Projecting Marc Gasol’s role with the Toronto Raptors

(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Marc Gasol (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Who receives the majority of the minutes?

The addition of Gasol slightly complicates things for the starting rotation, but Gasol should be a starter because of his proven ability to play make and play solid defensive basketball. This move would force the Raptors to make a choice between moving either Ibaka or Siakam to the bench. The decision will be a tough one, but moving Siakam to the bench could provide a great spark to what has been an up-and-down season for the bench unit.

But, one big variable is if the Raptors can pick up a good back up center through the buyout market (What big man you ask? We just might have the piece for you). If they can’t find someone reliable they will be forced to run the bench unit with Ibaka at their five (which is a major upgrade compared to Monroe). With Ibaka centering the bench unit it should bring some needed steadiness to the lineup.

Although, Ibaka has shown that he is a very capable center and is quite possibly even deserving of the starting role. Ibaka offers an easier bucket when the time is needed and can help guard multiple players on teams such as the Golden State Warriors, the Boston Celtics or even the  Bucks. He’s a reliable bucket-getter and will help spread the floor with his range. He’s also a proven ISO scorer, who can pick-and-pop his way to an easy 16 points.

Gasol, on the other hand, will most likely get the nod if the opposing team is sending out their “big” lineup as he will have an easier time maneuvering against more traditional centers. Plus having both Gasol and Lowry on the court passing the ball off to teammates almost sounds too good to be true. Gasol will be extremely complimentary to his athletic wings, essentially handing them the ball on their way to the basket.

Both players are a good option at the five slot. Both solid defensively (even with Gasol slightly declining because of age) Gasol being the better positional defender and Ibaka earning his strips near the rim. Each also brings their own special touch to the offense, Gasol more the playmaker and Ibaka more of the scoring option.

Expect for Ibaka to get the lion share of the minutes early as Gasol learns the offense, but don’t be surprised if they end up splitting the center minutes down the middle, with one playing more than the other based on matchups.

There will certainly be kinks to work out along the way, but with Gasol here the Raptors now have a star at the center who’s going to be a great playmaker alongside the likes of Kyle Lowry and Leonard.

Next. Toronto Raptors Cap Implications. dark

With roster spots still open fans should look forward to the Raptors making a couple more power moves on their way to the playoffs.