Great, another 3-point guy…

Well, the Raptors have dipped into free agency and picked up Jason Kapono from the Miami Heat on a 4 year deal. A few beat guys had talked about this one coming through, so good on them for picking up on it. I’m just not sure if this is the kind of guy I think the Raptors need right now.

The one thing that almost everybody knows the Raptors need is a guy who can attack the basket, a forward who can knock down an outside shot, but is more comfortable taking it to the rim with aggression. Jason Kapono is not that guy. Is he a good player? Yes. But I am a little nervous about a guy whose career field goal percentage is lower than his 3-point percentage. There could be an argument made that while he is first in 3-point percentage, that he ranks 43rd in the league in 3-pointers made, suggesting that he takes good looks and doesn’t force the issue, but in the end, I’m not looking for Kapono to dunk on anybody.

Once Daequan Cook was taken in Thursday’s draft, I had a feeling Kapono might be coming this way, because that selection showed that Miami wasn’t going to be throwing any cash to keep Kapono around. I still wasn’t sure if he was going to be coming to Toronto, because while his style of play may actually suit what the Raptors are doing, I didn’t think he was really the piece they needed.

Outside of his not really being a guy who can attack the basket, there’s another big problem with his game. The dude can’t play defense. He would what an announcer would call a “defensive liability”. I’ve seen guys blow by him like he was stapled to the ground and he knack for looking over his shoulder to see what play he just missed kind of reminds me of that look Hoffa used to have in the middle of the lane (did you hear that the Jazz may be offering him a deal? WHA?). The Raptors need some defensive work, which includes rebounding and that isn’t going to come from Kapono.

On a good note, hopefully, having a serious 3-point threat will create some more room for Bosh and Andrea down low (note: “Andrea” and “down low” are not commonly seen next to each other, we’re hoping this will change). Also, there’s nothing better to start (or stop) a rally than a 3-pointer. If there was ever a final nail in the coffin for MoPete, this would be it. Heartbreak in Toronto on Canada Day.

So at this point, the Raptors have picked up Delfino (after a lot of thought, I’m 50-50 on that one), Kapono (I’m also 50-50 on that one) and some Greek God, Giorgos Printezis. Now let’s quickly talk about Printezis. To put it out dead straight, I have never seen him play. Not even a YouTube clip. But I have read some different stuff about him, which may or may not equate to anything. That being said, from what I have read, the kid can play some D and likes to attack the rim. Let’s not harp on the fact that he looks like a bad night at Palazzo (circa 1993…click here to see what I am talking about), he sounds like the kind of young talent the Raptors need.

So…um…do the Raptors like Americans anymore?

17 Comments

S.K.  on July 2nd, 2007

Didn’t we trade Kapono to San Antonio in the Nesterovic deal?
Oh.. that was Matt Bonner. I guess I got confused because THEY’RE THE SAME PLAYER.

S.K.  on July 2nd, 2007

In fact, here’s Kapono last season compared to Bonner (courtesy of 82games.com):
- Kapono takes a much higher percentage of his shots from the perimeter (*sigh*) and gets blocked more often when he goes inside.
- Kapono shoots a higher percentage, from the field and from the line (though this was a down year for Bonner).
- Bonner is a better rebounder (although I think this was a better year than usual for him… either way, Kapono sucks at rebounding.)
- Kapono is a much better passer, and turns the ball over less.
- Bonner blocks a shot once in a blue moon. Kapono blocked a shot once in ninth grade.

So… look, I trust Colangelo. But it’s saying something when I’m honestly wondering if the team wouldn’t have been better off just saving the money and signing no one. Does anyone really think Kapono will be worth more than the veteran’s minimum in three seasons?

pugz_pinoy  on July 2nd, 2007

i don’t know about this signing. we need a slasher or a good rebounder. hell even chris bosh jacks up jumpers! we don’t need another shooter

Jay  on July 3rd, 2007

The Bonner comment could be one of the funniest things ever posted on RF. Funny and true. Bonner was at least able to pull in a few boards and could get rough when necessary, that sure as hell isn’t going to happen with Kapono.

Doug Smith made a comment that Kapono had to be able to play SOME D or Pat Riley wouldn’t have had him on the floor, because Riley doesn’t play guys who don’t play defense. Well, first, that is completely bogus. Pat Riley will play a guy if he knows specifically what he is going to get out of that guy in a certain moment. That is why Kapono wasn’t getting huge minutes. Also, you are able to play some D when you are in some sort of defensive system. The Raptors have shown time and again that they have NO defensive system. I’m sorry, I just don’t get this one.

Jay  on July 3rd, 2007

One other point here. Wouldn’t you rather have MoPete shooting at a lower percentage, but with great D than Kapono shooting a high percentage with no D? I was discussing this with a few people today and there is a sense that MoPete is undervalued. People always undervalue D, but when crunch time came in the playoffs, look what you need.

