After the news of DeMar DeRozan's $38 Million dollar extension was made public before the start of the Toronto Raptors' season opener, I didn't have an immediate chance to discuss it on the site.
The construction of a giant business case in my job outside the HQ had me tied up, and it's only now that I get a chance to give my thoughts on the deal that everyone seems to be talking about.
Interestingly though, one of my scenarios in said business case discussed the possibility that based on our company's recent trending, even with the promotion we intended to run, we might not see a lift in sales. Our CEO noted that if that indeed was the case, it may be better to simply do nothing and save on the cost of the promotion as "doing nothing" was always an option for us.
But not Bryan Colangelo.
Again now we've seen a case where BC bid against himself essentially, to secure the services of a player that has shown nothing in past trending that would indicate he's worth the sizable investment that's just been handed out.
At face value, there's no way to argue that this contract makes sense.
I'm not going to get into all of the metrics, box score and advanced, that support this as Tim Chisholm at TSN.ca did a great job of this in his post on the subject.
And I'm not going to get into comparing DeRozan's deal against other players in this post. Tim at The Picket Fence does a great job of that.
The facts are that Colangelo just gave a major financial commitment to a player who:
-"does precisely one thing at an above-average NBA level, score," and even that's not a statement without caveats, as SI.com's Rob Mahoney notes,
-hasn't show over three seasons any sort of clues to make one believe he'll suddenly blossom into an elite player,
-is physically best suited to play the shooting guard position, yet can't shoot from long-range and is a terrible facilitator, and rebounder, despite his athletic talents,
-and has actually shown decreases in various metrics year-over-year when usage is factored in.
Add on the fact that the Raptors are now paying essentially $16M to what looks like a very mediocre wing core through 2015 (DeRozan plus Landry Fields) and for a team that was supposed to be moving forward, it's hard to get too excited.
So what's left?
DeRozan's work ethic?
Hey, Hoffa had great work ethic.
Unfortunately from my perspective all that's really left is blind hope.
When Colangelo extended Chris Bosh some years ago, you were pretty sure you knew what you were going to get. Sure, hope is always tied up in the equation, but with Bosh there had been historical information that led you to believe it was about as safe a move as one can make in the NBA. Injuries can strike at any time and performance regression occurs to various players, but with CB4, the evidence suggested he was certainly worth holding onto, even for top dollar.
Contrast that to DeMar.
Contrast DeMar in fact even to Andrea!
When Bryan Colangelo extended Andrea Bargnani, even though I vehemently disagreed with the extension size and amount, I could see some of the logic. Again, there wasn't much evidence to go on, but at least with Andrea the ability was there. It was much more about believing he'd put it all together on a consistent basis.
With DeRozan we're not only hoping for consistency, but that suddenly we'll see the ability to do, you know, what top-flight shooting guards do! Colangelo loves noting that at only 23, DeRozan has tons of time to make that leap, but forget his age, almost all stud shooting guards, from Kobe to Harden to hell, Richard Hamilton, perhaps DeMar's upside, show signs of the leap before year four. Hamilton was dropping in an efficient 20 a game with a PER of nearly 17 in year three.
He's 23, but DeRozan has indeed already completed three years of NBA action and I'm not seeing any signs of RIP here.
Of course we could all be wrong.
It's scary that not a single media outlet supported this decision by Colangelo, not even some of his most ardent defenders, but the truth is no one really knows if this contract will be as much of an albatross as it currently appears to be.
DeRozan could be a late bloomer, and perhaps surrounded by new, much more productive teammates, his career trajectory takes a sudden turn towards the sky.
And hey, if Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas play the way they did Wednesday night over the entire season, and the club makes the playoffs, this whole issue will likely fall out of the spotlight to a large degree.
In many ways though, for me, that would make this situation that much more frustrating.
The Raptors aren't the Lakers. For a variety of reasons, their margin of error is that much smaller and that's why getting decisions like this right are so key. It's the difference between the current Indiana Pacers, and the current Detroit Pistons.
I get that Bryan Colangelo wants to hold onto players that want to be in Toronto - he noted yesterday that DeRozan wanted to be in Toronto, something that was important to him as GM - but that just can't be one of the main reasons behind handing out contracts like this.
You know what really keeps players around?
Winning on a consistent basis, and my fear is that as Colangelo continues to award contracts of this ilk, that goal will be harder and harder to achieve.