Pick, Blog and Roll

Thursday, June 15, 2006

One player does not a team maketh

(aka "Jermaine O'Neal is not the solution")

Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal is allegedly on the trading block, and the net is rife with rumors about a possible Raptors-Pacers trade.

On the surface, it would appear to fill a need, and O'Neal is a very nice player. But one player does not a team maketh. Even a very good one.

Like Michael Jordan. Who didn't see post-season action or success until accompanied by Pippen, and solid complimentary cast.

Or Shaq. Who has always been surrounded by decent to very good players whenever he's achieved success, whether in Orlando (Hardaway, Anderson), Los Angeles (Kobe, Horry, Fisher, Fox), or Miami (Wade, Walker, Posey, Haslem).

Or Kobe. Nobody picked the Lakers to reach the playoffs this season. Phil Jax and Mamba proved the doubters wrong. But can you really say the 2005-6 season was a success?

Or Duncan. He's one of the top power forwards of all-time, but would Duncan's early championship success have happened without David Robinson at center? Now Duncan has Parker and Gino to share the load.

Or Garnett. He's Minnessota's 20 million dollar man, and consistently near the top of every player rating system on the planet. And he's only advanced past the first round of the playoffs once. And he didn't make it into the post-season in 2006.

Or Dirk. The Mavs are so loaded with talent it's rediculous. Jason Terry is (mostly) brilliant. Jerry Stackhouse is a killer. Keith Van Horn is decent, in spite of being much derided. Josh Howard is fantastic. Marquis Daniels is solid. Adrian Griffin is on the mend. And frankly, I would be quite pleased to have Dampier as the Raptor's center.

Which is why it makes no sense at all for the Raptors to trade Charlie Villanueva, the #1 pick in the lottery, and all of Toronto's cap space for Jermaine O'Neal and his $17-18mm contract.


O'Neal is very good. but he's not in the class of the players listed above. I'd rather keep CV3, add Bargani / Aldridge / Roy, and one very good + two decent role players via free agency.


  • Follow up: it occurs to me that the Raptors might have send the contracts of Alvin and Eric Williams to the Pacers to make this trade work. Which would free up some cap space. But I still don't like it.

    By Blogger Ben Jammin, at 2:31 PM  

  • Here's my worry:

    1. CV3 slips into old habits, gets comfortable, and is happy to coast along as a 14 and 7 kind of guy.
    2. Bargniani turns out to lack the physicality required in the NBA, made all that more evident due to Toronto lacking a strong center to draw coverage inside.

    Together, that spells a Raptors team with the same record as this year. Maybe the silver lining is that we could draw another pick next year..

    Getting O'Neal gives us something tangible - combined with CB4, we'd have one of the best 1 - 2 inside punches in the NBA. But can they share the scoring ..?


    If we do go the Bargniani route, and do not pick up a banging center, I think it means we're moving to a speed game, up and down the court a la Suns.. all we'd need is a guard who can shoot and hope to god that Bargniani can hack it in the NBA.

    By Blogger dombort, at 9:54 PM  

  • Don't get me wrong -- I like Jermaine O'Neal. I just think that trading for him would essentially paint the Raptors into a corner.

    The very reason that Indiana would seek to trade him is because his salary is a cap killer. Also of concern is his age. He's got a couple of good years ahead of him, but the big guys typically start to drop off quick once they hit their early thirties.

    Agree with you about Charlie. I'm concerned.

    As for the Bargnani vs [center] debate, remember that the Raptors have $14-15mm in cap space this summer. There are some OK free agents available in the classic mold: Nazr Mohammed (28), and Joel Przybilla (26). Nothing to get too excited about, but both have comparable stats to Eric Dampier, and wouldn't cut too deep into our cap space.

    Yesterday's article on Bargnani by Chris Ford was also interesting in noting that Andrea's up to 250lbs. And then there's the unnamed "NBA exec" (give me a break, it's Colangelo) who's touting Bargani as a center:

    "As one NBA executive left the court on Monday, he looked at me, smiled, held up five fingers and whispered, 'Don't you think he can play a little five in our league someday?' For many NBA teams, five is still the magic number."

    By Blogger Ben Jammin, at 2:33 AM  

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