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Dr. J. Naismith 06-01-2009 09:33 AM

RaptorsHQ - The Raptor that Never Was: Mickael Pietrus
 
Damn ... I wish we pursued him back in the day. :(

Quote:

Originally Posted by RaptorsHQ
As we now enter the NBA Finals, the L.A. Lakers face an unlikely opponent in the Orlando Magic.

The Magic are a team that have relied on team offense coupled with some hot 3-point shooting to get to where they are, but there is no better reason for their playoff success than one Mickael Pietrus.

That's right.

The same Mickael Pietrus that could have possibly been a Raptor two seasons ago.

In a year full of disappointments, "what could have been" has been something I've avoided talking about all year.

Draft picks, trades that didn't happen, and loads of other what if scenarios have been on the minds of many Raptors fans across the country. They're the type of thoughts that no one can blame Raptors' fans for thinking, but they're also the type of thoughts that never consider the overall chain of events. For example, if you draft Andre Iguodala, you would probably not get the chance to get Andrea Bargnani or Bryan Colangelo, etc, etc.

However, the benefit of free agency what if scenarios is that they're fairly straight forward.

Two summers ago, Bryan Colangelo had to make a tough decision. With the mid-level exemption available, he decided to offer Jason Kapono approximately $24 million over six years. Pietrus, on the other hand, received a contract worth just over $21 million with a player option for an extra year. Two years later, one player has struggled to find his place on a mediocre team, while the other has become an integral part of an NBA finals team.

But just what makes Pietrus so special?

For one thing, against one of the better teams in the league, Pietrus managed to single-handedly out score the entire Cavaliers bench in most of the Magic wins. He discovered a sweet spot in the corner where he could set up shop and bomb unconditionally. Like Mo Pete and Anthony Parker, the corner three point shot is his best weapon offensively, allowing him to score, but also allowing him to survey the field and decide when to drop down into the paint to help with rebounding.

And, unlike just about every other Raptor in the past two years, Pietrus is a player with enough athleticism to finish around the rim, and enough sense to figure out when to slash towards the basket.

However, what has been most impressive about Pietrus has had to be his defense.

Against LeBron James, Pietrus managed to challenge the league MVP to score. No one of course can completely shut down a player of Lebron's talent but Pietrus was largely responsible for making sure LBJ never shot higher than 46% in the final four Eastern Conference games, putting an end to Nike's "Puppet Dreams." At 6-6 with long arms, Pietrus was tall enough to distract James while still quick enough to stay in front of James until help arrived from his teammate, usually Dwight Howard.

He's also one of the stronger on the ball defenders, using his girth to prevent easy forays to the hoop and averaging slightly over three rebounds per game, Pietrus helped out the Orlando front court by grabbing some key loose rebounds over the course of the series.

All of which adds up to the question: just how much better would the Raptors be with Pietrus?

I don't think it's much of a stretch to say the team would have jumped up by at least a few wins. His "Wins Produced" score after 50 games in the past regular season was estimated to finish around 2.2 however I'd hazard a guess that during the NBA playoffs, that number has been closer to someone like Trevor Ariza, responsible of producing 5.1 wins per season. And to me that number sounds about right when you consider the benefits of his defence at the 2-3, not to mention his toughness and ability to get to the rim.

Franchise has often cited the Jason Kapono signing as the first major flaw in Bryan Colangelo's plans and it's hard not to disagree. A player like Pietrus wouldn't have broken the bank, and definitely would have upgraded Toronto in various key areas.

We're seeing the result of this decision now, as two years after passing on Mickael, BC now finds himself frantically searching this off-season for just such a player.

Source - The Raptor that Never Was: Mickael Pietrus - RaptorsHQ.com

Acie 06-01-2009 09:36 AM

Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

'trane 06-01-2009 09:40 AM

if i remember correctly, at the time pietrus was still a totally unproven commodity, and no one saw him as a defensive standout. bc went for the 'sure thing' in kapono's 3pt stroke. not seeing that a player who has never accomplished anything will turn into the lebron stopper is hardly surprising.

the kapono signing was a mistake, no doubt, but not signing pietrus...?

woulda, coulda, shoulda indeed.

Windex 06-01-2009 09:57 AM

Pietrus is just the lesser of two evils

I really don't care that the raps didn't sign him

Apollo 06-01-2009 10:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TO2988 (Post 188402)
Pietrus is just the lesser of two evils

I really don't care that the raps didn't sign him

Do you care that they sign Kapono? I do. I do very much so. Its been a waste of resources.

