Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be evaluating each player on the Raptors’ roster, looking at how they fared this season, and what their value is to the team going forward, if any.
I’ll run through the roster in alphabetical order, with the more important players getting their own posts. In addition, for each evaluation, Scott Carefoot will add his own thoughts on the different Raptors.
My apologies to Alexis Ajinca and Solomon Alabi, but there was no chance of one of these guys getting their own post.
Alexis Ajinca: 24 GP, 11 MPG, 4.8 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 46.5 FG%, 33.3 3Pt%, 73.3 FT%, 0.58 BPG, 0.3 APG, 0.33 SPG
Ajinca joined the Raptors in a trade from Dallas when the Mavericks needed to clear cap space to sign Peja Stojakovic. In 24 games, the big Frenchman was noticeable, if not by his size alone, but hardly impactful. His short stint in Toronto reminds me of fellow European big man, Primoz Brezec.
When he’s having a hot shooting night, Ajinca can spread the floor with his range for a big, but his hot shooting nights are too few and far between to make up for his lack of rebounding or defence. To be honest, there were a couple of games in the final week of the season where I actually noticed and appreciated Ajinca’s hustle and work ethic around the basket, but never did I believe the Raptors had a piece for the future, let alone a significant one.
If there is one thing, besides his height, that Ajinca has going for him, it’s his youth. The seven-foot-two centre will only turn 23-years-old in a few weeks, so there is definitely time for him to develop into a decent big off of the bench. But with the Raptors going athletic in this rebuild, there is no room or time for Ajinca in Toronto. It will be interesting to see how much money Ajinca can make as a free agent after making nearly $1.5 million this season. If he’s still in the NBA next season, I can almost guarantee it won’t be that much.
Scott Carefoot’s take on Alexis Ajinca:
Ever wondered what Andrea Bargnani would look like if he was a black French dude? Raptors fans, I present Alexis Ajinca! As you might suspect, I’m not a fan of his game. He’s soft, he doesn’t rebound or block shots, and he loves to shoot threes. I don’t understand Bryan Colangelo’s attraction to this type of player and if he’s going to remain the General Manager of this franchise, I would like him to undergo hypnosis treatments to cure him of this sick obsession.
Solomon Alabi: Totals: 12 GP, 59 Min, 6 Pts, 3-15 FG, 0-2 FT, 14 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk, 2 Stl
When evaluating Solomon Alabi’s rookie season, it’s impossible to look at stats; the Nigerian big man only played 59 minutes all year, and just about all of those minutes came in garbage time.
When he did play, Alabi looked awkward and lost amongst other NBA athletes, and I would have to believe that trend will continue. Having said that, the difference between Alabi and Ajinca is that Alabi is a Raptors’ draft pick that was seen as a “project”-type player anyway. In addition, Alabi has much more of a potential to develop into a decent defensive presence than Ajinca does.
My problem with Solomon is that the only time the guy made the news this season was when he complained about the conditions of the D-League. I understand that the D-League is far from ideal for guys who’ve been drafted by NBA franchises, but at the end of the day, you’re being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to play basketball. Suck it up, shut up and play. And if you are going to complain, at least turn it into a “now I want to work harder to ensure I never go back there” kind of rant, the way Ed Davis did.
Given that he’s on the books for only $830,000 next season, and the fact that he hasn’t been given much of an opportunity yet, I’d keep Alabi around as an emergency big at the end of the bench. If he shocks the world and blossoms into a serviceable player or valuable asset, then that’s great. If he doesn’t, it cost you less than a million dollars and you simply refuse to pick up his team option for the next season.
Scott Carefoot’s take on Solomon Alabi:
It’s hard to come up with a good assessment of Solomon Alabi based on just 59 minutes of NBA experience, but from what I’ve seen he appears to be too slow and lacking the necessary instincts to make it on this level. Considering he was drafted with the 50th pick of the 2010 draft, we should have realized Alabi would be a longshot. With the Raptors’ desperate need for a true centre, he’ll be given every chance to make the team’s regular rotation next season — but I suspect he’ll ultimately end up collecting paychecks overseas.
Next up in our list of player evaluations will be Leandro Barbosa, so look out for a post on the Brazilian Blur early next week. And don’t forget that although the season is over for Raptors fans, you can count on RaptorBlog to continue to deliver throughout the off-season, as Scott, Holly and I will do our best to keep the site fresh.
Until then, enjoy the long weekend.