Posted: Monday August 14, 2006 11:24AM; Updated: Monday August 14, 2006 5:36PM
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SI.com: Though Charlie Villanueva's scoring acumen was expendable on a roster like this, the trade that sent him to Milwaukee for Ford was almost universally regarded as a dubious transaction for Toronto. Why does it make sense for this group of Raptors?
Carefoot:The Villanueva-for-Ford trade was exactly the kind of high-risk/high-reward move that Colangelo has become known for. Villanueva was expendable on a team with Bosh, and Ford has the most upside of any available point guard that didn't require Bosh in a trade. While I don't have any confidence that the trade will favor the Raptors in the long run, I understand what Colangelo was thinking when he pulled the trigger.
SI.com: Inconsistent former Raptors boss Rob Babcock was sort of the Villanueva of GMs, demonstrating strong personnel moves at some times with terrible ones at others. What are Raptors fans taking from his two-year reign?
Carefoot:Most fans look at Babcock as the worst GM in Toronto sports history. Even though he was less than stellar in the big picture, I don't think it's entirely a fair judgment, because Vince Carter put the Raptors between a rock and a hard place when he made his trade demand public. As the Ron Artest and Baron Davis trades have revealed, disgruntled superstars tend to get less than 50 cents on the dollar in return. Regardless, even a Babcock apologist would have to admit that Colangelo brings much-needed experience and credibility to this franchise.
SI.com: Though Bosh has established himself as a franchise big man, the rest of the parts surrounding him are quite green. Bargnani, Jorge Garbajosa and Uros Slokar are rookies. Jose Calderon and Joey Graham are exciting prospects, but both are entering their second year. And backcourt scorer Anthony Parker hasn't played an NBA minute since 1999. Does this group have the depth to make a playoff run? Are we going to see a Mike D'Antoni-style six-man rotation?
Carefoot:On the contrary, I think this team is as deep as any Raptors team I can recall. But it's not the depth that will determine if this team will make noise in the playoffs. With nine new players on this roster, it's impossible to tell how this team will mesh. Because Colangelo put this team together, I'm inclined to predict that they'll secure the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. If Isiah Thomas made these exact same moves, I'd predict a 15-win season. I guess it's the difference between being set up on a blind date by Hugh Hefner or your visually impaired aunt.
SI.com: What about this squad will surprise fans of other teams?
Carefoot:I think Bargnani has the greatest potential to surprise fans of every team -- including Raptors fans. He won't compete for Rookie of the Year, but I think he'll show signs that he won't join Kwame Brown and Michael Olowokandi as first-pick busts.