Raptors HQ: Filling the Gaps: Mensah-Bonsu vs Delfino
Old 07-23-2009, 10:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Raptors HQ: Filling the Gaps: Mensah-Bonsu vs Delfino



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With the Raptors still looking to solidify their final roster, Vicious D takes a look at two remaining Toronto free agents; Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Carlos Delfino...

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In moves that rival Colangelo's Raptors makeover from a few years ago, the Toronto Raptors are quickly becoming the NBA team that has undergone the most changes. As a result, they may be the most interesting team to watch gel in all of the NBA - no other team has really looked to adapt so much new talent at so many positions.

Still, the Raptors have money not yet spent and a few roster spots to fill.

Going by what Bryan Colangelo said at the Jarrett Jack presser, it seems that we can make several assertions:

1) Roko Ukic is not entirely happy with his situation and his agent is looking to facilitate a move. This should not come as a surprise to Raptors fans as he also felt the same way playing in Europe as a third option. As a result, every year he moved to a different European team, first to FC Barcelona and later to Virtus Roma.

2) Carlos Delfino may very well be content to head back over to Russia to keep playing for Khimki Moscow. No one knows what the Raptors have offered him, but the Euroleague and Moscow's weather do not seem to bother the Argentinian as much as previously indicated.

3) Pops Mensah-Bonsu may still be on the Raptors' radar screen as he remains unsigned. His agent has kept a constant dialogue with the Raptors but it's unsure how far apart financially or how interested the Raptors may be.

When looking at Colangelo's statements, Carlos Delfino, and Pops Mensah-Bonsu each have unique skill sets that can help the Raptors. However, Delfino may have more in common with Ukic as the addition of Jarrett Jack has made some his skillset redundant. Looking at a quick roster breakdown, the Raptors have obvious depth issues at certain positions

Position

Point Guard - J. Calderon, J. Jack, Q. Douby, R. Ukic, M. Banks

Shooting Guard - D. DeRozan, J. Jack, A. Wright, H. Turkoglu, Q. Douby

Small Forward - H. Turkoglu, D. George, A. Wright, A. Bargnani

Power Forward - C. Bosh, R. Evans, A. Bargnani

Center - A. Bargnani, P. O'Bryant



It's no secret that the Raptors have covetted Delfino's skillset. Able to defend most players, make the occassional 3-pointer, and even play some point on the national team, the Raptors made heavy overtures to Delfino at the start of the summer. However, we can already see from this very rough depth chart that Point Guard and Shooting Guard positions are no longer areas that the Raptors lack depth in. Thanks to players that can play multiple positions, I'd argue that point guard and shooting guard seem to be the most solid positions for the Raptors.

Looking at Pops Mensah-Bonsu, we have a different story.

As a player that the Raptors have advised to attempt to expand his game to the small forward position, Mensah-Bonsu will not be someone who will be able to defend as well as Delfino can on the floor. In fact, if there is one area that Mensah-Bonsu may be a detriment to the team, it's on defense. Nevertheless, as a player that brings energy to the team, can rebound in traffic, draw fouls, and attacks the basket with ruthless abandon, Pops Mensah-Bonsu's abilities include many that are still not in great abundance on this Raptors team. Perhaps more importantly, if Pops is able to expand his game to cover the Small Forward position, it gives the Raptors depth at both the SF and PF positions; something that I feel is sorely lacking currently.

At the end of the day, Carlos Delfino was never going to be a guy that would be worth around $5 million and I've always questioned what Delfino believes his worth to be. In turning down the Raptors' initial qualifying offer last year, it was obvious to most of us that the Raptors' and Delfino's opinions of his worth were miles apart. A year later, the Raptors find themselves offering him less than Khimki Moscow due to the market. There's just no way that I can see the Raptors justifying that Delfino is worth as much as Jarrett Jack, especially in this economic climate.

Instead, if you haven't guessed by now, I would much rather see the Raptors take their money and spend it on Pops Mensah-Bonsu. By starting to offer $3 million a year and going no more than the $4 million a year, the Raptors will address some of their athleticism and depth questions. As a player who helped change the energy level on the floor at times, Mensah-Bonsu would give an almost Jerome Williamsesque presence to a team that last year suffered from lethargic play on many a night. As a cheaper alternative, Mensah-Bonsu addresses depth issues that are prevalent on this roster without affecting their remaining exeptions, allowing the Raptors to still spend their money to further strengthen their front-court with free agents.

It's anyone's guess how the final spots on the roster play out, but between Pops and Count Chocula, my vote is on the former and hopefully BC eventually feels this way too.
Source - Filling the Gaps: Mensah-Bonsu vsDelfino - Raptors HQ
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Old 07-23-2009, 10:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Pops does not address depth issues at this point, thankfully.

