Saturday , Mar , 22 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Figuring Out Toronto’s Point Guard Spot: T.J. Ford or Jose Calderon?

What are Bryan Colangelo and Sam Mitchell’s plans for the one-spot? Should the Raptors keep Ford and let Calderon sign elsewhere as a restricted free agent this summer? Or should they give Calderon a long-term extension and trade Ford? …

Figuring Out Toronto's Point Guard Spot: T.J. Ford or Jose Calderon?Two starting point guards. Only 48 minutes of playing time. For a season and a half, Toronto Raptors T.J. Ford and Jose Calderon made it work, unselfishly sharing the one-spot. When appropriate, each deferred to the other. And when appropriate, each enjoyed their moment in the sun.

The days of Ford and Calderon excelling as a one-two punch appear to be ending. Both now need starter minutes to emerge as the ‘dinos’ second-star behind Chris Bosh.

Of course, there are rumors of dysfunction. This week, National Post columnist Bruce Arthur wrote that Ford’s return from injury has hurt the Raptors:

If ever there was a fitting end for a disaster in five acts, the Toronto Raptors’ loss in Utah Monday night was it. After losing the first four games of the trip with point guard T.J. Ford drifting further and further from his teammates, Ford cemented his isolation.

With the score tied 65-65 after three quarters against the best home team in the league, Ford missed a shot, threw the ball away twice, committed two fouls, drew two technical fouls, had to be restrained, and was ejected.

Ford left, his teammates stayed; Toronto lost.

It was the grand finale of T.J.’s badly reviewed travelling show, in which he responded to — and confirmed — his backup status by playing like a one-man band, complete with cymbal crashes. Ford’s season was derailed by injuries, and a period of adjustment was expected. But right now Ford is lost, and he’s screwing the entire team up. And a season that was already vaguely disappointing has taken a sharp turn for the worse..

What are Bryan Colangelo and Sam Mitchell’s plans for the one-spot? Should the Raptors keep Ford and let Calderon sign elsewhere as a restricted free agent this summer? Or should they give Calderon a long-term extension and trade Ford? Below is a breakdown.

Why the Raptors should keep Ford …

  • He’s lightning quick. The Texan puts pressure on opposing defenses with his blazing speed and ability to penetrate.
  • Ford has potential as a second option on offense. Before getting hurt, he posted  impressive scoring numbers and looked like an All-Star.
  • Money matters. Ford is on the books for two more years at a very reasonable 8 million dollars per season.

Why the Raptors should keep Calderon …

  • He’s a classic table-setter. The Euro gets teammates involved with his pass-first, spread-the-rock style.
  • Calderon has impressed as the starter. Analysts see him as a top ten point guard and many believe he should’ve represented the Eastern Conference at the All-Star game in New Orleans.
  • Calderon has a league-leading 4.88 assist-to-turnover ratio. Of course, this statistic is used to measure how point guards care for the ball.

Our call: The Raptors should keep Calderon and trade Ford for a rebounding center.

Why: Sure, the Spaniard’s footspeed needs work. And sure, he’s not flashy. But Calderon’s decision-making brings out the best in others -a rare and valuable commodity in today’s NBA.

Also, Calderon possesses an intagible quality. His international experience and modest outlook have molded him into a leader. This will help a young team come playoff time.

Ford or Calderon? Who should Toronto build around at point guard? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts. Click here to read and subscribe to Oly Sandor’s NBA Blog. (Image appears courtesy of photographer FLC’s portfolio at flickr.com.)