The renaissance of Jose Calderon

Posted: December 25, 2010 in basketball, Sports

Taken from my article on Raptors Watch

It’s a slow Christmas day in Raptors media land. A copious amount of people have their eyes spotlighted on Kobe’s 13th Christmas Day game in his 15 year career. Alas, that much-anticipated game doesn’t start until 5PM, and we still have over an hour to go until the first Christmas Day match-up starts.

So while we cool our heels, we might as well reflect on the resurgence of Jose Calderon this season.

The majority of us Raptor fans were dismayed when we learned that Michael Jordan got cold feet in a trade that would’ve sent Jose to Charlotte for Boris Diaw and Tyson Chandler (what a steal that would’ve been by Colangelo), but approximately 6 months later, it’s time to look at the positives.

Provided that Colangelo did indeed pick-up Diaw and Chandler, I’d say we would be looking at some more immediate success, and a better record than the current one the Raptors possess. Chandler in particular, would’ve provided an intimidating inside presence, and he would’ve been a perfect complement to Andrea Bargnani.

On the other hand, we’d see Jarrett Jack running the point night-in and night-out. It’s hard to speculate who the back-up point guard would be, but we do know that Jack isn’t a great defender, nor a consistent player.

When Jose learnt that Colangelo wanted to ship him off, and failed – the psychological impact on the Spaniard were clear for all to see. At the beginning of the season, Jose just didn’t look like the Jose that led the Raps to an Atlantic Division title back in ’08 – far from it in fact. His confidence was low. All the things that made him so good in his prime – driving to the basket, finding team-mates in good spots, not turning the ball over, and hitting long-range shots – disappeared completely.

It wasn’t until Colangelo pulled the trigger and traded Jack, Banks, and Anderson for Bayless and Peja, that Calderon started playing basketball that we know he’s capable of playing; and it’s now that we’re finally seeing the fruits and blessing of the collapsed trade with Charlotte.

What fruits and blessings do you ask?

  1. Shipping off Jack and Banks gave Jose all the confidence he needs, knowing that they count on him to run this team.
  2. Adding Bayless is a huge move for the future. Jerryd does all the things Jack can do – but only better. He can drive to the basket better, shoot better, and play defense better. Add to that, he’s also younger and has tremendous upside.
  3. Acquiring Peja’s expiring contract – a huge move in building for the future.

You see the spring in Jose’s step in the aftermath of this trade. His numbers are up, he’s shooting with confidence, playing aggressively on defense, and driving to the basket more.

Jose has also gained the respect of US media. From a recently published article on Hoopsworld:

Since Jack was traded, Calderon has started 12 games and is averaging 12.2 points on 54 percent shooting and 48.4 percent from three to go with 9.2 assists and 1.3 steals as the Raptors have won five and lost seven.  Toronto is 10-19 on the season.  Calderon has been playing some of the best basketball of his career as a starter this year.

Read full article: http://bit.ly/eBUd62

Now, there’s no telling what will happen to Jose in the future. He might stay and continue as the Raptors’ leading point guard. But if Colangelo still wants to trade him, it will be much easier to do so this time around as Jose’s trade value is as high as it ever was.

Merry Christmas.

 

 

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