Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE
As the Raptors head into the break, Kinnon Yee takes a look at why Bryan Colangelo needs to figure out the Raptors' position and where their key goals are in the foreseeable future.
Do you want to know how bad the Raptors were compared to last year before this win streak?
+9 in points given up compared to last year's squad. That's how bad and unwatchable this team has been.
Heck, it's been two years since we've seen a win streak of four games. TWO YEARS.
And while the Raptors are in the midst of a great run and a new found sense of defense, there needs to be decisions made, and made immediately. The questions we had earlier in the year and in the off season about players and performance are quickly getting answered but most importantly for Bryan Colangelo is to determine when is this team going to be ready to make a serious run?
It's frankly what has gotten Alex Anthopoulos of the Jays so many kudos in the past few days.
Granted, it's two different systems and the caps are different, but the overall philosophy is the same.
There's a certain window of opportunity in any sport where you can have great players under contract. It won't always last, and you'll some day need to replenish your talent, but timing is everything.
In the Jays' case, they traded for a lot of players who would help them win in the next three years. In order to get that talent, they traded away future prospects which may turn out to be stars in 3-4 years.
That's because the Jays only had Jose Bautista for a few more seasons, and needed to take advantage of it when they had a chance.
Frankly, it's what Bryan Colangelo needs to also consider about his roster.
If you currently look at the Raptors roster, there are a lot of players of varying strengths and tenures as Raptors players. One of the biggest questions right now is what to do with the point guard position.
Jose Calderon is currently playing out of his mind and is clearly leading this young team with his professionalism and savvy. He's putting on a performance that makes me want to don his jersey again. With two triple doubles already in this season, Colangelo should hold onto to Jose Calderon, right?
Not so fast.
This is right now the opportune time to trade Calderon.
Forget that his value is at an all time high, but what's more important is that his current contract is expiring. Toss in the fact that Jose is probably looking for another 5 year contract and is currently 31 years old. He's in the tail-end of his prime years for an average player.
How many pieces, and how much longer will it be before this core group matures into a consistent unit?
If the answer is anything more than two years, Colangelo needs to trade Calderon now.
And it shouldn't stop at Calderon of course, but he's the one player over 27 who the Raptors have that other teams maybe chomping at the bit to bid for. The decision about whether this team is going to try to win now, or try to win in a few years is a GM's #1 priority. Getting players under contracts that return good value to the team and creating a window of opportunity needs to be a part of a President's strategy.
You can already see it paying dividends with clubs like the Grizzlies and Thunder, the latter of which made a great decision regarding their own soon-to-be free agent, James Harden. While the former made tough decisions about their young wings and is able to still be one of the biggest forces in the west.
It's why the Raptors need to do something soon.
And why Bryan Colangelo should spend more time with Alex Anthopoulos instead of hanging around Brian Burke.