Rob Babz: My Two Cents
In a city full of Leaf fans, its hard to be a fan of any Toronto team, the Fan590 call in shows are filled with Vinny’s from Woodbridge who all claim to be much more intelligent then the current GM or Coach, and better players then which every player had a bad night.
But the Raps are my team, even now when we are the lowest that we have ever been, and I hear nothing but casual fans screaming for Bab*****s head, and I will admit after last season I was one of them,
And now I am on the otherside of the fence.I will admit that Rob Bab***** has made some questionable moves and since there are not many I can easliy review them and sort of explain the whys,
Lets take a look at the beginning of the reign the 2004 NBA Draft:
1. Orlando Magic
Dwight Howard | F | Atlanta SW Christian HS
2. Charlotte Bobcats (via LA Clippers)
Emeka Okafor | F | Connecticut
3. Chicago Bulls
Ben Gordon | G | Connecticut
4. Los Angeles Clippers (via Charlotte)
Shaun Livingston | G | Peoria (Ill.) HS
5. Dallas Mavericks* (via Washington)
Devin Harris | G | Wisconsin
6. Atlanta Hawks
Josh Childress | F | Stanford
7. Chicago Bulls (via Phoenix)
Luol Deng | F| Duke
8. Toronto Raptors
Rafael Araujo | C | BYU
9. Philadelphia 76ers
Andre Iguodala | G | Arizona
10. Cleveland Cavaliers
Luke Jackson | G | Oregon
11. Golden State Warriors
Andris Biedrins | C | Latvia
12. Seattle Sonics
Robert Swift | C | Bakersfield (Ca.) H.S.
13. Portland Trailblazers
Sebastian Telfair | G | Lincoln (N.Y.) H.S.
14. Utah Jazz
Kris Humphries | F | Minnesota
15. Boston Celtics
Al Jefferson | F | Prentiss (Miss.) H.S.
16. Utah Jazz (via New York/Phoenix)
Kirk Snyder | G | Nevada
17. Atlanta Hawks (via Det./Den./Milw.)
Josh Smith | F | Oak Hill Academy
18. New Orleans Hornets
J.R. Smith | G | St. Benedict’s (N.J.) Prep
19. Miami Heat
Dorell Wright | G | South Kent Prep (Conn.)
20. Denver Nuggets
Jameer Nelson | G | Saint Joseph’s
(Traded to Orlando Magic)
21. Utah Jazz (via Houston)
Pavel Podkolzine | C | 7-5
(Traded to Dallas)
22. New Jersey
Viktor Khryapa | F | Russia
(Traded to Portland)
23. Portland Trailblazers (via Memphis)
Sergei Monia | G | Russia
24. Boston Celtics (via Dallas)
Delonte West | G | Saint Joseph’s
25. Boston Celtics (via Detroit)
Tony Allen | G | Oklahoma State
26. Sacramento Kings
Kevin Martin | G | Western Carolina
27. Los Angeles Lakers
Sasha Vujacic | G | Slovenia
28. San Antonio Spurs
Beno Udrih | G | Slovenia
29. Indiana Pacers
David Harrison | C | Colorado
The Highlighted picks were clearly the ones that everyone likes to draw attention to,
Why did Bab***** take Hoffa what seemed to be eight picks sooner then most “Experts” thought?
I am not going to sit here and defend the pick, but the reality is the Raps were working out Devin Harris and Luke Jackson pretty hard, and had Harris been there at eight I have little doubt he would have been taken, now of course there is the issue of why did he pass on Andre Iguodala? Here is a top five talent that fell to eight and panned out very well for Philly
Its amazing that after the draft everyone was all hot to trot on Luke Jackson, not a mention of Andre Iguodala from most fans.
Toronto could have easily taken Jackson, not a fan in the city would have been stunned and we would have had a guy who sat on IR for most of the season.
I still question the Araujo pick, but its far to early to write him off as a bust, after all its been one season and the guy is still huge which could turn out to be a big help in an East as big as it is.
