2012 Raptors Offseason Moves

 

When the Raptors’ 2011-2012 season took an unexpected turn for the better (or worse, if you were hoping for a high lottery pick like myself), Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo promised Raptors fans that it would be an “exciting and active off season” for us, and that we would see some major changes to the roster.

Bryan Colangelo was not lying when he said the team would be active, but the offseason has hardly been exciting. It has actually been more frustrating than it has been exciting, at least for me personally.

So, let’s take a look at the moves Bryan Colangelo has made so far this offseason, and of course the one that he didn’t make (sigh of relief).

 

Steve Nash

I’ll start with the most important move that Bryan Colangelo didn’t make this year, but tried so desperately to do.

Obviously by now we all know that Nash is going to be in Los Angeles next year as the new starting point guard for the Lakers. But Steve Nash was said to be the number one priority for the team this offseason.

Like it or not, Nash played a crucial role in the offseason activities for the Raptors. Everything was dependant on the 38 year old’s decision of where he would be playing. All of the offseason moves of the Raptors were solely done for the purpose of bringing in Steve Nash (Fields), as well as building around him (Ross). It even included a backup plan if Nash to Toronto ultimately failed (Lowry).

While I will admit, I selfishly would have liked to see Nash play as a Raptor, but I certainly knew that it was a terrible decision for the Raptors’ future by bringing in a 38 year old point guard for 12 Million per year, for three years. The three years of Nash (if he held up that long) would have been fun to watch, but it simply would have made NBA in Toronto even more depressing once Steve Nash called it quits in the NBA.

Grade: A+ for not signing him, but easily an F if they had signed him, purely for basketball related reasons.

 

Terrence Ross

The offseason all started with the 2012 NBA draft, and the Raptors taking an unexpected, but a pretty nice overall pick in Terrence Ross. I’ve mentioned before, Ross is going to be a good NBA player, and is a much better pick for the Raptors in my opinion than Austin Rivers or Jeremy Lamb would have been.

However, it was the circumstances of the pick that I didn’t really like.

One of those circumstances being that they passed on a potential franchise-changing talent in Andre Drummond. If Drummond turns out to be anything remotely close to Dwight Howard, Raptor fans will have another reason to hate Colangelo for. At the very worst, Drummond will be a defensive specialist in the NBA, an almost picture perfect pairing with another young big man Jonas Valanciunas.

Two being that the pick was really made around Steve Nash and giving him more offensive weapons on the wing to pass to. If anyone knows how to build around Nash, it’s probably Colangelo. But the fact that they were doing so in an attempt to give Nash more weapons offensively is just a bad basketball move.

Grade: B. I’ll take the average between the A (for passing on Lamb + Rivers), and C (for building around Nash and passing up Drummond).

 

Quincy Acy

Quincy Acy is the perfect role player for the Raptors off the bench. Anyone who watched Baylor the past few seasons knows what I’m talking about. Quincy is a high energy player, very athletic, and relentlessly attacks the basket for dunks and offensive rebounds.

Think of this pick as a younger version of Reggie Evans, but much more athletic. Or possibly even another Jerome Williams, aka the “Junkyard Dog”. If Acy is anything like what I’ve seen, Toronto will have a new fan favourite known for his hard work on the court.

This is the exact type of player that the Raptors need to have in the lineup. The fact that Toronto was able to use one of their second round picks on him is even better. Very low risk, high reward type move.

The problem though, is with an already jammed rotation at PF, how much time will Acy even see on the floor? Well, we know that Casey prefers the proven veterans. But, if Casey rewards players for defense and effort (rookie or not), Acy should see some regular minutes.

Grade: A

 

Tomislav Zubcic

Grade: N/A, to be honest I’ve never heard of the guy. But I do know that Robert Sacre was available. Why not take the Canadian guy, the Raptors could have used a backup center anyways.

 

Landry Fields

Landry Fields, said to be just a tactic for luring Nash away from the Knicks, was another off season addition set to improve the defense and wings on the team. However, if you ask me, I’d say the Raptors had targeted him the entire time, not just to get Nash.

It was the contract that they offered Fields which was the tactic to deter the Knicks from signing both him and Nash. You could argue that Fields is a little overpaid, but I think it’s a reasonable signing nonetheless. He’s an athletic combo-wing player, capable of playing both the 2 and 3 (maybe even the 4 at times) and definitely should be an upgrade for the team.

