D.J. Waldie, a onetime critic of Mike Davis, praises his immense influence on the Toronto Raptors as their point guard.
Waldie is probably the most popular NBA writer in Toronto. He covers the Raptors extensively as they take their sweet time to decide on whether to trade or keep Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, and he helped elevate two Raptors draft picks: R.J. Barrett and E’Twaun Moore.
The 38-year-old’s recent criticism has come in the form of a scathing profile of James Johnson that has been picked up in several news outlets. Here’s how Waldie responded last week:
“If Johnson is truly a top-five guy, (in the NBA’s Top 50) he can’t play in Toronto (or anywhere else). But if he’s on the ‘next tier’ of the game – ‘a borderline All-Star’ – then the Leafs should pick him up and (in) any other league (he’d have to play in Toronto),” said Waldie, who is president of Raptors.com and author of “The Rotation.”
“Bottom line: I’m not arguing that anyone should be’rewarded’ for playing in Toronto (or any one city) because, for a moment, your franchise can be seen as doing great things.
“But if the Raptors can play with the best (on an individual basis), their franchise can be seen as a great thing. If they can play with the second best (on an individual basis), then they can be seen as an even greater thing. And so, the more one plays with a superstar in, the more one sees of their franchise.
Waldie’s point is that the Raptors have the fourth-best player in the NBA in Johnson and the Raptors should be able to compete on an individual level with the best. That’s true, but only for a brief moment before a new superstar comes along and takes away his competitive advantage.
“If the Raptors, on an individual basis, can play with the best, they should be able to compete on an individual level with the best…. And that is not an argument for or against their franchise winning a championship.”
This is a perfectly fine point, actually. It’s about the importance of individual greatness for a franchise – not about whether the Raptors can