So they didn't take James Johnson. Word is the concern was that DeMar DeRozan would be snapped up by Minnesota at No. 6 and when they went all point guard crazy, the Raptors could finally take some comfort that they were going to get the guy they wanted.
People I talked to in the organization wouldn't tell me how high they had DeRozan ranked, but it was higher than ninth. In their minds they got a steal.
Is he the right guy?
The Raptors certainly seem to think so. You have to give Colagelo credit, he's not shy about his convictions. There was no back-dooring here, no: "he might be, could be, we'll see" kind of talk.
It was a reporter who compared him to Amare Stoudemire, who Colangelo drafted at No.9 in 2002, and Colangelo didn't dismiss the comparison other than to say that DeRozan was more polished.
And it was Colangelo, in his next breath, who mentioned Vince Carter as comparable for DeRozan's athletic ability. I'll leave you to Google his various mixed tapes to judge for yourself
Just before that it was Triano who mentioned him as starter, which surprised me.
Later Colangelo went out of his way to make the point that he'll develop into his own player in his own time, but wouldn't it have been easier to say hey, the kid's young, he's got talent and we'll see how it plays out?
Under promise, over deliver?
Instead the Raptors have a 19-year-old kid who has worked out against air since he finished his only college season and he's already getting consideration as a starter and being compared to Vince Carter.
Hey, maybe it will all work out, but if all this was warranted why was he available at the ninth pick?
From what I can gather the Raptors were working hard to try and make a deal lower in the draft when they saw that both Johnson (16th to the Bulls) and Jrue Holiday (17th Philadelphia) were sliding somewhat, but the cost was too steep. There was also an effort to get into the second round to pick up Derrick Brown (40th, Charlotte), with the asking price in the millions. Better to keep that powder dry for free agency was the thinking in the end.
First impressions of DeRozan, based on his just completed media availability at the ACC: Mature, poised, smart, nice, friendly. Now, those are obviously very preliminary impressions, but first impressions do count, and DeRozan passed with flying colours.