Fields lost a lot of hype in New York after the addition of Carmelo Anthony, but who can blame him. It’s not easy playing with a guy who slows the game down and likes to take a lot of shots. He’s still one of the better rebounding 2-guards in the NBA, and should be able to fit in well as a starter on a team that doesn’t rebound particularly well.

The problem with this signing is that the Raptors probably could have been able to sign him around 4-5 million per year instead of 7, but I still like the addition.

Grade: B+

 

Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry is finally the upgrade I’ve long been waiting for in Toronto. Lowry is an all-star calibre point guard, who is a huge upgrade defensively over Calderon. While he may not be as efficient offensively as the Spaniard, I don’t feel as though it will be a problem due to the huge upgrade on the defensive side. Lowry will look to push the ball in transition, and may even score more for the team than the slower paced Calderon did.

I think it’s pretty safe to say now that the Raptors should almost be a lock to sneak into the playoffs as a 7th or 8th seed next year. Which means that the likelihood of the pick being top-3 is very, very small. But at the very worst, the Raptors barely miss the playoffs and are forced to give up a 12th-14th pick for him.

Anyone who is saying that’s too much to give up for Lowry, remember that prior to the draft the Raptors had considered giving up the 8th overall pick for Lowry. So, if you ask me, this is a better deal for the Raptors. For that reason, it’s not a bad move at all by Colangelo to give up a late lottery pick instead of having giving up a sure-thing at 8th.

Now, that is not to say that Lowry automatically pushes the Raptors into championship contention either. The Raptors are still are a ways away before they look to do any damage past the first round. Especially when you consider, that, as a 7th or 8th seed as I am predicting, would likely have them facing up against the Heat or the Bulls.

Grade: A

 

John Lucas III

Lucas is a veteran point guard brought in to help the second unit. However, as long as the team has Calderon, it’s likely that Lucas will see very little action on the floor. But as far as im concerned, it almost looks like the type of move that you would make when you expect to trade Calderon at some point during the upcoming season. So, while I don’t expect much from Lucas right away as the 3rd-string point guard, he could eventually become the go-to guy on the second unit once Calderon is gone for good.

In that case, I think it’s a good addition considering the price they got him. They obviously could have gotten Uzoh for much less, but Lucas will bring a veteran presence as well as scoring off the bench, which are both areas that the Raptors desperately need to improve on.

Grade: B

 

Dominic McGuire

Though many fans may not know who this is, McGuire is a combo-forward who is another defensive-minded player. While McGuire will make a very minimal, if any sort of impact on the offensive end, his presence defensively is what I like about this signing.

He is also expected to play a role similar to the role that James Johnson played last season.

Grade: B+

 

 

*Will update this regularly as more offseason moves are made.*

 

Advertisements

9 comments on “2012 Raptors Offseason Moves

  1. Stephen Waugh says:

    Repost of my comments from previous website:

    Well written blog post. Just a few things in my opinion if you don’t mind:

    Missing out on Steve Nash: A+

    The Toronto Raptors failed to sign even one of their nationally greatest players in Canadian basketball history and a lot of Raptor fans and Canadians are not too pleased.

    Having said that, they also dodged one of the biggest bullets in both free agency and possibly even Raptor future. Few people saw Jamaal Magloire working out in the Raptors practice court as a free agent coming, much less to want to sign with them. If Steve Nash signed, ticket sales would have gone through the roof and Nash himself would be praised as a national hero as soon as right away (as if he isn’t already). Unfortunately, expectations of leading more of a mismash team to the playoffs and deep would have been astronomical. Brad Peters (http://bpsports.webs.com/apps/blog/show/14926152-captain-canada-
    for-real-) and Timothy Wearing (http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/2012/07/the-case-against-

    signing-steve-nash/) explain it well in their blogs. He isn’t exactly Chris Paul or Deron Williams, or even Rajon Rondo for that matter. Failure to go to the playoffs would have been a huge disappointment and lead this signing to a potentially widespread fiasco. It wouldn’t have mattered if he only used us to drive up his asking price to other teams and never wanted to play in Toronto in the first place, the Raptors franchise missed out on a big pot of fool’s gold.