And the problem last season was not lethargy. The had a flameout like Solomon as a floor general when a hobbled Calderon wasn't out there. There was no way to compensate for all the weakness on the perimeter and ended up just giving up three point shots in order to keep from giving up easy points in the paint. It was a lack of NBA ready players, not a lack of effort. Pops arrived just as Marion was starting to get fully integrated, otherwise he wouldn't have had much of a chance to shine himself. The dude had a couple of nice weeks wjere he showcased his athleticism, but never showed any real offensive game outside of putbacks - and even on enough of those he proved to be lacking. He just doesn't add anything to a solid team, which I hope we have here now.
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Old 07-23-2009, 10:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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We don't necessarily lack depth at the two but we are hurting for depth a bit at the three. Can't say I'm confident with Devean George coming in off the bench. If Delfino is signed, Antoine Wright can be slotted in at the backup three spot and it will essentially solve the depth issues at either wing spot.

I do think that inking Rasho is more significant than this issue though - the big man situation off the bench is much more dire than what's going on at either wing.
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Old 07-23-2009, 11:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I absolutely agree with this one 110% Rasho should be #1 priority still, but Pops would be a much more worthwhile use of the 15th roster spot than Carlos Delfino.
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Old 07-23-2009, 11:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hey I want Pops back on the team just about as much as any fan of his but at 3-4mil that's just ridiculous! Bringing Pops back would address some issues in the frontcourt but at that salary it would not justify his role on the team. A salary between 1-1.5 mil sounds reasonable considering he hasn't REALLY done much in his career thus far.
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Old 07-23-2009, 12:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i dunt fink pops is the guy we need, we need someone that is hungry for getting rebounds and arn't afraid of sacrificing their body to defend against 4 and 5's. All pops really does is jump around and occasionally outruns his defender in fast breaks and get dunks. We need defence and rebound, something our starting big men lack. GEt rasho, or at least someone than is bigger than pops
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Old 07-23-2009, 01:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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First of all signing Pops for 3 to 4 million would be mildly retarded. Secondly he fits in our depth chart even less than Delfino

If we sign a 5th big it has to be a guy who can play center because then he can cover injuries to either our PFs or Centers. This is because of Bargnani's flexibility at both positions. Whenever Bosh or Evans gets injured, Bargnani will take their minutes. If it's Bosh, he'll play 35-40 at PF and the C minutes will be split between Rasho and the new C. If it's Evans, he'll play 15 and 20 at C, then the other 28 will go to Rasho or the new C.

Signing Pops to be our specific backup PF makes no sense because it'd mean O'Bryant is still our specific backup C. If we're going to get a new big we might as well get a guy that can play both those positions
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Old 07-23-2009, 03:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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So 3-4Mil for Pops, yet 4-5Mil for Delfino is too much. This guy's got a screw loose.
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Old 07-23-2009, 04:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Pops is not worth anything more than a minimum contract.

On backup SF - both Wright and DeRozan are around 6'7" and could play backup minutes @ 3. This, interestingly enough, would allow Jack to slide between 1 and 2, depending on a match-up.
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Old 07-23-2009, 04:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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bye bye POPs, liked ya but won't want to be ya
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Old 07-23-2009, 05:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I want Pops back!

Delfino is not coming back to the Raps...
http://raptorsrepublic.com/blog/2009...finos-options/
http://fansided.com/2009/07/22/delfi...unds-familiar/


hes getting around "10 millions dollars, plus a house, a car (with a driver), and less taxes" he is gonna stay in Russia

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Old 07-23-2009, 08:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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We could afford Rasho, Pops, and Delfino; although with the cap expected to drop, as well as the addition of Jack, I would just sign Rasho and Pops. This maintains some financial flexibility while also providing more minutes for DeRozan to develop than if Delfino were here. His best assets are decent shooting (which we have plenty of), slightly above average defense (although probably not as good as Jack, Wright, or even potentially DeRozan, if he's given enough minutes to develop that area of his game), and ball-handling (again, not as good as Jack, why pay both of them 4-5 mill?).

