The Wright Question

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.

[poll id=”9″]


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.

To Toronto:

Marcin Gortat
Mickael Pietrus
1st Round Pick

To Orlando:

Leandro Barbosa
David Andersen
Joey Dorsey

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.

8 thoughts on “The Wright Question

  1. Tim,

    IMO, that specific trade proposal has zero chance of coming to fruition … because the Magic would have absolutely zero interest in adding any of Barbosa, Andersen or Dorsey to their current roster.

    As you and I have both stated plenty of times in the past …

    What the Raptors need to do this season, if their long term goal really does involve trying to build a championship-winning calibre team in Toronto, is lose as many games as possible, in order to secure a Top 3 Draft Pick next summer, which means that, as difficult as it might be to accept for the loyal fanbase, THIS TEAM SHOULD MAKE NO TRANSACTIONS THIS YEAR WHICH IMPROVE THEIR CHANCES OF WINNING MORE GAMES.

    What this team needs to do this year is bite the bullet and sincerely tell its fans, in an honest way, that it is building for the future.

    You can’t that and, then, also try to improve the talent base on the current team.

    The only trades which should happen between now and the 2011 NBA Draft are ones which bring future draft picks to the team along with live players who are actually WORSE than those on the team at-present … at least, if the Raptors have a President/GM who really does know what he is doing.

    • @khandor,

      If Barbosa was healthy, I think he’d be exactly what the Magic need. But because of Barbosa’s injury and the fact that most contenders don’t like to makes big trades when they’re playing well, you are probably right. And I’m not suggesting the Raptors make the trade, just pointing out a possible scenario. I would like to see the trade, but not until next summer. Gortat could replace….well, you get the picture.


      Without knowing who the Raptors might draft, I don’t think making a trade expecting to draft a certain position is a little dangerous. If they do draft one, the Raptors can make a trade then.

      @Raju (Raptors Digest)

      I think the more Reggie plays, the more it hurts his trade value. He’s a great rebounder and not a bad defender, but he’s so awful on offense. I mean, the guy is shooting 23%!! And he doesn’t take a shot from outside of five feet. That’s truly amazing, to me.

      I hadn’t heard anything bad about Wright before. Where did you hear that from?


      Gasol would be nice, but I don’t know if he’s the answer. He’s a good player, but he’s more suited to a halfcourt team. And he’s not the lane intimidator I think the Raptors need. Still, I wouldn’t be upset if the Raptors were able to get him next summer.

  2. Can’t believe I am on same page as khandor.
    Look for a PG to get traded. While Jose seems the one we would like to see go, do not rule out Jack.
    We need to open a roster spot for our PG lottery pick.

  3. Hey Tim,

    You are right, something has got to give.

    I see a trade happening once late November-early December rolls around

    As you said with your knee-jerk comments, BC likely doesn’t want to make a move of consequence without first having a chance to properly evaluate the roster

    My Trade Thoughts:

    Unfortunately Reggie Evans is as good as gone and I can not see someone not taking on Marcus Banks’ expiring contract if the deal is right for the Raptors. I firmly believe that either Jose or Jack will be gone by the deadline as well in which scenario we keep Banks as our 2nd PG and free up space this summer.

    Barbosa may be traded but only if he tells BC he is willing to go (and why wouldnt he right?)

    Andersen should be traded, not sure of the market for him, probably only in a package deal or to a C needy team near deadline

    I really like Julian Wright but heard a lot of bad things about his work ethic from others, I like what I saw in flashes in NO and in a raptors uniform as well and hope he gets added to the core of DeRozan, Davis, Bargnani and Johnson

    He’s not ready yet, but you can see the potential

  4. IMO we need a good center and the one I see is Marc Gasol (restricted agent next season.

    Memphis has to sign Zach and Marc the next year, and maybe we could use the trade exception to get it (have no clue about the Memphis payroll).

    BTW, Boston is winning to Miami 57-42 :)

  5. Let me start this post with a nice mix:

    Dunno what you has watched, I mean, if your looking at this season start he sprained his ankle (grade 2) the last preseason game. He played against Dallas his first game because he wanted to, but he was in the inactive list. Also, he finished last season injuried (some neck tendon and bursitis in the elbow). Other than that, your wrong on this, believe me.

    He isn’t Howard, but he does his work: last year he was the player with the better +/- stats in Memphis and it wasn’t close, and he played with a 20/20 machine, Zach Randolph, who is playing his best basketball).

    Marc is a defensive center, he alone crows the line without getting the 3 second violation (it’s nice to watch how he changes his man for other to stay on the paint or how he reach him with his hand to avoid the call) and does very good man to man and help defense. Most of the baskets they allow on the paint come from poor rotations when he has to leave his man to stop small guys coming from the perimeter and nobody rotates to his man.

    In other words, he is the opposite of Bargnani. He can stop the big guys (ok, that doesn’t include fast PFs), uses to get few fouls and gives something to think about to perimeter guys when they come through the lane.

    If you ask the Memphis fans or read their press you get the point that the guy is the base for that team, not the superstar but the guy that makes the team perform.

    It’s clear that him alone won’t make this team a contender, but it’s a nice first step IMO, and gettig a high draft would be the ice on the cake, we cannot get a small guy who breaks defenses by a trade IMO and we cannot get a big man and a SG or PG at the draft.

    His first game this season (playing with the sprained ankle):

    Him blocking some shots:

    Brandon Jennings:
    If I’m remembering well, Brandon got first a basket going to the basket, so he thought he could repeat: it’s clear that Marc was waiting for it to correct him.

    Dirk Nowitzki:

    Carlos Boozer:

    Rajon Rondo:

    Some good Memphis games from the last season:

    VS Blazers:

    VS Clippers:

    VS Magic:

    VS Celtics:

    Most of the time it’s Memphis attacking, but you can see Marc knows what to do in every moment, in both ends. Also, bad plays are shown too.

    If you want to watch more vids on him or from other Spaniars look at that channel (crakoli2).

    • Al,

      I may not have phrased my comment well. I agree he’s a good defensive player, just not the lane intimidator that someone like Okafor or Tyson Chandler. Being paired with Ed Davis, if he plays as expected, should be good, though. The thing I would be most concerned about, however, is whether he is fast enough to keep up when the team runs. Of course, his post game would be a huge boost and it’s not as if the Raptors wouldn’t have four other plays that can run the break. As I said, I would definitely welcome him as an addition to the team. He’s an all around good player who’s better than anyone the Raptors have at the moment.

  6. If lane intimidator is shot blocker, then I understand what your saying.

    Memphis runs a lot (Rudy Gay, Conley and Mayo), and he (sometimes) uses to be the trailer, so if you don’t ask him to be the driver of the fast break, he is fine. He isn’t his bro though (he is a pure center while Pau played as a SF the year before his explosion at the Spanish league).

    My thing with Marc is that he is a rock where you can build from IMO.

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