With Julyan Stone now signed with the Raptors to back up Kyle Lowry, there is still a question of getting a first point guard off the bench. Stone may be fine as a 3rd string depth point guard, but has never really shown the promise to be the number one backup. There are a plethora of point guards in the free agency pool this year. I’m sure Masai Ujiri will have his own list of candidates lined up and here are a few of mine.
Jun 9, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Chauncey Billups (right) is awarded the inaugural Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award trophy honoring best teammate in the NBA during by commissioner David Stern during a press conference prior to game two of the 2013 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Despite having injury concerns the past few seasons Chauncey Billups is an interesting free agent. Once a Raptor before being traded to Denver, it would be nice to bring back a veteran leader who could help guide and mentor the young players. Billups does turn 37 years old this year, so his age mixed with injury plagued seasons lately is a concern for any team that signs him. Billups’ career statistics are stellar, averaging 15.4 points per game (PPG), 5.5 Assists per game (APG) with 41.6% field goal percentage (FG%) and shooting 38.8% from the 3 point line (3P%). These are all great numbers for a point guard.
Another former Raptor of interest is Jarrett Jack. Jack played well last year coming off the bench for the Golden State Warriors. He provided a spark with 12.9 PPG, 5.6 APG, 45.2 FG% and 40.4 3P%. These are very good numbers for a reserve. I believe that Jack matured last year into the productive player the Raptors were hoping for back in 2009-2011 seasons when he was a Raptor. I for one, would be happy to see him return.
Darren Collison has only been in the NBA for 4 years (it feels longer). He began his career withNew Orleans, was traded to Indiana, then Dallas. If he signs with a different team than the previous 3 he’ll be with a fourth team in 5 years. This is very unusual for a point guard in the NBA, although it might mean he can come cheap(er) due to his journeyman like career. Last year Collison averaged 12 PPG, 5.1 APG, 47.1 FG% and 35.3 3P%. I would not take him over Billups or Jack however.
Somewhat of an unknown is Charles Jenkins. He achieved 3 double doubles (10+ points and assists in the same game) in his rookie season with Golden State. He also had a great run as a starter in the 2011-12 season when Stephen Curry was injured. Jenkins is still a young player, potentially entering his 3rd year in the NBA next season as he is considering playing overseas if he does not get an NBA offer to his liking. During his first two seasons he averaged 3.7 PPG, 1.9 APG, 40.5 FG%, and 18.2 3P%. If the Raptors were to pursue him his 3 point shot would need to be improved or removed from his game.
I didn’t want to talk about Mighty Mouse, but I guess I have no choice. No I’m not talking about Damon Stoudamire, but Nate Robinson. Despite Nate Robinson’s reputation as an immature player, he played a much more composed and highly productive role for the Chicago Bulls this past season. That role only increased in the playoffs where he was sensational. During the NBA playoffs this season Nate averaged 16.3 PPG, 4.4 APG, 43.6 FG% and 33.8 3P% on 33.7 minutes per game. During that playoff run was the first time Nate averaged over 30 minutes per game and responded to the starting role and pressure of the playoffs very well.
Some of you may be disappointed that I have left off Jose Calderon or perhaps other point guards that are available. There certainly have been a lot of point guards to look at this off-season so I chose some that I believe would be a good fit for the Toronto Raptors. Will Masai Ujiri pull the trigger and sign one of these guys or is someone else on his radar?