Might as well just get right into part two, where we’ll be looking at some potential point guard options on the free agent market, but with some love. I like love. The list composed has now slightly altered with yesterday’s signing of Julyan Stone. It was definitely an under the radar move, but I can see why the signing works well for the team. However the Toronto Raptors are still in desperate need of a proven, quality back-up point guard. Stone is a solid third-stringer with potential to become a viable back up, but the Raps need 3 point guards on the roster without a doubt. So without further ado, Raptors Cage presents who we believe are the best candidates to play the role of Number 2 to Kyle Lowry’s Dr.Evil.
Worth the Money
The world saw what Nate Robinson did in the playoffs. He left everything he had on the floor, refusing to back down to any competitor. He’s often misunderstood for his larger than life persona, but that is irrelevant to basketball unless it’s negatively affecting the team’s environment.
Last season in Chicago, in Thibodeau’s system he demonstrated the ability to be professional and above that, a great teammate. Robinson would be able to give the Raptors an immediate spark when motors run on low. He’s always a threat on the offensive end of the court with his long-range ability and extremely sticky handles. When motivated, Robinson provides extremely stingy on-ball defence, with hislow centre of gravity he’s able to pressure ball-handlers well above the 3point line and still recover.
His price tag is probably a bit higher than other targets. He made around 4million per season when he re-signed with the Celtics, yet only making a little over a million last season with the Bulls (who didn’t have Derrick Rose all-season). There were even mentions of the inclusion of Robinson in the potential Bargnani/Boozer trade talks, but lets not live in the past. A highball offer of 6million could work, which is more than the MLE so a sign-and-trade would most likely have to occur to nab him off the market.
Spanoulis is an international guard who’s stock could not be any higher at the moment. Spanoulis pulled a LeBron James by winning the title in back-to-back years while taking the finals MVP in both of those years in the Euroleague. Spanoulis is a larger guard as well standing 6’4, so he could be swung to the two-guard. He would be the perfect compliment to Lowry, and a fantastic addition to the roster as the Raptors need a PG with an essence of poise. Being a winner is great, but being a leader is even better, and in high-pressure situations, the ability to lead speaks volumes.
Spanoulis is 30 years old, and it would seem that coming to a international city such as Toronto could be most appealling to him, especially after a falling out with the Rockets. Throw in that both him and Steve Novak served as rookies under Van Gundy in 06’ could be that extra incentive for him to come over. In order to get a player of his caliber who is probably getting offers from many other teams the Raptors would have to pay up a little. Mainly just to frighten off other potential suitors, but to also retain a quality piece that will essentially benefit the franchise moving forward. Spanoulis is looking at 6million a year, playing without the stress of a lifestyle adjustment. If other teams throw the mid-level at him, it may not be enough to entice him to make a return to the NBA, however if he does, lets hope Toronto is the place for him. After all, Euro’s do love Toronto.
Just take in this interview, I could see him and Jack Armstrong right now talking about…well whatever it is that Jack talks about…
Not the sexiest name in the list, but Beno Udrih would be a tremendous fit with the Toronto Raptors. His talents are underrated but it’d be like having Jose Calderon all over again, but without the sad history. Another reason why he’d be perfect on the Raptors, is because at 6’3 lefty who’s a good facilitator and gets the ball up the court with passing as opposed to dribbling.
With the current roster structure giving a great outlet pass is essential. His game has matured a lot which is good because he’s not far from his wild boy days in Sacramento. He was moved to Orlando from Milwaukee, but proved that he’s still able to produce at an effective rate. Last season he ranked 13th in the NBA in assist per turnover at 2.8, which is no Jose, but very good nonetheless. The question mark that surrounds him is his inability to stay grounded, but given the right situation Beno can find a home in Toronto. He is a very exciting and productive player and should at least be given a look.
Those “wild boy days”
Since his stellar rookie season there have been nothing but high expectations on Darren Collison, but I don’t hold him to those. On the Hornets, Chris Paul went out for almost half a season, then Collison was shipped to Indiana, and then to Dallas where he lost his starting spot. His regression statistically has been minor, but his inconsistency on the court is what really stands out. He’s a very capable facilitator and scorer, but may have already hit his ceiling in terms of production. After spending 4 years at UCLA, Collison has averaged 12ppg and 5ast in the NBA, which are still good numbers. The Raptors don’t have to throw the bank to make him an offer and they shouldn’t, but he definitely will see some attractive offers due to occasional flashes of brilliance.
Not what he was when he was going crazy in New Jersey, but can still bring it on a nightly basis. Harris is another guard with good size at the point guard position. He thrives from penetrating the lane, and keeping the defender on their heels. A guard who is still explosive, Harris can fit into an up-tempo style of play and attack off of the pick and roll.
If put in the half-court offence he’d easily be able to run a set or break off a defender when things get stagnant. Harris is coming off a rather large contract after making 8million last season, but don’t forget he was an All-Star in 2009. The baby-faced Harris is now 30 years old, so his physical skills are on the decline, therefore I would imagine the MLE (or less) should be enough. Harris is still extremely capable, coming off a strong season backing up Jeff Teague in Atlanta.
Jordan Farmar is just a funny looking guy. Plus word around town is that he wants back in the NBA. He’s not one of my top options and he should probably sign with the Lakers. I just think it’d be really funny seeing someone run across the ACC with an extra large Farmar head.
So that pretty much wraps it up for the Raptors immediate free agency needs. Signing Julyan Stone yesterday allows Masai Ujiri to see his scouting project from Denver pan out in a different environment where he will have the opportunity actually play (Stone was signed in 2011). What’s good is that there’s limited risk with the Stone signing. I look at him a poor man’s Iman Shumpert (minus the hair), but we’ll see…hair grows.