The Only Indispensable Raptor (and other stories)

Posted on February 1, 2010 | 12 Comments

[Update: I've added a poll for the blog, and the first one is at the bottom]

There’s a line of thought among some Raptor fans that Chris Bosh is not worth the maximum contract, and that the Raptors should let him go (either via trade or sign-and-trade) and build around Bargnani and the rest of the Raptors. To put it mildly, these people are morons who have no business watching an NBA game let alone sharing their opinions on one. Okay, maybe that’s not putting it mildly.

Turkoglu's OwieWhen Turkoglu got an elbow to the face, two thoughts came to mind. The first is that I really feel for Turkoglu because I know how it feels. I once got a shoulder hit just below my eye that felt like it completely collapsed my face. I’ve been hit (and hurt) many times and kept playing, but this was different and knew it. I first checked to see if all my teeth were intact (I’ve lost a tooth playing ball before), and then checked my nose to make sure it was still where it was supposed to be. Stupidly, I did go back in when I discovered my face still intact, despite the fact I was seeing double (slightly). The most shocking thing was when I finally looked in the mirror and saw that my face looked, for the most part, normal. I had expected a look similar to Rocky after fighting Apollo Creed the first time. There was a little swelling, but no bruising at all.

It turned out I had fractured my orbit bone and it was more than six months before I got most of the feeling back in my face and to this day, I don’t have all of it back (it’s been nearly two years). The worst part about having no feeling in part of your face is showering. Since you can’t actually feel the water on you, you can’t tell if you haven’t washed the soap off. It was very odd and not the least bit pleasant.

But I digress.

The second thing I thought about was how the Raptors won’t necessarily miss Turkoglu if he doesn’t come back in the game. The great thing about this Raptors team, as I’ve mentioned before, is the bench. Unlike last season, when an injury to any of the key players was devastating, this year there’s only one player who is irreplaceable. And that’s Chris Bosh. When Turkoglu went out, I knew that between Wright, Weems and Belinelli, the Raptors would be able to absorb his loss. Obviously those same players make DeRozan’s absence not even missed, and Jack and Calderon can both start, which makes an injury to one of them a non-issue, especially when Banks played so well during Calderon’s missed games, and Belinelli is a capable enough ball handler and passer that he can play the point in a pinch. Even Bargnani can be replaced by Nesterovic and Johnson. They don’t have Bargnani’s scoring touch, but are better rebounders and play well alongside Bosh.

Bosh scores on GrangerBosh, however, cannot be lost for long without the team going into a tailspin. You see, Bosh is the only consistent scorer and rebounder the Raptors have. Bargnani can have great scoring bursts and is the second leading scorer on the team, but he’s too inconsistent to be relied on as the team’s first option. He relies too much on people creating for him and doesn’t get to the line enough. And he’s the second best scorer. Nine times he has not scored more than 12 points in a game. Compare that with Bosh’s 2.  And one of those two, Bosh only played 15 minutes.

And it can’t be written off to Bosh taking more shots than Bargnani because Bosh only takes two more shots a game. Besides, a lot of times, good players make their own shots. Bosh gets two more shots than Bargnani because he gets himself the shot. Bargnani, for all his talent, doesn’t do that, which is why he goes through so many scoring droughts.

And, needless to say, Bargnani is not going to be able to cover Bosh’s rebounding. The only two player on the roster who can consistently rebound at a rate similar to Bosh (Evans and Johnson) are both foul prone and don’t bring the scoring the Raptors would need if they lost Bosh.

The Raptors can go small to score more, with Turkoglu shifting to PF, but they’d suffer on the boards. If they insert Johnson or Evans into the PF slot, they suffer in the scoring department.

Let’s hope Bosh re-signs, because if he leaves, the Raptors will be in trouble.

SOARING RAPTORS

In ESPN’s recent Power Rankings, the Raptors are ranked #7. Okay, Mark Stein is one of the few American sports writers who is actually unbiased when it comes to things north of the border, but it’s still a great indication of how far the Raptors have come since their slow start in November.

Can I point out something I probably shouldn’t? The Raptors are only 4 1/2 games behind a struggling Celtics team that has gone 6-11 since winning against Orlando on Christmas day.  And speaking of the Celtics, I’ve been suspicious of Garnet’s knee injury from day one. I didn’t like how little the Celtics said, even as the Celtics went into the second round. I didn’t like that little was revealed over the summer about exactly what was wrong with his knee, and I didn’t like how he looked at the start of the season. Sure, he’s had a few big games, but when a player limps, it’s a bad, bad thing. It means two things. One is that he’s not fully healed, and the other is that he’ll probably have problems due to favouring the other leg. Well, it’s already past the halfway point and he’s still having problems with the knee. I think they may be in trouble.

