Apparently Keith McLeod is too expensive for the Toronto Raptors and the team will not be looking at anyone who costs more than the minimum. So who does that leave? We all know Earl Watson is no minimum guy so, barring a sign and trade with Memphis, who are the potential prospects?
Raptorshq breaks down some of the possibilities:
1. Travis Best: Last year playing with the NJ Nets Best put up prototypical back-up numbers with 6.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg and 1.9 apg while shooting 42% from the field. The ten year vet has been around the league including Indiana, Chicago, Miami, and Dallas. Not a big guard by any stretch, he uses his 5'11" frame to drive to the hole, and penetrates using a quick first dribble. His defense is nothing to write home about and bigger guards could easily post him up (Think Gary Payton on Rafer last year). Statistically, his best season came in his last year in Indiana (00-01). Since then he has played for 5 teams in the past five years.
There was a rumour earlier in the summer that Best was essentially the player that Babcock should be looking at. Needless to say, the Raptorshq staff was not exactly jumping up and down in delight when we read this. Unfortunately it may be the best fit. It would not be out of the question that he is looking for a little more than the veterans minimum but that is likely all he will get.
2. Anthony Carter: Carter's career actually started with some promise when he signed with the Miami Heat for the 99-00 season after playing in the CBA for a year after attending the University of Hawaii. After four years in Miami, Carter fell out of favour and has since played for the Spurs and the T-Wolves. His career stats are average at best (4.9 ppg, 2.1 rbp, and 3.9 apg) but the assist number does actually catch one's eye considering he has averaged less than 20 min per contest. Carter is actually a pesky defender and would not be a liability on that end of the court like Best. Like most back-up PG's, however, Carter lacks a consistent shot and opposing teams can lay back and watch him build a brick resort, in particular from three point range where he is shooting just over 10%.
The issue likely facing Babcock when looking at Best and Carter is that neither player will essentially push Rafer for his starting spot which by all accounts is a necessary attribute for any new Raptor PG to have.
3. Mike Wilks: As we have seen in the last two PG's looked at, no one on this list will come without their flaws. In Mike Wilks, those flaws come in the shape of lack of playing time, inconsistent shot, and lack of size to defend lager PG's (he's 5'11"). That being said, there are some potential gains to having a guy like this back up Rafer. First, Wilks is reasonably young, and likely has tons of energy, although left knee issues could be a concern. Further, Wilks played last year (if you can call a Paul Shirley role playing) for the champion Spurs and, as a result, has spent some time in a winning locker room. Matching up against Tony Parker in practice everyday cannot be a bad thing. Third, he has some potential. The sky is not the limit, but Wilks is not on the downside of his career. Wilks will come cheap, so cheap he may just require an invite to training camp. In terms of risk-reward simply extending the invite seems to be a fairly risk free proposition.
4. Omar Cook: We realize it is important not to view Omar's performance in the last five games of the season as indicative of what the Raptors could expect on a day-in, day-out basis. That being said he was impressive at the time. Unfortunately for Omar, his average (at best) showing in Summer League may have played him out of the Raptors equation. Omar's shot, like all the others on this list, is not strong, and again his forte is driving to the hoop and making things happen with penetration. What Cook does have that the rest do not is uncanny court vision. Drafted number 32 in the 2001 Draft, Cook is a classic case of coming out of school too early, resulting in him bouncing around the league looking for a chance. Fact of the matter is it is hard not to dwell on his performances at the end of last year when the season was lost and no one was really showing much heart other than the Big Bosh Man. If those five games were an indication of the level of play we could expect, no doubt Omar would push Rafer. At a minimum salary is that not a risk worth taking?
5. Milt Palacio: Babcock, we here at RaptorsHQ beg you not to bring him back. A ninety year-old could defend this guy. Simply set up the old rocker in the middle of the key and watch Milt get called for the charge everytime.
1. If the Sun has a good beat on the Raptors situation it looks like the team may be done making changes except for a buy-out or two. We are desperately hoping that is not the case. Trade, trade, trade. We need to say so long to Eric and Aaron Williams......try Boston, their average age is 12.
2. KEVIN WILLIS. Someone needs to realize a veteran in the front-court is needed.
3. Take Lorenzen Wright off the wish list PLEASE. Domestic abusers are not wanted.
4. We are planning on what to do with the site during the regular season. Want to see anything in particular? E-mail us at Raptorshq@hotmail.com.