On the surface, the Toronto Raptors signing of veteran big man Jamaal Magloire would appear to be a small, bench building move.
The Canadian is in the twilight of his career and would like to finish his basketball career where it all began. The Raptors need a big man off the bench that can play minor minutes and add another big body to match up against the Chris Boshs’ and Dwight Howards’ of the league.
Magloire, a 13 year veteran and former Eastern Conference All Star, knows how to win games and can certainly be of help to younger front court players in Toronto. Most notably, he will be asked to assist with Jonas Valanciunas.
Jonas is the future of the Toronto Raptors, at least in the minds of many in the front office and the fans that have been drooling over his hotly anticipated debut. That makes Magloire’s role on this years team one of the most important ones for fans. Getting Valanciunas NBA ready is seen as the key to the Raptors future success.
Magloire, who has played in All Star games, NBA playoff battles and most recently the NBA Finals, can offer a great deal of insight and assistance in how to adjust to the pressure of NBA life. It is advice that Jonas is unlikely to be able to get from anywhere else on the current roster.
This is becoming a bit of a habit now for Magloire, who will also play a mentorship role with the new look Canadian National team. He is being asked by Jay Triano and Steve Nash to come in and prepare the young Canadian kids for the battles that lie ahead.
It all seems like a bit of a turnaround for Magloire, who once declined to get involved with the National team.
It is clear he has turned over a new leaf and appears to now be embracing his role as veteran leader.
Last year in Toronto it was clear that Dwane Casey trusted Magloire quite a bit and would often sub him into games to send a message to the Bargnani’s and Ed Davis’s of the team to improve their defensive efforts. Magloire would then go out and show them how to play tough defense against difficult opponents.
Casey wants defense and toughness, especially from his inside defenders; qualities that Magloire possesses in spades. With the arrival of Jonas Valanciunas, the on court lessons will become even more important.
Magloire is in the twilight of his career, but as a former All-star, NCAA champion and strong and steady NBA playoff performer he has been through the toughest battles a player can go through. This knowledge and experience make him a perfect guide for a young player like Jonas Valanciunas. It makes him a great player/coach for the National team.
Last year he seemed to relish his role as team leader. He was vocal with teammates, active in scrums and at practice and was chosen by the franchise as the player to address the fans at the end of last season; a role usually reserved for the vocal leaders of the team.
For Magloire it is a nice way to cap a successful career. He’s finally home in Toronto and has finally joined the national team he was reluctant to be a part of.
There are many fans out there still upset by his refusal to play for Canada back in the days of Nash, but all is well that ends well. Magloire’s role shaping the performance of Andrew Wiggans, Tyler Ennis, Andrew Nicholson and Robert Sacre may be even more important than his role would have been playing back in day.
Magloire’s role is now about shaping the future in Toronto and for the National team.
That new role seems to suit him just fine.
Despite what may be said, this small transaction of bringing Magloire back could have a seriously profound impact on the Raptors season.
Welcome home Jamaal.
The Zan Tabak Herald