Comment contributor Mike D has posited an interesting question, in response to yesterday’s blog entry about whether or not the Raptors have actually upgraded the NBA talent level on their current roster:
What was Bryan Colangelo’s primary objective when he traded Jarrett Jack [PG/OG], David Andersen [C] and Marcus Banks [PG] to New Orleans, in exchange for Peja Stojakovic [SF/OG] and Jerryd Bayless [PG/OG]?
PROPOSITION A – To create increased financial flexibility for the team, while moving forward, in order to allow the younger players on the roster to develop further and improve with an eye fixed firmly on the future prospects for major on-court success, even if it means fielding a lesser talented team this season which will likely finish lower in the Eastern Conference standings than it would have otherwise. Such a “lesser-talented” team would, therefore, be more likely to secure the future rights to a high [i.e. Top 3 Selection] draft pick in the NBA’s 2011 Lottery.
PROPOSITION B – To create a better team for this season with an upgraded level of NBA talent that is actually more competitive with the other middle echelon teams in the Eastern Conference and, quite possibly, more capable of qualifying for one of the bottom 3 seeds in the playoffs [i.e. No. 6, 7 or 8] – if this new edition performs up to its maximum capacity - while still providing a high degree of future financial flexibility for MLSE, should this squad actually fail to accomplish this modest on-court task. Such a “more-talented” team would, therefore, be less likely to secure the future rights to a high [i.e. Top 3 Selection] draft pick in the NBA’s 2011 Lottery.
As was indicated in yesterday’s blog entry, the belief of this corner is that PROPOSITION B was most likely at the root of Bryan Colangelo’s motivation to complete these recent trades for the Raptors.
What tangible evidence [or proof] might possibly exist in support of this specific notion?
If the Raptors, subsequently, decide to:
1. Add a veteran Center to their roster later on this season … e.g. someone like Erick Dampier, who had been available, as an unrestricted free agent until yesterday, before signing with the Miami Heat … either, via trade or free agency;
2. Use Leandro Barbosa as their primary back-up PG, behind Jose Calderon … and, ahead of Jerryd Bayless;
3. Use Peja Stojakovic as their primary perimeter shooter coming off the bench at the wing position … in conjunction with their other younger wing players, i.e. Sonny Weems, DeMar DeRozan, Linas Kleiza, Julian Wright and, now, Jerryd Bayless, rather than exclusively in arrears of them;
4. Use Ed Davis [PF/C] for major minutes off the bench;
then, it will be a solid indication that PROPOSITION B may well have been the prime motivation for Bryan Colangelo, since this new edition of the Raptors would then be more likely to win a higher percentage of their remaining games this season, than they would have been if:
i. These two trades were never made, in the first place;
ii. A. Jerryd Bayless is used as their primary back-up PG, instead of Leandro Barbosa;
ii. B. Peja Stojakovic is used only as a last resort, coming deep off their bench behind all of their younger wing players;
ii. C. Ed Davis [PF, 1st-yr] is held out of the team’s line-up for the balance of the 2010-2011 season, in order to completely rehabilitate his torn meniscus injury suffered during the pre-season;
ii. D. No veteran Center is added to the roster.
In addition to what’s been written here the last two days … concerning these two trades by the Raptors … these are two specific comments which were left by yours truly last night at two other Raptors-related blogs:
[at Tim W's "The Picket Fence"]
Using Jose Calderon as the starting PG [30+ MPG] for the Raptors, instantaneously makes them a better team than they were with Jarrett Jack in that same role with Calderon coming off the bench for only 20+ MPG.
As does using Barbosa as the primary back-up PG, in arrears of Calderon.
If the Raptors decide to use Bayless as their primary back-up PG, in arrears of Calderon … rather than Barbosa … then, the current Raptors team will actually be worse off than they were when Jack was “the starter” and Calderon his primary “back-up”.
How Bayless actually gets used by the Raptors for the rest of this season will tell a great deal about the intent of Bryan Colangelo when these two trades were made.
[at Devin Dignam's "Nbeh?"]
The Raptors W-L Record/Win% prior to completing these two trades was 4-9/.308.
It will now be very interesting to see how these numbers will compare to their W-L Record/Win% for the remainder of the season.
In contrast to what it says here, IMO, these two trades will actually increase the likelihood of the Raptors failing to finish in one of the bottom two positions in the Eastern Conference standings this season … which, in turn, will mean that they will not be picking in one of the top three positions in the 2011 NBA Draft, when franchise-changing players like Harrison Barnes [SF] and, possibly, Kyrie Irving [PG] are scheduled to be available.
When it comes to projecting forward … as opposed to looking backwards … it’s amazing just how mis-guided some so-called ‘stats-based’ basketball analyses can actually turn out to be.
In summary …
If PROPOSITION A is actually correct, what you should expect to see from the Raptors the rest of this season is:
- Jerryd Bayless being used as their primary back-up PG, not Leandro Barbosa
- Peja Stojakovic not being used very much, if at all
- Ed Davis not being used a significant number of minutes
- No veteran back-up Center being added to the roster AND
- The team winning LESS-THAN .308 of its remaining games this year … since Jerryd Bayless and Peja Stojakovic are inferior players compared to Jarrett Jack, David Andersen and Marcus Banks.
However, if PROPOSITION B is actually correct, what you should expect to see from the Raptors is:
- Leandro Barbosa being used as their primary back-up PG, not Jerryd Bayless
- Peja Stojakovic being used quite a bit, as their best 3PT-shooter
- Ed Davis being used a significant number of minutes, as their best interior shot-blocker and post scorer
- A veteran back-up Center being added to the roster AND
- The team winning MORE-THAN .308 of its remaining games this year … since:
I. Jose Calderon is a more effective Starting PG - who makes each of his teammates into more effective players at the offensive end of the floor - compared to Jarrett Jack;
II. Leandro Barbosa is a more effective back-up PG – who makes each of his teammates into more effective players at the offensive end of the floor – compared to Jerryd Bayless [who has now been traded 3 times, since entering the NBA in the 2008 NBA Draft, by 3 different organizations - i.e. Indiana, Portland and New Orleans - each of which was looking to fill a void at the PG position, when it first acquired him, and is now in a better position to succeed than Toronto];
III. Peja Stojakovic is a more effective 3PT-shooter than Jarrett Jack, David Andersen and Marcus Banks;
IV. Ed Davis is a more effective interior shot-blocker, and post scorer, than David Andersen.
It is also interesting to note that one consistent aspect of Bryan Colangelo’s tenure with the Raptors has been his reluctance to make a full commitment to the building-up this franchise from “square one”, gradually over a number of years. Instead, what he has shown is his interest in always “hedging his bets”, in the name of creating/maintaining “increased financial flexibility” for MLSE going forward.