DIVISIONAL RACES

While the race in the east is for the 2nd spot among the contenders (as long as Cleveland doesn’t falter without Mo Williams), and the 5th spot among the pretenders (of which the Raptors are included), in the West, the big race is to see who’s going to make it to the big dance. Currently, there are 6 teams within 2 games of one another, and only 3 of them are going to make the playoffs. Right now, Oklahoma City, Memphis, and Houston are on the outside looking in, but no one would be surprised if all three make the playoffs. Portland is in danger of not making the playoffs, and New Orleans will certainly drop without Chris Paul for a month or two (due to knee surgery).  I’m going to guess that at least a couple of those six teams are going to try and make a deal to better their chance.

TRADES

What on earth is this nonsense about Philly thinking of trading Igoudala. Is he really the problem on this team? And trading him for McGrady? What good would that do? Think they regret letting Andre Miller go? Okay, maybe they don’t, but they should. Personally, Igoudala should be one of the last players they should trade.

If they are intent on trading Igoudala, something crossed my mind. Now as regular readers know, I’m not for trading Calderon, but if Philadelphia offered Igoudala for Calderon, DeRozan and Wright, I’d think long and hard. DeRozan has a lot of potential, but realistically, you’ve got to hope that he’ll be as good as Igoudala. Calderon’s playmaking will be missed, but as I stated above, he’s not indispensable. The addition of Igoudala would give the Raptors an incredible starting five, a top defender, another playmaker and a very good scorer in Igoudala. He’d also immediately become the Raptors second leading rebounder.

The Sixers would get their point guard, and DeRozan would be a prospect that could eventually replace Igoudala.

Would you trade Calderon, DeRozan and Wright for Igoudala?

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Comments

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  • Buddahfan

    The statement that the Raptors offense suffers when Johnson is inserted into the offensive lineup is just flat out wrong.

    Johnson has the 3rd highest rating on offense of all Raptors players, measured by the number of points that the Raptors score per 100 possessions while he is on the court.

    Calderon is actually first at 125
    Bosh is second at 119
    Johnson is third at 118

    You probably made your comment based upon the fact that Johnson scores less than Bargnani, but Johnson brings offensive rebounds and hence second chance points. He also does a lot better job at setting screens and rolling to basket which help to get other Raptors on the court open on offense, His defensive ability also forces more turnovers and runouts than Bargnani’s play does.

    All of these things help make Johnson a lot more valuable on the offensive side than one would think just by looking at his points scored.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    Yes, you’re right about Johnsn that the offensive doesn’t suffer as much as it seems like it would, but over the long haul, I just think the offense would suffer with Johnson and Bargnani as your big men because there’s no real consistent inside threat. While Bargnani has definitely improved on scoring closer to the basket, he still prefers to score outside and it will be years, if at all, before he’s a consistent inside threat. Teams without a consistent inside scoring threat tend to be incredibly inconsistent.

  • FAQ

    Bosh leaving is a valid assumption … so where would that leave the Bosh-less Raps for next season?

    Should BC make the trade with Philly, as you suggest, given that Bosh is gonezo? Would that create a winning solution for 2010-11 season and onwards?

    How would you rebuild the Raptors with Bosh gone?

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    As I’ve said previously on my blog, I don’t think Bosh is going, and the more they win the less chance I see that happening, but getting Igoudala certainly would help them survive his departure. Igoudala is a good team away from being a perennial All-Star and I think the current Raptor squad suits him much better than the currents Sixer team. The danger, though, is that Igoudala would only get them to a .500 level, which is enough to get them in the playoffs, but not enough to get them deep into the playoffs. That means they might live in the no-mans land between contending and the lottery. Not good enough to do damage, but not bad enough to get a good draft pick.

    Personally, I would pull the trigger on the trade because it gives Bosh more of a reason to stay, and if he does leave, it cushions the blow. As a fan of Calderon, though, it would be tough to see him go.

  • FAQ

    Hey, Tim … If you were BC, would you trade Bosh for Lee and Gallinari .. because it looks like the Knicks are going nowhere with their current roster.

