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Jump Ball: Examining Options for the Raptors Final Roster Spot

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In our latest edition of "Jump Ball," Zach and I discuss some options for that last spot on the Toronto Raptors' roster.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

So, the Toronto Raptors have one remaining roster spot after waiving guard Dwight Buycks last week.  They may look to keep that spot open but they may also look to fill it, and as we mentioned on the site yesterday, the club has been linked to free agent point guard Will Cherry. Since there's not a lot else going on in Raptorland, Zach and I thought we'd do a little back-and-forth regarding potential options in case the Raps did want to grab a 15th man, one that didn't have the last name Cherry.

And oh yeah, I'm starting with Emeka Okafor.

Franchise: Here's my thing.  The Dinos could still use a solid rim protector behind Jonas (based on Bebe's Vegas play, he's not close to being ready for this role), and blocking shots is one of Okafor's few fortes.  He's also a very good rebounder, especially on the offensive end, and I think he could be had for Toronto's remaining loot.  (Which admittedly isn't very much, based on Blake Murphy's terrific salary breakdown at Raps Repub)

The big thing is his health as he missed all of last year with a herniated disk in his neck, so there's a bit of a "buyer beware" factor here.

Would you take Emeka, or do you prefer another option?

Zach: Firstly I'll say that if the Raps do decide to fill the open roster spot in the near future, I hope it's on a back-up big-man. I've swung back-and-forth on whether Bebe is good for 15 minutes a game backing up Jonas, and at the present I'm leaning toward no.

I definitely agree that the Okafor option is intriguing -- he was really good in Washington two seasons ago and, if healthy, I can't think of a better option, on-the-court and character-wise -- basically the opposite of Andray Blatche (ugh).

But like you mentioned, his health is a question-mark, and although the Raps wouldn't be spending a lot on Okafor (they don't have a lot to spend) it might be a risky move to use a roster space on a guy coming off a big injury.

A safer option -- lower-risk, lower-reward -- would be someone like Nazr Mohammed or Greg Stiemsma; guys that aren't going to give you anything numbers-wise, but are good for 6 hards fouls and some rebounding.

Wait, are we underrating Chuck Hayes?

Franchise: Ahhhh, Mr. Stiesma. He certainly could be had for the money Toronto has left, but not sure there's much more there than what they have in "Chops" Hansbrough. And no, we're certainly not under rating Mr. Hayes.

What about going in another direction, like point guard options with someone like Jordan Crawford?

Zach: Okay, fair enough; two Tyler Hansbrough's might be two too many.

Andrew Bynum? (just kidding)

Crawford actually resembled a basketball player last season in Boston -- I guess the Golden State Warriors thought the same thing. But then he looked less of one when he hit the Bay Area.

I don't know, I'm not sure a guy like Crawford is the type of player the Raps want or need coming in for 5-8 minutes a game. I can see him jacking up bad shots and not much else -- sort of like a bad DeRozan, but with lower efficiency.

I'm not actually a fan of bringing in another guard to fill the roster spot right now; I just don't see it as that big of a need for this team. But if the organization is insistent on picking-up a  third point-guard, I think I'd prefer a guy like Shelvin Mack -- much less talented than Crawford, but more of a system guy, who isn't going to rock the boat if he plays just five minutes a game, which a third point-guard on this roster will be lucky to see.

Wait.  Woj just tweeted that he's going back to the Hawks.  Never mind.

What about bringing in another wing shooter -- a Novak-type? James Johnson fills a defensive role, but he can't shoot to save his life (don't tell him I said that)

Franchise: I'll keep that on the DL.  And I see where you were going with Mack, dependable guy who like you said, isn't going to be a disturbance. Other options of that ilk would probably be Earl Watson and even Leandro Barbosa. The latter makes even more sense than usual because...well...BRUNO.

As for shooters, there's not much out there, but maybe the team gets "two birds stoned at once," as Ricky from Trailer Park Boys would say, and gets a shooter who's still young enough to develop?  Someone like say Jordan Hamilton or Chris Singleton?  Singleton would be a sort of James Johnson light in many ways due to his physical attributes, with the added bonus that he's a solid long-distance shooter. Thoughts?

Zach: Would those two birds happen to be of the Shit Hawk variety?


(Lahey is the best).

Yeah, I definitely wouldn't object to someone like Jordan Hamilton, a guy who would be motivated to play well and might end up with a bigger role. The thing I appreciated about Steve Novak, other than making me feel athletic, was the fact that he could come off the bench cold, play 3 minutes, and still have an impact with his shooting. That's not easy.

Any shooter-type who the Raps bring in to fill the last roster spot probably isn't going to get a lot of burn, which makes it tough to get into a rhythm when your number is called.

Franchise: Hahahaha, nicely played, Lahey is the best.

And you raise a good point.  With this last roster spot you either need a player who can come in at a moment's notice and have some sort of impact, even in limited minutes, or one that's a developmental prospect with upside.  Bryan Colangelo was a fan of the latter taking fliers on guys like Jamario Moon and Joey Dorsey.  Going that route then, I'd look at guys like Chris Douglas-Roberts, Seth Curry, or recently undrafted types like Khem Birch and Jahii Carson.

So we've named a number of different options at a number of different positions, anyone else worth mentioning?

Zach: Hedo Turkoglu's looking for a team, right?

But yeah, if the team chooses to fill that roster spot I'm leaning toward another big-man, and I'd be fine with a undrafted, young player. There's a good chance that the overall awfulness of the Raps' Summer League team tainted my perception of Hassan Whiteside. I'm sure he'd be worth a shot.

Franchise: Can you even imagine if the Raptors brought Hedo back??  I'd be all for it if it was under the condition that he only sat on the bench and didn't play, and filmed more Pizza Pizza commercials?


(In retrospect, is this not the most hilarious part of Raptors' history??  Close??)

And if Will Cherry doesn't get the nod, I too am all for another youngish player who fills a need and can still develop.

Just not another round of Patrick O'Bryant please.