This is a key early game for the Raptors indicating where the team’s talent level actually stands in relation to the mid-lower tier teams in the Western Conference expected to miss the playoffs this season. If the Raptors can win this game on the road against an opponent of this calibre it will be a good sign. If not …
After opening their schedule at home vs Detroit [Wed Oct 28], Memphis should be highly motivated to play well in this match-up.
Prior to the recent transaction between the Raptors [Bryan Colangelo], Mavericks [Donnie Nelson], Magic [Otis Smith & Dave Twardzik] and Grizzlies [Chris Wallace], this is what each of those team’s rosters looked like:
ROSTERS BEFORE 4-TEAM TRADE
Adams $0.7 M
Kapono $1.1 M
Moon $0.7 M
Solomon $0.7 M
Dooling $2.0 M
Wilks $0.8 M
Coming out the other side, today, this is what they look like now, respectively:
ROSTERS AFTER 4-TEAM TRADE
Adams $0.7 M
Kapono $1.1 M
Moon $0.7 M
Solomon $0.7 M
Dooling $2.0 M
Wilks $0.8 M Turkoglu $7.0 M
Legend: UFA – Unrestricted Free Agent; RFA – Restricted Free Agent; R – Rookie Player; TPE – Traded Player Exception; DP – Draft Pick; CC - Cash Considerations
The Perspective From This Corner
IMPROVEMENT TO ROSTER SITUATION
Substantial improvement. i.e. Marion is the best overall player in the deal [+]. Period. Humphries is a serviceable Big [+]. Jawai is a reserve . Buckner will be cut. Stackhouse was inactive. George was a reserve. Wright was a pseudo-Starter only.
RESULT: ++ Gain
TPE $7.0-to-10.0 M
Zero immediate improvement, i.e. Add Carter; Lose Turkoglu  … BUT with a gigantic CAVEAT. Now have $7.0-to-10.0 M worth of TPE’s [+], should they be in contention for a championship this coming season, in an effort to push them over the final hurdle. A Commitment To Winning It All.
RESULT: 0|+ Gain
Marginal improvement, only. i.e. Parker is a better player than Wright [-]. Turkoglu is a better clutch player than Marion [+], but Marion is a better player overall and a lot more athletic [-]. George and Humphries are even.
Turkoglu commitment provides stability at #3/SF [+]
RESULT: >> 0 Gain
Almost Zero improvement. CC plus a 2nd Round Draft Pick way, way off in the distance.
RESULT: > 0 Gain
The fact is, however, that the Cleveland Cavaliers [Danny Ferry] MAY have benefitted most of all from this specific transaction, as they subsequently gained unfettered access to Anthony Parker, the exact sort of complementary wing player they were searching for … to augment LeBron James & Co., in an effort to win their 1st NBA Championship.
Your feedback is welcome in the “Comments” section.
Prior to last night’s proceedings, these 15 individuals were identified by this corner as players who could have given the Toronto Raptors what they need, at this moment in time, heading towards a long term future [A] with or [B] without Chris Bosh:
Al-Farouq Aminu [6-9, 215, SF/PF, Wake Forest, now unavailable]
Tyreke Evans [6-6, 219, PG/OG, Memphis]
DeMar DeRozan [6-7, 220, OG/SF, USC]
Earl Clark [6-10, 226, PF, Louisville]
Derrick Brown [6-8, 225, SF, Xavier]
Terrence Williams [6-6, 213, OG, Louisville]
Wayne Ellington [6-5, 202, OG, UNC]
Danny Green [6-6, 208, OG/SF, UNC]
Sam Young [6-6, 223, SF, Pittsburgh]
Marcus Thorton [6-4, 194, OG, LSU]
Tyler Hansbrough [6-9, 234, PF, UNC]
Taj Gibson [6-10, 214, PF, USC]
Dante Cunningham [6-8, 227, PF/SF, Villanova]
Tyler Smith [6-6, 212, OG, Tennessee, now unavailable]
Nando De Colo [6-5, 190, OG, France]
This is what happened last night with each of those 15 players::
- Al-Farouq Aminu. Withdrew from consideration; back to Wake Forest.
- Tyler Smith. Withdrew from consideration; back to Tennessee.
- Tyreke Evans. SACRAMENTO/No. 4, selected by Geoff Petrie.
- DeMar DeRozan. Player the Raptors/No. 9 wanted all along.
- Earl Clark. PHOENIX/No. 14, selected by Steve Kerr.
- Derrick Brown. CHARLOTTE/No. 40, selected by M-Jordan/L-Brown.
- Terrence Williams. NEW JERSEY/No. 11., selected by R-Thorn/K-Vandeweghe.
- Wayne Ellington. MINNESOTA/No. 28, selected by David Kahn
- Sam Young. MEMPHIS/No. 36, selected by Chris Wallace.
- Danny Green. CLEVELAND/No. 46, selected by Danny Ferry.
- Marcus Thorton. MIAMI/No. 43, selected by Pat Riley [traded to New Orleans-Jeff Bower/Byron Scott].
- Tyler Hansbrough. INDIANA/No. 13, selected by Larry Bird.
- Taj Gibson. CHICAGO/No. 26, selected by J-Paxson/G-Forman.
- Dante Cunningham. PORTLAND/No. 33, selected by Kevin Pritchard.
- Nando De Colo. SAN ANTONIO/N. 53, selected by RC Buford/G-Popovich.
