The Toronto Raptors began the season with minimal expectations and they have certainly lived up to them (haha). Over the course of their first ten games, the Raptors sported a 2-8 record and looked bad on the defensive end and even worse on the offensive end.
Since then, the Raptors have been much better as they have won four straight and are now 6-9; not bad for a team expected to finish dead last. It's still early, but things are looking good and hopefully it can continue.
It was announced the other night that the Toronto Raptors—in what was an unexpected move—acquired Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for Jarrett Jack, Marcus Banks and David Andersen.
I believe this was a really solid deal for both teams, but I think the Raptors came out on top of this one.
And here is why.
The Loss Of Jarrett Jack
I am not necessarily saying that the loss of Jarrett Jack is a good thing, but at the same time, I am.
There is no doubt that Jarrett Jack is a good player and one who plays with high energy and is very competitive. This year, he began the season as the starting point guard and the Raptors struggled, losing games left, right and center. Then, coach Jay Triano inserted Jose Calderon into the starting lineup and ever since then, the Raptors have been rolling.
The problem with Jack was that he didn't distribute the ball enough. The point of the offense this year without Chris Bosh, was to get everyone involved in the offensive game. When Jack was on the floor, he was pretty selfish and the ball wasn't moving around the floor well at all. I think Jack will be a good backup to Chris Paul on what is a competitive team that is very hot. That is where Jack should be playing, not on a team who is rebuilding.
The Loss Of Marcus Banks
Marcus Banks never really had the opportunity to play much and showcase his talents, and when he did, it was only in small spurts. Marcus Banks and his expiring contract were an attractive option for the New Orleans Hornets, who have been searching for such contracts for quite some time. Getting rid of Marcus Banks was a good move.
The Loss Of David Andersen
David Andersen was one of my favorite players on the Raptors. He was sort of like the new Rasho Nesterovic in my mind. So, when I heard his name involved in the trade, I was a little disappointed.
He was solid for the Raps, but now that Ed Davis is nearing a return, the departure of Andersen has left a space open for Davis to get some consistent playing time in small amounts. Andersen's departure will also free up some cap space for the future as well.
The Addition Of Peja Stojakovic
Peja Stojakovic is one of the best three-point shooters in NBA history. He is in the top five in terms of three-pointers made and he is a three-time All-Star.
Stojakovic fell out of favor in New Orleans and was getting very little minutes, if at all. Why would he appeal to the Raptors one might ask? Because of his expiring 16-million dollar contract.
It is possible that Stojakovic could be flipped to another team in the near future. He played on Wednesday against the Sixers and of course made a three and scored seven points in very limited minutes. If Stojakovic can stay healthy, he may find himself on the floor a lot more than in New Orleans.
The Additions Of Jerryd Bayless
This, I feel, is where the Toronto Raptors truly won. Jerryd Bayless was taken 11th overall in the 2008 draft by the Phoenix Suns. He is only 23 and has enormous amounts of potential. He will be an excellent addition to the Raptors, as he can come off the bench and provide speed, good shooting abilities, strong defense and the ability to take the ball to the hoop. He is still young and could pay dividends in the future.
In my mind, the Raptors won the deal. At the same time though, New Orleans added depth, which was something they needed to solidify their hopes of remaining competitive throughout the regular season. But, as far as the future goes for the Raptors, they took on an expiring deal with Stojakovic, which will give them a lot of cap room next year to go out and sign someone like a Marc Gasol. And, the Raptors got a little younger in Bayless, who could very well turn out to be around for a long time.