As a GM with a tremendous amount of “media savvy” it is truly amazing just how frequently Bryan Coalngelo makes public statements that he has absolutely no business saying.
Feschuk: Colangelo gambles as Raptors fans grimace
As for Valanciunas, whether you like his projections or not — and the number-crunching nerds in the analytics world will have you believe he’s an efficient keeper — you had to give Colangelo a certain kind of credit for calling his name. The GM, who is hyperaware of what’s said and written about his club, had to know it wouldn’t be a popular pick. He had to know it might not be a pick that helps him earn the third-year guarantee on his current deal. He made the pick all the same.
He also acknowledged the “angst” of the populace, this before he shared the reaction he and his Toronto cohorts had been receiving from their counterparts in NBA draft rooms.
“Everybody is saying . . . ‘Excellent pick. Perhaps the best pick in the draft,’” Colangelo said. “This is a solid pick. Trust me.”
Three seasons out of the playoffs and counting, Colangelo has to know that’s a difficult thing to ask of the Air Canada Centre’s hoop-loving customers. He also has to know that, even if his words on Thursday night one day ring true, he might not be around to take the credit.
The fact is:
1. As a collective, General Managers in the NBA make some of the most inaccurate assessments of future players in the league;
2. What other GMs actually think about the “quality” of your team’s selection in a Draft is irrelevant;
3. Bryan Colangelo does not have an outstanding record of achievement when it comes to making an accurate assessment of which drafted players are most likely to develop into “stars” in the NBA and which ones are not.
In all likelihood, the Raptors did not chose Jonas Valanciunas with the No. 5Selection of the 2011NBA Draft because he was the BEST PLAYER AVAILABLE but, rather, because the team’sbasketball brain-trust:
i. Thinks he will become the best player, sometime down-the-road;
ii. Who also happens to play the Center position, which is the specificposition where they believe their team is currently the most deficient.
Unfortunately, as a general rule of thumb, drafting by “positional need” is NOT the best way to build a championship-calibre team in the NBA.