DeMarre Carroll, a lottery protected first round pick, and a second-round pick were traded to the Nets for Justin Hamilton. The Raptors had to give up two assets in the form of picks to unload Carroll’s contract.
DeMarre Carroll's Stats as a Raptor:
Giving up a first-round pick to move DeMarre Carroll’s contract was almost a given. It was a little unexpected that the Raptors had to give up a second-round pick as well. And that second-round pick is likely the pick the Orlando Magic owe the Raptors from stealing Jeff Weltman because the Raptors already gave up their own second round picks to the Suns for the privilege of renting PJ Tucker this last season. That second-round pick that will convey to the Raptors from the Magic is the lesser of the Magic and Lakers pick. There is a good chance it falls in the 35-40 range.
Justin Hamilton is a viable NBA player. Okay, he might be a scrub, but that really depends on your definition of scrub. Hamilton deserves rotation minutes in the NBA somewhere. If a guy can be useful on the court in the NBA it is my opinion that player is not a scrub. Therefore, Justin Hamilton ain’t no scrub.
Justin can stretch the floor a little bit and is a career 31% from three. That is not a great number, but an acceptable number for a seven-footer in my book. He’s not a great defender by any stretch of the imagination, but at the same time, he isn’t Luis Scola. In fact, in 2014-15 in 17 games with the Wolves, he averaged 1.5 blocks per game and 1.1 steals per game. I’m cherry picking a very small sample size here, but I just wanted to show further evidence Hamilton isn’t a pylon on defense.
Is Another Move Coming?
I would expect the Raptors to make another move. It could be another trade or a free agent signing. The Raptors still need to clear a little bit of salary if they want to use the full $8M mid-level exception.
Jonas Valanciunas is not safe. If the Raptors are still looking to clear salary he could be next to go. The Raptors are now loaded with guys that can play the center position with Serge Ibaka, Jakob Poeltl, Bebe, and now Justin Hamilton. If the Raptors plan is to start Ibaka at center they don’t really Valanciunas with serviceable backups in Poeltl and Bebe. However, if that is the case they will desperately need a power forward. The Raptors lost Patrick Patterson this free agency and if Ibaka is primarily playing center the only other viable option on the roster is Pascal Siakam. Siakam might be fine to play some backup minutes, but he cannot fill 48 minutes at power forward. Maybe, Justin Hamilton can pick up some power forward minutes, but a PF pairing of Siakam and Hamilton would be one of the weakest in the league. The market has been soft on Valanciunas, but if Masai can get something of value back if might just flip him.
As well as being loaded at center the Raptors are loaded at point guard. The Raptors re-signed Kyle Lowry and have capable backups in Delon Wright and Fred VanVleet. I know what you are thinking. How do you put Delon and Fred in the same sentence? Fred is killing it in summer league again. He was very good in the D-League last year. And he showed he belonged on and NBA court when he got minutes with the Raptors this season. Cory Joseph has shown the ability to play some shooting guard at times. He’s a serviceable backup to DeMar DeRozan, but that’s probably not a big enough reason to keep Joseph if the Raptors still need to cut salary. Plus, even though Norman Powell is now expected to be the Raptors starting small forward his natural position is shooting guard at only 6’4, so certainly Norman has the ability to play there as well. The problem with that though is that the Raptors rookie, OG Anunoby, is likely out until December so the Raptors won’t have depth at small forward until then. Cory Joseph makes less money than Jonas Valanciunas and is likely easier to move. In addition, Valanciunas currently a better basketball player (even if he’s not a great fit for the modern NBA) and has more upside than Joseph. So, I could very well see the Raptors move Cory Joseph for a second-round pick. That should open up enough money to use the full mid-level exception. You know who is a still a free agent would provide the Raptors with shooting? CJ Miles. Yes, I know Miles wouldn’t address the Raptors issues at power forward, but he could play a meaningful role backing up both Norman Powell and DeMar DeRozan.
Was DeMarre Carroll Doomed to Fail?
The only thing translatable in DeMarre Carroll’s game from the Hawks to the Raptors might have been his defense. When Carroll was on the Hawks they had one of the best passing teams in the league. The Raptors continually rank near the bottom of the NBA in assists. It’s easy to say Carroll wasn’t good with the Raptors because of his injuries, but when you are a role player and you go from a share the wealth offense to a heavy ISO offense in the Raptors your shot is going to suffer. In Carroll’s case, it fell off a cliff. On the latest episode of the NBA Deep Dives Podcast with Nick Agar-Johnson (episode 26), I mentioned how players haven’t been as good after leaving the Hawks. Carroll happens to be one of those players.
Carroll is a great human being but wasn’t a viable basketball player for the Toronto Raptors. It was baffling the number of minutes Dwane Casey gave him and how few minutes Casey gave to Norman Powell. With Carroll now gone Casey will be forced to play Powell who has dazzled in the playoffs in his first two seasons in the NBA.
Want to know more about Justin Hamilton? Read Nick Agar-Johnson great piece on him.