Morning Coffee – Tue, Jul 5

The (moot) case for and against Gasol | International players to go get | More Ross

Report: Raptors have ‘serious interest’ in Dewayne Dedmon | Raptors Republic

So yeah, Dedmon would be a downgrade in that role. He’ll also be much cheaper than the $18 million Biyombo’s set to earn annually (theoretically), and may even fit in to the estimated $5.7 million in cap space the Raptors have (or the $5.6-million Mid-Level Exception, if the Raptors choose to go that route). That would mean unlike names like Pau Gasol and Ryan Anderson that some liked, the Raptors wouldn’t have to shed any assets to clear the requisite space to land him.

As far as Biyombo replacements go, the Raptors could definitely do worse for a reasonably-priced flier.

The most interesting note here may be the Raptors being continually tied to centers on the market. Jonas Valanciunas is set for an increase in role and likely playing time, and while teams certainly need three centers over the course of the year, the Raptors also employ Lucas Nogueira and Jakob Poeltl. Not leaving yourself in a position to rely on Poeltl as a rookie is smart, because 20-year-old centers rarely contribute right away, with bigs in general possessing a slower development curve and a later peak.

The team’s reported interest in fives, though, may speak to their faith in Nogueira’s ability to man the backup role. Nogueira is set to turn 24 later this offseason, is entering his third NBA season, played a year in the world’s second-best league in Spain prior to that, and the team has to make a decision on their fourth-year, $2.95-million team option on his deal (for 2017-18) by Oct. 31. I had long presumed that Nogueira would man the backup role for this coming year, and his performances were occasionally encouraging this year. They were also up-and-down, and that inconsistency may have the Raptors feeling less confident in their center depth (and the only four they have who could conceivably play some five is a rookie in Pascal Siakam). I still maintain Nogueira has enough talent to be a capable backup center (yes, even this season), and if the Raptors don’t wind up making an addition, this is an enormous offseason for the Brazilian.

And if they do, well, it seems unlikely the Raptors would carry four centers. Nogueira played a bit of four in the D-League but that’s unlikely to be tenable at the NBA level, Poeltl probably isn’t suited to minutes at the four right now (if ever – I’m a little skeptical on this point), and Dedmon couldn’t play the four, either. Maybe nothing happens and Toronto goes with the status quo, but it’ll be worth keeping an eye on the trade rumor mill if they add a center between now and the start of the season.


The rest of the NBA right now…

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Report: Pau Gasol signing with Spurs | Raptors Republic

I wrote in detail about the possibility of adding Gasol yesterday, and at the rumored price and the gymnastics that would be required to clear out the space, I wasn’t on-board. At a discount, sure, but with a reported salary of $18-22 million, losing Terrence Ross, maybe Lucas Nogueira, and the mid-level exception, all to pay a soon-to-be-36-year-old who isn’t the most natural two-way fit was too much in my books. Some disagreed, and that’s more than fine – Daniel Hackett of RaptorsHQ, for example, did a great job making the case for Gasol.

It never really felt all that likely, though. If Gasol wanted to play the mentor role while maximizing salary, the Blazers and Wolves made sense. If he wanted to take a discount to chase a ring, the Spurs or even Warriors made sense. The Raptors may have been a middle-ground, but with Kevin Durant landing in Oakland and Tim Duncan reportedly leaning toward retirement, the Spurs came correct.

Gasol’s deal will pay him more than $30 million and allow him to opt out next summer if he chooses. Factoring in the Spurs’ pedigree and the price tag, that’s a tough deal for the Raptors to match, and they may not have been willing to do it even if Gasol was game. At the very least, the Raptors made Gasol’s decision a tough one, which speaks worlds about how far the organization has come from the standpoint of attracting sought-after veterans.

The Case for Pau: Here are the reasons why the Raptors should sign Gasol | Raptors HQ

I don’t buy the defensive concerns with Pau. Maybe he struggles a bit at PF (maybe), but again, the proposal is to have him play limited minutes there anyway, and take up all the backup C minutes.

In the meantime, all the hand-wringing over whether Pau makes the defence worse: look, for all the blown assignments, and the way he looks defending out there, he’s effective. There’s basically no denying it.

The Bulls had a better DRTG with Gasol on the court than without him (103.5 vs 104.5). And that’s with him playing mostly against starters. Gasol’s on-court DRTG was 4th best of 10 players who played 1000+ minutes on the season. You might claim that playing with Butler a lot boosted that — and it did, Butler and Gasol together had a 101.3 DRTG together. And Gasol had an overall DRTG of 103.5, so he was indeed worse away from Butler. Of course, Butler had an overall 103.3 DRTG, so Gasol had almost the same effect on his defence. And this is on a team where the alternatives to Gasol are defensive players like Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah, when he was able to get on the court.

All the aggregates capture this — his DRPM was 10th best among all C’s last year (+3.07, just ahead of Biyombo; had the 6th best overall RPM among C’s). His DBPM was +3.5, the best he’s had in his career, though he’s been a positive every year of his career. He contributed 3.9 DWS last season, more than any player on the Raptors.

Even in the limited time he spent at PF last season he had loads of success. There’s not much sample, but Noah-Gasol in their 132 minutes played (small sample size alert) before Noah went down for good, posted a tremendous 90.8 DRTG. Seems to me he played centre for Chicago mostly because they had no other C’s on the roster except Noah and he got hurt. Even if you treat Gibson as a C when he plays with Pau, they had a 103.7 DRTG together, while the Bulls overall had a 103.9 DRTG. Not exactly the weak link bringing that team down defensively.


One more time for the Drew

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Luigi Datome:

Luigi last played for the Celtics over a year ago where he did quite well in 18 games played. Shot 47% from 3 so it looks like he isnt too affected by the nba 3 point line

After four seasons away from the competition, Luigi Datome was quick to show Euroleague fans what they were missing in his first campaign with Fenerbahce Istanbul. His smooth shooting stroke and savvy all-around skills were key components in the team’s success. A contributor in nearly all facets of the game, Datome was second on the team in scoring (12.2 ppg.) and fourth in both rebounding (4.3 rpg.) and assists (1.8 apg.). He ranked ninth in the league in three-point accuracy (45.6%), which he raised to a whopping 55% in the Top 16. Datome was at his best when he scored 22 second-half points en route to a career-best 27 in a come-from-behind win over Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade for which he won Top 16 Round 9 MVP honors. Datome becomes the first Italian player to earn All-Euroleague honors since Gregor Fucka in 2001.



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