There’s also the concern of what would happen to Anunoby’s overall impact with a larger offensive role. Since we’re not talking 25 percent usage rate, there’s not as much concern about his defence sliding, and his defence fuels his offence to some degree as it is thanks to the transition game. Still, increased usage for a role player offers some uncertainty about team-level performance and overall impact, to where Anunoby’s projected Player Impact Plus-Minus is sensitive to his offensive role.
Luckily, Jacob Goldstein recently added a player projection tool over at Wins Added to help with exactly that. Looking at Anunoby’s baseline projection for next five years, if he maintains a 14.4 percent usage rate and plays 2,000 minutes per season, he’d be worth anywhere from $67.5 million to $117.1 million, giving him a 91.7 percent chance to return positive value on the final year. He’d also have an 57 percent chance of returning positive value on the four-year, $73 million extension I declined as the Raptors in the mock negotiation with Eric. (He had a 74 percent chance on the four-year, $63-million deal I offered that Eric declined.)
In other words, Anunoby in this same role projected to be really good, and both final offers from the mock negotiations look like positives for the team before factoring in opportunity cost.
Your assumption might be that if Anunoby can take on an even bigger workload, he’ll be even more valuable. That’s certainly possible with what he showed in the relaunch. I’ve been pretty clear how high on him I am. Jacob’s model takes away some of that subjectivity, though, so let’s double-check it. Plugging in 17 percent usage and the same minutes load, Anunoby’s projection drops by about 8.6 percent. If he took on Siakam’s offensive workload at 2,000 minutes, his value would crater by nearly a third. He can also derive more value by playing more, so if he stays in a smaller role, simply increasing his time on the floor would improve his value notably.
Joe Harris, BRK, 29 – Look, Harris is much too busy this weekend to consider free agency. It’s finals weekend for the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax tournament, and the fate of the Wrestle Kingdom main event is of far more importance than things like Harris’ Bird rights or how exactly, Brooklyn intends to build around the Kyrie Irving-Kevin Durant core with four other eight-figure salaries on the books around their combined $73 million. If the Nets believe they’re a title contender in 2021-22, they can exceed the cap to re-sign Harris and pay the luxury tax.
If Brooklyn cheaps out on shooting, Harris moves pretty high on the list of available wings. He has the reputation as a shooting specialist, but because he’s 6-foot-6, he’s a little less boxed in than, say, a Matt Thomas or Bryn Forbes who have size and speed challenges to overcome. That’s not to say Harris is a good defender, he’s not, but projecting him to a large offensive role where he can get his shot off consistently while making some plays in the in-between game is a little safer than with some smaller so-called specialists. He’s still a bit skill-redundant with Thomas, so I’d be surprised to see him land in Toronto. If he’s still with Brooklyn, he makes those matchups a real defensive challenge.
Bryan Hayes and Mike Johnson are joined by ESPN NBA Front Office Insider Bobby Marks to get his take on the chances the Raptors are able to re-sign Fred VanVleet.
No matter the destination, his stepfather gives a convincing pitch.
“He’s not a superstar or nothing like that, but Fred is hell of a f—ing ballplayer. He’s a true basketball player,” Danforth said. “He’s a throwback to back in the day, to a guy like Dennis Johnson from the Celtics, those kind of guys who are unheralded.
“Fred is just a tough basketball player that people overlook because he’s not jumping out of the gym. He’s not dunking the ball and doing that. But he does what a basketball player is supposed to do: he scores the ball and plays defense.”
Danforth can certainly speak with expertise about VanVleet’s game and personality. VanVleet was only 5 when his biological father was murdered, and Danforth, a Rockford police detective, emerged as dad and coach.
He founded an AAU basketball team, Rockford Five-0, enlisting VanVleet and his brothers as the star players. VanVleet was never the uber-athlete or top-rated prospect, but he compensated with toughness and won at every level.
