Original Sin, in Raptorville
Araujo pick set off chain reaction
I‘ve always considered the drafting of Rafael Araujo the Raptors’ original sin. It set off a chain reaction the team has never really recovered from.
Araujo, as every Raptors fan knows, was picked No.8 overall by Rob Babcock, who promised on draft night that the big Brazilian was “Not a stiff.”
Well, he was a stiff. One with small hands and short arms and – quite literally – no upside.
Missing at No.8 isn’t ordinarily the end of the world. It happens. And it says A LOT about the NBA that having the chance to pick the eighth – or in this year’s draft – the ninth best player in the world in a given year carries with it no certainty of success.
But the 2004 draft had its share of good players. One of them – Andre Iguodala – was taken ninth by the Philadelphia 76ers, as every Raptors fan knows.
Which is the problem: It’s not so much that Araujo was a bust, it’s that Iguodala represents exactly and – short of Kobe/LeBron/Wade – I mean exactly what the franchise needs.
He slashes. He defends other wings. He’s a one-man fastbreak. He’s a passable spot-up shooter. He’s very good playmaker and passer. He’s relatively affordable, at $12-million a year, which is pretty good value for a Tier 1A wing player in the NBA.
But you know all this.
Still, I’ve been thinking about Iguodala as I’ve [been] watching Mickael Pietrus with the Orlando Magic.
In contrast, what this corner sees is that the specific time-line … i.e. Chain Reaction … for the de-evolution of the Raptors looks like this:
* Fired Glen Grunwald, Apr 1, 2004
* Hired Rob Babcock, Jun 7, 2004
* Drafted Rafael Araujo [No. 8], Jun 24 2004
* Hired Sam Mitchell, Jun 29, 2004
* Traded Vince Carter, Dec 17, 2004 [for exactly what, in return?]
* Fired Babcock, Jan 26, 2006
* Hired Bryan Colangelo, Feb 28, 2006
* Drafted Andrea Bargnani [No. 1], Jun 28, 2006
* Traded Charlie Villanueva for TJ Ford, Jul 1, 2006
* Traded for Carlos Delfino, Jun 15, 2007
* Signed Jason Kapono, Jul 11, 2007
* Traded TJ Ford & Rasho Nesterovic & No. 17 Draft Pick for Jermaine O’Neal & No. 41 Draft Pick, Jun 26, 2008
* Signed Hassan Adams, Jul 8, 2008
* Signed Roko Ukic, Jul 16, 2008
* Signed Will Solomon, Jul 28, 2008
* Bought out Jorge Garbajosa, Aug 10, 2008
* Fired Mitchell, Dec 3, 2008
33-49/.402, 14th place in the Eastern Conference
April 1, 2004 [and, then, Dec 17] will live-on, in infamy … as a sort of very real, cruel JOKE … in the history of this franchise, purpetrated by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment [MLSE, i.e. Richard Peddie & Larry Tanenbaum].
Tags: Andre Iguodala, Andrea Bargnani, Bryan Colangelo, Carlos Delfino, Charlie Villanueva, Glen Grunwald, Hassan Adams, Jason Kapono, Jermaine O'Neal, Jorge Garbajosa, Larry Tanenbaum, Michael Grange, Mickael Pietrus, MLSE, Rafael Araujo, Rasho Nesterovic, Richard Peddie, Rob Babcock, Roko Ukic, Sam Mitchell, TJ Ford, Toronto Raptors, Vince Carter, Will Solomon