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Raptorshq Mailbag: July 23

From Sckepp-tick: ( Re: Draft Thoughts)

But I can’t adopt nearly as much optimism from this draft as you have. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think we’re in for several years of being tortured by Babcock’s decision not to take Granger and/or Green. But for the Raps’ GM, as far as horrendous basketball decisions go, these are just another couple of bricks on the pile. He may or may not be building an outhouse. But it’s no penthouse, that’s for sure.

As we have mentioned, it is impossible, at this point, to determine who will be the stars of this draft. We, much like you, were shocked when the Raps passed on Granger and Green twice. We have come to some consensus on this draft though. Essentially, it boils down to three key points.

(1) Gerald Green, although loved by Chad Ford, is a total wildcard. Not only did we pass on him twice but so did almost half the league (14 teams), in particular those teams who could truly wait for him to develop.

(2) The fact, is no matter what all the mock drafts around the league said, Green was the THIRD high school player taken. There has to be more to this guy, likely in a bad way (possibly being a few beers short of a sixpack), than what is being reported. The Lakers were rumoured to have wanted to move up to take him at the three spot. Yet when they had their chance they took Buffet Bynum.

(3) Based on his summer league performances, Green is light years from contributing. The Raps needed guys who could contribute right away and still have good upside. This team needed safer picks.

In regards to being tortured if there is one team where Green will likely not develop it is with the Celtics. They have a bunch of young millionaires all trying to develop, one sour All-Star, and overpaid lazy veterans (See: Blount, Mark) and there is no one on that team to show them professionalism. Hard to see who is going to teach this guy how to play.

Granger remains a mystery to us. We were big proponents of taking this guy but Babcock mentioned he had a pre-existing injury and that appears to be the case as he has not made an appearance in summer league. Sure, our guys got hurt, but at least they did it playing, and playing pretty well at that.

In terms of basketball moves this off-season by Babcock we have no complaints...yet. With little cap space it is hard to sign a Michael Redd, but it is possible to overspend on mediocre players. Babcock looks to be taking a hard-line on Bonner. Good. We can’t overspend. We are in the process of signing Jose Manuel Calderon to what should be a reasonable deal. If you read Swirsky’s article this week one of Babcock’s comments jumped out, “Jose is much more of a classic point guard who might go an entire game and not take a shot.” A pass first guard? Yeah, I don’t think anyone can argue we need to develop one of those. The summer is not over and we are hoping for a few more moves, i.e. trades. Let’s see what happens by the end of the summer.

Milan (From

Rumour has it the Grizzlies are shopping Jason Williams and the Raptors need a PG, you think anything could happen there? Any other moves you think are looming, especially with Jalen?

Milan, thanks for the email. Provided the league approves the latest 3-way deal the Grizzlies have a few too may guaranteed contracts on their roster now even after having lost Stromile Swift (as an aside, Houston looks good, especially if they bring in Mighty Mouse) and the almost guaranteed loss of Earl Watson (anyone else think he should have been signed by now?).

They brought in four players, and provided Lopez goes back to Europe as has been suggested the past few weeks, they still brought in three guaranteed contracts in Bobby Jackson, Kirk Snyder and Curtis Borchardt (is this the 5 Jerry West always wanted?). That brings them to 15 players, not including Lawrence Roberts (double-double average in summer league).

As a result, can another move by the Grizz be expected? Sure. Will it involved White Chocolate? Debatable. Who would run the point for the Grizz then? If they were willing to move J-Will would we get involved? He has three years left on his deal, including this one, and yes he has grown as a player, but is it just me or is he Rafer’s brother from another mother? He has the ability to rack up ten dimes a game, yet averages just six, along with throwing up way too many threes. In terms of fit, we don’t see it.

It is also a difficult deal to make due to salaries. If there is another Williams sighting in Toronto we don’t expect it to be this one. We’re still hoping on a healthy Alvin, the prototypical Sam Mitchell player.

Jalen is an interesting case. One can make good arguments on both sides on why to keep him or why to let him go. Do we have a better one-on-one scorer? Nope. Does he want to win? Looks that way. Do we love his antics? Almost always. Does he share the ball? Not really. Is he overpaid? Yes. Is he a piece in hopefully building a powerful team here in TO in the next few years? No. Out of all the things Babcock has to deal with this summer, this might be the most important one. It is hard to tell whether we would win more or less games with or without him. We still stand by the Penny Hardaway for Jalen deal in our Blueprint (an idea later posted on another Raptors Blog AFTER the fact). If there exists a rift between Rafer and Jalen as suggested moving Jalen or using the new CBA to release him (with pay) may be the best move. We have seen very little in terms of other suitors around the league.

Poppa Vlazo: (Re: CHALLENGE! The Blueprint)

They MAY have a solid foundation in Bosh, Charlie V. and Graham, but they need another lotto pick to complement them (granted the draft will be much weaker next year).

We think this is a solid foundation, hopefully Roko and Slokar will be added to this list. Here’s the concern at this point. It is impossible to know what players in the NCAA, abroad and elsewhere will explode this year for next years draft, but as of right now, as you mentioned, that draft looks WEAK. We were hoping that Babcock would deal Denver’s pick next year for another pick in this years draft.

Fact is this season will help clarify the “MAY”. We are counting down the days to tip-off already.

Utes (Re: The Greatest Raptors Team Tournament)

This is hilarious - anytime you can mention Lars Dressler and Damone Brown in an article it should be published somewhere. Can I see these highlights in streaming video?

As an avid CIAU (now CIS) basketball follower in the late 90s, it’s tough not to remember the Dressler twins. In fact, that U of T team had a bunch of ballers. Who can forget Reid Beckett and the one and only Sherwyn Benn?

As for Damone Brown, well, that’s for the hardcore heads only.

The highlights will be televised as soon as Raptorshq TV premieres….