The Toronto Raptors are currently mired in mediocrity, as their 17-19 record and league-average offense and defense will have them fighting for every inch as Kyle Lowry and company try to stave off the competition.
The Raptors are expected to be players at the deadline, as they could use the trade market to add some center to support Aron Baynes and a backup point guard that gives Lowry and Fred VanVleet some reprieve.
With Toronto a shell of the team that was consistently in the top half of the conference over the last few seasons, change will likely be sweeping through the Raptors at this deadline if they want remain in the postseason.
Masai Ujiri, Bobby Webster, and the front office will have to do some soul-searching if they want to craft a varied, flexible gameplan for attacking the trade deadline.
3 questions the Toronto Raptors must answer
Raptors question No. 1: Are draft picks expendable?
The Raptors only have control of two draft picks in the next two seasons, both of which are in the first round. While Ujiri has shown that he has had a masterful scouting eye due to the selections of OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam in the late first round, Malachi Flynn has proved what a crapshoot the latter parts of the draft can be.
Even with Flynn showing that he needs a lot of work before he can be trusted with regular minutes, the Raptors have been able to put the ball in the basket, largely due to the backcourt trio of Lowry, VanVleet, and Powell. With their draft pick potentially ending up outside the lottery again, that selection could be moved if they get a star.
The Raptors might deal draft picks if they get aggressive
The Raptors could add some protection to the deal, as doing so could end up giving Toronto their pick back if they end up in the lottery in the stacked 2021 class. Considering how shallow this roster can be, adding a pick or two in a trade might be the only way to entice potential sellers into doing a deal with them.
There is a chance that they could trade away the next Anunoby or Siakam down the line, but this is a team that is built to win and win now, so those picks could be deemed unnecessary if Ujiri wants to get a trade done.