The Raptors and Bucks make interesting post-draft swap.Imagine this scenario if you will Team A has a 6-10 Power Forward who can run the floor better than some guards, block shots, shoot from long range, distribute the ball exceptionally well for a player his size, and just finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting. Team B has a young Point Guard who is a former lottery pick, outstanding ballhandler, with prodigious court vision, who led his team in assists and to a playoff berth. One would figure that these players would significantly figure into their respective teams plans for future seasons, but that’s not the case as late on June 30th Team A (Toronto Raptors) and Team B ( Milwaukee Bucks) swapped PF Charlie Villanueva and PG T.J. Ford in a move widely considered by Canadians as a loss for their beloved Raptors.
Despite the strong feelings about this deal by our friends to the north, a look deeper will reveal that both teams got exactly what they wanted from this deal. To play new General Manager Bryan Colangelo’s preferred Phoenix-style of basketball they needed a quick pass-first Point Guard. Enter T.J. Ford who wowed audiences around the league with his spectacular return from a severe spinal cord injury sustained in 2004 to average 12.2 points and 6.6 assists per game. The Bucks however deemed Ford expendable in light of backup PG Maurice Williams’s breakout 2005 campaign in which he averaged 12.1 points, 4 assists and shot 38 percent from 3-point range. With the Raptors Ford will have a unique situation to play the style to which his talents are best suited, and in which no young hotshot is breathing down his neck looking to swipe his job at the first sign of trouble. Ford can distribute the ball and see the court in a manner similar to Jason Kidd and Steve Nash and will provide a wealth of opportunities for the aforementioned Bosh and Bargnani as well as SF Morris Peterson, and dare I say C Rasho Nesterovic.
Milwaukee, seeking frontcourt depth and athleticism in a conference where teams have to contain the potential high percentage shot opportunities of Lebron James, NBA Finals MVP Dwayne Wade, and Vince Carter get just that in 2005 Lottery Pick Charlie Villanueva. He will get also the playing time he might not have received with the Raptors as they are under pressure to justify their No. 1 pick Italian PF Andrea Bargnani with immediate playing time as well as continue to further the development of budding superstar Chris Bosh. They also prepare for the impending cost-cutting trade of Center Jamaal Magloire (scheduled to make 8.3 million this year).
Don’t look now fans but a sports rarity has occurred. Two franchises swapped young potential All-Stars for each other and no draft picks or abnormally massive contracts were involved. In this 21st century capped-out sports landscape where every GM is trying to blatantly fleece their counterparts and save a buck, an equitable deal was pulled off, albeit between conference foes that will change the face and the future of two hapless NBA franchises.