I'm an optimist by nature so this may seem strange considering what I'm saying. This team needs to be blown up and that starts with the gm and head coach. I find it fascinating reading articles stating that Bargnani is having a decent year, or Derozan needs more time or perhaps this team has a future because Bayless and Ed Davis can be productive.
I'm a big raptor fan, but I"m also an NBA fan as I watch many non-Raptor games every night so I can see and compare to what we have here. Toronto has a bunch of role players and nothing more. This is my take on the Raptors starting 5 with comparison to the rest of the league.
Jose Calderon- Is having a decent season, probably the only player valuable to other teams as he is a capable guard coming off the bench (if he wasn't overpaid that is). His defense has improved since last season and can be a decent starter only on a team that plays great help defense with a pick-and-pop big. He's a guy Raptor fans take their anger out on but will regret it if he goes to the right team.
GRADE- C+ Best Fit: Possible starter Portland Trailblazers (assuming Andre is gone) and Timberwolves
Demar Derozan- Not a true shooting guard based on his skill set. Inability to shoot past 10 feet (37%), slightly above average finisher at the rim but can't get there consistently due to his weak ball handling skills. Not a great defender, but has the tools to be. Doesn't demand the ball during the flow of a game and settles for what he gets.
GRADE- D+ Best fit: NONE Demar isn't a legitimate starting 2 guard in the NBA. There are teams that have 2 guards not as talented as him starting (ie Keith Bogans) but those are acknowledged as temporary stop gaps until they can trade or sign one
PROJECTION: Ronnie Brewer. Demar is a A- athlete but it serves no purpose as he can't get to the line or the rim enough to utilize that athletic ability. His shooting may improve but his skill set is raw. Demar's ceiling is probably a Gerald Wallace type of game at the 2 with rebounding defense and blocking shots his strengths.
SF POSITION: This has been a platoon between Linas and Weems, both of which couldn't grasp the starting position for a losing team which speaks volumes about the hole the Raptors have. Neither player would be considered a starter on all NBA teams. Linas has played better of late, but his game is coming off the bench and providing scoring as he did in Denver. He'll put up better numbers than he did in Denver due to the minutes and more shots, but he's a role player and Toronto clearly overpaid for him.
GRADE - D- (I didn't give an F only because Travis Outlaw and Marvin Williams are starters in the league) Best Fit: Bench
PROJECTION: Cross your fingers Toronto ends up with Perry Jones next season.
Amir Johnson/Reggie Evans: I can't hate on Reggie as he's one of the best rebounders in the league and Toronto acknowledges his starting was temporary but Amir was handed starter money in free agency and although his game is very useful it's obvious he isn't a starter due to the sheer number of fouls he takes. He can be a solid starter in the league only with a true point guard and a big man to rebound. He's arguably played the best out of all the Raptors this season although he's failed to stay on the court long enough consistently.
GRADE - B - This position hasn't been the Raptor's weakness as they rebounded well and played good enough defense. Best Fit- Amir would be a great fit in Milwaukee as he and Bogut would be a fearsome combo on the defensive end.
Andrea- Where can I start with this guy? He's the Jamal Crawford at the center position. A guy who provides offense on tough shots, doesn't play defense enough to be a starter and best suited to come off the bench as a sixth man. Very few 7 footers can score like he can but it doesn't matter when the opposition comes right down the lane for an easier score. To his defense, he's really a 4 playing the 5 so I can't place 100% of the blame on him, but when Rodney Stuckey, a 6-4 guard, out muscles you for a rebound as he did last game it makes me wonder if it will be any different if he played the 4. Toronto fans get on Calderon so much for not playing defense but compared to Andrea he's Rondo. Andrea is a SF playing the center position and that problem needs to be addressed. Offensively, he's a third option, second at best. His career high year is due to the abundance of shots he takes compared to last year as his PER barely breaks 17.
GRADE - C- : When all the team numbers get better when he's on the bench that should sound the alarm to BC to possibly trade him. The opposing team's production is at 115 per 100 possessions when he's on the court!
Best fit: Sixth Man for most NBA teams.
Projection: He's nothing more than a gunner at this point and probably won't get any better. Raptor fans better learn to enjoy lottery years because he's signed for 5 more years