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2011 NBA Offseason: Toronto Raptors

Draft Grades, Offseason Needs, Free Agents

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Toronto Raptors (Last Year: 22-60)

2011 NBA Draft Team Grade:

Patience is a virtue. Jonas Valanciunas won't help the Raptors this season, but he gives them a potential franchise center down the road. Add him to Andrea Bargnani and Ed Davis, and Toronto has an athletic, young, promising frontcourt. In a weak draft, it could end up being worth the wait for Toronto. (Team Grade: Makes sense)

Live 2011 NBA Draft Grades:

5. Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania
Isn�t it fitting that Toronto would take another foreign player? Valanciunas gives them a true, physical center that allows Andrea Bargnani to stick on the perimeter. Add in Ed Davis, and suddenly the Raptors have a talented, young frontcourt. (Pick Grade: LOVE IT!)

*** 2011 NBA Offseason Needs and Free Agents listed below this comment box. ***

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Sondi 01-04-2014 01:00 am (total posts: 1)
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Th'tas the best answer of all time! JMHO
Dashing 01-02-2014 01:28 am (total posts: 1)
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I've seen lots of gorgeous women with bald guys. How about Demi Moore and Bruce Willis? That's just one exlpame, but there are lots more. Seal (not only has a shaved head, but not fantastic looking at all) and Heidi Klum, to name another couple.Just don't do the comb-over. Yuck. That beyond doubt wouldn't do well!
Pelicans fan 06-17-2013 11:27 pm (total posts: 1)
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I think the raptors should go for trading Bargiana and their pick and put Bargiani on a certain contender while getting back a 4 who can play or a 5 who forces Val to the 4 since Aaron Gray and Amir Johnson/Quincy Acy won't cut it if they want to contend.
Geiger 10-18-2012 11:43 am (total posts: 1)
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I think the Raptors will be one of the biggest improvements throughout the NBA..they upgraded in all the positions they needed to and Derozan will have another year of experience behind him. Toronto wont compete in the playoffs, but getting there shouldnt be a problem.
haha 05-27-2012 09:54 pm (total posts: 1)
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get rid of aron gray keep bayless use calderon n draft pik to get higher pik, draft bradley beals pray to god jonas is as good as everyone says n AB will have a 26 point 7 rebound season get my asia boi linsanity in a raps jersey n yes nick name jonas the valanciraptor!!!! :D
Janine 11-02-2011 04:15 pm (total posts: 1)
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A mtinue saved is a minute earned, and this saved hours!
Dave 06-26-2011 11:32 am (total posts: 1)
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An excellent selection.

With Bayless and still having Calderon we need a PG like a hole in the head. Hopefully after Calderon is traded for a pick we can target Torontonian MYCK KABONGO PG in 2012 and have another 1st rounder to go after a SF (John Henson?)

Alongside Kanter, he is the best Center this year and next and was a very intelligent choice. Forget nationality and skin colour, Center has been a need for the last decade
Big Val 06-24-2011 09:11 pm (total posts: 1)
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Of the high upside, unknown foreign bigs-- Jan Vesely has quickly become popular because of his Birdman-like highlight reels and smoking hot girlfriend and Bismack Biyombo may be the most fun because of his name, but Lithuania is a basketball factory and the kids that come up there know how to play the game. The only issue is developing physically and adjusting to the more rugged NBA style of play. I like Big V's chances better than any foreign big man down the road but it will take some time to happen.
mpr 06-24-2011 10:28 am (total posts: 1)
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IMO, unless there's a stud PG like Rose, Wall, Paul, etc., available, it's always a good idea to go big. Skilled bigs are a rare commodity and Valanciunas offers the skill set to complement Bargnani, or even make Bargnani potential trade bait in a deal for a PG. I like Kemba Walker, but I don't think he'll find it as easy to get his shot off on the NBA level. I'm not saying he's the next Mateen Cleaves, but he and Knight were overrated going into this draft due to teams' desperation for quality PGs, IMO. The Raptors didn't reach and made the correct (albeit BORING) pick.
John From Toronto 06-24-2011 01:05 am (total posts: 1)
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Suprise! Draft time again and the Raptors draft a European big man. Thought this was a nice opportunity to draft a potential point guard of the future like Brandon Knight.

Although Valanciunas sounds like he has a lot of upside this is certainly not a pick that the Toronto fan base can fall in love with nor will it pay immediate dividends in the win-loss column. More empty seats at the Air Canada Centre. Yawn...when is the Leafs season starting...
Raptorized Dan 06-23-2011 10:21 pm (total posts: 1)
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New nickname: The Valanciraptor.
Northern Charge 06-23-2011 10:14 pm (total posts: 1)
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Oh man. Another white, European player. Surprise! I'm starting to think it's because they have been scared off by all the American studs they have had that didn't want to play there. Europeans aren't as picky.

