After telling you how I disagreed with the thought that Colangelo is attempting to recreate the Phoenix Suns in the East, my thoughts on the current roster make-up of the Raptors
now creates a very glaring internal irony for me. If you look fairly closely at the player skill sets and how they play, you will actually notice a pretty strong similarity between the current roster of the Raptors
and the make up of the Phoenix Suns. While I used to laugh at the notion that Colangelo would be re-creating an Eastern Conference version of the 2005 Phoenix Suns, he may just have re-created in Toronto a similar style and roster to the 2008-09 Phoenix Suns. Here is a quick look at what i’m thinking:
Center: Jermaine O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal
Both players have been the subject of criticism that their careers are in decline. However, regardless of how well either one plays in comparison to 4 or 5 years ago, no one will deny they are game changers on defense through intimidation in the paint and strong defensive rebounding abilities.
Power Forward: Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire
and Stoudemire are freaks of nature when it comes to their ability to score in a variety of ways regardless of their size. It is still uncommon to see power forwards put the ball on the floor with such ease, have deep range on their jump shots, and yet still dominate opponents in the post with footwork when a bucket is needed. Both Bosh
and Stoudemire not only can create their own shot, but have great hands in traffic when on the receiving end of passes from teammates.
Small Forward: Jamario Moon, Matt Barnes
Jamario moon has made a name for himself in the NBA for being a high flyer. But the real Cinderella story surrounding Moon is predicated on his ability to rebound, hustle, defend, and do whatever else is necessary to help the team win. These skills and attributes of Moon are exactly the reason the Phoenix Suns signed Golden State Warriors forward Matt Barnes. Barnes has coupled his athleticism and speed with a toughness and grit on defense that helps him bring similar traits to the table as Jamario Moon. They both are excellent defenders, shot blockers, and rebounder’s, but the biggest offensive similarity is their ability to hit the open jump shot up to and including 3-pt range.
Shooting Guard: Anthony Parker, Raja Bell
Probably two of the more unsung heroes on their respective squads. These two guys are given the job night in and night out of defending the oppositions top perimeter scorer. How would you like to be in charge of shutting down Kobe Bryant, TMac, Lebron James, or DWade? What amazes me most about these two similar role players, is their ability to still have something in the tank for offense. You rarely see these two guys take “bad shots”, as they have excellent discipline and sweet strokes from the perimeter.
Point Guard: Jose Calderon, Steve Nash
It’s really hard to compare anyone to Steve Nash. Let’s face it, there is nobody like him and there probably never will be. But if someone put a gun to my head and told me to name a player most like Steve Nash, i’d undoubtedly throw out the name Jose Calderon. Both players are amazing passers and ball handlers, but unselfish to a fault. And what is that fault? The fact that these guys are such high percentage shooters for a guard, it makes it almost too bad that they don’t shoot more often. However, both possess a special trait of just somehow knowing when their team needs a scoring spark and then they aren’t shy about getting the job done. Stoudemire and Bosh
might be the scoring leaders on their respective teams, but everything on offense starts and finishes with Nash and Calderon.
I don’t presume to know who the eventual starters will be on either squad heading into the new season, and I realize that there are many differences in some of the other players that fill out these rotations like Andrea Bargnani, Grant Hill etc. But the roster similarities are enough to have me admiring the genius of Colangelo and Kerr in building a well rounded squad for success in the ‘New NBA’. This next season or two for the Raptors
will determine whether this masterpiece of Colangelo’s will have us all calling him “MiColangelo“.