Waiting one year will cost us the chance to resign DeMar, and Ed Davis
This is a concern that we all have. No doubt about it. When the Raptors have drafted someone promising in the draft, the picks have been so spaced out that the overlap between them has been minimal at times, let alone both hitting their peak at the same time. Tracy McGrady was only here for Vince's first year. Vince was only here for Bosh's first year. And Bosh was only here for DeRozan's first year. Bosh was present for Charlie V and Graham, but they just didn't develop into players that could play a strong supporting role. Same with Bargnani up till now. So I would argue that 2003,2005,2006, we had the chance to have the players stick around long enough to determine if they were worth keeping around.
And switching to the current situation, we have Bargnani drafted in 2006, then DeMar at 2009, Ed Davis at 2010, and Jonas V at 2011. Draft picks almost always sign the second contract they are offered as restricted free agents. The Raptors recently exercised their option on the 2012-2013 season for both Demar and James Johnson (2009 draft class).
Demar will be going into his last option year (2012-2013) when Jonas V plays his first season in the league. Ed Davis will be going into his third season. Resign DeMar as a restricted free agent in the 2013 offseason, and then the clock starts ticking for real. In contrast to Bosh, DeMar will be signing that second contract with promising prospects at C (Jonas V), PF ( Ed Davis) along with the 2012 pick. Bosh signed his second contract in the summer of 2006, and played the 2006-2007 season with a collection of veterans forming both the core and the bench of the team. He could grow with TJ Ford at PG, and Bargnani at C, that's it. Guys like Anthony Parker, Garbajosa, and Rasho had either plateaued or were on their way down in terms of performance.
For the sake of argument, let's go with that oft stated maxim that "a player is what he is by his third year." That means that Jonas V will have shown his NBA game in 2014-2015, two years into DeMar's second contract, and into the first year of Ed Davis' second contract. Yes, he doesn't get to his third year before both DeMar and Ed Davis have reached RESTRICTED free agency. However, (under the old CBA) most teams either resigned their restricted draft picks to a long term deal outright, or matched an offer from someone else. Hypothetically, DeMar or Ed Davis could play out their qualifying offer, and become outright free agents, however that is a fear that is present regardless of how good any team is. If Jonas had come over, would we be panicking about Ed Davis being a restricted free agent before the 2012 pick reached his third year?
Our "modern" development clock starts with DeMar. When he's looking at our present and short term future, players he goes to war with next two years, he's looking at Amir Johnson (2005), Bargnani (2006), Jerryd Bayless (2008), James Johnson (2009), and Ed Davis (2010), just barely. Regardless of whether Jonas V came over or not, DeMar was going to play out his rookie deal before ANY 2011 pick reached their third year. It's the reason why the line is set after Ed Davis.
The 2011(Jonas V) pick and 2012 pick don't impact our fortunes during the next two years, they are part of that next wave, that helps fortify two more positions and propel us to another level of performance. They are the guys that DeMar will look at when measuring what kind of prospects the team has for support from internal sources once he's signed that second contract. These guys are part of the Raptors long term future.
The Raptors are better served by looking to free agency and trades to improve the team over the next two years, and evaluating draft picks towards best player down the road. This was the tactic they took when drafting DeRozan in 2009, while passing on more experienced options like Gerald Henderson or Terrance Williams. And in that case, there was arguably MORE pressure to improve right away, since Bosh was finishing his second contract on his way to free agency, not restricted free agency. If you're going to draft high upside players, they tend to need most of their rookie contract to find their form. And that lengthy development curve can be the bain of a GM who's other players are ready to go right now. I will gladly delay NBA arrival by one year if it means having a chance at a better prospect in the long run. Its the other players on the roster, not the 2011 pick, that should bear the responsibility of improving their games, and the team's performance next year.