Hey there, it's B-Huge while I welcome Mr.Nesterovic to Toronto and hope he does well I'm not going to openly gush about this trade just yet. I'm not about to issue any preposterous statements such as this from Robert MacLeod of The Globe & Mail:
"And now the trade for Nesterovic provides the Raptors with their first legitimate centre since Eric Montross played for Toronto in 2001-02."
How wrong is this statement? Let me count the ways...
1. MacLeod is assuming that Nesterovic is a legitimate centre. Now, he is 7 feet tall and plays centre. I cannot deny those facts but the Raptors have had plenty of guys that tall who have played centre in the past 5 years. Nesterovic averaged 4.5 points and 3.9 rebounds in 18.9 minutes last season. The much-maligned Rafael Araujo averaged 2.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in 11.6 minutes last season. I don't see too much of a difference besides the sheer amount of booing Araujo received from the crowd.
2. MacLeod is assuming that Eric Montross was a legitimate centre. In 2001-02 Eric Montross averaged 2.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game. Apparently Raptor fans should have been jumping for joy because Araujo was giving us Montross-like numbers. If Montross was a legitimate centre then Araujo certainly is too.
3. The Raptors had no one playing centre from 2001-02 until yesterday's trade. Hello! Antonio Davis seemed to fill the role quite well. I'm not sure what definition of "legitimate centre" MacLeod is using. No matter how often Davis cried about not being a centre, he was the Raptors' centre while he was here and he did a pretty good job. Actually, Davis remains the best centre to ever play for the Raptors. Sure Davis wasn't 7 feet tall but neither is Ben Wallace and nobody thinks that he isn't a legitimate centre.
4. Hakeem Olajuwon played centre for the Raptors in 2001-02. He averaged 7.1 points and 6.0 rebounds that year in just 22.6 minutes per game. But the memory of Eric Montross's awesome season is what stood out in 2001-02 for MacLeod.
5. Loren Woods averaged 2.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in 12 minutes last season. He was giving us Montross-like numbers too! Had the Raptor fans known we had two Montross-like legitimate centres on our team last year we might have been quite a bit more disappointed with our win total. How come Coach Mitchell wasn't fired? How can a team with TWO Eric Montross-like players not make the playoffs?
Besides, we all know the Raptors last legitimate centre was Nate Huffman.