It’s Christmas time and every kid has their wishes and the presents and toys that they wish to receive from Santa Claus. I just hope the Christmas wishes will extend to the Raptors fans as well.
If I have the power to make some wishes to come true for our beloved Toronto Raptors team, here are the type of players that I wish the Raptors President Masai Urijri and General Manager Bobby Webster can make before the trading deadline.
The Toronto Raptors are playing exciting basketball and so far the record is 21-10, sitting around the 4th to 6th spot. I know before the regular season, the U.S. sports media wrote the Raptors off and said how they will finish at the bottom of the playoff standings or even worse, said that we will not make the playoffs. I never buy into any of that coz even with out Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, I believe in this team and this is the weak Eastern Conference we are talking about, it’s not hard to make the playoffs for Toronto. But if the Raptors want to run it back and repeat and go deep into the playoffs or win another NBA championship, the management has to make a few moves.
Here are some deficiencies that I think we are lacking and here are what I think the Raptors should do to bolster our team to go for a deep playoff run:
WHAT WE NEED?
Need Another Big Tall Frontcourt
We have Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Chris Boucher. However, I think we need another big tall front court to complement this team. Marc Gasol is the ONLY legitimate tall big man, listed at 7 feet. Other than that, we don’t have any big man who is listed more than 7 foot. We need size, we need height. As evident by the recent Marc Gasol injury that when he isn’t available, we don’t have another big tall man to play defence, block shots or box out. If we want to defend or stand a chance against teams with bigger guys, we need another big tall guy.
Bucks have Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez and Greek Freak, a bunch of big guys on the Milwaukee team roster. Check out the Philadelphia 76ers, they have starting centre Joel Embiid, guys like Mike Scott, Ben Simmons, Al Harford, so many big tall guys. What about Los Angeles Lakers, if we ever play in the finals, we don’t have big tall guys to defend Javale McGee, Anthony Davis or Dwight Howard. Chris Boucher can score and mobile but he lacks size to defend against big guys like Boston Celtics Enes Kanter. Serge is muscular but he is listed as 6’9″ and shoot around the 3 point arc. We need another big tall guy on the roster whose assignment is to add size, box out and defend, grab rebounds or block.
Need A Scoring Closer
With the departure of Kawhi Leonard who went home to play for the Los Angeles Clippers, there isn’t a closer for the Toronto Raptors. The baton is now passed onto the up and rising scorer in Pascal Siakam. Pascal has accelerated on this assignment to play better, to score and to lead the team. However, I think it’s too much to ask and have unfair expectation from a guy who is still developing and learning into an elite consistent scoring superstar. When the playoff comes, it’s a different game, there will be less space and time from the defenders to allow Siakam space to shoot the ball. Defenders will be all over Pascal to disrupt him from easy basket. Numerous times over and over again, when we play against the contending teams in a tight game, we lost most of the games as we didn’t have a scorer down the stretch to take the pressure off Pascal. We definitely another scorer, in my opinion, preferably a shooting guard who can stretch the floor and who is consistent and isn’t afraid to drain those last seconds shots.
Need A 3pter Shooter
There is never enough of 3pter specialist. We lost Danny Green to the Los Angeles Lakers. Yes, we got Matt Thomas who is supposed to shoot the lights out. But he is injured, and even when he is healthy, he isn’t getting enough playing minutes to show what he can do in a consistent basis. His defence is a suspect and he is still learning the NBA game. We need another 3pter specialist who can get hot and shoots the light out. A player who can win a game in each round of a playoff series that type of shooter.
SUGGESTED PLAYERS WHO COULD HELP THE RAPTORS!
I really like J. J. Redick’s game. He is a pure good shooter who can shoot 3’s on a consistent basis. He can defend and is a veteran with leadership. The best part? He has playoff experience. He can also win a game or two singlehandedly when he gets hot. He is also low maintenance and doesn’t need to take a lot of shots. He knows his role and he will complement well in our starting lineup at the shooting guard spot.
Did you know….J.J. Redick has not missed the playoffs in his whole entire career? I never knew that. Every team that he plays on, they make the playoff. However, that winning streak may be in jeopardy right now as he is playing for the New Orleans Pelicans who is has a brutal record of 8-23. Redick signed with the Pelicans as New Orleans thought they have the pieces to make the playoffs this year and with the #1 draft pick Zion Williamson, they thought this is the year to bolster up their lineup. Unfortunately, Zion hasn’t play 1 single NBA game yet as he is injured.
With the Pelicans with such a poor record and Zion isn’t playing anytime soon. Perhaps the Pelicans may explore trading Redick to a contending team and get some assets in return who can help the team and grow with the team.
I think if the Raptors can trade Norman Powell with a 2nd Round Draft Pick for J.J. Redick, the deal may go through. Some Raptors fans may probably may not want to trade Norman Powell since he is playing so well right now before getting injured, Powell’s stock value is the highest ever right now. Norm shows his potential time and time again this year, but the problem is….Norm is inconsistent. Sometimes, he is very good but sometimes, he went MIA. In the playoffs, you cannot afford to have a player who is inconsistent. I rather have a veteran who has great leadership, great locker room guy and a guy who is consistent to contribute in the shooting guard position in the starting lineup. Norman stock is high right now and it’s good to make trade him.