Along the way, VanVleet’s confidence grew. He went from being “a reluctant shooter” at Wichita State, as Danforth described, to averaging 20 points on 17 shots in this year’s NBA playoffs. He was a key part of Toronto’s 2019 championship run, earning roughly $18 million combined the last two seasons.
“The role [the Raptors] told him they needed, they told him he needed to score, he needed to knock down shots,” Danforth said. “So that’s all he worked on in the summer.”
Still, questions remain about VanVleet’s size (he’s only 6-1) and ability to perform outside the Raptors’ system. Danford is most annoyed by suggestions that VanVleet isn’t a point guard or playmaker. In Toronto, with Kyle Lowry on the roster, VanVleet often played off the ball.
But his background is in facilitating.
Admittedly this is the case every offseason, but there’s been plenty of rumors surrounding the Knicks in the last few weeks, and it seems they have their sights set on adding a big-name point guard. They’ve been linked to both Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook as potential trade options, and now VanVleet in free agency. With more cap space than anyone besides the Atlanta Hawks, the Knicks actually have a decent chance of pulling something off this offseason. Whether it’s VanVleet or someone else obviously remains to be seen, however.
As for VanVleet, the fact that he’s in a position to sign such a lucrative deal just a few years after going undrafted is a testament to his talent, yes, but also the hard work he’s put in early in his career. He’s forced his way into a bigger and bigger role every season, culminating in him becoming a starter and putting up career-best numbers across the board last season. His shooting (39 percent from 3-point land on 6.9 attempts), defensive abilities and locker room leadership have turned him into an invaluable part of this Raptors bunch, and the way he stepped up was a big factor in them maintaining a high-level of success even after Kawhi Leonard left.
Four years ago, it might have been a surprise if VanVleet was still in the league at this point. Now he’ll have teams fighting over the right to pay him $20-plus million a year. Not bad. Not bad at all.
While it might seem like a cop out solution for his defensive flaws, the best thing Terence Davis can do to combat these fouls is… just to gain experience. Having gone through a series where his head coach made a definitive statement on his playability, Davis understands both his role on the team in the regular season and where he has to improve to get in when the games mean more.
As mentioned, Davis has the fundamentals to be a sharp defensive player for the Raptors — maybe more so than anyone behind him on the Raptors bench, including Patrick McCaw. What he has to adjust is staying flat on drives, not reaching for steals, and trusting help defence and the team to make plays when they’re not available to him.
You really had to nitpick to find these issues with Davis before the Boston series started. Now, there are things we’ll be watching for when games resume in 2021. If fouls are all we have to worry about with Terence Davis in his second year, then the Raptors still have to feel good about the gem they unearthed during Summer League.
“My mom always told me, never make fun of anybody because you never know what that person is going through. Ever since I was a kid, I never did. I never did. I don’t care what shape, form, ethnicity, nothing, I treat everybody the same. You never know.
“I have friends that I thought was perfectly fine, next thing you know, they’re a drug addict and can’t remember yesterday … I never had a drink in my life because I grew up seeing so many people drinking their life away to suppress the (troubles) they were going through, you know what I mean?”
He was OK with my story and I certainly was. I didn’t know it would become as big as it did, but we would soon find out that it started a wave. The last story I wrote in April 2016 before losing a few months to some serious heart issues was about a group of Toronto kids who had put together their own book of supportive notes for DeRozan and had presented it to him before a Sunday night game against Orlando. He was touched, deeply touched, but I wasn’t surprised by the gesture because I knew how deeply fans cared about him given all he’d done for the franchise.
There seemed to be some connection between him and the fans that was deeper than any I had ever seen in 24 years of covering the team. People cared about him.
Because of him, a handful of other professional athletes — notably Cleveland Cavalier all-star Kevin Love — opened up about their battles with mental health issues. In the aftermath of DeRozan talking openly about it, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association created confidential programs for players who needed someone to talk to.
For the DeRozan we all knew, it was a step out of the ordinary and a break with what some knew of him. He had always been open and forthcoming.
A total surprise, given what he was when he arrived.
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