After an embarrassing loss to the Warriors in Oracle Arena on Tuesday night, people are starting to question the Raptors and their legitimacy. The fact that the Raptors were not just winning, but hammering the Warriors 88-70, makes their 9 point defeat even more humiliating. And it has definitely left many wondering; what next? Obviously, the season is still in its early stages, and the Warriors are a good team, but a game like that leaves a mark. So after that, I decided to take a metaphorical magnifying glass, and look at every Raptors player (and Dwane Casey) in depth, seeing what the Raptors should do with them, and their performances so far this season. (Stats are all as of December 5 2013)
13.9 PPG 3.6 RPG 6.6 APG 40.4 FG% 36.6 3PT% 78.7 FT%
So, it hasn't been the most efficient year for Kyle Lowry, although he has been effective for the Raptors this season. This is the last year on his contract, and he is making about $6.2 million this year. I say the Raptors let Lowry stay put until his contract expires, unless any teams make an offer involving a high-motor point guard or a high draft pick.
21.8 PPG 3.8 RPG 2.8 APG 43.9 FG% 39.1 3PT% 79.2 FT%
I'm already going to skip to the bottom line: KEEP DEMAR DEROZAN. He is still just 24 years old, rapidly improving as a shooter, physical in the paint, not afraid to drive to the hoop, and is simply the best player on the team. He is far more consistent than Rudy Gay; if one of the two needs to be removed from the team, it should be Rudy Gay.
19.6 PPG 7.2 RPG 2.2 APG 38.8 FG% 37.5 3PT% 76.2 FT%
I'll start off by pointing out the obvious. Rudy Gay is one of the most inconsistent shooters out of every single starter in the NBA. He's a good all around player, great to have for the last possession, and has been an effective rebounder. But he gets paid way too much. Being overpaid is a popular trend in the NBA, but Rudy Gay might just be at the top of the list. He has two years left on his contract, and makes about $18 million per year. Does he deserve that? Well, considering that he isn't even the best player on the team, and has worse percentages than Rafael Araujo (maybe a bit of exaggeration, although Araujo shot 42% in his first year), $10 million would be something more reasonable for Gay, compared to the rest of the league. Even though he was so hyped up when he first got acquired by the Raptors, he does not deserve the money that he's making, and I think that if he doesn't improve as a consistent shooter, he should be traded by the end of the season.
9.1 PPG 6.2 RPG 1.2 APG 55.5 FG% 23.8 3PT% 72 FT%
Here's the amazing thing about Amir Johnson: He is currently in his ninth season in the NBA, and he is only 26 years old. That means he has the same experience in the NBA as the likes of Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Andrew Bogut, all lottery draft picks in the 2005 NBA Draft. The main difference is that Johnson is younger than all of them. CP3 is 28, Williams is 29, and already past his prime (partially/mainly due to ankle issues), and Bogut is 29. Amir Johnson has not yet approached his prime, and is still rapidly improving as an all around player. He is a beast in the post on offence and defence, and is expanding his shooting range. He has gained a consistent mid-range jumper, and can make the occasional three. Trading Amir Johnson would be like trading away part of the Raptors future. He is one of the more secure players on the team, and there is no reason for him to be traded. He has two years left on his contract, making about $6.75 million per year. Amir Johnson should be kept on the Raptors.
9.2 PPG 7.6 RPG 0.5 APG 48.2 FG% - 3PT% 77.4 FT%
Jonas Valanciunas is the most secure player on the Raptors. He is young, he is talented, and he has a ton of untapped potential. He has the potential to be averaging a 20-10 within the next five years. As a part of his rookie contract, his contract expires after this season, and then he has a two year team option, with a salary of about $4 million per year. After that, he is a restricted free agent. There is no reason to give him up, whatsoever. He is only getting better, he's already a solid big man, and he is getting paid one sixth of Rudy Gay's salary (at six times the efficiency). He sticks at what he's good at, and doesn't try to be the hero. He hustle and sticks to what he's supposed to do. I'm sure there's a lot of teams in the NBA that want Valanciunas on their team, and the Raptors are one of them. He is easily a keeper.
3.2 PPG 2.5 RPG 0.7 APG 42.9 FG % 40 3PT% 62.5 FT%
So, Quincy Acy does not have the most glamorous stats. At all. He only plays 10.2 minutes per game, and those are in the six games he has played in. Will he ever be an all-star in his career? Will he ever be a starter in his career? At this point, it doesn't matter. He is 23 years old. As a deep bench player, neither of those questions are relevant. What matters is that he is able to come off of the bench, fill the team with energy, get some hustle points, reject a shot, make a couple of down low shots, dunks, or layups, maybe hit a three, get some strong rebounds, and play with heart. But, as funny as it sounds, my favourite part about Quincy Acy is when he's on the bench. He is always the guy you see first when the team is celebrating after a wicked dunk from Ross, or a couple threes nailed in a row by Lowry, or any other highlight. He is an energy distributor, a great young bench player to have, and I think the Raptors should keep him. He is a low cost player, making less than $1 million per year. He has two years left on his contract, and is then a restricted free agent. Keep him. Keep him. Keep him. If you couldn't tell, I'm a Quincy Acy fan.
