Toronto Raptors: Is Derrick Williams Worth Trading DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis?
First, let me begin by saying that I put a question mark at the end of the title because like many of you reading this article, I am just as confused as you as to why I am writing this.
I am a firm believer that DeMar DeRozan, Ed Davis and Jerryd Bayless are the future of this organization and that Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon need to be shipped out. I have never been shy in expressing these views and until now, I was quite unwilling to see things otherwise…
However, in this article I will attempt to step back, broaden my horizon and look at things from a different perspective.
There are several players on this team, i.e., Jerryd Bayless and Andrea Bargnani, who’s development as players is being stunted.
Bayless should have been promoted to starting point guard mid-way through last season, and Bargnani should never have been put at center; rather, he should be playing Power Forward and Small Forward.
At this point I REFUSE to say the Raptors SHOULD go through with trading DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis for Derrick Williams and Wesley Johnson (who was not in the title but would be a part of the proposed trade).
Rather, I simply want to bring it up and see what people think about this surprising suggestion.
It is something that I was discussing earlier today with Joseph Fafinski, a Timberwolves fan and fellow Bleacher Report writer, and it stuck with me to the point where I decided to write an article on it.
I will begin by introducing the trade I propose, then I will give the post-trade depth chart for Minnesota (to show that the trade would in fact benefit them as well) followed by Toronto’s post-trade depth chart, then five ways in which this would help the Raptors, followed by my final thoughts on this whole theory.
Here we go… and keep in mind that I am neither for nor against making this trade, I just want to get the idea out there…
Here is a possible trade involving DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis that seems dumb now but might help the Raptors long-term...
Minnesota gets: Fifth overall pick (either Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker since they need a PG), DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis
Toronto gets: Second overall pick (Derrick Williams) and Wesley Johnson
Here is the ESPN Trade Machine Link: http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=4xtvbsv (This does not include the picks; it is just to show that the salaries all work)
Minnesota Depth Chart Post-Trade
Minnesota Depth Chart
PG: (Kemba Walker or Brandon Knight), Ricky Rubio (if he signs), Jonny Flynn, Luke Ridnour
SG: DeMar DeRozan, Wayne Ellington
SF: Michael Beasley, Martell Webster, Lazar Hayward
PF: Kevin Love, Ed Davis, Anthony Randolph
C: Darko Milicic, Anthony Randolph (they would need to get a center in Free Agency), Nikola Pekovic
Minnesota would then look to trade either Ricky Rubio’s draft rights OR Jonny Flynn.
Toronto Depth Chart Post-Trade
Toronto Depth Chart
PG: Jerryd Bayless, Jose Calderon
SG: Wesley Johnson, Leandro Barbosa, Sonny Weems (re-sign)
SF: Derrick Williams, James Johnson, Linas Kleiza
PF: Andrea Bargnani, Amir Johnson, Reggie Evans (re-sign)
C: (Center from free Agency), Alexis Ajinca
Toronto would then look to trade Jose Calderon.
Now here are five ways in which this helps the Raptors…
1. Jerryd Bayless Becomes Starting PG
By not drafting a point guard, we are able to give Jerryd Bayless a legit audition for the role of “Point Guard of the future.”
When you look at the way Bayless played at the end of last season, it is now clearer than ever that Jerryd Bayless is a better option than Jose Calderon.
This legitimate audition would entail giving Jerryd Bayless a full season as the starting point guard.
If he plays like he was at the end of last season when he was starting, then we will be happy that we opted out of drafting a point guard this year, even if I think Brandon Knight is the perfect fit for the Raptors at PG.
2. Breaks Up Logjam at PF, Allows Bargnani to Move to Power Forward
As you may have noticed in the last slide, the major theme of this trade is to either free up space or create space for current Raptors to take on a bigger role and hopefully put up bigger and better numbers.
By trading away Ed Davis, something I would normally be completely against (see, I am trying to be open to other points of view here) the Raptors can finally go with one main guy at Power Forward, in this case Bargnani, and then an official backup, Amir Johnson, who will benefit from having more minutes then usual.
Now this seems like a big downgrade in post defense since the Raptors are losing Ed Davis, one of their best post defenders, however, this is not actually the case…
Either way, the Raptors would still end up having Bargnani playing down low at center if this trade didn’t happen.
Don’t forget Amir Johnson is also a good post defender (he still has room for some more improvement, though), who would come in for Bargs when we need some tough defense.
In addition, the Raptors would look to get a defensive-minded center who would play alongside Bargs and offset his lack of defense.
3. Perimeter Defense Will Be Improved
Jerryd Bayless is a better defender than Jose Calderon, and Wesley Johnson is a better defender than DeMar DeRozan.
I also happen to be a firm believer in the saying that “defense wins championships,” and this is one thing that I will not change, not even for this article in which I attempt to “broaden my horizons.”
4. Trade-off at Shooting Guard Is Not as Bad as You Would Expect
Wesley Johnson and DeMar DeRozan are two different styles of players.
Wesley Johnson is a better three point shooter and defender but DeMar DeRozan is more athletic, a better slasher and he has shown improvements in his jump shooting but at the moment he is an average to below average jump shooter.
That being said, I know DeMar a lot better than I do Johnson. As a result, I am pretty biased and I cannot resist praising DeMar DeRozan for his great work ethic, his incredible heart and the fact that he usually seems like he is playing with a chip on his shoulder.
These are all things that cannot be measured with statistics and a result I do not know how Wesley Johnson would rank in these categories.
That being said, Wesley Johnson would be an upgrade on defense and in three-point shooting at the two spot.
This would stretch opposing defenses and give Jerryd Bayless more open lanes to the basket and a decent long-range threat waiting for a kick-out thus boost his assist averages.
5. Derrick Williams Has a Very Bright Future
Derrick Williams is going to be a great player; bottom line.
He is big and long, athletic, a good rebounder, he can block and play defense and he can score in a variety of ways, be it as a slasher, jump shooter or in the post.
Personally, I think he has the potential to be the next Kevin Durant if he stays motivated and continues to work hard.
If he does this, he will be able to take his size advantage and extremely well-rounded game to the next level: stardom.
If you made it this far in the article then I would like to thank you for not giving up on me.
As I mentioned several times throughout the article, my goal was to broaden my horizons and try to explore a different perspective that I would not usually take.
I think I accomplished this and I am confident that I angered many Raptors fans… if that is the case, then please leave a comment and do not hesitate to let me know.
On the other hand, if you think this is an interesting topic of debate, then I also encourage you to leave a comment.