Season Stats: 68 GP, 30.9 MPG, 9.8 PPG, 44 FG%, 36.5 3PT%, 85.4 FT%, 8.9 APG, 3 RPG, 1.2 SPG

Career Stats: 427 GP, 27.7 MPG, 9.8 PPG, 48.6 FG%, 38.3 3PT%, 87.4 FT%, 7 APG, 2.5 RPG, 0.9 SPG

When a potential deal to trade Jose Calderon to Charlotte, which would have netted the Raptors Tyson Chandler, fell through, many Raptors fans felt robbed, and rightfully so. In hindsight, the failed deal probably worked to the Raptors’ benefit. With Chandler manning the middle, the Raps likely would have been good enough to finish with a record that ensured them a mediocre draft pick. It also could have impacted Ed Davis’ rookie minutes and development. Furthermore, without Calderon, the Raptors would have never pulled the trigger on the trade that brought Jerryd Bayless to town.

And of course, I have to mention the fact that Calderon surprised us all by having a solid bounce-back season.

After Jarrett Jack was traded to New Orleans in November, Calderon re-assumed his role as Toronto’s starting point guard. And though he had many critics, myself included, Jose responded with an above average season.

The numbers don’t lie – Calderon finished fifth in the league in assists per game, third in assists per 48 minutes and second to Chris Paul in assists-to-turnover-ratio. He also scored a very respectable 9.8 points per game, right in line with his career average. In addition, Calderon’s porous defence improved slightly, as the Spaniard averaged a career-high 1.2 steals per game.

You’ll notice that the one area Calderon wasn’t great in was his shooting, and even that wasn’t horrible, by any means. Calderon had a respectable shooting season, but drifted in and out of hot streaks and slumps with his range. Once you get by the fact that Calderon will probably never be a 50-40-90 guy again, you’ll realize that if he’s healthy, he can still be a very serviceable point guard in the NBA.

So then the question becomes, can he stay healthy? To be honest, until I actually looked at his player profile page, I was under the impression that he played in more games this season than he had in years, but it turns out he didn’t. In fact, Calderon has played in 68 games (missed 14) in three straight seasons, so it’s not like this season proved he could stay healthy. It was more like the opposite.

Add to that the fact that Calderon seems to go cold when the team needs him the most and you see why I anointed him the “anti-clutch” a few seasons ago.

But those negatives shouldn’t distract from the fact that Jose Calderon probably had as good a season as any of us could have asked for. As with any player, Calderon has his strengths and weaknesses, but he also happens to be injury-prone, and when you’re making $9 million a year, the weaknesses tend to be harped on more than the strengths.

His overall run as a Raptor has had its ups and downs, and I’m not quite sure which category this season falls into for him. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if Calderon were to return next season as a veteran in a leadership role with the young Raptors. But I’m only ok with that scenario if Colangelo (or his successor) at least attempted to move him during the off-season, and only if he comes off the bench behind either Jerryd Bayless or another young point guard.

The ideal situation would be to move Calderon. For those that believe his contract makes him immovable, let’s not forget that he was almost dealt last off-season, when he still had three years left on that nasty contract. With only two years now remaining on it, Jose’s deal shouldn’t seem as absurd to rival executives.

So, to summarize, while I’ll gracefully admit that Calderon silenced some of his critics this season, I’m still not ready to accept a Raptors’ future that involves the 29-year-old point guard in it. Whoever is running the show when basketball operations can resume needs to be frank with Jose and simply say, thanks for whatever it is you’ve done here for the last six years, but we can’t move forward while you’re still here.

Jose is one of the last men standing from an era that the Raptors are trying to erase from their collective memory. That can and should only mean one thing.

See ya, Jose, it was nice knowing you.

Scott Carefoot’s take on Jose Calderon:

It’s easy to pick on Calderon’s lack of defensive ability and his “play-it-safe” offensive style, but I’m not going to do that here. After six seasons in Toronto, he is the longest-serving Raptor and he still loves playing here in spite of the fact that he’s never won a playoff series. Whether he’ll continue to be the ultimate team player if Jerryd Bayless is awarded the starting point guard job remains to be seen, but I’ve grown to admire his competitive spirit and the fact that he won’t back down from anybody when things get physical. The one thing that continues to baffle me year after year is why the Lakers apparently never tried to acquire Calderon. I mean, he’s better than Derek Fisher and Steve Blake, right?