2.1 PPG 0.4 RPG 1.0 APG 29.2 FG% 9.1 3PT% 100 FT%
D.J. Augustin has definitely not been a success story this season. With percentages far less than Rudy Gay's, while paying him $3.5 million this season, he has been a disappointment, and does not have a future with this team. He is only 26 years old, and was averaging 14.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game in the 2010-2011 season for the Bobcats. Since then, his minutes, averages, and efficiency have all gone down. The only direction he can go on this team is down, being behind Lowry and Buycks. At the end of this season, he will be an unrestricted free agent. The Raptors might as well just let him be free.
3.1 PPG 1.5 RPG 0.7 APG 31.3 FG% 28.6 3PT% 87.5 FT%
Dwight Buycks has not been disappointing this season. Well, he hasn't been impressive either. Nor did I have any expectations of him whatsoever, although I did think that Augustin would get more minutes over him. However, Buycks gets about two more minutes per game than Augustin, and has shown that he deserves that playing time. Obviously, those aren't the nicest of numbers that he has, but he is always exciting to watch come off of the bench, hit a three and make a defensive stop. He has a two year contract, earning about $800K per year, and is a restricted free agent following that. I think the Raptors should keep him, as he will continue to grow as a more consistent role player for the team.
0.5 PPG 1.0 RPG 0.3 APG 20 FG% 0 3PT% - FT%
Austin Daye has only played in four games this season, averaging just 3.1 minutes per game. He has not yet attempted a free throw, which says enough on its own. He doesn't get enough playing time to be considered a good or bad player. I went to a preseason game this year against the Grizzlies (I don't know why). Daye came off the bench and scored a sizzling 15 points. Does he deserve that playing time in the regular season? To be honest, he really didn't even get that much playing time. Give him 10 minutes, and he'll probably add a stellar 4-8 points. Should the Raptors go out of their way to get rid of him? No. He's not a key piece in the team, but, given the opportunity, he can be a good bench player. The only problem is, Dwane Casey doesn't see it fit to give him that much playing time. One thing I do know is that Daye would probably be doing better on a different team.
3.2 PPG 2.8 RPG 1.0 APG 41.5 FG% 0 3PT% 57.9 FT%
Landry Fields has been a big disappointment this season. And last season. Why can't he just pretend he's wearing blue and orange? That way he would be averaging what he should be. He's earning just under what Amir Johnson is making, with not as much impact and skill. Yes, he has his occasional flashes of brilliance, and can be a lockdown defender, but when his contract ends after the 2014-2015 season, let him enter free agency (or trade him earlier).
1.3 PPG 2.0 RPG 0.8 APG 66.7 FG% - 3PT% 50 FT%
No one expects much out of Aaron Gray. Just to be there when every other big man is tired, and bring him in for five minutes to fill in the gap. However, if you only looked at his contract, you'd think he'd be averaging something more like a 6-2-2. Not much at all, but still more impact. This year is his last of the contract, and he is making just under $2.7 million, and then has a player option. The Raptors should trade him for a draft pick, because he is taking up too much cap room.
6.8 PPG 6.4 RPG 0.4 APG 43.7 FG% 0 3PT% 75.7 FT%
Tyler Hansbrough is essentially the sixth man of the team. Which isn't really good. The Raptors' sixth man should be someone with more straight up skill. However, Psycho T Rex is a great player to have come off the bench. He is the epitome of a grinder. He battles his way to the hoop and for rebounds, and is a bulldozer inside of a body. He has two years left on his contract, making just over $3 million per year. There is no real reason to get rid of him, as he brings a lot of energy to the table, and is a key player on the team.
4.0 PPG 1.1 RPG 0.5 APG 33.3 FG% 36.4 3PT% 100 FT%
I'll say the same thing about Novak that I said about Landry Fields. Just pretend you're wearing a Knicks jersey! I don't know what it is, but they both played better when they're home was MSG. Novak's incredible three point success hasn't carried over from last year. Neither has any of his success. He has three years left on his contract, earning over $3 million per year. I won't object to it, although he may be a little overpaid. Masai Ujiri shouldn't go out of his way to trade him, but there is no point in resigning him once his contract is up, as he has already entered his 30s, and passed his prime.
6.5 PPG 2.5 RPG 0.6 APG 42.3 FG% 34.7 3PT% 78.6 FT%
Terrence Ross will most likely not be a starter for the Raptors within the next few years, but that doesn't mean his improvement will be affected. As part of his rookie contract, he has a two year option after this season. The Raptors should, without question, accept that option and keep him on the team as one of their best bench players, if not the best. He is exciting, young, a good shooter, and for the next three years, has a very low cost. No reason for the Raptors to get rid of him; unless he wants out for lack of playing time, although he is getting a healthy 19 minutes per game.
1.1 PPG 0.6 RPG 0.8 APG 42.9 FG% 40 3PT% 66.7 FT%
Like with Austin Daye, he doesn't really play enough for me to know if he is that good. Although I do know that he has missed several dunks, and is a 6'6 point guard, I don't know if the Raptors should keep him. He has two years on his contract, and is making about $900K per year. Honestly, I have no idea what the Raptors should do with him. I just don't have much of an idea about what kind of player he is, and how good he is.
In conclusion, the Raptors have been ice cold lately. Not many players on the team are stable on the team, and Dwane Casey is a whole other story. Basically, something has to be done. Something needs to change.