Projected Depth Chart w/ Rasho & Pops:
PG: J. Calderon, J. Jack, Q. Douby, R. Ukic, M. Banks
SG: D. DeRozan, J. Jack, A. Wright, Q. Douby, D. George
SF: H. Turkoglu, A. Wright, D. DeRozan, D. George, A. Bargnani, P. Mensah-Bonsu
PF: C. Bosh, R. Evans, A. Bargnani, P. Mensah-Bonsu
C: A. Bargnani, R. Nesterovic, C. Bosh, P. O'Bryant

That's not too bad. Decent depth at every position (except maybe still centre but we can probably only afford Rasho). Hedo, Bosh, and Bargs will have to make a serious commitment to rebounding but other than that we have good shooters, vastly improved athleticism, and multiple playmakers. Defensively we may struggle but should improve significantly over last year's version. We've got a new defensive assistant coach in Marc Iavaroni and Jack, Wright, Hedo (when he puts his mind to it), George, Bosh (when he too puts his mind to it), Rasho, and potentially DeRozan are all capable defenders. Calderon should defend better than last year as he will be healthy and rested with a very good backup PG to spell him. Even Bargnani is consistently improving in this regard. Our offense has a great deal of potential, if our defense is even average we are probably looking at the 4th seed with this team.

The only way I want Delfino is if we can unload Ukic for a 2nd-round draft pick, then sign Delfino for either 1 year - $3.5-4 mill (maybe a bit higher if need be, doesn't really matter if it's only one year) or 2-3 years - $3-3.5 mill per (could also be a bit higher if the contract if front-loaded).

(By the way, I would prefer to have both Pops and possibly Delfino (as in the aforementioned scenario) sign front-loaded contracts. This way our financial commitment to them shrinks along with the cap. What do you guys think?)

Last edited by canada_rocks2369; 07-23-2009 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 07-23-2009, 08:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by canada_rocks2369 View Post

Projected Depth Chart w/ Rasho & Pops:
PG: J. Calderon, J. Jack, Q. Douby, R. Ukic, M. Banks
SG: D. DeRozan, J. Jack, A. Wright, Q. Douby
SF: H. Turkoglu, A. Wright, D. DeRozan, A. Bargnani, D. George, P. Mensah-Bonsu
PF: C. Bosh, R. Evans, A. Bargnani, P. Mensah-Bonsu
C: A. Bargnani, R. Nesterovic, C. Bosh, P. O'Bryant
Hahhhhhhhhh! Douby is now the 3rd PG ahead of Ukic..
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Old 07-24-2009, 01:56 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Hahhhhhhhhh! Douby is now the 3rd PG ahead of Ukic..
I wrote that much and that's what you took from it? Fine. Switch 'em around, it doesn't really matter - we're talking about our 3rd string PG here on a team with 2 starter quality PGs. Besides, I for one see them as fairly comparable (in talent) players, with Douby probably even having the edge in ability at this point but Ukic having the greater upside (although I'm not too concerned with his upside if we have Jose and Jack locked up for the next 4 years). Douby vastly out-played Roko in the summer league (although it is only summer league) and is said to be working extremely hard on his game this offseason. Can you say with certainty that he won't be our 3rd PG? Cite your sources. Or are you just being a smartass based on your own personal opinion? In fact, I believe it was BC himself who brought up the idea of possibly moving Ukic this summer, probably due in part to the improvement of Douby.
You think Ukic is better than Douby - fine. Great. Tell the world... but you don't have to be an asshole about it.

PS - Check the opening post. Vicious D rates 'em the same way. Maybe it's not so laughable, hmmm?

Last edited by canada_rocks2369; 07-24-2009 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 07-24-2009, 02:02 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canada_rocks2369 View Post
I wrote that much and that's what you took from it? Fine. Switch 'em around, it doesn't really matter - we're talking about our 3rd string PG here on a team with 2 starter quality PGs. Besides, I for one see them as fairly comparable (in talent) players, with Douby probably even having the edge in ability at this point but Ukic having the greater upside (although I'm not too concerned with his upside if we have Jose and Jack locked up for the next 4 years). Douby vastly out-played Roko in the summer league (although it is only summer league) and is said to be working extremely hard on his game this offseason. Can you say with certainty that he won't be our 3rd PG? Cite your sources. Or are you just being a smartass based on your own personal opinion? In fact, I believe it was BC himself who brought up the idea of possibly moving Ukic this summer, probably due in part to the improvement of Douby.
You think Ukic is better than Douby - fine. Great. Tell the world. But you don't have to be an asshole about it.

PS - Check the opening post. Vicious D rates 'em the same way. Maybe it's not so laughable, hmmm?
Jeff hates Ukic with a passion, I think he's on your side big guy
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Old 07-24-2009, 02:24 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by zachus22 View Post
Jeff hates Ukic with a passion, I think he's on your side big guy
Well then maybe he was being sarcastic, but to someone who doesn't know him it seemed like he was just being a dick. If that's true Jeff I apologize but it kinda pisses a guy off when you just laugh at him as your response to his post. No hard feelings though.
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