Raps Exercise Team Option on Tyler Hansbrough Through 2014-2015 Season

One of the most spirited players in the league is coming back to the roster of the Toronto Raptors: Tyler Hansbrough for the 2014/2015 NBA season. He is reportedly going to be given 3.3M.

This is a great pick up for the Raptors. First of all, it’s a good pointer to note that Tyler is a team player. He’s picked up the Raptors system quite well, and proved that by playing pretty huge minutes for them before the Rudy Gay trade. When Patrick Patterson came in, he came in the role of bench warmer, barely seeing playing time in the regular season, and lost his role to the former Kings big men.

Welcome back, Tyler! The Toronto Raptors have picked up the team option on his contract, having him on the roster for the upcoming 2014/2015 season!

Welcome back, Tyler! The Toronto Raptors have picked up the team option on his contract, having him on the roster for the upcoming 2014/2015 season!

The addition of Tyler (or bringing him back simply) is good enough to add stability and security to the roster. He is a very capable bench player than can log big minutes if given, and financially, saves Masai a fair amount of cap space to work with for the likes of bringing back other the other guys like Lowry, Vasquez and Patterson. This does not mean Patterson should not come back. He is a stretch four, and compliments Tyler very well.

Dwane Casey must be very happy because it fits perfectly into the persona of the Raps franchise today, and that is blue-collar, pounding the rock players that are willing to be humble and work hard. This also saves a ton of time for the Raptors building process, knowing Tyler already is familiar with the system, and has a team bond with the returning players as well. He definitely fits into the category of “I love him if he’s on my team, but hate playing against him” type player.

He plays hard, works hard, and will give you what he’s got. Don’t be surprised seeing Bruno Caboclo, DeAndre Daniels, Lou Williams, and Lucas Nogueira settling for jumpers if he’s down low waiting for them; but, then again, he has toned down his intensity after playing the Knicks last year (ahem Metta World Peace)! It will be great having his physicality against players and in practice to get the NBA feel on how physical the game is, particularly for the incoming new players and rookies.

Welcome back, Tyler!

Raptors Acquire Hawks Lou Williams, Lucas Nogueira for John Salmons

In Masai we trust.

Today, the Toronto Raptors have traded John Salmons to the Atlanta Hawks for guard Lou Williams and big man prospect Lucas Nogueira. What?

The Toronto Raptors have acquired Lou Williams and Lucas Nogueira for John Salmons! #InMasaiWeTrust

The Toronto Raptors have acquired Lou Williams and Lucas Nogueira for John Salmons! #InMasaiWeTrust

In my opinion, this trade is very good and rational for both teams. For Toronto, we have acquired a capable, proven scoring guard in Lou Williams, and a big man to help out down low. The most important part of bringing in Lucas “Bebe” Nogueira, is that he is Brazilian. He will be able to go through the same journey alongside Bruno Caboclo, and will be able to form a dynamic duo (well, not really..but on the bench, and practice for sure!). With Williams, you get a scoring guard who can also facilitate and create for others. His defense is somewhat questionable, but put him into Dwane Casey’s system, and, like DeMar, hide or help enhance his defensive deficiencies somewhat.

John Salmons was going to be worked with either way, and I’m glad we did not just let him go. Masai did the right thing and found teams that were interested in him (for salary purposes), and were able to pull it off before the deadline of dealing with expired contracts.  He was not going to be staying with Toronto another year. The Hawks are able to buy him out and only guarantee him $1 million out of his 7M.

Lou Williams only has 1 year left in his contract, and we do not know what Lucas has to offer. He has a scouting video on DraftExpress, and he is able to provide security down low and may develop into a very good big man.

Masai played it safe with this pick. He is able to acquire guards and a big man in case any of his restricted free agents (and Lowry) leave for other teams (Patterson, Vasquez). We don’t know what Lou Williams can bring post-injury, as we have not seen a full season from him since, but I will definitely have him play for us than have John Salmons. Lou Williams is a straight scorer, something Toronto lacked when DeMar and Kyle weren’t able to create for their team.

