Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Toronto Raptors Mid-Season Report Card

Chris Bosh - It's like the YouTube All-Star commercial he made unexpectedly got such traction in the States that it pushed his status to another level, and then he figured he might as well stay in the limelight. Since Dec.21, roughly the same time as the video first appeared online, Bosh has averaged 27 points a game. Since the Raps started their recent hot streak (winning 7 of their last 9), Bosh has been even better. He's averaging 29 points on a ridiculously efficient 16.8 shots per game. That's one quarter for Kobe or AI. And now Bosh is starting to look like a leader and act like a leader. Hitting the floor. Rallying the troops. Whatever needs to be done, he's doing it.
Grade: A

Jose Calderon - Perhaps the best teammate on the roster. Always first up off the bench to applaud a basket or good play, and I love how he hands out Gatorades and water in the locker room. Even with the recent All-Star push he still doesn't receive the respect he deserves. He's neck-and-neck with Chauncey Billups and Jason Kidd as the best point guard in the conference, and takes better care of the basketball than anyone on the planet. Ok maybe he's not neck-and-neck with Billups and Kidd but he is absolutely positively no worse than the 3rd best point guard in the East. His defence can be passive but he runs the offence beautifully and has really developed and stretched the range on his jumper. If Sam doesn't run him out of gas during the regular season, I think he leads the Raps to the second round this year.
Grade: A

Jamario Moon
- Ladies and gentlemen, another round of applause for Bryan Colangelo. At this point I think it's official that every other GM in the league is terrified of BC. No way anyone wants to deal with him for fear he'll be embarassed. He's like Billy Beane without the cockiness. Anyways, as for Moon, it's great to have a bonafide shot-blocker in the line-up. Gives the Raps an extra dimension on defence that has been blatantly missing for quite some time. I don't like Moon's jumper, but he adds so much through intangibles that I can easily live with a few wreckless shots.
Grade: B+

Carlos Delfino
- I expect him to be a one and done player for Toronto, moving on this summer to a team that signs him for too much and for too long. He might even get dealt before the deadline if Colangelo gets somebody back that can help right now (big man or back-up PG). Delfino has been streaky but solid. At the moment, he's a pretty big piece of the puzzle for the Raps, but I think that has a lot to do with not having a viable second option on the ball. Parker and Kapono could easily handle Delfino's minutes if it means more help where help is most needed.
Grade: B+

Anthony Parker -
How fast does his hair grow? Seems like dude goes from shiny-bald to Fresh Prince in two games. After a somewhat slow start, AP has been playing very well of late. He falls in line perfectly behind Bosh and Calderon, not forcing shots and playing with a lot of intensity. Just a really smart basketball player, and another guy who puts the team first.
Grade: B (and climbing)

Kris Humphries
- He's great for his role too. Can come in and provide rebounding and energy. Wants to play more, but isn't openly griping about it. The thing that hurts him is when he tries to put the ball on the floor out around the free throw line. Ummmm, Hump, there are about 3 white guys in the league who can get to the rim from that area and you aren't one of them. (My 3 - Nowitzki, Ginobli, ahhhh, Kirilenko? Dunleavy? Maybe there's only 2.)
Grade: B

Jason Kapono
- Hard to say whether he's been worth the money so far...the definitive answer will come in the playoffs. Hopefully it's not in the form of opponents repeatedly blowing by him. Although it's been pretty tough for him to look good with Juan Dixon throwing passes into the front row. He'll probably fit in better next year when he doesn't have to battle Delfino for minutes. Still, he's a weapon that can go off at anytime.
Grade: B-

Rasho Nestrovic
- A solid pro who doesn't gripe about the way Sam uses him, which is really saying something. He's isn't all that valuable day-in and and day-out during the regular season, but he becomes much more useful in the postseason.
Grade: B-

Andrea Bargnani
- Our GM says we should have faith and because of his superb and glorious track record, I will trust him. But I am officially scared we messed this one up. The big Italian wasn't much of a defender last year when he showed so much promise, but he never looked like this. He's lost. And he doesn't grab rebounds as much as they fall into his hands. Right now, Aldridge sure would look nice on our front line. We'll see how it turns out 3 or 4 years down the line.
Grade: C

Joey Graham
- Joey might turn into a valuable role player on a different team, but it will never work here with him and Sam. You'll notice Joey in either of two situations; 1) a highlight reel dunk or 2) a glaring turnover most likely on an offensive foul. Could you imagine if the Raps took Danny Granger instead of Graham with the 16th pick in 2005? Everyone always talks about Igoudala instead of Araujo, but in my mind this is almost worse.
Grade: C

Darrick Martin
- I loved him as the 3rd string point guard who only saw the floor every two or three weeks under emergency situations. In that role he was like a personal coach for TJ and Jose, and could stroke egos while glued to the bench. Now, he's just taking up a roster spot. Yes, his moustache got him an extra half grade.
Grade: C

Juan Dixon
- Best thing about the 2007-08 Juan Dixon for the Raptors? He's unrestricted after the season. Dixon has scored 10+ points five times this year. Toronto is 1-4 in those games.
Grade: C-

TJ Ford -
It feels like it's been months or even years since he last played. Although the Raps miss Ford terribly, I don't hold it against him for not rushing back. He's had significant injuries in all the wrong places, and has to be comtemplating whether the risk is worth the reward.
Grade: n/a

Maceo Baston
- 55 minutes of action over 7 games so far this season, no playing time since December 9th. Salary - $1,830,000. Next year he gets a raise to $1,970,000. Agent: Mark Bartelstein. That's impressive work Mr.Bartelstein.
Grade: n/a