As the 2011-2012 NBA season concluded following the 4-1 Miami Heat victory, eventually leading to their championship, it is now time to move on to the fresh off-season.
Yes, this is where all the bad teams get their lime light with the NBA draft, and once again, the Toronto Raptors are in this position once again after having a somewhat disappointing previous season.
This year, will be extremely intriguing, for many different reasons.
First of all, the draft. We all know that crazier things have happened this season. For certain, we are not getting an Anthony Davis, but a good player that can add to the youth and depth of this team. Many names have popped from Austin Rivers, Jeremy Lamb, Harrison Barnes, just to name a few. These players are all lottery potential players, and can make an impact on any team they go to.
Austin Rivers is not listed as a high lottery pick.. but Toronto might make a case for it.
The one player that I think the Raptors need most is… Austin Rivers.
Obviously, this guy has already made a name for himself in college, having that dramatic game winner over North Carolina as a freshman. Now, he enters into the draft knowing he’ll make it to the NBA, but not knowing where he’ll land.
Enter the Raptors.
Toronto have not had a scoring machine in their time excluding Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh, who can create their own shot and is not afraid to take the final shot of the game. Austin Rivers has proven that he is a great one on one player, something that the Raptors offense has lacked when a play is broken.
Rivers has been thought of cocky, and more of a shooting guard. However, as he’s stated himself, it is a healthy type of alter ego that every great player has. From Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, to today’s Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook’s, Kevin Durant’s, they all have a different character in their game on the court. Austin Rivers is no different, and this type of character is somewhat lacking in Toronto. Of course, players lose temper when things don’t go their way, but having that extra swagger is important for success in this league.
Think of this. If Michael didn’t think he could score on every player in the league in his time, he wouldn’t have been the best player in the world. Even Kobe can attest to this. If he never believed in himself, and hyping himself up to being the best scorer and closer in this era, Kobe would not be the same Kobe we know now.
Enough of that talk, let’s move on his point guard qualities. Of course, Austin Rivers is a scorer first, pass second player, which is the new type of guard in the league anyways. The Derrick Rose’s, Russell Westbrook’s, Tony Parker’s, their mentality is to score first. This is really lacking of Toronto, as they do not have that player who can score at will and not be stopped cold after a miss.
All in all, I believe the 8th pick should be stuck to the Raptors, and we should use that for Austin Rivers.
Now there are other choices, such as package the deal and an expiring contract (Jose Calderon) for a younger point guard like Kyle Lowry, or a forward like Rudy Gay, Andre Igoudala, Luol Deng and get them, but I feel the free agency market is great already, and the pick should be stuck to let our team grow together.
Whatever happens, it will be a very interesting night for sure, and it’s something I would not miss.