Windex 06-01-2009 10:20 AM

sure I don't want Kapono but Pietrus wasn't going to change the Raps fortunes
he's a bench player, even the rookie Lee is better than him
In the playoffs the majority of his offense comes from 3's
isn't that what Kapono is for?
the diffrence is that the Magic know how to use him
if he were in TO would he be as productive?

and yes, I know he's a better defender

Apollo 06-01-2009 10:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TO2988 (Post 188426)
sure I don't want Kapono but Pietrus wasn't going to change the Raps fortunes
he's a bench player, even the rookie Lee is better than him
In the playoffs the majority of his offense comes from 3's
isn't that what Kapono is for?
the diffrence is that the Magic know how to use him
if he were in TO would he be as productive?

and yes, I know he's a better defender

Pietrus does a lot more than shoot threes. Before he got hurt he was the starter and he played well in that role. Coutney Lee has turned out to be a very good player so I fail to see why its a knock on Pietrus if he's a half step behind him. Pietrus playing for the Raptors would be a big improvement over Kapono. All Kapono can do is shooter threes. Pietrus can hit threes but he can do far more than that, such as defend. its not about being a better defender, its about being a far better defender.

NaturallyStoned 06-01-2009 10:27 AM

didn't doug smith say pietrus wanted more than the mle ( which looking at that number, is what he got from GS)?

Windex 06-01-2009 10:36 AM

do you trust Pietrus to hit baskets in clutch situations
create his own shot
take a majority of the shots
thats what he would have to do

b/c if so he's your man

and I still don't like Kapono, but its not like we missed out on an All Star SG

Apollo 06-01-2009 10:53 AM

He's a superior player to Jason Kapono, would bring a lot more to the table and overall would make the team better. I trust that he doesn't need the ball handed to him on a silver platter to be effective. I trust that he can make an impact without scoring. I trust that Pietrus can play and be effective in the starting five or second unit. In the Raptors offense Bosh and Bargnani are primary targets. Pietrus would not be asked to score much, just as Kapono isn't asked to score much now...Good thing because he can't unless he's wide open and its a shame that's the only thing he knows how to do given that he makes more than guys like Parker, who is a far better player.

Bmats7 06-01-2009 11:07 AM

LOL if one of the raptors let Lebron score 38.5 points per game in 6 games... there would be 100000000 posts on this forum ragging on the guy's defence. The magic didn't win because this guy did anything close to good defence, when he gets beat off the dribble he has the defensive player of the year to bail him out... no other cavalier scored over 20 points until game 5 lol.

And Kapono would probably score 10 points a game for the magic. Dwight draws everything inside so the shooters can shoot. We have a 7 ft center at the 3 point line... I'm sure pietrus' production would be halved playing with the raptors.

Torontosaurus 06-01-2009 11:18 AM

Aside from shooting the 3, Pietrus can drive and finish at the rim. That's more than Kapono can do.

Apollo 06-01-2009 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bmats7 (Post 188457)
LOL if one of the raptors let Lebron score 38.5 points per game in 6 games... there would be 100000000 posts on this forum ragging on the guy's defence. The magic didn't win because this guy did anything close to good defence, when he gets beat off the dribble he has the defensive player of the year to bail him out... no other cavalier scored over 20 points until game 5 lol.

And Kapono would probably score 10 points a game for the magic. Dwight draws everything inside so the shooters can shoot. We have a 7 ft center at the 3 point line... I'm sure pietrus' production would be halved playing with the raptors.

Actually, he's had equal if not better seasons in Golden State and they haven't had a legit big man drawing lots of attention in a long, LONG time. Needless to say, I don't think your statement is true.

jeffb 06-01-2009 12:24 PM

I think many (myself included) were happy when BC signed Kapono. Boy was i wrong! :sigh:

moremilk 06-01-2009 12:52 PM

with pietrus defending him and the best defensive player in the world under the basket, lebron averaged 40 points a game in the series which is a historical scoring performance. Maybe pietrus' defense is overrated a bit? He was probably brought in to spare hedu from an impossible matchup, not because of his spectacular defense. After all, pietrus played fairly limited minutes this season, almost similar with kapono if I'm not mistaken.

Apollo 06-01-2009 01:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jeffb (Post 188503)
I think many (myself included) were happy when BC signed Kapono. Boy was i wrong! :sigh:

I wasn't here then but on my other board it was a 50/50 split. Most people thought he was given too much money.

Apollo 06-01-2009 01:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by moremilk (Post 188513)
with pietrus defending him and the best defensive player in the world under the basket, lebron averaged 40 points a game in the series which is a historical scoring performance. Maybe pietrus' defense is overrated a bit? He was probably brought in to spare hedu from an impossible matchup, not because of his spectacular defense. After all, pietrus played fairly limited minutes this season, almost similar with kapono if I'm not mistaken.

LeBron abused everybody put in front of him in the playoffs. Its like criticizing someone for not being able to contain Kobe. No one can do that, not even Ron Artest.

its_asdf 06-01-2009 01:35 PM

Would he be an upgrade at the wing? Yes. Would he have made a significant impact on the team? Nope. It doesn't really matter whether or not we missed out on Pietrus or not, especially considering he would only make the team marginally better. That can be said about a dozen other players and a dozen other teams.

'trane 06-01-2009 01:39 PM

i think pretty much every raptor fan had the same reaction to signing kapono:

"$6 million over for years, great deal... oh wait, what? $6 million each year for 4 years? oh shit!"

babyface 06-01-2009 03:16 PM

Orlando's shooters get such great looks because they always double Howard. I'm sure if Kapono had great looks like that MOST of the time then his percentage would be a lot higher.


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