GM: Raptors have enough youngsters
Toronto needs veterans more, Colangelo says
James says he's not changing his run-and-gun style
Apr. 4, 2006. 01:00 AM
The Raptors are all but certain to have a high pick in the NBA draft in June. But newly minted general manager Bryan Colangelo says they might not be using it.
In a telephone interview with the Star yesterday, Colangelo said there could be players in the draft to help put Toronto on the road to contention. "But we could use our pick to leverage a deal to get veteran help right away," he said.
"There's no shortage of good, young talent" on the Raptors' roster, he said. "Another young guy with no experience may not be the best thing for this team."
While a trade for a veteran — perhaps a point guard or a big guy who can provide some toughness, interior defence and rebounding help for Bosh and Villanueva — would be one approach, Colangelo said a deal might not present itself. If there is no trade, it appears the draft will be deep enough to provide the Raptors with some help.
The Raptors still don't know if point guard Mike James will be back with the team next year. James will be a free agent and has said he wants a major pay hike, and it's unclear if the Raptors will meet his demands.
"We'll have to look at ways to cover that hole (in the roster) if it becomes a hole," Colangelo said.
"You can certainly look at the point guard spot and say, `that's a need' for Toronto.
Colangelo wasn't prepared to enter a debate as to whether the team wants James back next year, or at what price. Asked if he'd like to see James shift from being a combination shooting guard/point guard to a classic point man, Colangelo paused. "At this stage," he said, "I'm not sure you can suddenly become something you're not."
Coach Sam Mitchell said players can adjust, but he didn't want to debate whether James should change his style.
James, who'll turn 31 in June, is scoring almost 20 points a game and has bailed the Raptors out of trouble several times this year.
He has scored 99 points in his last five games, with 47 assists. But he's shooting just 34.6 per cent in those games, well below his season average of 46.9 per cent.
James, who came to the Raptors in a deal that sent troubled guard Rafer Alston to Houston, said he's not a typical point guard. And he said he's not changing his game.
"If they did their research on me ... I've been jackin' my whole career. If you didn't like my style of play, you shouldn't have ever traded for me in the first place."
"Everyone is so quick to talk about my shooting, but no one is quick to talk about how over the last five games ... I've been averaging over 10 assists a game.
James said he wants to play for a team that believes in him.
"I'm tired of rebuilding. I believe in my heart I can help a team win an NBA championship.
"I've proved myself enough in this game where I want my own keys," he said.
"I want to be able to roam the yard without no leash on, trusting that I'm not going to hop the fence and I ain't gonna do nothing stupid.
"I'm a veteran. I know how to make plays. I know how to be a point guard. I know how to put myself in great situations. But my thing is, I'm a player, and if being a player ain't enough in this game, I'm sorry."
If James walks then maybe they would like one of our point guards for that pick.