Grizzlies.gif (6914 bytes) The 4th pick belongs to Patrick Dolman representing the Toronto Raptors.  Patrick selects Raef LaFrentz.

I. Team Overview

The team took a step back after a moderately successful sophmore season.  The 97-98 season was full of distraught and turmoil as Stoudamire was  traded, Christie demanded and upon hearing the news that he may be involved  in a trade to Toronto, Kendall Gill vowed never to play.   Another player  who vowed the same, kept to his guns as Kenny Anderson was traded to the  Celtics.  The organization became somewhat of a revolving door as players  entered and exit both swiftly and quietly, sometimes.

Chauncey Billups Damon Stoudamire
John Thomas Walt Williams
Roy Rogers Zan Tabak
Dee Brown Popeye Jones
Gary Trent Shawn Respert (released)
Alvin Williams Kenny Anderson

The principle concern for the Raptors is still a big man and useless the trade up to get Olowokandi, the only other solution is the free agent market.

II. Player Analysis

PG Chauncey Billups StatLine: 27.7 min, 37.4 FG, 32.9 3pt, 85.0 FT

Grade: C+ 11.2 pts, 2.4 rbs, 3.9 ast, 1.34 stl

  • needs to improve field-goal percentage (37.4 %)
  • lightning quick off the dribble with an explosive first step
  • needs to improve shot selection
  • needs to think pass first, shot second and increase assists per game
  • should look to find the open man

SG Doug Christie StatLine: 37.7 min, 42.8 FG, 32.6 3pt, 82.9 FT

Grade: B+ 16.5 pts, 5.2 rbs, 3.6 ast, 2.44 stl

  • good hands, superb defender
  • one of the league's top steal men for the second year in a row
  • co-captain after Stoudamire's departure
  • effective scorer with some good moves
  • works mostly out of the post
  • needs to utilize a greater array of offensive moves
  • good leaper and exceptional rebounder for a 2 guard

SF John Wallace StatLine: 28.8 min, 47.8 FG, 71.7 FT

Grade: B 14.0 pts, 4.5 rbs, 1.23 blks, 1.3 ast

  • despite limited playing time, was second leading scorer
  • should increase rebounds per game
  • not the world's greatest defender (Ohla!)
  • prolific offensive weapon
  • look for him to become a staple in the offence with an increase in mintues

PF Marcus Camby StatLine: 31.8 min, 41.2 FG, 61.1 FT

Grade: B- 12.1 pts, 7.4 rbs, 3.65 blks, 1.8 ast

  • third leading scorer, but still needs to become more active offensively
  • topped the league in blocks, most of which came from defensive helps
  • competent passer for a big man
  • needs to improve both field goal and free throw percentages
  • improved rebounds per game over rookie season but could still do better
  • knock is still that he is injury prone and should still look to add bulk to his frame

C Oliver Miller StatLine: 25.4 min, 46.1 FG, 60.4 FT

Grade: C 6.3 pts, 6.3 rbs, 1.13 blks, 3.1 ast

  • looked like at one point he was ready to lose weight and play, but nothing came of it
  • free agent
  • excellent passer for a big man
  • not a real offensive weapon or a defensive threat
  • probably will not be back next year


SG/SF Tracy McGrady StatLine: 18.4 min, 45.0 FG, 34.1 3pt, 71.2 FT

Grade: C+ 7.0 pts, 4.2 rbs, 1.5 ast

  • was in Darrell Walker's doghouse until all the mid-season turmoil
  • excelled under the wing of Butch Carter
  • can jump out of the gym
  • should look to increase assists per game
  • should put up solid numbers with an increase in MPG
  • excellent rebounder, has a knack for getting to the ball
  • plans to workout with Kobe Bryant of the Lakers in the off-season to hopefully have the same second year performance

PF Gary Trent StatLine: 25.2 min, 47.7 FG, 67.9 FT

Grade: B 11.7 pts, 6.3 rbs, 1.3 ast

  • bit undersized for an NBA power forward, but makes up for it with his girth (just look at his biceps)
  • with more mintues should be an efficient offensive weapon
  • should look to rebound more and become more of a defensive presence
  • excellent field goal percentage
  • free agent who the Raptors should actively pursue

PF Reggie Slater StatLine: 21.3 min, 46.0 FG, 63.0 FT

Grade: B- 8.0 pts, 3.9 rbs

  • efficient in his role as a bench player and showed a consistent outside shot after the all-star break
  • good rebounder for an undersized power forward

SG Dee Brown StatLIne: 23.9 min, 43.8 Fg, 39.9 3pt, 72.2 FT

Grade: B 9.1 pts, 2.1 rbs, 2.1 ast

  • co-captain who was acquired from Celtics
  • floor leader who understands his role

Incomplete Grades

PG Alvin Williams

  • injured for most of his tenure with the Raptors
  • free agent who should be re-signed as a backup for Chauncey

C Sharone Wright

  • looked like he was going to shine this season until a car accident sidelined him

PF John Thomas

  • Glen Grunwald called him the "darkhorse of the Celtic trade"
  • said that the deal would not have gone through without Thomas and hopefully he'll live up to this billing

Raptors Free Agents:

  • Oliver Miller - bye-bye big guy
  • Chris Garner- probably won't be back
  • Alvin Williams - should be re-signed
  • Gary Trent- they need a big body and rebounding so the better keep him

Free Agents to Look at in the Off-Season:

  • Theo Ratliff, C, Philadelphia 76ers
  • Joe Smith, PF, Philadelphia 76ers
  • Alan Henderson, PF, Atlanta Hawks
  • Kurt Thomas, PF, Dallas Mavericks
  • Clarence Weatherspoon, PF, Golden State Warriors
  • Isaac Austin, C, Los Angeles Clippers
  • Mark Bryant, PF, Phoenix Suns
  • Antonio McDyess, PF, Phoenix Suns
  • Michael Stewart, C, Sacramento Kings

III. My Pick

Raef LaFrentz, PF/C, Kansas

  • with Bibby, Pierce and Olowokandi gone, the Raptors will take the best big man available
  • LaFrentz is predicted to be a prime candidate for ROY and is the most polished of all the draftees
  • this Kansas senior silenced critics who doubted his toughness by coming back early from an injury during his senior season
  • averaged 19 pts, 10 rbs for this senior run

IV. Others Considered

  1. Michael Olowokandi, C, Pacific
    • the Kandi Man can and hopefully for the Raptors if they can get him
  2. Paul Pierce, SF, Kansas
    • potential all-star who played for a big time program against big time competition
  3. Antawn Jamison, SF, UNC
    • tweener or dominator?
  4. Vince Carter, SG, UNC
    • he can dunk, but what else? Could be something special

V. Who I think they will take

And with the fourth selection in the 1998 NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors select ...

... from Pacific University, Michael Olowokandi (somehow, someway, they'll get him)

VI. Rumors

  • trade Christie and number 4 to Vancouver for the number 2
  • trade with the Nuggets to get the number 3 and select Olowokandi
  • rumors are abound that Camby could go to New Jersey for Gatling or someone else
  • possibility that they could swing a deal with the Knicks so New York can reatin the number 16 pick and give up next year's pick (per their agreement)

Craig Simpson - Usenet Draft Commissioner

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