Be glad Toronto fans, because the Raptors are making a push for the playoffs.
It’s been an ugly slide the last 6 weeks. Blown fourth-quarter leads, a porous defence and a stagnant offence has taken a team that was once running at a historical level to a mid-range Eastern playoff team.
Something had to be done! Frustration was showing on all of the players, both on the court and in post-game scrums. The team needed some sort of change, some sort of shake-up, some sort of injection that would boost a new life into the roster.
— The Vertical (@TheVertical) February 14, 2017
Do I think the addition of Serge Ibaka is going to push this team over the top? No, but! They are a better team now than what they were 48 hours ago. I appreciate the little things Patrick Patterson does as a player, but he was not capable of handling the roll on a full-time basis.
The off-season addition of Jared Sullinger has done absolutely nothing for the team. Yes, he has been injured, but sitting on the sidelines in a suit adds zero wins to the column. The trade pushes everyone down a spot in the rotation, and when you get to the playoffs and your bench tightens up, the Raptors now have more quality depth.
The loss of Terrence Ross is negligible. The reality is, he was not going to become a better player in this current situation. The minutes simply were not available and his inconsistency was frustrating. He was capable of putting up a 51 point game, and then going 1-for-9 the next night. He never seemed to truly develop that role within the team, and his minutes will be easily picked up by other players. The 1st round pick would be in the late 20s, and that usually evolves into another rotation player. I’ll trade 2 rotation players for a starter in every scenario.
Scary thought, Ibaka could leave in free agency (although there are signs that suggest that he may stay). Toronto holds his Bird Rights, and with him having the same agent as Kyle Lowry, there’s a strong possibility that he will be staying north of the border next year.
Does this trade guarantee the Raptors have a date with the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals? Not even close. Washington and Boston have become significantly better in the last two months. John Wall and Isiah Thomas are playing at an incredibly high level, more so than Kyle Lowry at this point. The Wizards and Celtics are showing a toughness and grit that is allowing them to win key games right now, something that the Raptors cannot claim.
If you are a Raptors fan, you should be happy. The team is in a position where they can finally be buying, and not selling at the deadline. Having two All-Star players in their prime essentially forces this franchise to be aggressive. As a sports fan, I would rather see a team be over-aggressive than sit on their hands. Nothing is more frustrating than building for the future, and essentially doing nothing.
Ibaka cannot get into the lineup soon enough. This team needs to start winning some games, just to get some swagger back. With the All-Star break coming, and less than 30 games to go before playoffs, there is little time to figure out the rotation.
So be glad, Toronto! You’re a better team now than you were last week. It’s a risk the Raptors were willing, and quite frankly, had to take.