Bab***** had been on the job for a few weeks prior to the draft, so what do you want? He relyed on the current scouting staff.
As for Free Agents,
The city went nuts, as did the critics when Bab***** signed Rafer Alston to a five year 21 million dollar contract with a sixth year option.
This based on a averaging 10.2 points and nearly five assists per game while shooting a healthy 37.1 percent from 3-point range with the Heat.
Well he came in and set career marks in every catagory that matters for a PG, and at the end of the day he is making 4.2 million a season?
I can tell you this is he was an UFA during this offseason of madness he would have easily landed six million and no one would have blinked.
As for Loren Woods, my response to that is simple, there are not many Centers who are seven foot that make about a million bucks that put up numbers like Woods did, sure he is not a starter, but for what he makes he is a steal.
Now we pull into the regular season, and Vince Carter demands a trade while putting up 15.8 ppg.
When Vince was dealt for basically Cap Space, Two Williams and two 1st round picks I was mad.
But after the draft I can say that the rage within me slowly flowed out of me,
I mean the deal as it sits is:
1st round pick in 2006
Charlotte has our next non-lottery pick, as a result of the Lammond Murray deal, thru Cleveland so that pick is very much an asset.
And Graham goes a long way in addressing a rebound issue we have had for YEARS, and with the freed cap space next season we have the flexability to address other issues.
And with rumors of Eric WIlliams, Lammond Murray (Who is an expiring contract this season) and Denvers pick floating around as being shopped for a Center, I cannot argue that the trade handed Toronto a series of assets,
Eric Williams is an Asset
Both PIcks were assets
Cap Space is an Asset
Vince Carter with his contract and the way he was playing was not an asset, and with rumors of him being dealt for expiring contracts as the other option I simply say boo to that,
Even if the Raps had cap space, look at the CRAZY contracts being signed, which is always the case after a new CBA is done up, and realistically the Hawks and Bulls had Caps space for years and no one wanted it.
Now we move onto the Donyell Marshell, lack of trade.
Look, some may argue that getting a 2nd round pick would have been worth it in hindsight, but the reality is is Bab***** had traded him for a pick the casual fans of Toronto would have gone nuts,
The best offers where for aging vets with HUGE contracts left, guys like Pollard and Croshier,
Why waste the time and the cap space on another stop gap center that will be like a bandaid,
Bab***** felt he would have more flexabilty with a sign and trade this offseason, it didn’t pan out but I would rather have nothing then a three year contract on a career back-up center.
Now we slide into this years draft,
The Draft that made me a Bab***** fan,
with pick seven the fans of Toronto Booed and hissed at Charlie Villenuava, and Stephen A. Smith tried to seek out his sound bite,
But it was amazing how he began to sink in his chair as big man after big man got drafted….
It seems Bab***** played the draft to a tee, all the fans who wanted a Granger or Green or Graham at 7 got a big wake up call when all of them where there at 16.
And then the anger over not taking a TRUE Center in Channing Fyre at 7, and taking a PF at 7 was just crazy,
Yet when I compare both of them:
Channing Frye, C, Arizona (6’11″, 250 lbs.)
Charlie Villanueva, F, Connecticut (6’11″, 230 lbs.)
Well next to high schooler Andrew Bynum, C, New Jersey HS (7’0″, 285 lbs.) No one was taller then CV3?
Now of course we sit back and here many of the armchair GM’s shame Bab***** for not taking Danny Granger or Gerald Green with 16.
To them I say, meh.
Greens family cheered TWICE when the raps passed him up, clearly not interest in playing in Toronto, and Danny Granger is basically Ed O’Bannon.
Granger played for a B-League School, and already has injury issues? how is he going to hold up in the NBA when playing against real ballers?
Bab***** took two guys from Top Tier Basketball programs, and that does translate in the NBA (Unless its Duke)
So for a guy who was stuck in a bad situation when he came aboard, I think Rob Bab***** is doing just fine