So the Raptors lost against the Bobcats. Just look at it this way, they’re one step closer to a top 3 pick.
Since I’m sick to death of the knee jerk reactionary Raptor fans whining about who didn’t play well, who should sit and who should start, I’m going to do what I do best and look at the big picture.
With injuries/sickness to Barbosa and Andersen, Julian Wright was able play a season high 21 minutes against Charlotte, and if he continues to play the way he has, there might be a problem looming in the future.
Currently, the Raptors have a 10 man rotation. While having no stars on the team can be a weakness, they do have the advantage of having 10 players with not a vast amount of difference, skill level-wise, between the 1st and 10th man. There have been a few games where the bench has outplayed the starters and against Charlotte, three bench players (Calderon, Weems and Johnson) played the majority of crunch time.
That ten man rotation does not include Ed Davis or Julian Wright.
So Wright’s play (and the fact that he might be the team’s best defender) means that it will be difficult to keep him on the bench, but if he plays, and then when Davis comes back, that’s 12 players. No team can have a rotation of 12 players.
So something’s got to give. You could sit Andersen, but he’s really the only other playable center on the roster other than Bargnani, and he’s played well enough that you’re not going to want to sit him. Evans is such a liability on offense (shooting under 25%!!) that you might consider sitting him, but he’s also the team’s best rebounder and his hustle and enthusiasm is often contagious.
If Wright continues to play like he has and once Ed Davis continues to come back from injury, it seems the chances of a trade increases exponentially. But who might get traded?
Bargnani, DeRozan, Davis and Johnson are probably as untouchable as anyone can be on a team that won’t see 30 wins this year. Weems is close behind, especially with his relationship with DeRozan.
Kleiza just signed with the team, which means it might look bad if you turn around and trade him. Besides, he hasn’t been playing well and the last thing you want to do is trade a player when his stock is down.
Barbosa would be one of my favourites to be traded, but his wrist injury really puts everything in question. Is any team going to want him if he ends up having to get surgery before the playoffs?
Wright is a possibility, but his trade value probably isn’t that high and he might be the team’s best perimeter defender.
Calderon was everyone’s favourite to be traded at the beginning of training camp, but Jack has shown he isn’t ready to be a 35 mpg PG (or even a PG at all, sometimes), so I can’t see Calderon getting traded unless the Raptors get something good in exchange.
Andersen is a possibility to go, especially if the Raptors get a center in return.
Reggie probably has the biggest target on his back. He plays a position that the Raptors have the most depth at and an expiring contract.
Ideally, you’d like to see a couple of Raptors packaged up in a 2 for 1 deal with maybe a draft pick (even a 2nd rounder) coming back.
TRADE PROPOSAL OF THE WEEK
I’ve decided to add a new weekly element. It won’t necessarily be a trade proposal involving the Raptors (how many trades can you propose for one team without repeating yourself?), but hopefully it will be one that makes sense.
1st Round Pick
Toronto finally gets a defensive center that can protect the middle, plus a good defensive swingman in Pietrus. Plus, they get a 1st round pick, hopefully for this year, that the Raptors might be able to package to move up.
Orlando free up some long term salary, while getting a player who can break down the defense, something they don’t really have at the moment. Andersen can not only backup Dwight Howard, but play with him, as well.