Analysis of the Toronto Raptors’ 2020 off-season
The 2020 off-season for the Toronto Raptors, about three days in, has been disappointing if not disastrous. With the transactions made so far, it cannot be said the current roster is better than last season’s roster when we lost two starters and an NBA Finals MVP, in Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.
Aron Baynes is an eight-year veteran who has never been a true starter in the NBA and is not an upgrade, nor does he have the potential to be an upgrade on either Marc Gasol or Serge Ibaka. The consensus is that he can defend, but he is not a true rim defender. His offensive production will be better than Marc Gasol’s was last season.
Chris Boucher, despite his per 36-minute averages, will not replace Serge Ibaka’s production. What the per 36-minute average stats fail to account for is the reality of how consistent a player is when he is tired. The more minutes some players get, the more they rest and take plays off, and the mental and physical fatigue can expose their flaws.
The Toronto Raptors are now undersized at both the point guard and center positions. Aron Baynes is six-foot-ten, and Chris Boucher is six-foot-nine. Dewan Hernandez is six-foot-ten and only played in six games with the Raptors for his rookie season.
The Toronto Raptors, who were 11th overall in the NBA rebounding the basketball in 2020, are possibly worse. Chris Boucher did add 15 pounds during the COVID-19 hiatus, but he tends to get pushed around during battles for position under the basket.
Aron Baynes has played in 54 playoff games over his career for San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons, and the Boston Celtics. He did shoot over 35 percent on his three-point shot attempts last season for Phoenix so that he can spread the floor.
The salary cap is 109 million for this coming season, and the Toronto Raptors have committed about 122 million dollars to 15 players with a qualifying offer still outstanding with small forward Oshae Brissett and the recent report that former Atlanta Hawks’ shooting guard DeAndre Bembry has been signed to a two year partially guaranteed deal.
For a contending team, the Toronto Raptors’ moves are underwhelming and represent more effort to continue developing their younger, less established talent.
If Maai Ujiri and Bobby Webster do not make further moves, likely a trade, to upgrade the Raptors’ frontcourt talent, the Toronto Raptors are possibly a top-five team in the Eastern Conference for the 2021 season and not a threat to move past the second round in the playoffs.