Rob Babcock got canned today. Was it the right thing to do? I don’t know.
Although still negative, my feelings for the embattled general manager have mellowed. Obviously, recent games have highlighted that the Raptors lack the wing scorer to share load with Chris Bosh and be complemented by Mike James. But I’m reluctant to re-start the rebuilding process again. All things considered, the team was improving.
Best Four Moves: I listed an additional good thing because it’s important to focus on the positive.
- Acquiring Mike James: This was a tremendous trade. Guys like James, Damon Jones, and Tony Parker complete good teams. Dealing Rafer Alson for him was a steal. However, James is not a secondary scorer and is trying to do too much lately. He needs help (via a trade) so he can focus on filling the Ron Harper spot in the Triangle (if the Raptors ran that set).
- Drafting Charlie Villanueva: I thought this was a reach at the time but I was wrong. Charlie V provides shooting, depth, and energy. I’d like to see his role increased so that he becomes a bona fide sixth man.
- Signing Chris Duhon to an offer sheet: Chicago matched this contract but it showed a keen eye for talent. A backcourt comprised of Duhon and James would be superb. He is the type of young player Toronto should target in the second round of the draft or in free agency.
- Hiring Sam Mitchell: Firing Kevin O’Neill was a mistake. O’Neill knew the game and would be great for a young team. However, I’m impressed with the development of Chris Bosh; Mitchell and his staff deserve credit.
Worst Three Moves
- Trading Vince Carter: The Raptors start Rafael Araujo at centre. Alonzo Mourning is a key contributor for Miami. Eric Williams cannot play defence. Where is Aaron Williams? When trading an elite player, you must get an elite player in return (Los Angeles made this mistake in the Shaquille O’Neal trade — Dwayne Wade was the only player who had close to equal value and they didn’t get him). One of the worst trades ever. Maybe Vince was soft and cancerous but he can light it up. The Association is a players league. Make it work (see Phil and Kobe).
- Drafting Rafael Araujo: Since the days of Oscar Robertson, Bob Cousy, and Jerry West, guards have dominated the Association. What use is a 6-11 dude who loses jump balls to a 5-9 guard? Passing over Andre Igoudala, Chris Duhon, and Trevor Ariza was a giant mistake that sits on the end of the bench during crunch time.
- Matching Morris Peterson’s offer sheet from New Orleans: Overpaid ($5M/yr) and over-rated (only makes baseline jumpers). This was valuable cap room the team could have used during the 2005 and 2006 summers.
Overall Grade: C+
My question is: given the performance of the Maple Leafs, will Richard Peddie hold another news conference in the near future and announce what a tough decision it was to let Pat Quinn go?