The 2011-2012 Toronto Raptors roster looks to be complete.
The Denver Nuggets did not match the offer-sheet Toronto extended to Panamanian guard/forward Gary Forbes, and he is now, officially, the newest Raptor in town.
All we seem to know about the offer is that it’s a two-year deal, with a club option for a third season.
Forbes, who torched Canada for 39 points while playing for Panama in the FIBA Americas tournament earlier this year, is 26-years-old and has only played in one NBA season. After going undrafted in 2008, Forbes went on a Jamario Moon-esque tour of the basketball world, with stints in the D-League, the Philliphines, Venezuela, Italy and Israel.
He averaged about five points and a couple of rebounds in 12-and-a-half minutes of action per game with the Nuggets last season. His shooting was fine, but nothing to get too excited about – about 45 per cent from the field and almost 33 per cent from three – but he struggled at the free throw line, converting just 67.8 per cent of his attempts at the charity stripe. Forbes also never scored 20 or more in a game, with 19 points currently holding as his career-high.
There are reasons to like this acquisition though. Forbes is a tough, gritty player who can play defence. In case you haven’t been paying attention, those are the type of players Bryan Colangelo has been trying to collect to play under the tutelage of Dwane Casey’s “Pound the Rock” philosophy. He doesn’t have much NBA experience, but seems to have some upside and the potential to go off on any given night, if given the chance.
At the end of the day, I doubt this signing is going to create headlines around the Association, but it is the type of under-the-radar move, that if done at the right price, could turn out to be very valuable in Toronto’s re-building process. To compare it with baseball, this seems like the type of move Alex Anthopoulos makes, and that’s quite alright with me.
So, now that the Raps appear to have 15 guys under contract, barring any other transactions, here is the 15-man roster heading into this helter-skelter season (keep in mind that Casey has said he wants to have an eight-to-10 man rotation):
Point Guards: Jose Calderon, Jerryd Bayless, Anthony Carter (I’d like to see Bayless given a chance to take over the starting spot if he’s playing well, and also want to see Carter get some minutes if Jose and Jerryd run into trouble.)
Shooting Guards and Small Forwards: DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Leandro Barbosa, Gary Forbes, Rasual Butler, Linas Kleiza (I’m assuming DeRozan and Johnson will start at the 2-3 spots, and I think overall, competition for minutes between the rest of the wing-players will be intense all season. I can also see a guy like Forbes playing his way into some starts along the way.)
Bigs: Andrea Bargnani, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson, Jamaal Magloire, Aaron Gray, Solomon Alabi (Bargnani will start at the four, this much we know. The questions after that are endless. Will coach Casey actually start a true centre like Magloire or even Alabi along side ‘Il Mago’ at some point this season, or will Davis and Amir split the starts beside Bargnani? The question of who gets more minutes between Davis and Johnson is intriguing in itself. Also, how many minutes can hard-nosed Aaron Gray steal away from the younger guys? The biggest question of all though, is given the new defensive philosophy put in place by Casey, will Bargnani actually be worthy of, and earn, his minutes?)
While no one is convinced the wins will be there, there are still plenty of story-lines to watch as this roster slowly comes together this season. For me, I’m looking forward to seeing which young players step up and really stamp their place in the future of this franchise, and which players fall by the wayside.
Stay tuned to RaptorBlog for the unveiling of the No. 9-ranked player in the Ultimate Raptors Rankings later today.