Is Nash That Much of An Upgrade for Raptors Over Calderon?

Should the Raptors be looking at keeping Jose or grabbing Kyle Lowry instead of making this giant run at Steve Nash?


Everyone's talking about Steve Nash but should we be talking about Jose Calderon instead? The HQ takes a look.

Happy Canada Day everyone and for those 76% who voted in favour of bringing Steve Nash to the Toronto Raptors in our recent poll, happy potential Nash day.

Yep, the last 24 hours have been Steve Nash mania as the Raptors try to convince the two-time MVP to cap off his career North of the border. We've heard that a delegation of Raptor management is set to present to Nash today and even have Wayne Gretzky lined up as part of the pitch. The club is pulling out all the stops, even apparently prepared to offer the BC native upwards of $12M a season to bring his talents to Toronto.

It's a steep number indeed, especially for a 39 year old player with health issues.

But apparently this is not some magic number concocted in the wee hours of Assistant Coach Eric Hughes' wedding last night where Bryan Colangelo and crew were in attendance. No, this is a number Nash's agent Bill Duffy has set the bar at for clubs, so this is simply the price TO must be willing to pay.

But is it too steep?

And better yet, should the Raptors be making the offer at all?

As I mentioned yesterday, there's not much else in terms of options considering who's running the show. We're all well aware of the fact that the current roster is flawed, maybe impossibly so, but instead of tearing things down completely and starting anew, BC was going to charge full speed ahead. Especially with his current contract situation.

So my argument was that I was ok with this at face value provided the other options out there.

However I had little to back this up in terms of stats and many of our readers posed the more than reasonable question of "how much of an upgrade Nash provides," not just over other free agents options but even Toronto's current starting point guard, Jose Calderon.

Let's have a look.

In the table below I've compared Nash not only to Jose, but also to Kyle Lowry, the other point guard option that was apparently available for TO, and also Jerryd Bayless. Bayless has proven to be a much more productive player as a starter than off the bench so the idea here was to see if maybe simply keeping Bayless would be the best course of action:

Nash

Calderon

Lowry

Bayless

Win Score

5.9

5.1

4.9

2

PER

20.3

16.7

18.9

17.7

Wins Produced

10.63

7.79

5.93

1.38

Points/36

14.2

11.1

16

18

Assists/36

12.2

9.4

7.4

6.0

STL/36

0.7

0.9

1.7

1.2

FG%

53%

46%

41%

42%

FT%

89%

88%

86%

85%

3PT%

39%

37%

37%

42%

TS%

63%

55%

56%

56%

AST%

53.1%

44.2%

32%

30.7%

I chose the first few metrics as overall evaluations of player productivity, while the rest of the stats are simply the more common and useful ones for evaluating point guards. I also used the per 36 minute metric because Bayless displayed much better stats in that view, and while Nash I presumed would dominate the non-adjusted stats, I was curious to see if his play held up over the longer period. (Presumably Nash will have to be kept under 30 mins here in Toronto.)

To my surprise, Nash is the winner here by a longshot. You can argue that there are a couple categories where others have a leg up (3 pt%, Ass/TO) but overall, this was a much more dominant performance by Nash, even at 38, than I expected.

However this is only one view. The more digging you do on not just Jose's productivity, but on that of his teammates you realize that indeed, the best option still looks to be keeping Jose, and upgrading his teammates. Yes, a healthy Nash certainly seems to provide additional benefit at the 1 for Toronto, but the club already has a very good option there so if I was Bryan Colangelo, I'd still look to be upgrading his supporting cast as that's where you get the most bang for your buck. It's possible that guys like Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan take a big step forward this year in terms of efficiency etc, but it's extremely hard to envision that based on historical performance.

We know this isn't going to happen though as long as Bryan Colangelo is running the show and my argument last night was that when the Raptors' gave BC another contract, we were essentially resigned to this fate.

It still could work out ok I suppose. Rumour is the Raptors are going after Nic Batum as well and if they can get the money to work (Jose would have to be amnestied in this situation and various other free agents like Bayless would have to go), then at worst Toronto would be adding two incredibly productive starting options for a change.

I still think the right move was moving the eighth pick for Lowry, and continuing to retool the pieces around him but that ship appears to have sailed. It's Nash or bust now and Bryan Colangelo is driving this thing till the wheels fall off.

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