The Smokescreen Has Begun

Each spring NBA teams set up smokescreens so that other teams around the League don’t know what player they want in the Draft. Even though the Raptors have the top pick in the Draft and don’t need to worry about other teams stealing the player they want, it looks like they will keep fans guessing all the way up to draft night about whether they will draft LeMarcus Aldridge, Andrea Bargnani or if they will deal the pick.
Bryan Colangelo tried made it clear this week that he’s hot and heavy for Bargnani when he told the Toronto Sun this week that, “there’s a big hole in terms of the five position in this league right now. Shaq, I think, called himself the last five standing … We will continue to try to get playmaking, versatile players. It doesn’t matter how big they are.”

Comments like these make it seem as though he has a vision of the team to become something similar to the team he formed in Phoenix. The Suns achieved a lot of success this season with their “small ball” style of play where they don’t worry about a traditional centre and instead throw Shawn Marion and Boris Diaw onto the court as their “bigs.” From what I’ve been reading about the Raptors in recent weeks it sounds like Colangelo wants to throw Bosh, Bargnani and Charlie Villanueva out there and make other teams worry about matching up against us.

So, it’s a slam dunk that the Raptors draft the Euro Sensation, right?

Nope!

Chris Bosh added to the media firestorm on Friday by telling the media that the team doesn’t need a finesse player like Bargnani because they already have two “bigs” that play that style of game in him and Charlie Villanueva.

According to Dime Magazine, Bosh feels that Bargnani can, “really shoot the ball, but like I said before, I think we have plenty of talented big guys who play the finesse four spot. I think we need more of a banger.”

Um, Chris, I hate to burst your bubble but there aren’t any of those kinds of players in the Draft. The only player that looks to me like he would be a banger in the League would be Sheldon Williams but he’s too small to be an effective banger in the NBA.

According to the Toronto Sun, Bosh also wants the Raptors to draft “a big guy who is not going to look for many shots, who just wants to set screens … and control the paint, that would give us a lot of flexibility.”

When I first read these quotes I had flashbacks to when Vince Carter pouted about the team drafting Bosh instead of trading the pick for veteran help. I feel that there’s a fine line between keeping Bosh happy so that he’ll sign an extension this summer and giving our star player too much clout in personnel decisions. I don’t see Bosh ever becoming the diva that Carter became and that this is simply a case of our star player expressing what he’d like to see happen. It’s clear that Bosh’s preference is Aldridge because the two grew up playing high school ball together in Texas. Aldridge averaged 28.9 points per game as a high school senior and in two matchups with then-senior and current Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh, Aldridge averaged 23 points and 13 rebounds.

Raptors HQ weighed in on the Raptors draft options Friday afternoon and wrote a great post called The Bottom Line in which they wrote, “So which direction is Colangelo going? From the sounds of it, drafting Bargnani without upgrading the team’s toughness and rebounding and even point-guard position is definitely going to rub Chris Bosh the wrong way. And you don’t want to do that do you? Conversely do you care if indeed your goal as GM is to build a team like Phoenix which has had success playing “small-ball?” In this scenario, CB4 better be ready to play some 5 each season. And while many fans aren’t going to want to hear this, if Colangelo’s vision is to have Bargnani as a Dirk-esque 4 and Villanueva as a Diaw-esque 3/4/5, then maybe it’s Bosh who’s the odd man out in this equation.”

Dime Magazine feels that the Raptors will go with Bargnani and told readers Friday that, “according to everything we’ve been hearing, Bargnani is the Raptors’ guy. He’s grabbed the top spot in our Mock Lottery, and the domino effect it caused sent some former top-of-the-board guys nearly falling out of our Top 10.”

As for me, I’m still sticking to my guns and I believe that the Raptors will deal the top pick for another teams first round pick and either a big man or point guard.

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3 thoughts on “The Smokescreen Has Begun

  1. I agree with you – smokescreen! In fact, I asked Doug Smith this question recently: How do you know if these rumors and implications are legit? How can you run with these ideas, even if they come directly from Bryan Colangelo, knowing that this is the time when lies and misdirection are thrown about?

    And even if the Raptors do draft Bargnani, who’s to say that they won’t also trade for or sign a banger? The extra bodies can be sent to the D-League (Bargnani), traded (Bonner), and/or put on the IR.

  2. Jeff – If Smith hears these things from BC then it’s a great reason for him to hype up rumors and sell more papers for the Star 🙂 As a fan part of me loves hearing all these rumors and “gossip” surrounding the Raps because it allows me to dream a bit about next year. After having a rollercoaster ride this season I revel in the chance to daydream about all the good things that could come from having the top pick in the draf.t

    I love the idea of dealing Bonner! He just doesn’t fit in with the team anymore. The city’s fascination with him has begun to dwindle and hoop fans are realizing that the kid just can’t play ball. Or, as a fellow blogger wrote earlier this year, he’s like one of your university buddies trying to play ball after drinking a 24 of Lakeport.

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