Preseason is a bit like Summer League.
Rookies putting up big numbers, long-lost veterans getting second chances, former stars rehabbing past injuries...it's a bit hard to make head or tails of what to expect come regular season.
Take last night's preseason match in France between the Miami Heat and New Jersey Nets.
Sure we can probably expect Vince to suffer a "hamstring tweak" or 10 this season. But can Michael Beasley put up 21 and 7 on a consistent basis? Or what about Chris Douglas-Roberts? Can he go 9 for 15 off the bench and score at will?
It’s certainly not the same as a regular season match, when guys like CDR will likely not be playing nearly 30 minutes a game.
Still, seeing Douglas-Roberts’ numbers last night made me wonder again if perhaps Bryan Colangelo missed the bus on this talented wing-man. (And perhaps the Bill Walker bus was allowed to drive past as well.) The draft is obviously not a very sure thing but with the Raptors’ size up front, and early questions regarding the team’s swingmen, I have to again scratch my head at the Nathan Jawai drafting.
The Raptors are already very big up front, and in reality, Jawai is no Tractor Trailer. Couldn’t Toronto’s second round pick have been put to better use?
It’s not like Walker or CDR were high first round picks, in fact they weren’t first round picks at all going 47th and 40th respectively! Toronto could have grabbed Walker outright and you can’t tell me BC couldn’t have packaged the 2008 second-rounder and a future one to move up a spot or two for CDR!
Granted it’s definitely premature to pass judgment on either player, or Jawai for that matter. All three could have great careers and help their teams in different ways.
However here’s a question.
If Walker or Douglas-Roberts, or several other players the Raptors passed on for that matter, DO turn in solid rookie seasons, are you concerned at all about Colangelo’s drafting skills? Bargs has lots to live up to as a former number one overall pick, PJ Tucker is out of the league, and does anyone think we’ll see Giorgios Printezis any time soon? Add in Jawai’s early health issues (although it’s doubtful anyone could have seen them coming) and it’s not a pretty picture over the past three years. In fact you could argue that there hasn’t been a single pick of Colangelo’s that’s lived up to expectations.
Now I don’t want to have this post mistaken for a "why didn’t we draft CDR or Walker, two of my favourite players" rant. However it has been these two players’ preseason play that’s made me wonder about some of the past choices that have been made regarding Toronto’s drafts.
Perhaps right now this is hardly an issue.
However if both Walker and Douglas-Roberts turn in good seasons, and Raptors’ fans are left watching Hassan Adams and Jamario Moon clanking jump shots, I’m betting that this is a topic that will rear its ugly head again before the season is out.