In part 1, fans were asked how they anticipate the next season would be like. 71.5% of the voters stated that it will not be worse than the last season. That shows how hopeful the fans are (even if the franchise player might be slipping away from their hands), and the front office still has some credit left.
Part 1 of this article can be viewed here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/401183-wheels-in-motion-toronto-raptors-off-season-speculations-part-i
Jose Calderon/Jarrett Jack Situation: No one should question the offensive presence of Jose. He is the pass-first point guard, who is capable of setting up the plays.
On the other hand, one can argue he is not that good at getting his teammates open looks and the high number of assists is a mere result of having a power forward who is a reliable scorer.
In any case, his defensive skills have been pointed out as the major issue; which became more apparent in a team full of average defenders.
Up until Hedo dropped the bomb, I was certain that Calderon would be traded to a contender team for an equally valuable piece; most likely for a defensive minded wingman who can be a solid rotational guy for Raptors. But if the management and Hedo would not come to good terms, I am not sure what they would do.
Jarrett Jack is a combo guard capable of penetration with the upside of decent passing skills. However, in the absence of Hedo, he can not assume the play-maker position by himself.
But he is a bulldog and has been improving his game beyond the arc; he would have fit perfectly with a point forward. In fact, we had seen flashes of chemistry between him and Hedo during this last season.
So the future of Jose depends heavily on the future of Hedo; unless Bryan Colangelo can get a forward with above average ball-handling and play-making skills via trade or sign/draft an athletic guard to take the point.
One other option that should be mentioned is a trade rumor, which I see no point other than a change of scenery: Mo Williams for Jose Calderon. This makes absolutely no sense to me, especially if Hedo is almost out the door.
Jose is more talented than Mo, who is a combo guard with shoot-first mentality. As I said before, Jose can be a defensive liability for Raptors; but it is not like Mo is a defensive mastermind.
Please let me know if you get what this trade would accomplish via commenting below and show me what I am not seeing.
Sonny Weems/DeMar DeRozan Dilemma: I read a very nice assessment of these two guys based on efficiency statistics. It is a good read, you should check it out:
Boris wrote a complete performance review, and there is not much to add other than that was what I observed with naked eye. However, I should say I liked Sonny’s game a lot in the last 10-12 games, just not enough to generalize.
This league has seen more than its share of athletic shooting guards/small forwards and a good percentage of them didn’t make it. I call this “the Jordan effect”, but that is an article for some other day.
In any case, I think neither DeRozan nor Weems will be traded this summer. As Boris pointed out, while they can be in the same roster, DeRozan is the one with the most upside.
Weems' contract has a team option and he can be signed very cheaply. So what would be the point of not picking up that option and give this D-League veteran another rookie season chance?
To Bosh or not to Bosh: He is a regular 20-10 guy and he is as efficient as a perennial All-Star who plays in Toronto. What he is going to do in wilderness (where the offense doesn’t run through him) is a bit mystery.
He is good player with morals, but he doesn’t deserve the max deal. But in a league full of overpaid big men, it is only fair that he is window shopping for one.
I do not want him to leave Toronto, per se, only if Bryan Colangelo couldn’t manage to get at least some value in return. Raptors need a change of blood and what guarantees this the best other than a heart transplant.
If all we can get is David Lee or Michael Beasley, I would much prefer Bosh. I don’t think this team needs any more below average defenders to replace the only man who did guard his spot last season.
On the other hand, I am 100 percent game if Bryan Colangelo could snatch Joakim Noah and a couple of picks to sweeten the deal. That would allow Jay Triano to start Andrea Bargnani at the four and be more productive with his outside shooting (a la Rashard Lewis).
Free Agents of Our Own: Aside from Bosh, the ones who can fly from the nest are:
Amir Johnson (Unrestricted): Bryan Colangelo stated that he would try to resign Amir Johnson at the season ending press conference, and that would be the smart thing to do for most Raptors’ fans.
He did get steady minutes this season and he appeared to be efficient with his possessions on offense. His lack of shooter and mid-range game can be forgivable being the hustling type of player he is.
However, he was not creative around the rim and the only play he has depends on power and strength. He played most of his season against bench players and it is unclear how his offense would be affected when he is up against the premium big men.
His defense is the upside even though he is not typically a dominating type of player. He accomplishes more than his finesse frame and wingspan allows him to do. On the other hand, he grabs 1.5 boards for each foul he commits, which is also a result of him being almost undersized for his position.
Rasho Nesterovic (Unrestricted): It is likely that he would either retire or sign for the minimum contract; depending on the draft and other trades.
Patrick O'Bryant (Unrestricted): It is in his best interest to look for discount plane tickets to Europe. He couldn’t even dominate at the D-League, being the seven foot monster he is, and could not establish a reliable offensive game.
Antoine Wright (Unrestricted): Aside from occasional sparks, he is an average role player for a small-market team. I personally want to thank him for his services and wish him good luck.