Landry Fields was laughing it up with new teammate Kyle Lowry in Vegas, but thanks to his sizeable contract, only a return to rookie form will have Raptors' fans feeling as giddy.
Chris Walder, lead editor of Sir Charles in Charge, drops by the HQ to give his take on the Landry Fields signing, made official this past week...
The Toronto Raptors just love signing those under-achieving small forwards, don't they?
With all due respect to the newly signed Landry Fields, I can't help but feel that he will soon join that unfortunate list of players who have donned a Raptors uniform over the years.
Fields and the Raptors have agreed to a 3-year, $19 million dollar contract that the New York Knicks refused to match. The deal will pay Landry $5 million in each of his first 2 seasons and then $9 million in his final year. (Although the cap hit to the Raptors is averaged out as about $6.3M a season.)
Did we overpay for a guy who has yet to average more than 10 points a game in a season?
I'm not entirely sure if Bryan Colangelo's true intention was to genuinely bring Fields on board to add to his young core of talent.....or to screw over the New York Knicks into matching the ridiculous offer in order to take the team out of the "Steve Nash sweepstakes".
Fields has the "potential" to be an above-average small forward for this team, but we've been let down by so many players in the past who never truly lived up to the hype surrounding them (ex. Joey Graham) that I can't help but feel history is going to repeat itself yet again.
After averaging 9.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game in his rookie year, Landry saw his numbers take a tumble this past season to 8.8 points and 6.2 rebounds. His shooting numbers (49.7% to 46% from the field, 76.9% to 56.2% from the free-throw line, 39.3% to 25.6% from three-point range) also endured a significant drop off as well, not to mention various other advanced metrics like PER.
Some fans considered the presence of Carmelo Anthony a detriment to Fields lack of improvement from season 1 to season 2. That could very well explain his drop off in points, but those shooting percentages are all on him. Was that a mirage or an indication of a player who truly can't shoot the basketball at a high rate?
At just 24 years of age, Landry Fields still has plenty of room to grow. Now with a new team, new head coach, new teammates and a new philosophy/outlook, Fields should embrace the opportunity he has here in Toronto and perhaps one day blossom into an unheralded star for this team. (Hasan Alanam of OCanada.com has some great advanced stats that point in this potential direction.)
It may seem like a lot of money to some (including me), but I'm willing to give Fields time to truly live up to his contract. For the sake of this ball club, I hope year 3 is Fields' "breakout" year. This franchise has been craving solid, consistent production at the 3 spot since the days of one Tracy McGrady. (Don't get me started on Hedo Turkoglu).
Fields could very well be that guy.
Just don't get your hopes up if it's not.....
Christopher Walder- Lead Editor of "Sir Charles in Charge" www.sircharlesincharge.com