The Toronto Raptors seem to have many troubles when it comes to the point guard position ever since acquiring T.J. Ford. There has not been a problem in terms of statistical reasons or production on and off the court. The problem has always been, who starts?
When Jose Calderon was first signed and T.J. Ford was brought in, Ford was the definite starter, but as time passed on, management realized Calderon was the better option and eventually let go of Ford. Last season, the same problem happened with Calderon and Jarrett Jack. Calderon got the nod over Jack again, and it seemed like for the rest of his contract, Calderon would be starting for Toronto.
But in the trade that sent Jarrett Jack away, the Raptors brought in young point guard Jerryd Bayless. Known for being a troublemaker, many teams did not want to deal with his immaturity, but when he stepped foot in Toronto, it seemed as if he became a real man.
The point where many Raptor fans realised that Bayless is capable of being the starting point guard for the Raptors was around the end of the season. Due to an injury to Jose Calderon, Bayless became the starter and absolutely thrived in his new role. He averaged about 20 points, while also being able to contribute to the passing game with around six assists. His defense was sub-par, but it got the work done.
Now the real question is, which one of these two will be the starting point guard for Toronto whenever a season is to bloom? Will it be the young PG from Arizona, or will it be the Spanish veteran?
Let us take a look at Jose first. Known as one of the better passers in the league, Jose is one of those players who has great court vision and can handle the ball very well. He barely got turnovers and was second in the league—only behind Chris Paul—in the assist/turnover ratio.
If Calderon was a little more aggressive and took a few more shots during the course of the game, many would agree that he could have been not only a nine-assist-per-game player, but also adding about 12-14 points compared to nine.
The main flaw in Calderon's game is his defense. He is not very quick on his feet, and is not able to stop the younger and quicker point guards from driving past him or making a play right in front of his eyes. Already, in his twilight years, Calderon could improve a little in terms of defense, especially with Dwayne Casey as the new head coach, but will never be an elite defender in the league.
Bayless is the exact opposite of Calderon when it comes to offense. He is much more aggressive and likes to take the occasional jumper, or drive to the basket. His only problem is that he does not always look for the open player and takes bad shots at times. He can also be a very inconsistent player.
Since Bayless is still very young, learning the defensive game and adding on to his abilities it will not be so hard to improve, again because of the coaching change. Although, not guaranteed that he will drastically improve under Casey, he will without a doubt get better. He will also have a better attitude than before and will be trying to get better all the time.
After analyzing both players, it seems as if Bayless will get the nod, especially with the way he played near the end of last season. Bayless will be putting up better numbers, and can be a top-15 point guard in the league, if he really tries. Calderon will be a great mentor when it comes to teaching the passing game, and will definitely be a big contributor on the bench.
Thanks for reading!