  2. Stephen Waugh says:

    Terrence Ross: B

    Like everyone else, I thought the pick was a reach at a time. I thought it was Jared Sullinger who was the best available talent, but back issues and underwhelming athleticism caused him to slide hard. I expected Austin Rivers or Jeremy Lamb to be the pick. Andre Drummond and Perry Jones III have the highest ceilings of anyone in this past draft, even Anthony Davis (yes, I did just say Anthony Davis). Andre Drummond may be an All-NBA Defensive big man in training and Perry Jones III can develop into someone as good as Chris Bosh. Even Jeremy Lamb could end being a better player than Terrence Ross and an all-star at that (he was more productive in college than Ross according to The Wages of Wins Journal, see http://wagesofwins.com/2012/06/29/2012wrap-draft-fanservice/).

    Having said that, I agree with Brad Peter’s grade. None of the other players are sure things, at least not more sure than Terrence Ross. Jeremy Lamb and Austin Rivers both carry the risk of me-first basketball that can get them lucrative contracts (through extension or in free agency) and boost their Q Score (http://www.qscores.com/Web/Index.aspx) like Harrison Barnes wants to (http://diehardnight.com/2012/06/27/cavs-draft-preview-harrison-barnes/), but compromise team success and winning in the process. Andre Drummond and Perry Jones III could become big-time stars, but I am very concerned about what’s in their heads. Both look physically imposing but have shown to be beatable mentally. And speaking of Harrison Barnes (you know, that high school superstar that the Toronto Raptors lost to the Golden State Warriors by one measly coin flip), he doesn’t seem to be as much better than Terrence Ross as their draft rankings suggested. Both need to improve ball handles and need a passing point guard to create their shots. *Each of these players except for Ross however made up half of The Wages of Wins Journal’s list of most overrated prospects (The 10 Most Overrated 2012 Draft Prospects: Part 1 :http://wagesofwins.com/2012/06/17/the-10-most-overrated-2012-draft-prospects-part-1/)(The 10 Most Overrated 2012 Draft Prospects: Part 2: http://wagesofwins.com/2012/06/18/the-10-most-overrated-2012-draft-prospects-part-2/)(Wages of Wins 2012 Draft Grades: http://wagesofwins.com/2012/06/28/wages-of-wins-2012-draft-grades.

    Even though Terrence Ross is a solid player going forward, he was a safe pick: not much downside, but maybe not as high a ceiling either. I think he is immediately an upgrade over DeMar DeRozan, who had a worse shot, was much less productive in college, and likely isn’t even as good at defending his own position, even though he is a better athlete.

    If DeMar DeRozan can average 17.2 and 16.7 points per game on scrub teams in two seasons, then why can’t Terrence Ross average more on those same teams or the same on better teams?

    • bpete00 says:

      I agree that Ross is an upgrade over DeRozan.

      I think a fair comparison to Ross is Rip Hamilton. At his best, I see him getting to be that type of player. Not really someone to build around, but can certainly be a key player on a good team.

  3. Stephen Waugh says:

    Quincy Acy: B

    This is where Brad Peters and I begin to disagree on grades. I wholeheartedly agree with everything he says about Quincy Acy, but that’s not what I’m going to get at.

    My issue for not giving the pick an A has to do with who else was available. If the Toronto Raptors really wanted a to get a forward in the second round, then why not select Darius Miller or Quincy Miller (who could have been a better prospect at a position of upgrade if not for his ACL injury)? What about even trading up for Draymond Green?

    But more importantly (and Brad Peters can most certainly attest to this), the Raptors needed a point guard. Scott Machado (http://www.nba.com/draft/2012/prospects/scott-machado/) is in my opinion a better point guard prospect than everyone in last year’s draft not named Kyrie Irving. Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker were ranked much higher the previous year because that draft was weaker and not as deep, and both players shined at bigger schools, but when you watch Machado play and how he describes his game, you clearly see what he is that Knight and Walker both have to improve as: a true point guard. He (not Kendall Marshall) was statistically the best point guard from last the 2011-2012 NCAA season (outside of Damian Lillard and Jesse Sanders, who were more productive players, but Lillard scored more and assisted less and Sanders wasn’t better than Machado by much for a guy who wasn’t expected to get drafted). He, Tu Holloway, and Dee Bost didn’t get drafted at all, and I won’t even talk about the scoring, better defensive guards that got drafted shortly after.

