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.