Overall, I am very happy with this pick, and you should too! Free agency hasn’t even started, and it’s already crazy! Masai is crazy! But, then again…in Masai we trust.

Masai Ujiri Surprised Us All With The 20th Pick in the 2014 NBA Draft

Here we are..almost another day later, and still confused at what just happened. Unfortunately, (or fortunately), I wasn’t at my TV screen to witness what happened, but I did see my entire Twitter blowing up, and all these Twitter handles being shocked at what just happened.

Now, everyone can critique and say Masai Ujiri is giving us nostalgic, horrible memories of the BC, Rob Babcock days where we would dread this time of year and who we’d end up with, but MU is different in a sense. I trust him. He has a had a great track record thus far, and has found some hidden gems in the past at any draft position!

Bruno Caboclo - the newest Raptor!

Bruno Caboclo was the 20th pick in the NBA Draft. He was “Plan B” for the Raptors (Tyler Ennis (Phoenix Suns)) was their first option. Exciting project for the Raps!

However, to me, he is a magician at his craft, and you never know what you get out of magicians! He did just that when he drafted Bruno Caboclo from Brazil 20th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. He is listed as 18 years old, 200 lbs, with a “Javale McGee (according to Dwane Casey) wingspan”. According to the ESPN experts at the draft last night, he was “2 years away from being 2 years away.” My initial thought was that he was a “draft-and-stash” player, and we would have to consider buying him out, letting him play overseas for a couple years (a-la JV) and then we’d get the more polished 23-24 year old Bruno.

This is not the case. Bruno Caboclo is apparently in the US right now, getting his Visa fixed, and all his immigration stuff done so that he can fly to Toronto this weekend for a press conference, then supposedly fly to L.A to meet with current Toronto Raptors DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, Amir Johnson, and the coaching/training staff of the Raps to get in work with him.

What shocked every Raps fan and expert was the presence of the unknown. When we heard his name, absolutely nobody had a 5-minute highlight clip on the guy, and nobody had them on their mock drafts for the Raptors. If you don’t know Masai by now, he’s a risk taker. He took risks in Denver (Melo trade) and in Toronto (Rudy Gay trade) and they came out to fruition rather pleasantly.

We all know Bruno is still very young, and lanky, and that is why he was deemed the “Brazilian Kevin Durant“. Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons were shocked in a way when they heard this (lol, who wasn’t?). He does have the same body type, but I feel he is more of a Giannis Antetokounmpo, a very raw, yet very skilled big guy.

The thing we have to realize about Bruno is that he’s very young. According to Dwane Casey, he flow out to the States in Memphis where he was able to have a workout session with him, and he said he had a tremendous upside ahead of him. He reminded him more of a young Rashard Lewis, coming into Seattle. When players come into the NBA extremely young and is a project away, it tends to excite you for the future!

Masai did just that, drafting Bruno Caboclo.

Toronto Raptors and the 2014 NBA Draft

The NBA Draft is quickly approaching.  Toronto is for certain going to obtain the 20th pick in the 1st round, and 37th in the 2nd.  Although this pick is not going to be an Andrew Wiggins hyped player, there is still quality talent in this draft that the Raptors may want to keep an eye out on.  However, there are plenty of decisions that Masai Ujiri will have to make throughout this process.

For starters, Toronto will keep the pick. Masai addressed early that growth through the draft is key to building. Oklahoma City did it, and I’m pretty sure natural growth on a team will continue develop with the Raptors. Trading for a higher draft pick is also a possibility. Getting into the lottery can land them quality prospects as well.

Another key element is the want for the Raptors. A versatile wing can be good, and also a center (face it, Mr. Hayes can not handle the Roy Hibberts of the league) that can back up our ever growing Valanciunas.  With two solid picks, we can cover most of our holes through the draft.  We definitely need someone who can space the floor (a-la Novakane) and be a threat on the perimeter, as well as a guard versatile 2s and 3s.