    Now I’m not expecting him to score 20 points like Brandon Knight can on any given night, but as long as he dishes out those assists in the NBA like did in college, he won’t need to.

    PS: I’ve since read somewhere (can’t remember where) that Machado (like Royce White) did step up to the task against better schools (athleticism is still a real concern). Now Damiam Lillard would have been a real concern in this regard (his passing was bad against top competition), see http://www.behindthebasket.com/btb/2012/6/24/a-closer-look-at-2-s
    mall-school-draftees.html and http://www.behindthebasket.com/btb/2012/6/25/2012-nba-draft-under
    valued-studs-and-overvalued-duds.html.
    http://www.behindthebasket.com/btb/2012/6/28/2012-nba-draft-observations-part-1.html (skip to the bottom pf the page)
    http://www.behindthebasket.com/btb/2012/6/26/5-best-available-players-at-each-position.html

    *Neither Wages of Wins (http://wagesofwins.com/2012/06/17/the-10-most-overrated-2012-draft-prospects-part-1/) or Behind the Basket (http://www.behindthebasket.com/btb/2012/6/19/2012-nba-draft-sorting-out-the-college-players.html) were sold on Quincy Miller even in spite of his injury. Both liked Norfolk State’s Kyle O’Quinn (#49, Orlando) though.

    • bpete00 says:

      Well, I definitely would have liked Machado over Zubcic, but not over Acy.

      He certainly would have made the PG situation in Toronto much more interesting.

  4. Stephen Waugh says:

    Tomislav Zubčić: D

    I don’t like this pick at all, never did.

    I know that I previously gave the pick an F, but I decided to change it. I still don’t like the pick anyway. Before I comment any further, let me disclaim that I am NOT a racial bigot and I do not think that all international players simply jack up perimeter jumpshots, play no defence, and are lazy and soft.

    Now I like that Zubcic is long and athletic and has very good guard skills, and he is mobile and agile for his size. However, being a below-average rebounder for a player with his combination of size and physical tools is a big concern to me. His WP40 advanced stat score is also pretty bad (http://wagesofwins.com/2012/08/03/the-euro-rankings/). Add to that concerns about effort on defence (I wonder how well Dwane Casey is going to handle that?). Now Andrea Bargnani would be the easy player comparison for obvious reasons, but I do not like him as an NBA power forward at all. His skill set is better suited for guard play and he doesn’t have the toughness or rebounding like Jonas Valanciunas to suggest that he can ever have a real post game. Scott Machado was available and would have been big value this late in the draft, but if I really wanted a power forward, then I would have gone with Kevin Jones or traded this pick for Milan Mačvan. He is best suited to play small forward.

    Player Comparison: Danilo Gallinari

  5. Stephen Waugh says:

    Signing Landry Fields: B+
    No complaints with Brad Peters’ opinion here, so I’ll just add these links:

    Hey New York Knicks: Just give Landry Fields the money already!
    http://wagesofwins.com/2012/07/04/hey-new-york-knicks-just-give-l
    andry-fields-the-money-already/

    http://wagesofwins.com/?s=landry+fields&submit=Search

    Behind the Basket also agrees that the Fields signing is underrated (http://www.behindthebasket.com/btb/2012/8/1/4-overlookedunderrat
    ed-free-agent-signings.html).

  6. Stephen Waugh says:

    Acquisition of Kyle Lowry: B+

    Big defensive improvement at the position. I have lots of love and respect for Jose Calderon, whose been the greatest free agent signing in Raptors history, and a soldier at that, but he is now on the wrong side of 30 and the team needs to get younger at that position for long-term reasons. We gave up Gary Forbes, who is a nice guy, but Lowry is a huge upgrade from a talent standpoint. The only thing I don’t like about this deal is bad teams trading away a first-round picks that could be used to land North Texas’ Tony Mitchell or UCLA’s Kyle Anderson. Now if the pick ends up in the top-three of the 2013 NBA draft Lottery, than I will easily adjust this grade to an A+. At least it wasn’t two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and cash for Steve Nash.

  7. Stephen Waugh says:

    One knock I had against Robert Sacre was his mediocre wingspan (same concern I have with Terrence Ross). It immediately reminded me of Rafael Araujo and Kwame Brown, who could not finish well because of limited physical tools. Not that he will end up the blunders that both of those guys became, but yeah, I would have preferred him over Zubčić.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s