Sorry Kapono, you’re really going to have to show me something this season, because if you’re the nail in MoPete’s coffin, then it is now personal with me. PERSONAL!!! I AM OFF THE FENCE. I DON’T LIKE THE KAPONO DEAL. Not saying he won’t do well, but I just don’t see how he really makes the Raptors better.

D.C  on July 3rd, 2007

I can’t believe people are so eager to doubt Colangelo, and the comparisons of Kapono to Bonner. Kapono was the 3rd leading scorer in UCLA history, lead the NBA in 3 point shooting, set an all star weekend record, has an upside, and plays a different position! Bonner has arms proportionally similar to that of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, which prevented him from executing simple layups. He often finds himself lost on the floor and gained some points on a bad team. Although I love Peterson, he’d crank up random shots which hurt the team.

Colangelo turned a poor shooting percentage team into one of the best. Although, he might have paid too much for his services the team has more talent now then last year and he’s not done yet. I’m expecting a trade from the log jammed positions soon, and I’m hoping Dixon goes. Maglore would be a perfect fit… Oh, and Delfino and Parker will do enough slashing.

S.K.  on July 4th, 2007

Kapono had a career year last year, and he definitely was terrific shooting the ball. But he was pretty poor every year before that in his career - he had a .613 TS% last year, but his second highest total (and his career mark) is .540, and Bonner’s beat that all three years of his career. Bonner also has a rebound rate nearly twice as high as Kapono, turns the ball over less, and GOES INSIDE MORE OFTEN, AT A BETTER SUCCESS RATE. 94% of Kapono’s shots last year were jumpers, and he got blocked an insane 13% of the time when he did venture inside.

Bonner had a lot of faults, but he brought a deeper variety of skills to the table than Kapono, who is entirely dependant on his outside shooting for value. Kapono is only a better player than Bonner if he shoots a MUCH higher percentage, and he’s only done that once in their respective careers (Kapono is only a year younger than Bonner, not sure why you think he has much more of an upside).

S.K.  on July 4th, 2007

Oh, and one other set of numbers:
Jason Kapono’s Career numbers (per 40 minutes):
4.3 REB, 0.9 ST 0.1 BL
Morris Peterson’s Career numbers (per 40):
5.1 REB, 1.4 ST, 0.3 BL
Morris Peterson’s Career-LOW numbers (the lowest numbers of his career in each category, per 40)):
4.5 REB, 1.2 ST, 0.2 BL

So basically in Kapono we have a guy who does one thing better than MoPete (shoot 3-pointers) and is worse than MoPete at EVERY OTHER SKILL RELEVANT TO THE GAME OF BASKETBALL.

Jay  on July 4th, 2007

Can we also throw out the comment that Kapono was the 3rd leading scorer in UCLA history. I mean who cares? I mean, Hoffa was Co-Player of the Year in the Mountain West Conference in his senior year at BYU. Lesson learned? Throw college stats out the window.

Also, it’s not a matter of doubting Colangelo, it’s just that I’m not going to think he has some supreme wisdom that ensures everything he does works out perfectly. He’s still human, he will make mistakes (Jason Kidd for “Starbury” anyone?), he will just make less of them than other GMs.

I think I was reading in the Sun (could have been somewhere else) that if you’re going to buy a one-trick pony, it better be a really good trick. That’s what we’re hoping here with Kapono.

D.C  on July 4th, 2007

I guess we’ll see what happens, and you’re right historical college benchmarks don’t mean anything. You do have to give some credit for last year and his all star shooting performance. Oh, and another point you can make for Kapono… he might have more turn overs, but he’s a 6-8 player that has a high basketball IQ and can play point guard (not that I’d want him to) - Bonner couldn’t dribble. I’m not joining the Kapono fan club by any means. I just think Colangelo should be given some credit, and Kapono LED the league in 3 point percentage = respect. You can’t go around seriously comparing him to Boner, the man his abnormally short arms.

I’m a Peterson fan, but he let his defense slip last year and was benched because of it. He was also very inconsistent. As a coach, I’d rather a role player that I could count on come off the bench. It’s going interesting to seeing the pick and roll with Bosh and Kapono.

However, I think he was overpaid. I’d like to see Luke Jackson take that role. He’s a great team player who slashes and shoots a nice average. I could see him developing in the summer league, and earning a spot if (when) a trade occurs.

Jay  on July 4th, 2007

Whoooooaaaa…hold on, MoPete was benched last year because of his D? No, MoPete was benched last year because of his inconsistent offense. When it got to playoff time, who was on the floor to bring some D to the game? Yeah, MoPete.