    The NYKs are desperate to get LeBron and Bosh may be the necessary bait to catch him … according to what Magic Johnson said several weeks ago.

    It’s not advantageous to trade Bosh to another Atlantic division team, but if the powers that be within the NBA want to resurrect the big NY NBA market, drastic measures are necessary, because neglecting the Knicks will really hurt the league.

    Also another player in all this trade speculation is NIKE who can blow any NBA salary out of the water with long term endorsement deals for LeBron and Bosh too .. for the rest of their lives .. just like they did for Jordan.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    There’s no way I trade Bosh to New York for two reasons. The first is that I don’t like the idea of helping the Knicks get LeBron AND Bosh. If I’m building a team, the last thing I want is to shoot any chance I have of building a championship contender in the foot by helping build a potential dynasty elsewhere.

    The other reason, though, is that I simply don’t think it’s a good trade for the Raptors. Doug Smith can often say ridiculous things, but I do agree, to a point, that David Lee is overrated at the moment. In any other system, and on a better team, he’s not even close to a 20-10 guy. Plus, he’s poor defensively, and I don’t want any more defensively retarded players on the Raptors. Bargnani is FINALLY playing defense, and that’s one of the main reasons the Raptors are doing so well.

    Gallinari, I think, is going to be a very good player, but I’m still not completely sold on him. I don’t think he’ll ever be even a average defensive player, and at this point, I see him becoming little more than a scorer.

    Besides, the fact is that you’d be giving up Bosh for two players who are below average defensively. Not something you want to do when defense is their weakest attribute.

    Plus, I’d rather keep Bosh and try and re-sign him. The danger of Bosh leaving is not big enough that I cash out for below market value. That’s simply not smart.

    And Nike may offer more money to LeBron for playing in New York, but the days of massive paydays from shoe companies, for all but guys like LeBron and Kobe, are gone. It’s just not cost effective. That’s been proven.

  • FAQ

    Tim!!!! … the NYC pimp & pusher market for Nike shoes could alone make millions for LeBron or Bosh … it’s massive …!!!!

    Looking at Bosh on the bench after the loss to Indiana, I could read his mind: “Get me out of here please!!!” Playing for defense-less Raptors is a waste of time for Bosh .. no championships .. no glory .. nothing .. absolutely nothing .. soooo obvious …!!!!

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    FAQ,

    Do some research. The shoe companies aren’t handing out massive paydays anymore. Two reasons. After paying out millions on someone (Tiger, I think), they never got a good return on their investment, and shoe companies had noticed they weren’t really making much money on the athletes, they stopped the big payments. Also, with the economy the way it is in the US, shoe companies are not going to make massive payouts without much of a return.

    And FAQ, you’re reading FAR, FAR too much into someone’s look after a bad loss. You’re trying to read a guy’s mind, here. I’ve seen the same look on loads of players at the end off losses like that.

    You WANT Bosh to leave because then you can say to everyone, “See, I told you so.”. You are starting to sound like those American sportswriters, and that’s not a good thing.

    The Raptors have been one of the best teams in the last month and a half. They’ve won 15 of their last 20, including wins against the Lakers, Spurs and Magic, and you’re basing his decision on one bad loss on the road?

    Reality check, here.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    Besides, Jordan obviously made lots of money from Nike playing in Chicago, but I don’t remember Pippen cashing in much playing beside Jordan. Being the second star anywhere isn’t nearly as profitable, endorsement-wise as being the first star somewhere else.

  • FAQ

    LeBron and Bosh are both Nike guys, and if Nike wants them paired together playing for the NYKs, they will have to let Bosh dip his beak into what LeBron will bring in.

    It’s rumoured that LeBron could take less than max money from the NYKs just to play on a championship stacked team that would have to include Bosh.

    Nike could easily make up the $$$$ difference that LeBron would lose if he was big hearted enough to help the Knicks acquire other good players.

    LeBron will be playing for both Nike and the Knicks in the huge NYC market … and NBA Stern will be happy as a pig in poop if there is a NYK-LAL championship final next season.

    Win-win-win for everybody … except the rest of the Eastern conference playing second and third fiddle to a stacked NYKs team …!!!!

  • FAQ

    Re your posting at RR:

    Tim W. says:
    Feb 5, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    “So what’s Bosh gonna get in Canada if he stays”

    About $30 million more than signing with another team.
    ……………………………

    Those cowards at RR have banned me from commenting on the forum because I proved them wrong and incompetent … sorry …

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