In anticipation with the Nets historic two-game set in London today and tomorrow, NAS had a little Q+A exchange with Sam Holako of the TrueHoop Network blog, Raptors Republic. Here are some of Sam’s insights on his team, and obviously, for more Raptor news and opinions, be sure you check out Raptors Republic.
1. With the season more than half over, what are silver linings with this Raptors roster? With so much of the “name” talent gone, who are the keepers and who is the fanbase fed up with?
Depends on who you ask, but for me, the keepers from this season have definitely been Amir Johnson, Ed Davis, DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani. James Johnson is making quite a bit of noise in his short tenure, and looks to be a good value for the late 1st rounder we gave up for him (read more below), but he is a dime-a-dozen type player that can be replaced rather easily.
2. So, James Johnson is a Raptor now. Explain…
Yea…good times man. Colangelo flipped Miami’s 1st round pick this year (late 20s) to Chicago for Johnson who has underwhelmed in a season and a half in Chicago. The deal was sold as the Raptors not being able to find anyone comparable to Johnson that late in the 1st round, and it’s possible they are right. My issue with the trade is that the 1st rounder could have been packaged with another of our assets (maybe Reggie Evans’ expiring) for a piece that would have been better than Johnson. However, Johnson won the start small forward spot from Sonny Weems (win) and has played some very good defense while hitting some shots and dishing the ball (win, win and win). However, it does say a lot about the quality of this teams rotation that Johnson was able to take the starting small forward spot before showing us anything in a game situation.
3. DeMar DeRozan recently said that “props” are ruining the NBA’s dunk contest. Is this sour grapes or does he have a point?
I think it’s a bit of both, truth be told, but let me ask you this: what’s so special about an athletic freak jumping over the lowest part of a car to dunk a ball when he consistently clears that height on regular dunks in every time he jumps?
4. Does Bryan Colangelo get another chance next season as GM?
Would I rather have Kevin Pritchard? Yes. However, and let be clear here, Colangelo isn’t a bad GM. I’d rate him as an average to ok based on the job he’s done since coming over. Something you may not be aware of is that the Raptors are part of a massive sports conglomerate that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs [NHL]. Toronto FC [MLS], Toronto Marlies [junior hockey league team], the ACC and other real-estate and business assets. They are currently looking for a president to take over from Richard Peddie who recently resigned. He’s up for that job as well. The smart money would be to bet on him staying with the organization, and either being GM of the Raptors or President of the whole damn thing.