I give absolutely no credit whatsoever for a performance in an All-Star shooting competition. Let’s remember, that competition is something that Voshon Lenard has won. Still not convinced? How about ‘96 champ Tim Legler. Ready to put either of those guys right into your lineup? Er…

I’m also not sold on his basketball IQ or else he wouldn’t get blown by on D so often. People can talk about athleticism and how a lack of it can be exposed on D, but look at Garbo. That guy is slow, but damn if he isn’t always in the right place. He makes each step count.

Overpaid? Yeah, probably, but I don’t care too much about that. I think you’re right with the pick and roll, but I also envision TJ taking it to the rack more if opposing teams have to respect the 3 more. Watch for that.

Let’s not look for Luke Jackson to do anything special (if he’s here). He won’t get the minutes, so we have to be realistic.

Oh yeah, Bonner just signed a 3 year deal with the Spurs. I guess he’s good enough for the champs to offer him a deal for more than he makes now, short arms or no.

D.C  on July 4th, 2007

lol, all good points. I’ve been a Luke fan since college - partially because I like yelling LUUUKE, and it was hard to see Dixon missing shots and getting PT this year.

I’ll have to call you on Peterson…he definitely picked it up during the playoffs, but he blew his assignments during the regular season, and struggled at team defense. Mitchell doesn’t care about offense, as long as you don’t take stupid shots (which he did from time to time). Sure Peterson’s great at one on one defense, but Parker showed how it’s done this year. I don’t want to take anything away from Peterson. He has an amazing attitude and pushed himself every game. It was just the consistency. Oh, and just a comment for a comments sake - Anthony Parker is definitely the most over looked player on the team.

Ideally the Raptors would have signed Magloire and Gerald Wallace, but that’s not realistic. The raptors couldn’t afford any of the top players this year. And if you check off the big free agents that were unattainable, Kapono’s name comes to the top. I’m still checking the sports daily for a trade.

Jay  on July 4th, 2007

Parker is a stud. He really showed me something when he started throwing down on guys last year.

Dixon was great until right before playoffs and then the wheels fell off. He didn’t look as bad on D as I thought he might, but man, he was two players last year.

I’m not sure why people in Toronto always come back to Magloire. I don’t get it. He’s not the saviour.

In a perfect world, the Raptors would have been able to get Wallace, pack up and call it a day, but it is just impossible. To put it in perspective, there was talk about Darko coming to town and that clown wants $10 million per. TEN! This guy couldn’t even get on the floor a few years ago. He would also need a COMPLETE attitude overhaul, but let’s not even get into that conversation.

Luuuuuuuuuuke.

D.C  on July 4th, 2007

Parkers my favorite player right now and Jose’s attitude’s great. The perfect fit would be my favorite young player - Luol Deng. Which will never happen, but the guy’s made from ice and I’m allowed to dream. My main concern is rebounding and interior strength. This is why I mention Magloire. I’m not a huge fan of his, but I’ve witnessed him push Rasho all over the floor. With all the new players in the east, especially the Knicks and Magic a strong or at least competitive inside D is a must.

Jay  on July 4th, 2007

Luol Deng is awesome. If you want to watch something cool this year, watch the whole “inside-outside” deal they will have going on in Orlando with Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis. That should be entertaining.

Rasho does get pushed around a bit for a big guy and gets posterized A LOT. But he pretty much does what you can expect of him. He’ll see more bench this year as the Raptors tinker more with Bargnani.

The Knicks are an explosion waiting to happen. Randolph is there and if this dude was able to get in trouble in the past places, wait until he comes stumbling out of Scores one night. Guns clapping in 3,2,1…and they’re talking about getting Artest too! I said to S.K. today, when you put a lot of gunslingers in a gunfight…somebody’s gonna get shot! At least they got Stevie Franchise Killer out of there. Man, that dude is starting to get a Chris Childs body…and that ain’t a good thing.

S.K.  on July 5th, 2007

I was only comparing Kapono to Bonner because they’re the same player (which they are, seriously). But the player Kapono will be replacing is Peterson, and I’d rather have an inconsistent defender with skill than one who is consistently terrible. And Kapono’s year last year was wildly out of context with the rest of his career when it comes to shooting (his only skill, remember) - maybe he’s suddenly become a different player in his fourth year in the NBA, but is it wise to commit $24 million to that idea? I’d say not.

D.C  on July 6th, 2007

Ya, it was expensive… I’d much rather see a 3 year contract. I can see myself getting upset at the lack of rebounding.

Elvin William’s contract comes off the books next year, which will give some more flexibility.

The suns and spurs scored with Hill and Oberto. I would have liked to see either of those players in Toronto.

Isiah Thomas is awesome… he provides me with continual source of entertainment. I’m not sure if he’s trying to recreate the Detroit bad boys, or just trying to waste all of the knicks money. He forgets that Detroit was hardworking and dedicated to a system. New York doesn’t have a system, and is far from a working mans team. I bet most players haven’t worked hard day.