Steve Nash Would Make the Toronto Raptors a Contender, Just Not Right Away

Justin BoninAnalyst IJuly 2, 2012

I’m waiting, rather impatiently, to see who will win the Steve Nash sweepstakes, reading anything I can find on the situation. I’m seeing a lot of Raptors bashing, so in between my visits to the rumors section on I’ve decided to write an article and set things straight. 

 Steve Nash does not have to give up his championship aspirations in order to come to the Raptors, and he does not necessarily have a better chance of winning a ring if he goes to the New York Knicks. Bold statement? …I know. Will I elaborate? … Heck yes. 


 Points to consider:

1. To get Nash, the Knicks will have to do a sign and trade; meaning the loss of Landry Fields, Toney Douglas, and conceivably Iman Shumpert.

 2. Both teams would need to add at least one more player after Nash to become legit contenders.  For New York, it would mean signing a guy like Jamal Crawford or Jason Terry using their mini mid-level exception.  For Toronto, it would mean going out and getting a SF, a guy like Nicolas Batum or Michael Beasley.


3. Do not assume that New York has the advantage in completing the above mentioned transaction.  Although the Knicks, with Steve Nash, would make for an enticing landing spot for Crawford or Terry, money is always a factor and NY lacks cap room. Toronto, with Steve Nash and their young core of prospects, would be just as enticing a landing spot for Batum or Beasley, and they have the cap room and the motivation to overpay a free agent SF.


The situation in New York: the three year title chase

New York will need to work a sign-and-trade to get Nash; he’s not going to leave approximately $20 million on the table.

 The Knicks already have holes in their roster, and the sign-and-trade would only make it worse. 

 They’re pretty much a lock to lose J.R Smith and Steve Novak to free agency, and then they’d have to give up Landry Fields, Toney Douglas and conceivably Iman Shumpert in the sign-and-trade. 


This leaves the Knicks without a SG, with a terrible bench and nothing but their mini mid-level exception, approximately $3 million, do get said SG and said bench depth… good luck with that.


Remember when the Knicks were having a decent season two years ago, and then they gave up the farm to get Carmelo Anthony, only to see things fall apart?  …Well can you say déjà vu? Steve Nash would have made sense two years ago, instead of Carmelo Anthony… but now, it just does not make sense. 


Final thoughts on New York:

The Knicks would have one of the best floor generals in the league, a superstar scorer and one of the best frontcourts in the league, more importantly, the dominant defensive center needed to win a championship. But, their lack of an adequate supporting cast and a decent SG will keep them from winning a ring.

They can fix one of those two problems with the mini mid-level exception, but they can’t afford to fix both.

Furthermore, keep in mind that the current roster has already peaked. Melo, Amare’ Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler are as good as they’ll ever be, and even with Nash in town, they’ll only get worse over the next three years… not better.  


 The Situation in Toronto: The three year plan

New York offers three years of question marks; whereas the Raptors have a definitive three-year plan for the Steve Nash project, which would ideally conclude with a title run in year three.

 Even with Steve Nash and a SF like Nicolas Batum or Michael Beasley in town, the Raptors would not be a contender next year. However, they would be a lock to make the playoffs, would conceivably make it to the second round and will only improve in years two and three with Steve Nash… think of the Indiana Pacers’ recent rise to relevance/the Eastern Conference Finals this past season.

 For Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan—and possibly Nicolas Batum or Michael Beasley—the time is now. Steve Nash will immediately make these players better on offense, regardless of whether or not DeMar returns for years two and three of the Steve Nash experiment.

For guys like Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross, their coming-out party will likely be in the third and final year of the Steve Nash project.


Potential roster in year three of the Steve Nash project:

PG: Steve Nash

SG: DeMar DeRozan

SF: Nicolas Batum or Michael Beasley

PF: Andrea Bargnani

C: Jonas Valanciunas


Sixth man: Terrence Ross


Backup PG: Jerryd Bayless

Backup SG: Terrence Ross

Backup SF: James Johnson

Backup PF: Quincy Acy

Backup C: Amir Johnson


*Calderon and Ed Davis would be part of a sign and trade with the Phoenix Suns for Nash

**Linas Kleiza would be amnestied

***DeRozan is not a lock to be the starting SG, I’m actually hoping Ross outplays him, thus making DDR our sixth man.


Final Thoughts on the Raptors:

I’m not saying the Raptors are going to get Batum or Beasley, but I am saying that with Steve Nash in hand, they have a much better chance of getting one of them. They could also conceivably make a run at Eric Gordon who is looking to get the biggest payday possible, something the Raptors can offer him. 

 What I am saying is that three years from now, assuming Nash is still healthy, Valanciunas could very well be the dominant defensive center a champ needs. Bargs—with Nash’s help—could be a better scorer than Amare’ is now and would be three years from now, and the combination of Terrence Ross, DeMar DeRozan and a guy like Nicolas Batum or Michael Beasley could give us the same scoring punch that Melo does for the Knicks, plus it would be more balanced and spread out.


Finally, and most importantly, three years from now, the Raptors’ bench will be far better than the Knicks’ and they will not have the positional holes like the Knicks have right now at SG.


Thanks for reading, and here’s hoping Nash comes to Toronto!  




    Klay Say's He's Not Ready to Go Home

    NBA logo

    Klay Say's He's Not Ready to Go Home

    Kyle Newport
    via Bleacher Report

    Without Love, Odds Continue to Stack Against LeBron

    NBA logo

    Without Love, Odds Continue to Stack Against LeBron

    Greg Swartz
    via Bleacher Report

    Warriors Step Up for Biggest Challenge Yet

    NBA logo

    Warriors Step Up for Biggest Challenge Yet

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report

    Iguodala (Knee) Out for Game 6

    NBA logo

    Iguodala (Knee) Out for Game 6

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report