The HQ takes a closer look at Toronto's two new potential acquisitions...
Mickael Pietrus and Gary Forbes.
As mentioned yesterday, both appear to be headed to Toronto, and both make a lot of sense for the Toronto Raptors in terms of what they're apparently trying to do.
Let's go to the check list.
Improve on D? Pietrus helps with that.
Improve 3-point shooting? Pietrus and Forbes can both make teams pay from long-range.
Cheap short-term contracts only? We'll see what Forbes gets but based on current speculation, you can probably check that off as well.
While I'm not expecting either to swing the "playoff tide" for them this season, another check mark incidentally, I do think both are solid acquisitions. Toronto needs to figure out if guys like James Johnson are in the team's future plans and players like Pietrus and Forbes aren't shue-ins to get minutes. They'll provide competition surely for the Johnsons and even the DeRozans, but I think with a young team that management is trying to evaluate, that's a good thing. Colangelo could have tried to go and get a guy like Richard Jefferson ostensibly, but, assuming he would come to TO, said player would simply prevent a thorough evaluation of a James Johnson, not to mention potentially hurt the club's lottery odds.
So this way BC kills two birds with one stone.
He brings in some new players to see if they're solutions for Toronto, and yet ensures that at worst, they provide competition for the current roster to further help management evaluate what they have.
Pietrus of course is no spring chicken, but we've seen over his career that when he's locked-in, he can be a major difference maker for a club. Unfortunately in Phoenix that wasn't the case very often it seems and Suns blogger extraordinaire, Seth Pollack, from SB Nation's "Bright Side of the Sun" gave me his take on Pietrus:
Mickael Pietrus is a very unique person and player. He's a guy Suns fans initially loved after he was traded to Phoenix in the deal that sent Hedo back to Orlando and Vince to the Suns (remember those guys?). He is a funny guy with a big personality who can also be prickly at times and perhaps even sullen if he's not getting his way. He can be an incredible, athletic, wing defender who hits big shots. He can also be a guy who doesn't seem to give full effort and is prone to highly questionable shot selection. In other words, you never quite know what to expect from Mickael Pietrus which is not particularly endearing to coaches. In the right situation, in the right frame of mind he can be a valuable player but looking back at his career it seems those situations have been few and far between. Suns fans won't be said to see him go and frankly, will be pleased to get back nothing in return in exchange for not having to use their amnesty on him.
Oh yeah, Hedo Turkoglu was a Sun at one point...wonder how that happened.
In any event I think the key here will be for Dwane Casey to get Pietrus focused and ready to go. If not, he could be a bit of a Joey Graham for fans; spectacular at times, incredibly frustrating at others.
It's no surprise though that Colangelo went after Pietrus. When BC grabbed Jason Kapono with the mid-level exception a few offseasons back, Pietrus was one of the other players he was strongly considering. I can remember at Media Day that year, asking Colangelo why Kapono over Pietrus, a conversation which of course led to him famously telling the media that despite needing rebounding and defence, he went with Kapono because "Kapono makes shots and if we make more shots, there are less rebounds to get."
Think he'd want a redo on that now?
The Gary Forbes overtures make a lot of sense as well. Forget that his Draftnet compare out of UMASS was Antoine Wright, but Forbes has the same management group (Octagon) as Joey Dorsey, and of course through former Raptor executive and current Denver Nugget GM Masai Ujiri, BC probably was quite familiar with the star of Panama's Olympic team.
The star of Panama's National team averaged only 5.2 points last year, his rookie season, for Denver, but you may recall him dropping 39 points on our Canadian squad this offseason in a huge victory over the Canucks. He may not be a great defender at this point, his advanced metrics aren't exactly stellar in this regard, but you talk about instant offense?
How about this little gem from the past summer:
This doesn't mean I'm advocating a huge deal for Forbes.
Even with more minutes than he got in Denver, I don't see him being someone who produces 10 wins a year for the club.
But two years with an option for a couple million per doesn't seem like an over-investment, especially given his play at college and upside. Again, he's not a lock-down defender but at 6-7, 220lbs, he's got the ability to be a factor on D and perhaps a year under Casey will do wonders in this regard.
More importantly, I'm of the firm belief that for role players, you should be paying for an NBA-ready skill set, and Forbes has that in terms of his scoring and shooting ability. (Interestingly though, he was only a 67 per cent free-throw shooter last year with Denver, and he only got above that mark once in college, so that's an area he'll need to improve on.)
Of course if Denver matches this offer, all is for naught, and under the new CBA, they have three days to do so. Therefore by early next week (depending when the offer was officially made - no word on this from the Raptors themselves yet) we should know if Forbes is on his way.