1. Over the next few seasons, it is going to be most interesting to watch the development of these 15 players.
2. The Charlotte Bobcats [37-45] are gradually building a very solid team:
* Adding Gerald Henderson [OG] and Derrick Brown [SF] last night
* Trading for Boris Diaw [PF-SF], Raja Bell [OG], Vladimir Radmanovic [SF-PF] and DeSagana Diop [C} last season
* Drafting DJ Augustin [PG] & Alex Ajinca [C} last year
* Re-signing Gerald Wallace [SF-PF] last year
* Re-signing Emeka Okafor [C-PF] 2 years ago
3. There’s a very good reason the same names keep popping up when the Larry O’Brien Trophy is awarded, in June, to the NBA Champions.
Although some in Raptorville do not believe that there is a suitable market for the No. 9 pick in this year’s draft, should the Raptors actually be looking to trade down into the Middle/Lower section of the 1st Round … if they can also acquire an additional 2nd Round Selection, in the process … yours truly does not share that opinion.
For the consideration of those other individuals … here’s a look at Exhibit A:
Mavs trade No. 22 [to Portland] for three picks The Portland Trail Blazers acquired the 22nd pick in Thursday’s NBA draft from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the 24th and 56th picks in this year’s draft, and worst of their second round picks in 2010.
The trade has been agreed to in principle by the two teams. It should be finalized by the league office later today.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban posted twice on Twitter: “We think we can get our guy at 24″ and “You never know when 2nd rd picks can come in handy.”
The key questions which SHOULD now be asked by the Raptors loyal fanbase are:
Q1.The one posed in the headline for this article;
Q2.If the Mavericks can indeed “get their man” at No. 24, is it conceivable that the Raptors could in fact do the same … if their list of possible draftees was to look like this?
1. Tyreke Evans
2. DeMar DeRozan
3. Gerald Henderson
4. Earl Clark
5. James Johnson
6. Terrence Williams
7. Derrick Brown
8. Sam Young
It is going to be most interesting to see in what positions these 8 players are selected in tomorrow night’s Draft.
[PLEASE NOTE: This is a link to a radio interview from Jun 17, 2009 which every Raptors fan should listen to, as it deals with Thursday's NBA Draft, the acquisition of Reggie Evans and the team's POV re: Chris Bosh.]
From the perspective of this corner, however, by doing so … they will, once again, be throwing away another golden opportunity to build their team into a legitimate long term contender for a Top 4 spot in the Eastern Conference, by not trading down to a Middle or Lower Spot in the 1st Round, while acquiring an additional pick in the 2nd Round, in a classic two-for-one scenario.
Q1.Why does this year’s Draft qualify as such an occasion?
A1. Because the players who fit best with what Toronto needs right now, as well as looking down-the-road a piece … possibly, to a life without Chris Bosh … are not perceived by others to be worthy of selection in the No. 9 position but will most likely be available in the Middle or the Lower section of the 1st Round, and/or in the 2nd Round.
Derrick Brown is a player with a tonne of NBA ability, at the Wing position, who should be there for the Raptors in the Middle of the 1st Round.
Xavier’s Brown has been coming on the last few weeks, benefitting from long arms (a 7-2 1/2 wingspan) good workouts up and down the first round, and the pedigree of bigs that Xavier has produced for NBA teams, including Brian Grant, Aaron Williams, Tyrone Hill, James Posey and David West. He’s active — “bouncy,” one personnel man says.
“Sometimes, kids get better and I think he’s one of the kids that’s grown with the process,” said a Northwest Division executive. “He’s been able to expand his game a little bit and show some of the things he couldn’t show at Xavier.”
Derrick Brown would fill their need for an immediate ”starter” who can score the ball, rebound his position and defend with solid athleticism and considerable length.
Did not play.
For the number crunchers …
Q2.When you look at these simple game stats, what do you see?
A2. A player who shot 43.3% from behind the arc last season … shooting three times as many treys than the year before [in which he shot three times as many as he did his first year in college] … scored at a solid rate of 1.42 PPS [i.e. higher than DeMar DeRozan and Tyreke Evans], and improved his Ast:TO each of his 3 seasons at Xavier University.
[PLEASE NOTE: Players who are capable of doing THIS, and reach the point where their ratio is above 1.00 have a HIGH Basketball IQ.]
In conjunction with his outstanding Wingspan, his solid vertical & lateral agility scores, his ability to do THIS:
on a regular basis, and the fact that he conducts himself like THIS:
when dealing with the media in a first-class way … say that this young man, Derrick Brown, “Is ready” to play in the NBA, right away.
When you couple a player like Derrick Brown with a:
you are talking about a serious increase in FIRST-CLASS athletic ability and NBA skill level that can immediately elevate the Quality Depth on the Raptors’ roster to the point where they could contend with the likes of Boston and Cleveland and Orlando, etc., in the not-too-distant future, either:
A. If Chris Bosh re-signs with their team;
B. If Chris Bosh is traded [for comparable parts] and Andrea Bargnani continues to improve, as their Center, moving forward from that point.
The ball’s been placed in Bryan’s Colangelo’s hands … for the sake of loyal Raptors fans everywhere … let’s hope that he doesn’t drop it, again.
Once complete … you will then be ready to enter the Raptors’ War Room on Thursday night with your own version of ‘Raptors Match the Stats’:
[which should look something like this]
Raptors Match the Stats
[NOTE: Interested persons are invited to submit their own version of 'Raptors Match the Stats' in the "comments" section.]
According to NBA.com’s 2009 NBA Draft: Consensus Mock Draft, the players most likely to be selected by the Raptors are Tyreke Evans or DeMar Derozan, each of whom was a college freshman this past season. Do you think these two players actually have the individual stat lines that Best Fit what the Raptors need from this year’s pool of draftees?
Go ahead and play ‘Match the Stats’ … and, you will soon find out!
The answer might surprise you.
[or, maybe not ... depending on what your impression is of the Raptors' Draft Record, in the Bryan Colangelo era.]