From the small forward options we move to the shooting guards...
Is DeMar DeRozan the next Eddie Jones?
The next Harold Miner?
How about Vernon Maxwell?
Before jumping into a discussion about possible free agent additions for the Toronto Raptors at the shooting guard spot, these are very pertinent questions.
If you feel DeMar's going down the path of an Eddie Jones, then upgrading the shooting guard position this off-season probably isn't a top priority of yours.
If however you think we've got Baby Jordan part two on our hands...
I'm not sold on DeMar as of yet but like the fact that he's worked extremely hard to keep improving. And while a lot of this improvement didn't show up via advanced stats, there's no doubting how far he came in just one season in terms of attacking the basket and knocking down his mid-range J. Yep, he's got lots of work to do on the defensive end and in terms of hitting the 3, but we're still talking about a young player with a ton of upside so the question then remains, are there truly better options out there in terms of upgrading the 2?
Let's take a look.
The "I'll Hug Colangelo" Tier:
1) No one - Looking at some of the "marquee names" in this class at the 2, there just aren't any that scream "sign him."
Jason Richardson? Do you really want to pay top dollar for a player who relies a lot on athleticism, entering the downside of his career?
Michael Redd? J Rich part II but with an injury record that's starting to seem like Grant Hill.
Jamal Crawford? Sure, like Richardson he could help stretch the floor but at what cost? And would you really start him over DeMar?
JR Smith? The last thing a young team like the Raps needs is someone like Smith jacking up shots on the court and potentially causing a stir off of it.
No thanks to all, let's move along.
The "Nice Work if you Can Get It" Tier:
1) Arron Afflalo - Now we're talking.
Afflalo has a qualifying offer price tag of $2.9M so assuming Denver lets him walk, he'd indeed be within Toronto's price range.
That's a big assumption though considering how valuable Afflalo is as both a defensive stopper and floor spacer, and at only 25 years of age, will likely have a number of teams looking to hire him should the Nuggets decide not to retain his services.
It's hard not to think that he wouldn't be a great addition to Toronto though if possible. He wouldn't constantly need the ball in his hands to be effective, could come in off the bench backing up the 2 or 3, and as RapsRepub noted recently, would help shore up the perimeter defence, an obvious sore spot for TO.
2) Wilson Chandler - Like Afflalo, Chandler is another player the Nuggets are going to have to make a decision on retaining. He's got a $3.1M qualifying offer and is due for a big raise, but could still be affordable for the Raps if again, Denver decides to go in another direction.
Chandler isn't the defender that Afflalo is, but he's got all the physical tools to be a factor in that area, plus at 6-8 would give the Raps another player who could man the 2 or 3 spot. He can score, slash to the basket, rebound the ball, and basically would provide the Dinos that prototypical swingman that most top NBA clubs have in their employment. His PER has always been a bit undewhelming, but this is a player I'd be pretty happy to have in a Raptors' uniform next season. Again though...at the right price.
The "Fine, I Guess That Works" Tier:
1) No One - In our small forward breakdown I asked:
Are guys like James Jones, Al Thornton, Earl Clark and Rodney Carney really upgrades over James Johnson or even a healthy Linas Kleiza?
The same is true here.
Are guys like Daequan Cook, Nick Young, DeShawn Stevenson, Delonte West, Roger Mason Jr., and Marco Belinelli an upgrade over DeMar?
Not in my books.
The "These Guys are Kind of Interesting" Tier:
1) Mike Dunleavy Jr. - From the list of shooting guard free-agent options, we're now at the point where we turn to the back-up or, "he might be interesting" portion. Tops for me on this list is Jr. Dun, a player who has battled injuries for some time now, but doesn't rely on athleticism to be effective. He's still someone who can make players around him better thanks to his passing, can spread the floor with his shooting, and has a great basketball IQ. If he's available for a couple season at the right price, I think you could do a lot worse.
2) Anthony Parker - Sure, he's not the defensive force he once was but I think there's a bit of gas let in the tank. He can stretch an opponent's D, come in off the bench, and provide much needed veteran leadership - perfect for one of those final bench spots.
3) Tracy McGrady - Here me out. T-Mac actually had decent numbers last year considering the amount of time he played. He's 32, and obviously a shell of his former self athletically, but for the vet minimum I'm not sure why you wouldn't take a flier on him considering the other options out there. Oh yeah, that whole "starting a player's revolt last season" thing...
4) Gary Forbes - This former UMASS star had a nice season with the Nuggets last year, flying under the radar after college but finding a niche in the NBA as a Lee Nailon type scorer. He's a restricted free agent, but the Nuggets may take a pass considering all the other players they need to keep. If so, I think Mr. Forbes would be worth a look.
5) Von Wafer - Von Wafer has always been a bit like Chris Douglas-Roberts for me. With the right team, i think he could flourish as there just aren't many players with his combination of scoring ability and athleticism. He's a bit of JR Smith light, right down to the off-court baggage, but the hope would be that Wafer realizes he's running out of time to make his mark in the L, and a club like the Raps could take advantage of his skillset.
The "Just Say No" Tier:
See options in the "Fine, I Guess That Work" Tier.