Toronto Raptors: Three players who need to step up during the injury crisis

Toronto Raptors - Patrick McCaw (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Patrick McCaw (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Serge Ibaka (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Serge Ibaka

With Marc Gasol now sidelined, there’s a huge hole at center. Metaphorically and literally. That leaves only one man capable to fill the five-spot and it’s Serge Ibaka. The only other real option is Chris Boucher, but his wiry frame is too much of a disqualifier against stronger centers, plus on his day, Ibaka is still a quality player.

Against the Detroit Pistons, Ibaka delivered his best game of the season when Gasol stepped up out of the game. In 30 minutes of action, Ibaka put up a season-high 25 points, 13 rebounds, and two assists, shooting 10-of-18 from the field.

It was Ibaka at his best, and that is what the Raptors are going to need for the foreseeable future. He’s the Raptors’ best rebounder due to his tenacity on the glass. Energy is his calling card, and while it leads to him being a bit out-of-control sometimes, especially when finishing through contact, it’s generally a beneficial factor for the Raptors.

It’s just a matter of how sustainable it can be. Ibaka goes through stretches where his impact on the court is, well, not wanted. He can go through lapses in concentration, moments where he doesn’t show enough aggression – and as the Raptors best rebounder, they need him to be aggressive all the time – and accountable for poor decision making.

But, he’s stepped up in the two games prior to the historic win over the Dallas Mavericks and the Raptors look like they can survive with Ibaka as the starter once more.