Next in our list of player evaluations will be Ed Davis, so look out for our take on the young rookie some time this week.

Comments (8)

  1. What on earth could a 29 year old bring to a team?

    Really?

    Having a lineup of 5 guys 25 and under might not be the best plan ever.

    Anyway, I disagree totally with this predictable kneejerk drivel.

    Trade Jose if a deal will make the team better. But I have no problem at all if Jose is starting next year.

  2. Jose aka The Spanish X Ray is an injury waiting to happen (especially with his stated continuation of future Spanish National Team play) not to mention that he lacked confidence in his jumper thus making the Rap’s pick ‘n roll offense null & void with him plus he gave up too much consistent penetration on defense leading to constant Raptor defensive breakdowns.

    Jose has been the starting pg of the NBA’s worst defensive team 2 years running- he’s no leader but a toy boy feeder. Even his assist numbers are skewed as he gave up much more on the defensive end than he dished out on the offensive end.

    9.8 ppg on 44% shooting- Jose season was below average. He is a back up pg in the NBA- point blank, Bayless should have taken Jose starting spot after the All Star break.

    Jose, the longest tenured Raptor, needs to take his bad karma and hit the road- hopefully new ownership will make that a reality as well with Bargnani.

  3. Eugene, let’s not forget that Calderon is an “old” 29. He started playing pro as a 16-year-old in Spain, if I’m not mistaken, so his legs, joints and body, overall, have a ton of basketball mileage on them. When you consider that he’s missed 14 games in three straight seasons, and then realize that he will soon be on the wrong side of 30, it’s not like we’re talking about a guy who still has a lot left to give. However, as I stated, I wouldn’t hate it if Jose returned next season, I would just be disappointed if he returned without the team at least trying to move him.

    Also, as BCGJGots2Go points out, Calderon is from the old regime, and it seems clear the Raps are trying to move past that. Lastly, I’m totally with Scott on the Calderon-Lakers opinion. Surrounded with LA’s talent and interior length, Calderon’s poor defence would be masked, and his play-making abilities would shine through. Watching the Lakers get swept in Game 4 vs the Mavs, I was wondering about a possible Jose to L.A. off-season deal.

  4. A team like Miami, Lakers (Fisher retiring) or Dallas (Kidd retiring) might be a better fit for Jose but he’s done in the TDot especially as the primary starter. I wish Jose all the best just not as a Raptor.

    **Another reason why I wanted Jack in the TDot is because he has played in all 82 games over the past 3 years while Jose has missed double digit games over the past 3 years plus Jack was in the TDot during the off season while Jose is ghost as soon as the season is over until training camp.

  5. When Calderon has his jumper going and is willing to shoot when left open, he becomes so much better. Once in a while he’ll drop one of those 15 point, 20 dimes type games and you think offensively he’s one of the best PGs in the league. Too bad he was so inconsistent with the jumper. Defensively he looked quite a bit better too, even if he’s still a liability on that end.

    I like the guy, and he knows how to run a team. But…that contract is not so good. I don’t worry about the age so much since he doesn’t rely on any kind of athleticism, but he has had trouble staying healthy as Joseph points out. I agree with Eugene on this one. If a trade comes around that makes the team better (I doubt we can do better than the failed Chandler deal), you pull the trigger. But it’s nowhere near an urgent priority for me.

  6. I concur more with Scott’s sentements. Calderone is a competitive and classy guy who has given what he could for the past six years. I’m fine with him staying or going; I just hope the fans show him some love when he does exit/come back to play on an opposing team.

  7. I’m excited for the Ed Davis review

  8. I think Jose’s current $9mm is above-market for him, but the guy is a team player and a leader and ideally I would like to see him stay with the team, help the young guys develop, and retire a Raptor. Issues of his physical limitations and injuries aside, ever since he’s been here Calderon has given us 100% of whatever he had in the tank at the time. Watch any Bayless highlight film from last season and you’ll see Jose leading the cheers for him. And as Scott points out, he doesn’t back down from anyone…..twice in a Clippers game last season I watched him end up with Blake Griffin on switches and use his leverage to successfully body him away from the hoop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *