Moving on up in the East side
What do the Raptors need to do this off-season in order to advance to the 2nd Round (or further) of the NBA Playoffs next year?
TJ Ford (Point Guard) must be traded to solidify the team’s identity and create PG stability.
Anthony Parker (Off Guard) must be shifted to a Back-up role.
Jamario Moon (Small Forward) must improve his perimeter Jump Shot.
Chris Bosh (Power Forward) must be installed as the permanent Center, continue to get stronger physically and add a consistent “Turn-around Jump Shot in the Low Post” to his game.
Andrea Bargnani (Center) must be shifted to a back-up role.
Jose Calderon (Point Guard) must be installed as the permanent PG.
Jason Kapono (Small Forward/Off Guard) must be installed as the permanent Designated Shooter (OG).
Carlos Delfino (Off Guard/Small Forward) must remain in a back-up role.
Kris Humphries (Power Forward) must be installed as the permanent PF (or become Jorge Garbajosa’s back-up).
Rasho Nesterovic (Center) must remain in a back-up role.
Joey Graham (Power Forward/Small Forward) must be developed as a Defender/Rebounder/Spot-up Jump Shooter who can either start or come off the bench if need be as a “Mismatch Creator/Combator”.
Maceo Baston (Power Forward/Center) must be shifted to an Extra role or be released.
Darrick Martin (Point Guard) must remain in an Extra role or be released.
Jorge Garbajosa (Power Forward/Small Forward) must be re-installed as the permanent PF (or be able to back-up Kris Humphries).
Primo Brezec (Center) must remain in an Extra role or be released.
Then, if the Raptors re-shuffle their everyday line-up, for example, like this:
Calderon (PG); Kapono (OG); Moon (DF); Garbajosa/Humphries (PF); Bosh (C)
Parker (PG/OG); Delfino (OG/SF); Garbajosa/Humphries (PF); Bargnani (C/PF); Nesterovic (C)
Graham (SF/PF); Brezec (C)
* An open roster spot for a Point Guard (replacing Darrick Martin)
* An open roster spot for a Off Guard/Small (obtained in a trade for TJ Ford, which could bring a Starter or a Back-up)
* An open roster spot for a Power Forward/Center (replacing Maceo Baston)
These moves will allow the Raptors to accomplish several goals simultaneously:
- Increase their 3Pt Shooting Efficiency with Calderon & Kapono receiving more MPG;
- Improve their Team Defense & Rebounding by becoming bigger & more physical at the PG & OG positions, replacing Ford & Parker with Calderon & Kapono – which allows for more ‘Switching’ but without being caught in a cross-matched situation and having a too small-sized player at either of those two spots – as well as at the PF & C positions, replacing Bosh & Bargnani with a combination of Garbajosa/Humphries & Bosh.
- Improve their Offensive Efficiency by increase their 3Pt Shooting Percentage with Calderon & Kapono (their best 3Pt Shooters) receiving more MPG;
- Create & Combat an assortment of mismatch player personnel combinations.
- Keep their group of Core Players together for another season.
- Firmly establish their Team Identity with Chris Bosh at Center & Jose Calderon at Point Guard.
By staying the course for one more year, essentially with this same group intact, adjusting only slightly – by removing TJ Ford from their roster and replacing him with a solid young Wing player – and focusing their attention on Team Rebounding & Defense, the Raptors are actually not that far away from establishing themselves as a perennial ‘Top 4 Team’ in the Eastern Conference.
Tags: Andrea Bargnani, Anthony Parker, Carlos Delfino, Chris Bosh, Darrick Martin, Jamario Moon, Jason Kapono, Joey Graham, Jorge Garbajosa, Jose Calderon, Maceo Baston, Primo Brezec, Rasho Nesterovic, TJ Ford, Toronto Raptors