We are currently halfway through the 2020-21 NBA season, and the Toronto Raptors see themselves on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, somewhere where they haven’t been in years.
With a current record of 17-22 and sitting in 11th place in the Eastern Conference after being in fourth not that long ago, it raises the question of this Raptors team should just pull the plug on the season already.
On the bright side, they are missing three starters who are more than important to this team, so it’s not like they’ve been losing these games with them in the lineup. It’s clearly showing that without them they just aren’t the same team, and they need them back in the lineup as soon as possible.
On the flip side, Toronto could lose Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell in the offseason, and the chance to get a game-changer like Cade Cunningham or Evan Mobley is enticing. Where do the Toronto Raptors stand?
The Toronto Raptors’ frustrating season
You already know the main question we all have right now. Should the Raptors just pull the plug on this 2020-21 season already and sell some of their assets, or just ride this season out? This team is more than capable of making the playoffs when everyone is healthy, which is exactly why it has been so frustrating.
They hold a pretty miserable 17-22 record, surrounded in the standings by teams such as the Bulls, Cavaliers, and Wizards. Never in a million years did anyone think that two years after their 2019 championship run, the Charlotte Hornets, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, and Chicago Bulls would all have a better record than the Raptors.
It’s no surprise that this season has really sucked for fans and of course the team itself, but it is hard for a team from Toronto to play their “home” games in another country when every other team gets to play their home games in their actual arena. The Raptors are essentially playing all 72 games on the road and it seems like there’s no advantage for this team.
What should they do this trade deadline?
I am leaning towards the side of don’t sell and just roll with this team, maybe adding someone else at the trade deadline. This team has championship DNA and it knows what it takes to win games.
Not just regular-season games, but the whole thing itself is just not
This team has players like Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, OG Anunoby, and Norman Powell, all players that aren’t just your average players in the NBA. They all have elite attributes and they all apply it in the game when they’re playing.
The only thing that the Raptors desperately need to probably succeed in the second half of the season is a big man who can do everything that Aron Baynes really hasn’t been doing.
All they have to do is rebound the basketball somewhat decently and be somewhat of a good rim protector because with both Ibaka and Gasol gone, it has been shown tremendously that they struggle here.
I don’t think they should sell at the deadline. If anything, trade for your biggest need, and if not then just roll with this team because you know what they’re capable of doing when they’re all healthy and when they’re all on their game buying into the system.
Pros of selling at the trade deadline
Now if Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster are thinking the total opposite of what I just said, there are some pros to selling some of your assets at the trade deadline if you’re the Raptors.
The two biggest names on the Toronto Raptors that have gotten some attention are Lowry and Powell, and a team that is a title contender would absolutely love the addition of either player on their team.
We know there were rumours of Lowry potentially getting traded to the Philadelphia 76ers by the trade deadline, but those rumours were quickly squashed by Lowry himself saying he’s staying in Toronto and those rumours never came from him or his agent.
Although, if he was open for a trade to his hometown and a potential shot at another championship, who can blame him? The return for a player like Lowry would be amazing.
For Powell, he’s been an elite scorer for this Raptors team for quite some time this season as he’s been averaging 23.4 points per game in the last 23 games he’s started in, and on the season has averaged a career-high 19.1 points per game.
The Raptors would probably like to keep Powell and bring him back next season, as he’s proving to everyone he can be a high-level scorer on this team.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see what Ujiri and Webster do ahead of the trade deadline because it’s been too quiet surrounding the team, and we Raptors fans don’t know what is going to happen in the near future.