Break-Ups Are Rough, Toronto, but It's Over with Pops Mensah-Bonsu
On March 6, 2009, Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo signed Pops Mensah-Bonsu to a contract for the rest of the season.
PMB was signed because he was a force in the National Basketball Development League. He owned the rebounds, averaging 13 boards a game. Also, Mensah-Bonsu was showing scoring ability, averaging 26.6 points per game.
With the Toronto Raptors, Mensah-Bonsu quickly became a fan-favourite. When he came off the bench, he brought energy to the floor and showed hustle whenever he was playing, averaging 5.1 points per game through 19 games.
Fans loved his electric dunks, something T.O. has craved since Vince Carter left. He also did a nice job on the glass, averaging 5.4 rebounds per game.
But the offseason came and Pops' contract was up. Some fans thought he was probably going to get re-signed because of what he showed in such a short amount of time. Bryan Colangelo has not seen eye-to-eye with the fans, and hasn't pushed for Bonsu to re-sign.
I enjoyed Pops' stay in Toronto. The season was shot, and PMB brought some excitement when he came on to the court.
But now it's time to move on. Re-signing Mensah-Bonsu shouldn't happen. We have filled the void. Reggie Evans, Rasho Nestorvic, and Amir Johnson are better players than Mensah-Bonsu.
There's a reason San Antonio and Dallas let him go. He will not contribute to a championship-caliber team. He does not fit into the plan of any team going for it all.
To begin, he has no mid-range game, which is especially necessary for a player of his build. An athletic big man needs to be able to shoot because he will otherwise get bodied out of the post.
Bonsu's field-goal percentage through the 19 games with the Raptors was 35.4 percent. There is simply no excuse for that.
Actually, let's go into detail behind his shooting percentage.
Mid-range jumpshot: 21.7%
There's a few things to touch on. His mid-range speaks for itself.
But on his 6'-10' attempts, Mensah-Bonsu gets blocked 37 percent of the time. Blocks usually result in a turnover, as well. And this specific shot is that his second most attempted shot. He attempts a 6'-10' 36 percent of the time. This doesn't win championships. It doesn't contribute.
Easily the most embarrassing stat is his dunk percentage. You cannot get any closer to putting the ball in the hoop.
Next thing, the only argument I've heard for Mensah-Bonsu is "he's great energy off the bench." That would be a solid argument if the Raptors had done nothing to alter their roster.
With players like Antoine Wright and Jarrett Jack coming off the bench, there's enough energy to go around. Also, Amir Johnson can throw down too and will be a sparkplug. I can guarantee you that there will be no shortage of highlight dunks next year.
Another problem with Pops Mensah-Bonsu is lack of basketball IQ. It seems when he secures a defensive rebound, he does not know what to do with it. He doesn't know where the point guard is and seems confused. Nesterovic or Evans certainly can do better than Bonsu in this aspect.
Another weakness Pops has is defense. His net points while playing for the Raptors was minus-11. If he's an energy guy and brings up the team's morale, wouldn't the unit, as a whole, excel and play better?
Evans and Nesterovic are proven NBA defenders who will come off the bench and give the starters a break while holding a lead.
Mensah-Bonsu's time in Toronto was enjoyable, but as a fan I'm excited to see this team grow and make the playoffs. In this article, I did my best to use hard facts to prove and support my belief that PMB does not fit in Toronto's future.
I'll gladly take comments on this subject, as I know it is a touchy one.
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