This season just gets stranger and stranger doesn't it?
I was about to post a draft-related piece this morning, when we got word via the Raptors that an announcement was forthcoming regarding the signing of Pops Mensah-Bonsu for the rest of the season.
Sure enough, the news just broke over the wire a little while ago and it sounds like the former George Washington University star will join the Dinos for the remainder of the season.
For those who don't know much about Pops, he helped lead his George Washington squad to a 26-1 record in 2006, the first time the school was ranked in the national top 10 in 50 years.
Bonsu was always considered a legit NBA prospect despite being an undersized 4 because of his raw skill set and explosiveness. However he suffered a knee injury near the end of the 2006 NCAA season that led to a huge drop in his draft stock considering he was so reliant on his athletic ability. George Washington was ousted by my Blue Devils in the second round of that year's NCAA Tournament, and Pops, even though he had returned, just didn't seem to have the same bounce in his step and therefore was not nearly as productive.
He went undrafted but signed a 2-year deal with the Mavericks, spending most of his time in the D League. Since then he's bounced around from NBA to D-League to overseas.
He's had some productive stretches however (he made the D League All-Star team and was the 2007) but is still an undersized 4, who relies on his athletic ability and determination to get the job done.
Oh wait...isn't that the mental make-up we've been pining for on this site for...um...the past three years?
I really have to shake my head regarding this transaction.
I mean, I like Mensah-Bonsu as an end of the bench guy who can come in and give the Raps some energy and athleticism at times.
BUT WHY NOW?
Seriously. Can someone please explain why Toronto took on Patrick O'Bryant and an extra year of salary for just this situation, and THEN went out and got Paps? As one of our readers just emailed me, "did it take the Spurs and Rockets' recent transactions to remind Colangelo that there was such a thing as the D League?"
If anything, this move just infuriates me.
We already have Nathan Jawai down in the D League, why not just bring him back up and give him some run with the big boys? Is BC still convinced that this team can make the playoffs, and that Mensah-Bonsu is the missing piece? I mean, I just don't get it. Why would you bring in an undersized 4 when we already have too many like this, and NOT bring in a slashing wing like James White, someone who was leading the D League in scoring and has more upside than Pops?
The sad thing is that I expect Mensah-Bonsu to have an impact as early as tomorrow night against the Heat if he's cleared to play. He'll probaly get some time at the 3 and 4 in a James Singleton type role and indeed is the type of player Toronto needs. But again, the type that should have been on the bench months ago, not with 20 games to play in a season that the book should be closed on.
All this move is doing is preventing a closer look at O'Bryant and Jawai, while probably damaging the team's ability to grab a top 7 prospect this summer.