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 – Jakob Poeltl (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Dominant off the bench big

Montrezl Harrell

Montrezl Harrell displays many of the same traits as previously discussed Domantas Sabonis. He was extremely effective off the bench last season as an offensive big — placing third in Sixth Man of the Year voting (one spot behind Sabonis) –, but might not have the defensive prowess to be a starter.

Harrell, while perhaps even better offensively than Sabonis, is a step behind on the other end. He’s not a below-average player on that end, he’s actively bad. He’s undersized, can’t switch, can’t protect the rim, and is poor on the defensive glass.

Harrell can make some improvements on that end, but many of his limitations are god-given. He’s not going to become a better leaper, faster, or taller in the next calendar year, so it’s hard to see him improving that much.

As a backup big, Harrell can be a legitimate weapon. However, if he’s going to continue to be a sixth-man, he’ll probably stay in Los Angeles where Steve Balmer will presumably match any outside offer.

Harrell is a good player, but he’s probably not going to be signing with the Raptors next year.

Dario Saric

Dario Saric can shoot, pass, and handle the basketball. He’s extremely skilled offensively, and on that side of the ball, would work relatively well with Siakam. The two players could effectively work as a center/power forward combination or as a power forward/small forward pairing.

However, while basketball is moving positionless, at some level your position is still based on who you can defend; Siakam and Saric are at their best when defending power forwards.

Nurse has hinted that Siakam may be moving to small forward next season. If he does, and Siakam develops there defensively, the pairing might work. Toronto could run out monster-sized lineups with the type of height and length that deters opponents away from the rim.

Until further notice, it’s fair to assume Siakam is a power, rather than a small, forward. Until that changes, Saric isn’t a clean enough fit. If it does, he makes a lot of sense.

Jakob Poeltl

BRING BACK JAK!!! The Toronto Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard without giving up Anunoby or Siakam. It wouldn’t actually change the trade, but it would feel like an even larger coup if the team was somehow also able to bring Jakob Poeltl back into the fold.

After a successful first two seasons, Poeltl took a bit of a step back with San Antonio last year. He averaged fewer minutes, points, and shot a worse percentage than the year prior. He was pulled in and out of Popovich’s rotation, and by almost all accounts, was a worse player.

It’s very possible things turn around in San Antonio for Poeltl next season. But if they don’t Toronto should look at bringing him back as a relatively low-cost backup center. He’s a solid defender, great on the glass, and as we’ve already seen, a good fit next to Siakam. Reunite the bromance. Bring back Jak.