It'll be a year or two before he is even able to come to Canada to play, and by then DeRozan will have demanded a trade out of town.

Book it.
huja wang 06-23-2011 09:02 pm (total posts: 1)
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this is an awful pick it should have been kemba walker or brandon knight
Walter 06-21-2011 05:19 pm (total posts: 1)
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First comment... we're going to have comment boards like this all over the site soon. We're still working out the kinks, so this is not the finished product.

2010-11 Season Summary:
Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo said it best at his end of the year press conference. "This is the painful part of rebuilding. You lose a lot of games." True story.

When the Chris Bosh thing went down last offseason, Toronto knew it faced a re-building project that would take some time. The loss of Bosh thrust Andrea Bargnani into the alpha dog role which was asking a lot since he was unable to successfully serve as a second banana to Bosh. Injuries to Reggie Evans and rookie Ed Davis added to Toronto's struggles in the paint as it left the Raptors thin and undersized inside.

DeMar DeRozan took a major step in his second season doubling his scoring average, which is incredibly encouraging for a player who is only 21 years old. Outside of DeRozan, the production on the wing was extremely erratic due to injuries to Leandro Barbosa and Linas Kleiza. That put Sonny Weems into a more prominent role and eventually led to the acquisition of James Johnson from Chicago.

The Raptors also acquired Jerryd Bayless from New Orleans, and the former Arizona Wildcat showed flashes, especially in the final month of the season, but lacked the consistency to permanently oust Jose Calderon from his starting spot. As for Calderon, he had the second best assist-to-turnover ratio in the NBA but saw a dip in his scoring and shooting percentage. He is still due more than $20 million over the next two seasons which is a heavy weight on a team trying to re-build.

Based off this past season, Toronto has a lot of work to do before they will be able to compete for a spot in the postseason. This offseason will play a crucial part in that re-building.

2011-12 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Andrea Bargnani/*Joey Dorsey/Solomon Alabi

PF: Ed Davis/Amir Johnson

SF: DeMar DeRozan/Linas Kleiza/#Julian Wright

SG: ^Leandro Barbosa

PG: Jose Calderon/Jerryd Bayless

NBA Free Agents:

PF-Reggie Evans (UFA)

F/C-Alexis Ajinca (UFA)

SG-Sonny Weems (UFA)

SG-Trey Johnson (UFA)

*F/C-Joey Dorsey (RFA)

#SF-Julian Wright (QO)

^SG-Leandro Barbosa (PO)

2010-11 Team Salary: Approximately $45.0 million

NBA Offseason Needs:

1. Center: Despite being seven-foot, Bargnani is not a true center by NBA standards. He is more a perimeter-based big who averaged 5.2 rebounds per game which is embarrassing for someone his size who played almost 36 minutes a night. Ed Davis has the length to be a decent shot blocker and rebounder in the league but lacks the toughness to play heavy minutes at the five. Add in the fact that Reggie Evans is a free agent, and it is clear that Toronto needs to bring in a big body who set shop in the paint. Since the class of free agent centers actually has some quality players available and have cap flexibility, they need to actively pursue a big who can allow Bargnani return to his more natural power forward position.

2. Threer-point shooter: The Raptors shot a league worst 31.6 percent from downtown which is especially troublesome since they lack a real inside presence. DeMar DeRozan is no threat from distance (he shot an abysmal 9.6 percent from three this past season) so that makes him fairly one dimensional. Leandro Barbosa is a capable outside shooter, but the Raps need more than that, even if he exercises the final year of his contract and returns next season. Adding a true threat from the outside will greatly help Toronto's offensive efficiency.

3. Who's the Boss?: Colangelo's contract is up at the end of June and there are questions about whether or not he will retain his position as general manager. Colangelo's future likely directly influences whether or not head coach Jay Triano returns for another season. The sooner the Raps' powers that be figure out whether or not Colangelo and Triano will return, the quicker the team can forge ahead with their re-building project.

4. Spend Wisely: I am still baffled that Amir Johnson was able to get a 5-year, $28 million out of Colangelo last summer. BAFFLED. Toronto's margin of error on bad contracts is so much smaller than other teams due to the fact that most marquee players do not want to play north of the border. Whoever ends up being the general manager needs to spend their cap space wisely or else the re-building efforts take another step backward.

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