Toronto Raptors fans, feel neither excitement or panic as the trade deadline passed with Masai Ujiri the General Manager making minimal changes (bringing in Nando De Colo for Austin Daye). It would appear that Ujiri has agreed with the fans who have voted at the Raptors website not to change a thing got their wish. Closest in those votes, but not really, was that the Raptors should be sellers, and least voted was Raptors selling off players (presumably for picks). Expect Nando De Colo to be nothing more than an insurance policy in the Raptors pockets at this point. The Raptors would like use De Colo the same amount as Julyan Stone and Dwight Buycks have been used, as backups in case of an injury to Kyle Lowry or Greivis Vasquez. The Raptors are currently precariously holding onto the 3rd place spot in the Eastern Conference by 1.5 games over the Chicago Bulls, and 1st place in the Atlantic Division by 4.0 games over the Brooklyn Nets.
I’m of two minds when analyzing the Raptors current position. On one hand, I’m happy that the team gets to stay together after how well they have played since the trade of Rudy Gay earlier in the year. On the other hand, I am a bit concerned that no moves were made to provide additional toughness in the painted area. A specific example that shows this lack of toughness and most memorable in my mind, is the Los Angeles Clippers series of games against Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. The Raptors have not been able to make any impact on big, physical Centers or Power Forwards who have pushed their way into easy scores throughout games during the season. I hope Dwayne Casey has been able to come up with a plan for fixing this glaring problem because the thought of someone like Carlos Boozer pushing our Raptors squad around and taking over the game does not sit well with me.
Dwayne Casey has the remaining 27 games to make sure that the Big men of the Raptors are prepared to handle the tougher, physical Centers and Power Forwards the team will encounter in the playoffs. Will a proper plan be in place, or will we be watching playoff games that are painful to endure?