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…

Dominic McGuire, F, 6’9″, 235 lbs.

2011-12 stats: 64 games, 17.6 MPG, 3.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.6 BPG, 0.7 SPG, 44.8 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 73.6 FT%, 11.8 PER

Scott: To be honest, I was only vaguely aware of Dominic McGuire’s existence before the Raptors signed him in September. He’s played 12 games against the Raptors over his five-season NBA career, but he scored four points or fewer in 11 of those games and scored eight points in the other game in April 2009. He wasn’t the kind of player who left a big impression on me.

I always got the sense that he was a pretty solid defensive player — he pretty much had to be to justify his NBA career, considering his paltry offensive contributions. It turns out that Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson is not happy that McGuire won’t be back on his roster this season:

“He’s a big loss. He was a great guy, did a great job for me. I told my guys in the locker room — I don’t know, 50 times –- that he was the poster child for what we preach from Day 1… There will be times when we need a stop where we would love to have a guy that can guard every position -– unless you’re facing a Dwight Howard or a superior center. I think we will have to find that defensive stopper within this group and then step up our games individually as support to the guy primarily defending the other team’s home run hitter.”

That makes McGuire sound like a pretty valuable role player that any team would love to have, which is why I’m having a hard time understanding why some people are saying that he’s not a lock to make the Raptors’ final roster.

Joseph: Not only do I think he’s a lock to make the final roster (I’m pretty sure his contract is guaranteed for this season), but I actually think he’s going to get more minutes than either of us believed when he was first acquired this summer.

Casey has pulled him off the bench earlier than I expected in both pre-season games so far, and McGuire fills a valuable role as a true defensive stopper. I think he’ll find a way into games at least for a few minutes, and will figure more prominently in games if a guard, wing, or forward (basically anybody except a centre) on the opposing team gets hot. Synergy had him ranked in the top-50 last season when it came to defending isolation (17th) and post-up plays (47th).

I don’t expect McGuire to become any sort of fan favourite here, because his strengths are never going to result in impressive numbers, flashy plays or even average highlights, but the more I learn about him and watch him, the more thankful I am that the Raptors have a guy like McGuire somewhere on the bench.

Scott: Considering the previous teams that McGuire has been on — the Wizards during the Arenas gun scandal, then the Kings, Bobcats and Warriors — the Raptors might seem like a relative paradise to him. Casey is probably going to love this guy, and while he may not be a fan favorite, he could quickly become a RaptorBlog favorite if he proves to be a true “star-stopper”. It’ll be nice to have a player who Casey can automatically assign to the other team’s “last shot guy” when the Raptors have a 1-to-3-point lead with time running out.

Incidentally, I’m going to challenge you on the “average highlights” prediction, because if he’s capable of blocks like this one on JaVale McGee, I expect a nicely-mixed YouTube highlight reel of McGuire rejections at the end of this season.

Joseph: Great find, I had never seen that before.

I can’t remember the last time the Raptors had a true defensive stopper. Antoine Wright was supposed to be that guy, and we all know that didn’t exactly work out on one of the worst defensive teams of all time. James Johnson was a fine defensive player, but he also gambled a lot and put up some impressive block numbers because of that gambling. McGuire is just a steady defensive stopper who knows his role and always seems to be in the right spot.
I’m not saying he’s a starting quality player or any kind of defensive saviour, but he will be of value to this team, and fans should learn to appreciate him, if they don’t already.