Trevor Ariza, despite in the winding years of his NBA career still got game in my opinion. There are a lot of intangibles on the stat sheet that doesn’t show about how good this guy is. He can defend, shoot 3’s, low maintenance guy who doesn’t take lots of shots. He is a great veteran with great leadership. I think he will be a valuable asset for the Toronto Raptors team. He is currently playing for the Sacramento Kings which I really don’t think will make any major impact this year in the NBA playoffs, so the Raptors should look into that.
The Canadian big man is having a career year right now in its last year of his long-term contract. He will become a free agent after this season. There are rumour of him coming to Toronto. It would be cool to have a local Canadian player who can contribute. Thompson will foot the bill grabbing all the defensive and offensive rebounds. However, I don’t know if we have any salary space to absorb his entire massive salary and not have enough player in return. At 6’9″, I don’t know if we want another front court guy who is less than 7 feet all.
Tristan will not be my primary trading option but he should be consider.
Bismack Biyombo is a familiar face. He was part of the 2015 Toronto Raptors squad. I still remember he was the force who played so well during that 7-game series win against the Miami Heat. Bismack was a fan favourite and he is a no non-sense guy. He isn’t afraid of anybody. He was aggressive on the boards and he was never shy from super stars like Lebron James. He didn’t care who you are, he will still smack you down the floor for a block or rebound.
We let Bismack go after that season coz he was a free agent and with his offensive challenged skill set, there was no way the Raptors will sign him to a long-term contact that averages $16M a season, which the Orlando Magic did. But it didn’t work out for Bismack in Orlando and they traded him away to the Charlotte Hornets. This is his last year of his contract. I still think Bismack still have some gas left on his tank and he will defend and block shots. Again, he is listed at 6’9″. If I have a choice, I prefer to have a taller 7’0″ guy.
Some of the suggested players that I have mentioned so far are currently playing for another NBA team, so the Raptors must give up some players in order to trade for their services. So…what if Toronto doesn’t want to get rid of anybody and keep the roster intact? Then, they may have to explore the free agency market.
A player comes to mind is Jamal Crawford. He is currently working out everyday on his own, just waiting for a call from a NBA contending team who wants his service. Despite at 38 years old, Jamal can still play, shoot 3pters and he is 1 of the best to draw AND 1 in the game. The most spectacular player who can make some of the most ridiculous shots and still draw a foul at the free throw line for a 4-point play.
I would love to have it on the Raptors bench, coming in to provide some scoring relief. Remember, he has won a few 6th Man of the Year awards not long ago. He still got it! And best yet? They won’t cost our team any players as he is a free agent trying to hop on a train to the playoffs.
Jeff Green has been playing for many teams during his NBA career. He is the type of player that I often like to describe as a player who can do a little bit of everything and that’s why every contending team will like to trade for him since he is good (not great) at doing a bit of everything.
A Raptors fan once told me that Jeff Green always play well against us. He was just recently waived by the Utah Jazz and I think it will be great to have Jeff Green on our roster. He can be the shooting guard or small forward, has a reliable jumper and a 3pter shot. He can play some defence. I like his game.
Davis Bertans from the Washington Wizards is hitting the lights out right now. He is listed as 6’10” and can shoot a consistent 3pt shot throughout his young NBA career. He will be a free agent, so if Wizards don’t intend to keep him, he sill become available as a trading chip.
I am sure many NBA teams will want his service in the playoffs, so the Raptors may not have enough pieces to trade for him. But I think the Raptors should at least inquire and show their interests about Bertrans availability.
Marcus Morris Senior signed a 1-year deal with the New York Knicks and he has been playing very well. I am never a fan of his personality but definitely love his game. He is big, muscular, aggressive on the board, play with some mean attitude and can shoot the 3pt ball.
As we know the New York Knicks isn’t going anywhere this year, he will be a good fit for the Toronto Raptors.
Raptors Biggest Problem
Raptors biggest problem is its inability to draw veterans who get waived or free agents to sign on the team and sit on the bench, providing some insurance and leadership during the playoffs. No disrespect to last year and this year’s Raptors squad. Guys like Jordan Lloyd, Eric Moreland, Malcolm Miller shouldn’t be on the Raptors bench. These are young guys who have not much experience, can’t really do much comes playoff time. So…what’s the point of having them on the bench when they couldn’t contribute during the big stage? Remember last year? Coach Nick Nurse couldn’t believe in these young players that he only used a 7-man rotation which exhausted everyone on the team.
We need guys on the bench who can contribute when we need them. We need guys like Jeff Green, J.J.Redick, Jamal Crawford or other veterans out there who is waiting for the next opportunities.
Are there any other players you suggest the Toronto Raptors should explore to get them on our team?