I know, I know...wait, one of these names does not belong. Kind of like I created a list of hall of fame baseball players and threw Kelly Gruber's name in at the end.
Obviously the majority of the names listed above are the "who's who" of candidates for the top spot in this year's draft...in effect the red carpet of moribound franchises' hopes. So why throw Redick in with them? And is this another annoying Duke plug?
Well...hear me out.
I got thinking about Colangelo's options at the top and suddenly got a bit worried. Yes Colangelo has generally done well as a GM and is highly respected. But many of the successful moves he made with Phoenix were because he had time to mould the franchise into the team it's become through learning players' strengths and weaknesses and seeing which players fit together. This explains how Colangelo knew that while Phoenix was successful with Marbury running the show, divesting himself of Stephon's giant contract and looking for a point who fit the multi-faceted team he was constructing, was a necessary move. In addition, it gave him time to balance out failed moves with those which garnered him Executive of the Year attention.
Now let's look at the Raptors.
Colangelo came onboard officially in the final days of February thereby giving him the final two months of the season for evaluation purposes. In total, he's really only had three months on the job and this begs the question...has Colangelo had time to get a true feel for what this team needs? Any bar-room, Labbatt Blue-slugging sports fan can point to the obvious needs such as a point guard and a center. But what I want some of the media to ask is not the usual stupor of recycled "are you going to draft Bargnani" questions, but how about asking if Colangelo thinks that Bosh and Villanueva can play together or if Calderon is the team's eventual answer at the 1? I mean, both Bosh and Calderon were injured for a good deal of Colangelo's observation period so does this mean he's been mostly dependent on Wayne Embry for thoughts on the club?
And this hearkens to my main concern with this draft. Winning the lottery is being viewed by most as a great thing for the club and I'm not going to rain on this parade. I was yelling as loud as anyone in Toronto when that smiling, fiendish, purple monster was pulled from the number one envelope Tuesday night. But deep down I'm wondering how successful this draft will be for Toronto when all is said and done. Because if Colangelo doesn't have a good feel for the current club, how can he improve them for the future?
At the root of this discussion lies two players.
-Chris Bosh has been the cornerstone of this franchise since Vince Carter was dealt to New Jersey. (Oh...and nice Onyx throwback commercial Vince...funny how only a few years ago you were telling the Toronto Media that you weren't going to dunk anymore.) He had an All-Star season last year and is one of the top post players in the league already.
-Charlie Villanueva took the league by storm last year finishing second in rookie of the year voting and looks to have an equally bright future ahead of himself in the league. So these are the two players you want to build around right?
If that's the case, then you've got your Power Forward and Small Forward positions set. Mo Pete has done a great job at shooting guard is slated to keep that spot. So the glaring holes are of course at the point and center positions. Nope, I'm not telling you anything new at this point. But if Colangelo really intends to build an interchangeable club, one that mimics his "each of us can play 3 positions" former Phoenix team, where would Bargnani fit? From the various media reports and with Sam Mitchell over in Italy right now watching Andrea, it sounds more and more like this will be Toronto's pick regardless. And this raises many questions.
1) First and foremost, doesn't drafting Bargnani basically duplicate CV Smooth? (Won't the ESPN draft folks just love that...I can hear Stephen A. Smith now screaming "is Rob Babcock still running this team? They already HAVE a player like this in Charlie Villanueva!") Both are legitimate power-forward sized players with great outside shooting touches and ball handling skills which enable them to take most other players their size to the rim at will.
2) Yes, you take the best talent regardless but if that's the case and Colangelo does draft Bargnani does this mean that Villanueva's days are numbered?
3) And finally will Bosh fit into a Phoenix-type small ball offence? While Bosh is extremely quick and athletic he's much more of a true power forward with a great face-up game ala Jermaine O'Neal than a ranging inside/outside threat like Villanueva and reportedly Bargnani. Bosh doesn't have the ball handling skills and quickness to play the 3 and we know he's not much of a fan of playing the 5.
So which direction is Colangelo going? From the sounds of it, drafting Bargnani without upgrading the team's toughness and rebounding and even point-guard position is definitely going to rub Chris Bosh the wrong way. And you don't want to do that do you?
Conversely do you care if indeed your goal as GM is to build a team like Phoenix which has had success playing "small-ball?" In this scenario, CB4 better be ready to play some 5 each season.
And while many fans aren't going to want to hear this, if Colangelo's vision is to have Bargnani as a Dirk-esque 4 and Villanueva as a Diaw-esque 3/4/5, then maybe it's Bosh who's the odd man out in this equation.
So you see where I'm going with this...while Toronto has some nice pieces to the puzzle, I'm wondering if Colangelo has had enough time to see if they all fit together. Hence at this point, mock drafts might as well be speculating that JJ Redick is Bryan's top choice in this draft. As until we see what type of team he intends to build, the rest is just pure speculation.