Toronto Raptors: Time To Bring Jose Calderon Back

By Shahab Khan
Jose Calderon Detroit Pistons
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, I’m saying it and I mean it. This summer is the right time to bring Jose Calderon back to the Toronto Raptors. The team needs an unselfish, pass-first point guard and the Detroit Pistons guard is the right man.

The Raptors have to address two positions in the off season. They need a low-post scoring threat and more importantly they need a leader at the point guard position. Calderon is the man for the job and I know he would be happy to come back to his old stomping grounds.

The Kyle Lowry starting experiment hasn’t worked. He was brought in here to lead a team both on offense and defense. He has done neither. He can’t defend his position and always seems to get caught trying to grab offensive rebounds while his man has beat him down the floor. He looks for his shot first and doesn’t understand how to run the pick-and-roll. The team has two proven scorers in Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan and they need a lead guard to get them the ball in the right positions. That hasn’t happened with Lowry running the show and too often both wing men are left to beat their defender one-on-one as the shot clock winds down.

Lowry isn’t a starter in the league. He couldn’t win that spot with the Memphis Grizzlies or the Houston Rockets and he is about to lose his starting job with the Raptors.

The Pistons have been impressed with the way Calderon has come in and helped their team but they aren’t close to a playoff spot and won’t be next year. Their future at point guard is Brandon Knight and they have no reason to spend money on Calderon.

There has been a lot of discussion about the Raptors missing a veteran to provide leadership and the understanding about how to win. No veteran with those abilities in the NBA wants to come to Toronto. That type of player will only come north when the team is already good and on the verge of challenging the top spot. Charles Oakley did exactly that and his move paid off.

Calderon would be willing and happy to come back and take over the leadership role. He could start and help run the team, distributing the ball to the right people at the right time. He excels in pick-and-roll situations and seems to have fueled Amir Johnson to greater heights.

Calderon is an unrestricted free agent and I am sure the Pistons want to use his money elsewhere. The Raptors wouldn’t have to pay Calderon anywhere near the ten million he makes now to bring him back. He has ties to the community and is a fan favorite. The team needs an identity as it climbs back into the playoffs. Gay isn’t a true leader off the court. DeRozan is the quiet type and Johnson just goes out and works hard. Calderon is the perfect leader on and off the court.

The pundits have looked at the Gay, Calderon, Tayshaun Pince deal and have surmised that the Grizzlies won the trade. If the Raptors bring back Calderon, that thinking might change. It’s an easy and smart move to make. Who would you rather want running your team: Lowry or Calderon?

Shahab Khan is a Basketball and NBA Columnist with Rant Sports focusing on the Toronto Raptors

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