The Toronto Raptors may have lost at home to former coach Dwane Casey and the Detroit Pistons, but that doesn’t change the fact that these two teams are heading in different directions. The fact Detroit is on such a divergent path could help convince the Raptors to make some trades.
While Toronto seems content to compete for a play-in spot this season and gear up for a playoff charge in 2022, the Pistons haven’t tried to hide the fact that this year is about the continued growth of high draft picks like Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, and Saddiq Bey above winning.
While the Pistons have plenty of tradeable assets, chief among them is star power forward Jerami Grant. While Toronto lacks the space for yet another high-usage big and the assets to acquire him, enough rotation players are hanging around in Detroit to warrant a potential trade.
The Raptors have some assets and young bench players that could be sent to Detroit in order to improve Toronto’s second unit and 2022 postseason hopes. Keep your eyes on these 3 Pistons players, as they could be wearing Raptors red and black before the end of the season.
The Toronto Raptors could trade for these 3 Detroit Pistons.
3. SF Josh Jackson
Jackson, a former No. 4 overall pick that crashed and burned during his two-year stint in Phoenix, rehabilitated his NBA value. After improving his efficiency during a brief stint with Memphis, Jackson averaged 13.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game on 42% shooting with the Pistons last season.
2021-22 hasn’t been as kind to the former Kansas Jayhawk, as he is averaging just 6.3 points per game (the lowest mark of his career) while shooting 39% from the field. Where most teams would see a declining asset, Toronto could see a perfect buy-low opportunity to rehabilitate their bench.
Josh Jackson could be a quality bench scorer for the Toronto Raptors.
Jackson, who will turn 25 in February, is still a quality athlete for the position. We have two years of evidence that suggests he will be an above-average bench scorer, so he could return to his old form provided Nick Nurse can help him work out the kinks in his game.
The lack of bench skill, made worse by the COVID-19 cases deactivating much of their roster. Svi Mykhailiuk and Yuta Watanabe are not enough by themselves to keep Toronto in most games. Jackson, a free agent at the end of this year, could make a positive impression on this coaching staff and earn a contract in Toronto for 2022 and beyond.