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Toronto Raptors should sign Joey Graham

July 24th, 2009 | by Dan Levine

Yes, I know. I can hear it already:

“Are you (bleeping) crazy?? JOEY (bleeping) GRAHAM?!”

It’s true…He was maddeningly inconsistent and excruciating to deal with at times. His midrange jumper would come and go as it pleased, and he loved to channel his inner-Jamario and settle for those same jumpers.

He’s also extremely athletic and possesses some nice basketball skills. If only he could use them all the time (and he can’t)… Graham certainly didn’t earn the “Good Joey, Bad Joey” label for nothing.

But hear me out.

Look, the Raptors teams of the past few years have been pretty unique within the NBA when it comes to shooting guards and small forwards. And by unique, I mean shitty.

What that means is that aside from the point guards (Calderon, Ford) and the big men (Bosh, Bargnani), there’s been absolutely nobody to initiate offense.

The result was that players were now being asked to

a) play more minutes than they should (or deserved)
b) take on roles unsuited for their skill sets

Think about Jason Kapono for a moment – A bust of a contract, yes, but think about his role on the Raptors. Jason freaking Kapono was actually expected to be a scorer for an NBA team…Ya, I wonder why that didn’t work out.

This year, all he’ll be asked to do is shoot. The 76ers have plenty of slashers and need a guy like Kapono to come in the game, chill at the arc, and nail triples. It’ll work, just watch.

Joey’s in a similar sort of situation. Clearly, he’s a bust in terms of where he was picked and the expectations that were laid out. Still, he’s shown signs of improving, which is when the trouble happens.

Every time Graham began to play better, he would eventually get more minutes. And they would continue to grow as the Raps searched for somebody…anybody…who wasn’t pathetic scoring from the 2-guard or small forward spot.

The problem is that Joey isn’t made for 25-35 minutes a night. He just simply doesn’t posses the basketball IQ/drive/whatever to be a big part of a successful NBA lineup.

What he does have is the ability to positively impact the game over a short period of time, and that’s what I’m proposing. Screw Carlos Delfino, who wants $5 per season. He’s not even a small forward, and that’s the real position of need for Toronto – to have someone backing up Hedo Turkoglu for 10-12 minutes each night.

I’m telling you – Joey Graham would be perfect for this role. Don’t ask him to do more, and just enjoy the energy and toughness he’ll bring for short spurts each night. Yes, guys like Von Wafer and Flip Murray are better scorers, but the Raps have addressed those needs this summer. They need some size and toughness backing up the 3 and Devean George won’t cut it.

This is my official “Sign Joey 2009″ campaign. And he’ll be really, really cheap.

It sure beats the “Sign Carlos Delfino to a ridiculous contract” scenario that just might happen in the coming days.

Oh, and sign Rasho while you’re at it, BC.

Thanks.

-DL

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11 Comments

  1. tobi says:

    i totally agree. joey is the type of player that can give you good quality short minutes. but if you leave him on the floor too long, he kinda gets dumbfounded and realizes “shit, im still playing?? that means im good” then he goes and messes up.

  2. MC_B-rad says:

    I hate Joey Graham as a player, always have; but I think I also completely agree he would be a good fit on this team this year. A 1 year 1.5 million contract (if at all possible) or even the veterans minimum to back up Hedo would be a role he could do…the problem we might run into…what if Hedo gets injured

  3. RapthoseLeafs says:

    I never really gave Joey much thought – but your argument has merit. I’m totally against signing Delfino for 5 million per. I’d be happy with Graham & Rasho as the final 2 signings. Joey knows his place, and hopefully he’ll pick it up a notch, with Jay around as coach.

    I used to like Mitchell’s tough love type of approach, but in hindsight, I think he hindered the development of guys like Joey, and Roko, and especially Andrea.

    The big question with Joey is, how much? Or should that be … how little?

  4. mycall says:

    I agree. Few people can argue with his skill set. He’s got it – what he lacks is the necessary mental component. Wouldn’t it be something if he was able to discover that while we have him locked in for three years at 1.2 mil..

  5. EarthJuice says:

    Joey freakin Graham??? Are you freakin crazy???

  6. J says:

    i agree with you. i’d take joey over a delfino who didnt play a year in the league and wants 5 million/season. he will be the answer to our wing depth, as he is the guy who could be effective as a catalyst, but not on a long term basis. thus, i dont think he would hinder the growth of derozan. and joey is the insurance that we have who could play the wing spots, to derozan and wright.

    plus he is cheaper, as i dont know anyone in the league who wants him. i thought he was going to cleveland, but they already got AP and moon.

    i’d also be happy if our last 2 signings are rasho and joey. if not rasho, then bring back pops. joey for 2.5-4million/season. rasho for a veteran;s minimum.

  7. Chris says:

    I like it. Assuming it can done on the cheap of course. I’m thinking 1.5 mil per year, Joey’s a great fit for this team. Athletic, can shoot, rebound, and defend a little bit. He can fight with George for most inconsistent… I mean back up three. You’ve convinced me.

  8. CaldeROSEN says:

    I don’t think you’re crazy at all. The argument makes sense, and if Joey can be had for a reasonable salary and given a minor (but consistent) role, that would be just fine.

    In fact, I think your argument could have been made just the same for one mister Jamario Moon. If Cleveland hadn’t stepped up and signed him (for $3 million??!) I think the case could easily be made to bring him back at a reasonable salary for limited minutes in a consistent role.

    I’ll still take Joey at $1.5 over Delfino at $5. But I’d take Delfino at $3.5 or lower.

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  10. doodoo says:

    dodododo

  11. vince says:

    this is the dumbest thing iv ever heard…..this guy doesnt even belong in the league let alone on the bench in toronto. good ridence to a useless 1st rounder.

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