Jose Calderon has no interest in being the best back-up point guard in the NBA. With Kyle Lowry’s move to Toronto now official, Al Dannity says to expect fireworks from the Spaniard as he looks to make a mark at the Olympics.
Deal with it
This is not a column to criticise the Raptors for trading for Kyle Lowry. Bryan Colangelo made a smart move to get a promising player who won’t hurt Toronto’s cap situation. Lowry is young, hungry, and has tremendous upside. Fans in Toronto should be happy to see Lowry in a Raptors jersey this November. Just don’t expect Jose Calderon to flash the same smile.
The Spanish point guard is part of the same golden generation that brought the Gasol brothers and, albeit briefly, Juan Carlos Navarro to the NBA. Along with Navarro and Pau Gasol, Calderon has tasted international success at every level over the last 14 years, with Olympic gold the sole honor to elude him with Spain. In the NBA Calderon has never been elite but has established himself as a dependable point guard with solid defensive instincts and excellent ball-security. That’s not easy to find in this league and you can rest assured he won’t go quietly into the night.
One nation’s anguish is one man’s opportunity
When Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio went down with an ACL injury, it dealt a massive blow to Spain’s Olympic challenge. Rubio was likely to grab a large share of the minutes at point guard in London, splitting duties with Calderon. Without Rubio it’s hard to see Spain upsetting Team USA’s quest for yet another gold. Calderon however will be the unquestioned starter at point guard now, with former NBA back-up Sergio Rodriguez a clear second to the Raptor on the depth chart. Victor Sada of Barcelona, the third point guard on the roster, is likely to see limited or situational action, leaving Calderon with the lion’s share of the minutes in London.
What we’ve got here is a man with three things, namely motive, talent, and opportunity. Technically Calderon had all of these before Toronto moved for Lowry but the acquisition of the Rocket adds a different flavour to the mix. Glory is not the only factor driving Calderon now. On a global stage he has the chance to make a statement to the man who wants his job as starting point guard and to the organisation that doesn’t see him in its future. To do so he will have to lead Spain back to the Olympic Final and they must be competitive with the United States in that fight for gold. In a roster loaded with bigs, look for Calderon to be a dime-dropping machine when the eyes of Toronto are watching.
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