. All we can do is hope that he transforms himself from a stiff to a serviceable but overpaid NBA player. My advice? Forget this three-pointer nonsense because he can’t shoot them very well anyway (5th on the team in percentage behind Jack, Calderon, Belinelli and Turkoglu), just put him on the block and ask him to go to work with clear instruction that he’s not allowed to take a baseline fadeway. Let’s start there.

Marcus Banks

I doubt he has any great trade value as a talent, but he tried hard on defense and is professional enough to not take nights off when he’s called upon to do something. His $4.7M come off the books next summer and since he’s shown he can handle light minutes at PG, I say we stick with him and not trade him for another miserable contract. Acquiring him was a mistake, but let’s make the best of a bad situation.


Hedo Turkoglu

The NBA’s Least Valuable Player. Questionable effort, no commitment on defense, calls in sick and then goes partying, and doesn’t care about the Raptors since he already got paid. Says he needs the ball to be effective which is a total cop-out because even when we did give him the ball he failed to do anything with it. I don’t know how the pre-contract talks between him and Colangelo went, but there was obviously some great miscommunication there since Turkoglu was asked to play a role he totally didn’t sign up for. Also, missing training camp because of “fatigue” was BS, that’s on him, Triano and Colangelo.

Reggie Evans

I remember Reggie being good once upon a time, but after seeing him up close and personal for half a season I must say he’s as much an NBA player as I am a contemporary painter. Here are Evans’ problems: 1) He thinks he can score 2) He can’t score. I also don’t understand why Triano didn’t order the ACC cook to chop off his hands the first time he high-fived a teammate after drawing a shooting foul. Dude, you shoot 46.9%, you didn’t “draw the foul”, they fouled you because it’s basically a defensive stop for them.

Sadly though, his $5M come off the books next year so his greatest value might be being he next Patrick O’Bryant for us.

Patrick O’Bryant

My man Tim Chisholm laid it on me a while back: “In his mind, I’m sure Patrick O’Bryant feels he’s trying his very best to stay in the NBA”. Also, Dave from NBA Round Table said it a while back: “Patrick O’Bryant is not an NBA player”.

I say Patrick O’Bryant couldn’t cut it in the D-League. The likes of Anthony Tolliver would eat him for breakfast, regurgitate him, spit him out and then eat him for lunch before doing the same for dinner.

Rasho Nesterovic

Nice guy and probably a good fit on a championship team, but the Raptors aren’t a championship team. Or even a team. Worse use of bi-annual exception ever.

The exception to things

Chris Bosh

If the plan is to compete next year, Colangelo should make every effort to keep him. If it’s to rebuild, Colangelo should resign and let somebody else handle the sign-and-trade.

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