Pick, Blog and Roll

Friday, June 09, 2006

Raptors trade Baby for cap space, teen spirit

Rafael "Hoffa" Araujo (aka "Baby") has been an enigma since he broke into the league. His selection by the Raptors with the eighth pick in the 2004 draft didn't make all that much sense, even if he did appear to fill a need. There were better players available. Good players. Players that I had heard of. With better nicknames. Like "Iggy".

His college stats were good (18pts, 10rbs), which measures well against any centre in the 2006 draft. And he showed quickness and versatility in the post. We haven't seen much of either since. He seems too slow for the NBA game, is over-aggressive and foul prone, and doesn't appear to have caught on (or been taught) how to play position or help defense.

Perhaps these are deficiencies that can be corrected, and the Jazz may be the team to do it. Hoffa went to BYU, and has a following in Salt Lake City. And the Jazz have that "slow-but-serviceable" big man history going for them (see: Greg Ostertag, Mark Eaton). He's certainly not lacking in energy or effort, and appears committed to address the quickness issue, as evidenced when he dropped 20lbs before the start of the 2005-6 season. And, let it be said, he's got better offensive potential than the other stiffs they've worked with. Hoffa's got some game.

How about the guys coming to Toronto? Two underachievers with attitude problems, if the reports are right.

There's nothing inherently wrong with that. It's a low-risk trade; the Raptors weren't getting much from Baby anyway. And both Kris Humphries and Robert Whaley are decent per-40-minute rebounders, so they'll fill a need. Even if they only get 18 minutes of burn a night, combined.

The beloved "upside" of this transaction would appear to favor the Raptors more than Utah, given that Toronto has gained another million or so half-a-million in cap space. Although it does seem like the Jazz were looking to divest themselves of these players.

But let's be realistic -- to get talent in the NBA you either have to draft it, overpay, get lucky, or find bargains. It's pretty clear where Colangelo's thinking's at with this trade. He's shown a knack of getting value out of cast-offs (Boris Diaw, Eddie House) and underappreciated players (Marion, Bell). Will the trend continue?

While I'm asking questions, I wonder what Michael Stewart, Jelani McCoy, Jerome Moiso, Loren Woods, Maceo Baston, and Mamadou N'diaye think of the trade...

2 Comments:

  • Don't know about who the Raps got back for Hoffa.. indeed, it seems like a harmless trade. But is this possibly clearing some space at Centre, making room for Aldridge, or perhaps a draft pick for centre trade (zaza)?

    Side note, what about getting Magloire? Aren't the Bucks banking on Bogut going forward?

    By Blogger dombort, at 1:10 AM  

  • It would be nice to see Magloire in a Toronto uniform. But he's overpriced at $8mm/year, is due for a new contract after next season, and according to some observers, showing signs of slowing down. That being said there are reportedly as many as six teams interested in trading for him, with Memphis the most vocal. And I'm not sure that the Bucks would let him go easily -- their roster is pretty thin in the front-court after Bogut and Joe Smith. Ervin Johnson? Yikes!

    I agree that we're still in the market for a centre. Whether that's LaMarcus Aldridge or a free agent is another question. I can't see them taking Patrick O'Bryant after having just dealt Hoffa, in spite of the praise he's received of late.

    Matt Bonner seems to be the odd man out in this trade. The Raps have plenty of fire-power. They need bangers and rebounds more than Bonner's 3s (good) and wild drives in the lane (bad). He's got a pretty reasonable contract ($2mm) with only one year left on it. He could be dealt, perhaps in tandem with James.

    By Blogger Ben Jammin, at 2:15 AM  

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