The Toronto Raptors made a statement on the NBA’s trade deadline, acquiring Marc Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies. In return, Memphis will receive Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, CJ Miles, and a 2024 second round draft pick. So, what does this mean?
It means that Toronto is serious in making a huge playoff run in 2019.
How much of an upgrade is Marc Gasol over Jonas Valanciunas?
How much better is a nacho supreme compared to regular nachos? Much better I’d say, and the same logic applies here. While Gasol may not be the All-Star talent that he once was, he will still serve a critical role for the Raptors in the playoffs. Gasol is one of the best centres in the league when he cares, is extremely smart and will fit perfectly into the playstyle of the Raptors. Most importantly, he plays way better when games matter more, so he is definitely going to be one of the go-to guys during clutch moments in the playoffs.
Gasol has elite passing and playmaking abilities, and his addition to the lineup will make a huge offensive impact on the team. This will make the overall offence of the Raptors much better and more fluid. Because of Gasol’s great vision on the court, expect more spacing on the floor, which should translate to better shots for his teammates. Speaking of shots, Gasol is also a solid three-point shooter and gritty in the paint, so his versatility makes him a tough player to guard.
Let’s Talk About Defense
When the Raptors acquired Kawhi Leonard last offseason, they made a statement in acquiring a former Defensive Player of the Year. Well, this just added another one. Marc Gasol was D.P.O.Y in 2013 and now the Raptors have two of the best defensive players in the whole league. Serge Ibaka has also been on the NBA All-Defensive First Team so the Raptors are looking very good on the defensive side of the ball.
You can look at it as the Raptors now have two former defensive players of the year. Conversely, you can look at it as Jonas Valanciunas only being 26 years old and Marc Gasol being 33 years old. How much time does Gasol have left? Will he show up in the playoffs as he has previously? How will he fit the overall Toronto mould? These are all questions remain to be answered, but the decision to acquire Gasol is a decision based on Toronto chasing a championship in 2019. With others in the Eastern Conference adding key players to their teams, such as the Sixers acquiring Tobias Harris and the Bucks acquiring Nikola Mirotic, Toronto threw their hat in the bucket to remain competitive.
That’s it for this edition of Prince’s Thoughts! Follow me on twitter for more updates @thisisgillie, until next time!
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