Toronto Raptors: Whose stock is rising/falling, plus two career-nights

Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Jonas Valanciunas (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors ended the trade deadline with another star player and another strong win in Atlanta, making it a 3-1 week. How did each player fare individually though?

This is the one week in the basketball calendar where playing basketball actually doesn’t matter too much at all, it becomes second fiddle to the theatrics and grandeur of the trade deadline. The Toronto Raptors were no exception here.

Teams mortgage their future with intentions to win now, while other teams accept that this isn’t their year and that maybe looking to the future is an appropriate course of action. Some trades hit, and some miss big time. That’s not something we can accurately predict a day after the deadline, it could take until the playoffs to get a real grasp.

The Toronto Raptors happened to make a trade late in the day, acquiring Marc Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright and C.J. Miles, plus a second round pick. It’s extremely sad to see the trio move on, each played an important part in the greatest period of Raptors basketball, Jonas Valanciunas probably leaves a legacy as the greatest center in Raptors history.

Neither of these three will find themselves in the Stock Down section this week, as this writer is still dealing with the emotional shock. Nor will Marc Gasol find himself in the Stock Up column, as there are two Raptors who deserve the accolades.

Anyway, basketball was still on the menu this past week, even if it was only an entree for the main course. The Toronto Raptors were in action on four separate occasions, facing the Bucks, Clippers, and Sixers in a trio of tough contests against three competitive teams. They then faced the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday evening, with a depleted roster of only nine men available, would that cause issues?

(Spoiler: it would not)

The first game on the agenda was the Milwaukee Bucks, the Raptors were trying to tie the season series in the final meeting between to two teams. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be the case. The Bucks were a potent offensive threat all evening, even if Giannis Antetokounmpo had one of his quieter games in some time. Antetokounmpo found himself in foul trouble all evening but the Bucks still humbled the Raptors en route to a 13-point victory.

The Raptors bounced back on Superbowl Sunday with a blowout victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, a potential destination for Kawhi Leonard this summer. Whether a second convincing victory would be enough to make Kawhi change his mind (it won’t, sadly) is completely up to you, but the Raptors did enough to flex their muscles in a game that could have gone either way, as matinee games occasionally do.

Back-to-back victories were sealed with the humbling of the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, Kyle Lowry responded with a strong performance amid speculation that he could be traded away before the deadline.

After a dismal first quarter in Atlanta, the Raptors bounced back with a great performance that saw career-highs for Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, both putting up 30-plus points to lead the Raptors to victory on a night where Kawhi Leonard was rested.

Let’s get to it.