Sunday, June 07, 2009

Raptors: In for Flynn

The Raptors are not getting a franchise saviour with the No. 9 pick in the NBA Draft, even in a deep draft. Their biggest need is a shooting guard or small forward.

However, there's something to be considered with the Chris Bosh Question hanging over everything. There's the belief Bosh singing wherever LeBron James signs in 2010 has been "the plan all along," to quote one Ohio newspaper.

In the wake of that, Hoops Addict posed a question: How much should the Raptors factor in whether a player wants to come to Canada into their draft decision? It's germane since Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn, whom the Raptors invited up for a workout this past week, noted he would be close to home.
" ... 'Toronto, being right over the border from where I’m at in Niagara Falls, basically makes me a Canadian,' Flynn joked while flashing his trademark smile. 'It would be nice to come here to play because my family would be close and could come to see me play.' "

" ...With Flynn the Raptors have a chance to draft someone who loves the city and would be willing to make his home here long-term. In this writers humble opinion that’s worth a lot and makes him a player the Raptors should consider on draft night. Even if he lacks the desired size for a floor general, he has the mental toughness, leadership abilities and has shown he can be a lock down defender on the perimeter."
There is some talk out of Syracuse that the Raptors invited Flynn for a workout mostly as a CYA move.
"On Brent Axe's radio show, Mike Waters felt as though this was more of a base-covering move rather than a serious look at Flynn. No worries, plenty of teams seem happy to take him." — Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician
Depending on whom you read, Flynn is pegged to go as early as eighth to the New York Knicks or in the low double digits, possibly around the 10th pick. Left mostly unsaid in and around Toronto is that if the Raptors had acted more decisively with Sam Mitchell and got Mike D'Antoni as coach, they probably could get Stephen Curry, who carried tiny Davidson on that miracle run in the 2008 NCAA tournament. D'Antoni will absatively posilutely get Curry for the Knicks, who pick one spot ahead of the Raps, if he can. That is neither here nor there. It would be neat for a 15-year-old franchise to have the son of an fondly remember ex-Raptor, Dell Curry, on the team.

Getting back to the point, players' desire to be in Toronto, as Radoslav noted in his last post, is an exposed nerve for Raptors fans. It's partially rooted in how it ended — badly — with Damon Stoudamire, Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter, and partially in Toronto's huge inferiority complex. What, why wouldn't someone wanna play here? (There is a spin-off argument that the Hockey First, Hockey Only chauvinists use it as an excuse not to opt in to following the Raptors, somewhat in the same way the 1994-95 baseball strike was used as an excuse to opt out of following the Toronto Blue Jays and late, lamented MontrĂ©al Expos. Well, there's that and the NBA's lax interpretation of the travelling rule.

It is something for the Raptors to consider as Bryan Colangelo and Maurizio Gherardini take their second crack at building a playoff team. It is still too early in the game to decide whether Bosh is as good as gone. The first sign of proof will come when the 2009-10 NBA schedule is released, since a good start would allay a lot of worries. (There is almost no point in stewing about it more than four months before the first meaningful game of next season.)

It's not this site's place to say who will be the best choice for the Raptors. On this end, it's considered a triumph to have known back in 2006 that Andrea Bargnani was a better selection than Adam Morrison, which seems less prescient than ever considering Morrison is a massive bust.

Anyway, it's something to take into consideration when the Raptors make their pick in two weeks. Maybe Jonny Flynn is the guy. Someone who spent two seasons at Syracuse won't have trouble with the Canadian climate. It would actually be an improvement.

(P.S., check out the post The FAN 590's Paul Jones penned, partially about former Buffalo Braves stalwart Randy Smith, who died last week.)

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