We’re going to handle preseason player profiles differently this year on RaptorBlog. For each player on the 2012-13 Raptors’ active roster, Joseph Casciaro and I are going to email our thoughts back and forth and then post the resulting conversation on the blog. It’s an edgy new form of journalism! Or something…
Jose Calderon, PG, 6’3″, 211 lbs.
2011-12 stats: 53 games, 33.9 MPG, 10.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 8.8 APG, 0.1 BPG, 0.9 SPG, 45.7 FG%, 37.1 3P%, 88.2 FT%, 16.7 PER
Scott: Will this really only be Calderon’s eighth season in Toronto? Doesn’t it seem he’s been around since the founding of the franchise? Well, I’m not going to try to come up with anything new to say about his game, because we all know what we’re getting by this point. As far as I’m concerned, the only thing worth mentioning about Calderon is that he’ll finally be in his rightful place as a backup point guard in this league. I don’t mean any disrespect by that — I believe he could be one of the top backups in the NBA. But after 293 games as a starter and 480 games in total, I’m comfortable in saying that he’s at the stage of his career where he needs to bring value to the team as a change of pace — a slower, more deliberating pace — off the bench.
Joseph: That’s really what this is about, moving Calderon back to the bench. From an offensive standpoint, the guy is obviously NBA starter material, but when looking at Calderon’s total package and what he gives up on the defensive end, the case for Jose is seriously dented.
One of the things I like about acquiring Kyle Lowry is that the move also significantly improves our bench by moving Calderon there. It gives the Raptors a chance to have a pretty efficient offensive combination off the pine and should include a couple of solid pick-and-roll combos (Calderon plus Amir and Calderon plus Valanciunas while Jonas comes off the bench early on in his career).
If Lowry can be the complete pure point guard to start and Calderon continues to be a potent offensive lead guard in relief, the Raptors should boast one of the better point guard combinations in the NBA this season.
Scott: My only question about Jose is whether or not he’ll continue to be a team player if he thinks he’s being “robbed” of millions on his next contract because he’s been reduced to a backup role — as if every NBA GM doesn’t already know what kind of player he is by now. I laugh every season when I read some people suggest that he’s being “featured” for a potential trade. I’m pretty sure Mitch Kupchak never turned on the TV at any point over the past few seasons and proclaimed, “Hark! Who is this Spanish chap with the pointy sideburns and vigorous hand-clapping on defense? He would make the perfect foil for Sir Kobe in The Royal Triangle. Manservant! Make sure Sir Colangelo is extended an invitation to our next orgy!”
I’m already bored with this profile. Having said that, I may weep if he remains a Raptor after this season. Nothing personal, Jose. It’s not you, it’s me. I need a change.
Joseph: If he has a good season backing up Lowry, I’ll be quite fine with having him return on a cheaper contract as a veteran bench point guard. But if his expiring contract can be used to acquire a worthwhile piece going forward, that’s obviously the route I’d like the team to take.
What will be interesting to me is seeing how Calderon plays things next summer if the Raptors are offering to re-sign him to a more team-friendly deal. Will he stick around or test the grass on the other side?
Scott: If he doesn’t fall off much this season, I’d be able to stomach a two-year, $8 million or three-year, $10 million deal, but not a dollar or a year more. We get criticized for being overly critical of Calderon on this blog but he’s obviously a good teammate and an even better person. I’ll actually be quite happy for him if he gets to play on a legitimate contending team before the end of his NBA career.
On that note, I’m going to kill this post like Calderon has killed so many Raptors two-on-one fast breaks.
Joseph: Before we finish, what do you think of “Calderon’s Pig Farm” as a fantasy team name?
Scott: That’s pretty good. As far as Raptor-themed fantasy team names go, it’s right up with two of my previous handles: “Roko-Leni Picture Show” and “Mensah-Bonsu Society”. I’d forgotten that Calderon is part-owner of a pig farm, though, and that makes me second-guess the true nature of his character. As Brick Top from “Snatch” taught us (YouTube — NSFW), “Be wary of any man who keeps a pig farm.” Somebody tell Kyle Lowry that if Jose invites him to dinner, he should politely decline.