Looking at the Free-Agent Big Men

 

 

With Jarrett Jack all locked up there is still work to be done by the Legomaster. With a shallow font court and little defensive resistance in the paint, Colangelo needs to round off this active summer by adding another big.

 

It should be official today that Jarrett Jack is a Raptor. I am a big supporter of this signing. This addition will help this team more than any other move made this off-season. Jack is the perfect "ying" to Calderon's "yang" and Toronto now has one of the best PG combo's in the league. Should Calderon go down the Raps can simply insert another starter-quality PG into the line-up. Some may view this signing as a bit of a luxury but I see it as a perfect insurance policy.

 

Right now Jack will lead a second unit that will likely feature Antoine Wright, Reggie Evans and possibly Devean George. Although not the most offensive minded group of players, they will bring a defensive intensity and a toughness not seen in Raptors land for many a season. This team finally has some grit.

 

Of course BC can't be done making moves.

 

Despite having added Evans, the front court cupboard is fairly bare. Currently Coach Triano has little to work with in terms of a big man rotation and I don't want to think about what should happen if one of Bosh or Bargnani ends up on the shelf for more than a couple of games.

 

Although Evans adds a toughness and rebounding prowess the make-up of the front court is still worrisome. This teams ability to rebound the ball still causes me grave concern (Hedo doesn't rebound nearly as well as one would hope), the Raps don't have a true shot blocker and frankly neither Bosh, Bargnani nor Evans are a defensive force.

 

With a limited amount of cash left to spend (bi-annual and veterans min) it's a tall order...in particular when guys like Chris Wilcox and Joel Anthony are quickly being taken off the market. I do feel like the reward of signing a player of Jack's caliber was worth the wait, even if it meant less choice when it comes to serviceable bigs, but there is not much left to choose from.

 

So who's left?

 

The list of available bigs features a number of first round busts, some grizzly vets and a few unknown commodities. Out of the guys who are left here are 5 guys I would like to see the Raps take a flyer on.

 

Shelden Williams – To date there is no debating that Williams has been a first round bust. For as much heat as Andrea takes for being selected ahead of the likes of Brandon Roy and Rudy Gay, Williams was also selected before these players. Currently Sheldon's only claim to fame is that he is married to the best female player on earth in Candace Parker. The man formerly known as "the Landlord" has truly struggled since he left Duke. Injuries and lack of opportunity have resulted in a lack of production. In his rookie season Williams showed he could continue to rebound and man the paint at the NBA level but he has not developed as hoped. If Williams could stay healthy his propensity to work the glass and play some hard nosed D could be a welcome addition. If the adage that rebounding is the one skill that translates from the NCAA to the NBA there is still a chance he could develop into solid PF.

 

Fabricio Oberto– Despite having changed teams countless times this summer Oberto is a solid player. Oberto has always played for winning teams (Agentina and the Spurs) and is a veteran player who would fit in seamlessly with team United Nations. At this point in his career Oberto is more of a cerebral player and provided he is healthy, would be able to provide some quality back-up minutes. Although he doesn't address the team's lack of shot blocking and he is a mediocre free throw shooter,  Oberto plays smart fundamental basketball and would bring more positives to the team than negatives. Although there is a sentiment among many Raps fans that Rasho should be the guy I would favour this move.

 

Rasho Nesterovic– There is nothing about Rasho I can tell you that you don't already know. Solid, steady player. Nothing flashy. Solid fundamentals. Good locker room presence. I am just not sure what he brings to a team that plans on running at every opportunity. He has never been a fantastic rebounder but he is a reliable player. Triano will know what to expect out of this guy, good or bad.

 

Solomon Jones – We have been talking about Jones since his draft year. The former high second round

pick of the Atlanta Hawks is far from a finished product but during his first few years in the league he has demonstrated an ability to block shots and rebound reasonably well. Jones is uber athletic for a man his size and given the Raps desire to run the ball he could be an excellent addition. Although slight of frame he does have a shot-blocking presence and still has upside. He doesn't bring much offensively but he is a decent free-throw shooter and the Raps could do worse. Jones is a restricted free-agent so unless BC is sure Atlanta won't watch I don't see an offer coming unless there is no-where else to turn. Considering the lack of big men available having money locked in for seven days would be a bad call.

 

David Harrison – Harrison was recently profiled in the Denver Post where Harrison's personal troubles over the past few years were put on full display. Harrison, despite the NBA body and skill set is currently out of the league having played last season in China. It appears he is trying to put his life and basketball career back on the right track. Franchise and I saw him in Vegas (originally mistaking him for Michael Olowakandi) and he is absolutely HUGE. His performance in Vegas wasn't particularly noteworthy but during his time with the Pacers he did show the ability to rebound and block shots. His willingness to acknowledge his personal problems and his seeming desire to straighten things out reminds me of Chris Anderson. Although completely different players perhaps one more shot is all Harrison needs to make his way in the NBA. A guaranteed contract might be a little rich at this point but a training camp invite wouldn't hurt anyone. He is a true center, something this team needs.

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