Breaking down last night's draft, Franchise likes Toronto's selections but worries about what they represent...
So Ed Davis it is.
In a surprise move, one of the top 10 talents in last night's draft fell into the Raptors' laps at 13, a spot many envisioned the likes of Cole Aldrich, Patrick Patterson and Paul George inhabiting.
However when Davis, projected to go as high as 7 to Detroit by many, was still around, Toronto didn't feel they could pass up the opportunity to draft such an enticing prospect.
And really I don't blame them. My top three favourites, George, Henry and Aldrich, all went prior to Toronto's pick and to me, the decision came down to grabbing Davis, taking Patterson, or moving this pick entirely.
From comments made by Bryan Colangelo and Jay Triano post-draft, that's exactly what transpired so it sounds like Avery Bradley and Eric Bledsoe were never really under consideration this high up. Both were probably scouted as intensively as they were in hopes of landing them later on.
In addition to drafting Davis, near the end of the draft, the Raptors went for size and athleticism again grabbing Florida State's Solomon Alabi, drafted by Dallas with the 50th pick. Toronto gave up some financial considerations as well as a future second-rounder but the price seems pretty fair considering Alabi was slotted to go late in the first round by most.
Am I happy with the draft.
On one hand I'm thrilled. Both players possess the types of skills this team needs so badly; size, length, shot-blocking ability and defensive potential. As well, Alabi has played to rave reviews for all in terms of the work ethic, grit and intensity he brings every time he steps on the floor.
And while you always take the player with the most upside and/or talent regardless of position, the Raptors were able to address both talent and positional need in one fell swoop with Ed Davis, a lefty too ironically, in case of Bosh's departure.
While I think Patrick Patterson will have a more immediate impact, and that Larry Sanders is a more intriguing prospect, I'm quite happy with Toronto's draft and I agree with Chad Ford's B+ rating. The issue I'm having is the meaning behind these picks.
Unless Chris Bosh decides to return, folks, we're talking rebuild here.
Or we should be.
I don't expect either player drafted last night to contribute much next season (unless Davis is forced to start of course) so make no mistake about it, these picks are going to take time to develop, if they do at all. That being said, both are perfect complements to Andrea Bargnani, so if Bryan Colangelo is thinking of trying to make the cake again from scratch, these are much better ingredients.
My fear though is that he's not going to take this route.
We've seen over the past few years that BC has steadfastly refused to acknowledge that his overall building plan isn't working, and has tried either band-aid solutions (Reggie Evans) or major reactive overhauls that end up digging an even deeper hole for the team.
We saw an example of the latter first-hand last night as the Miami Heat grabbed four second-round picks, a genius move facilitated by Colangelo's Shawn Marion disaster, that now enables the Heat to put minimal cap holds in place and still keep the money they need to go after two marquee free agents like Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Not only that, but the Heat were able to grab players with specific transferable skill sets to surround a prospective All-NBA duo like Wade and Bosh; Varnado for his shot-blocking (he lead the NCAA), Butler for his shooting and leadership, etc, etc.
Therefore if Colangelo is going to draft the way he did last night, and it's clear Bosh isn't returning, I'm hoping he dynamites the whole structure.
As frustrating as this would be considering he's been telling fans and media for the past two years that "we're not that far off," it's simply what must be done.
I'd much rather cheer for a promising young team that doesn't win many games but that has a talented young core and a chance to grab a high lottery pick than one that middles through the season, wins 35 games, and misses both the playoffs and a chance at a top 3 pick.
So this is where things are going to get very interesting.
Can BC swallow his pride and start the rebuild that's foreshadowed for two seasons now?
Or again will he attempt to go to swing for the fences, moving one bad contract for one that's even worse, hoping to turn lead into gold?
I'm hoping for the former, but sounds like over the next two weeks we'll really get a sense of what direction this team is headed.
On a positive note though, let's leave the final word for the newest Toronto Raptor:
Ed Davis: Thanks for all the support Toronto fans. I'm hella excited to be part of a great city and organization