Toronto Raptors: Previewing the upcoming 2020 free agent class

Jaylen Brown vs Toronto Raptors (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Jaylen Brown vs Toronto Raptors (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Serge Ibaka (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Can they be an effective starting big?

Domantas Sabonis

Other than Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis might be the best offensive player on the Indiana Pacers. Last season he averaged over 20 points per 36 minutes on incredible 63-percent true shooting.

He’s a fantastic roll-man, has a workable jump shot, and finishes everything around the basket. — Last season he shot 70-percent at the rim, ranking in the top 79th percentile among all bigs, according to CleaningTheGlass.

But can he be good enough defensively to anchor a top-tier defense? He’s not a good rim protector, isn’t quick enough to be a switch defender, and isn’t great against big or small matchups. He’s a fantastic rebounder, although that’s about where his defensive prowess ends.

He’s not Enes Kanter or Jahlil Okafor levels of horrible defensively. But he’s definitely below average at his position.

It appears that Indiana is going to start Sabonis at power forward to begin the year. They’ve experimented with it briefly in previous seasons, but after letting Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic walk, they appear to finally be fully committed.

If Sabonis fits in as a perfect power forward next to Turner, forget it. He won’t be available for a price that makes sense to the Raptors. However, if he and Turner struggle to find a rhythm offensively (as many analysts, including myself, expect), the Pacers might be willing to let him walk next FA.

Sabonis has some defensive warts in his game, but Toronto has the surrounding pieces to serve as a Maybelline-esq cover-up. With Siakam, Anunoby, and a few other talented defenders in the frontcourt, they can get by with one lesser option.

With Sabonis, Siakam, and Anunoby, Toronto could have a young, capable frontcourt locked up for the immediate future. If things don’t work out in Indy (and he’s not traded before the deadline), the Raptors should sniff around for Sabonis’ asking price.

Jerami Grant

A frontcourt of Jerami Grant, Pascal Siakam, and OG Anunoby would have some serious deficiencies. The trio doesn’t have much shot creation, much passing, and would get mopped on the glass.

With that being said, it might all be worth it to watch those three defenders on a night-out basis. You want to talk about the modern NBA and switch defenses? This team could switch everything, still protect the rim, and still eviscerate souls on the perimeter. Together, they would be one of the best defensive frontcourts in the NBA.

Offensively, they should at least have the spacing aspect down. Grant was a consistent three-point shooter last year, Siakam is reliable from the corners, and while OG would need to adjust to playing above the break a little more, he’s been a solid marksman throughout his young career.

Denver already had Nikola Jokic on a monster deal, has Jamal Murray’s extension starting in 2020, and hasn’t paid the luxury tax since 2010. The chances of Grant leaving after this year are reasonably high. His fit in Toronto is unconventional but exciting.