The trade deadline is officially over. No major trades happened, despite the rumors to the contrary. The only teams that made a trade that would affect them during the rest of the season are Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers. Granger, one of my favourite players and the face of the Pacers’ franchise a few years ago, will be in the awkward situation for him to fight only for minutes and himself rather than a title. This trade is beneficial for him in order to get a better contract during the offseason, much better than if he was staying in Indiana, because right now he needs to play a lot to regain his fitness. This was impossible to happen at Pacers. He may got hit hard emotionally from this trade, because the erstwhile franchise player of the team was sent to one of the worst teams of the NBA. However, he could get more minutes, so if he’s healthy he will have more chances to prove that he’s still got it (unless he’s bought out, which is looking increasingly likely). As for Evan Turner, he’s a talented offensive player who can come from the bench, give the necessary rest to Paul George and help Indiana a lot, especially this year, which is a championship-ride one.
What is the effect of this trade period on the Toronto Raptors? The most important news is that…there is no actual news! The team stayed almost the same. Especially the key pieces of it, stayed together. Only one minor trade happened, and this is Nando De Colo from the Spurs for Austin Daye. De Colo, PG/SG, and a European Champion with France, is much better than Buycks and Stone; If you had the opportunity to see him play during the European Championship or during his European tenure, you could understand that he has the talent, if he is given the minutes, to help the team, mostly by scoring but also helping the other score. Daye was a surplus, so it was a minor but good trade.
I hoped that Kyle Lowry would stay. And he did. This team is playing so well, and he deserves most of the credit. The only way I could “accept” a Lowry trade was if the incoming player was Kyrie Irving (rumors were saying that he wanted a trade) or Rajon Rondo. I wanted an improvement on the center spot, because I see a lack of physicality there. JV is not as physical as the playoffs need. He needs to be more aggressive on both ends, especially on defense. This lack of aggressiveness costs him playable minutes, when Dwane Casey prefers Amir Johnson or Tyler Hansbrough instead of him, when the team needs a better match-up against the opponents’ big bodies. He must be “injected” with some of Tyler Hansbrough’s blood, that’s for sure. “Psycho-T” is too physical, aggressive, dirty some may say. Sometimes his aggressiveness is what the team needs. JV must adopt some of Tyler’s style of play.
The good thing is that the successful core stayed the same. Everybody should be more concentrated from now on. Nobody is leaving, everybody (ok, almost everybody) is useful. From now on, this team must play better and better each and every game, share the ball more and more, play smarter at the beginning and the end of the games (the game against the Bulls is the perfect example of how a team must NOT play during the beginning and the end of the game: no physicality at the beginning, and dumb isolation game at the end) and play with heart, like the one of the Hockey Olympic Team.
Enjoy the rest of the season; it’s going to be a long one. Playoffs are just in the corner, after many years.