Now there are plenty of prospects, and plenty of speculation in Mock Draft sites and other NBA draft sites, so there will be no further speculation on who the Raptors might pick. However, it is wise to conclude that Masai will be keeping these picks, and building on to their foundation.

The Unpredictability Of The Toronto Raptors This Season

The Toronto Raptors this season can be described in one word: unpredictable. Tyler seems to agree.

The 2013-2014 season is looking to be another wild and interesting one for all 30 NBA teams. Toronto is definitely one of those teams will be unpredictable.

 

Ever since the departure of Bryan Colangelo and the embraced welcome of Masai Ujiri, the Raptors have adapted to numerous changes, casing this season’s Toronto Raptors to be very unpredictable.

For one, Masai actually gets pieces that Coach Casey wants on the team – youth, grit, defense, and leadership. Now I trust that the leadership role has been appointed to the core of the team, but the other assets were totally gained for the role of youth, defense and grit. Names like Austin Daye, D.J Augustin,  Dwight Buycks, Tyler Hansbrough, Steve Novak all provide an asset that the Raptors have looked. Though Novak may not be considered a defensive team type of player, he provides the three-point shooting that Toronto has struggled with last season. Psycho T also provides that Charles Oakley-esque mentality on and off the court that we have lacked ever since…Charles Oakley. With D.J and Austin, they provide a veteran presence that have enough experience to carry through certain situations that Raptors were developing in last season. Dwight is the only real NBA rook on the team, but he definitely has his share of shine in Europe, being the MVP last season.

Now although this season is almost set in place with the roster, coaching staff, etc, we still do not see a foreseeable future in terms of where the Raptors are heading this season. Masai wants it that way. He wants to build around the team he was given this season to see if they are playoff worthy, and has therefore built around his financial position in order for the pieces to fit and work as a unit. If it works, he looks like a mastermind. Let’s say, however, the team doesn’t go the way he envisions. Well, he also has the power to trade away assets in order to rebuild or find alternatives to make a championship caliber team.

Masai is definitely thinking more long term in the sense that he has the mold it into his team. He signed plenty of pieces that were short term and trade bait if need be. The utilization of his finances were tremendous, finding players who look good for their pay and doing it all within a month. He removed the plaques of the team – Andrea Bargnani – and have found replacements and picks that will help Toronto in the future.

All he, and we, don’t really know is what will happen this upcoming season with the team he put together.

Tell me what you think! Are the Raptors looking to make the playoffs or are going to want another lottery pick?

Raptors Sign Austin Daye

 

Our most recent, and perhaps final signing this 2013 offseason has been the recent free agent signing of versatile forward Austin Daye. According to various sources, he has been signed to a 2-year, 2 million dollar deal. Also, the second year is not guaranteed for Mr. Daye.

Austin Daye is another low risk signing by Masai Ujiri that gives the Raptors plenty of options during the season.

Austin Daye is another low risk signing by Masai Ujiri that gives the Raptors plenty of options during the season.

Now, in terms of play, he has played for quite some time with the Detroit Pistons and recently, the Memphis Grizzlies via the Rudy Gay, Ed Davis trade. He has lengthy arms similar to Kevin Durant, and has a decent shooting stroke. His defense is good enough to keep him on the court, but lacks other intangibles, particularly in the rebounding area.

Where does he stand in a front court with other the roster’s players of Rudy Gay, Steve Novak, Quincy Acy, Tyler Hansbrough, Amir Johnson, etc? His 3 point stroke, length and defense are good starting points, but look for him to be a end of bench role player, unless otherwise has improved his game significantly this off season. He is very lanky and is not very strong, which is a disadvantage when he is being handled down low, but is long enough to alter shots and passes to his man.

Overall, Masai has done a great job of another safe signing that is financially friendly and also tank friendly.