Jun 27, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Lucas Nogueira poses for a photo with NBA commissioner David Stern after being selected as the number sixteen overall pick to the Boston Celtics during the 2013 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Raptors 1st off-season move: Welcome Lou Williams and Lucas Nogueira

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

1st of July yesterday, and apart from Canada Day, It’s the day that the free agency officially begins.

Toronto Raptors started their restructuring just one day before July 1st, with a trade that brought PG/SG Lou Williams and 7.0” Brazilian center Lucas (Bebe) Nogueira from Atlanta Hawks for John Salmons.

Masai did his magic again in my opinion, trading a surplus player whose career is in decline (Salmons), for a talented guard (Williams) who may have some post-injury concerns (we will talk about it later) and an intriguing young 7-footer (Nogueira).

Williams has been a very dynamic and effective bench player (making just 54 starts in 554 games over nine seasons) who holds career averages of 11.4 points and 3.1 assists in 22.6 minutes per game. He has drawn comparisons to Jamal Crawford, mostly due to his efficiency coming from the bench.

During 2012-2013 season, Williams suffered a knee injury (tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee), that resulted a surgery and absence from action for almost one year. When he returned back, he still had good stats (10.4 points and 3.5 assists per game) but with poor shooting percentages, the worst since 2008-2009 season.

Even with these stats, the Raptors acquired a very effective bench player, who has the ability to “steal” minutes from Vasquez but even from DeRozan, thus giving our team more depth with talented players.

Acquiring Williams doesn’t neccesarily means we are going to lose Lowry and Vasquez. It may result De Colo’s departure, because now his minutes will be even more limited. As you can see, I’m not even thinking of losing Lowry. If the unexpected comes, Williams could help a lot even as a starter.

About Nogueira, I believe he’s an intriguing acquisition, but must be considered as a long-term project. He never participated in any NBA game, because he stayed in Europe after his draft and he didn’t play a lot of minutes there, but even with his limited time in Europe he shown his talent, especially on the defensive and shot-blocking end. We are in a desperate need of a help at the Center position, so every kind of acquisition in this spot is welcoming. I hope that he will have his chance to show his talent during the Summer League, and help his younger compatriot teammate Caboclo to feel more comfortable. I’m not sure if he is NBA-ready right now, but he’s the same age as Jonas Valanciunas, so he has a lot to learn.

Happy Canada day folks, and happy Free agency / Trade period!

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