3 lessons Masai Ujiri, Raptors must learn from playoffs in offseason

Feb 12, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 12, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Toronto Raptors
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – APRIL 18: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers and Precious Achiuwa #5 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have not started their series against the longtime rival Philadelphia 76ers in the most dynamic fashion. In fact, Masai Ujiri has had to watch his team lose the first two games of this series by a combined 35 points. Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam are scoring, but the wins haven’t come just yet.

The Raptors never strayed from their philosophy of length and versatility when building this roster. However, they have been unable to solve the puzzle that Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey have laid out before them. The lack of adequate depth in several areas made this a big challenge.

No matter what the final result of this series ends up being, Ujiri needs to hit the ground running in the offseason and come forward with a very defined plan for success in the next few months. Then, and only then, can this team be properly equipped to become a contender.

This series against Philadelphia has uncovered some scary holes on this roster that Ujiri should try to fix in the offseason. The path to contention will be much less rocky if the Raptors can go into next year with a more robust, experienced collection of supporting talent.

3 Toronto Raptors issues Masai Ujiri must fix in the offseason.

3. A 7-footer is needed

The Raptors are committed to their style of play on defense, but this series has shown what happens when Toronto isn’t able to generate turnovers at the rate they usually are. While not being able to stop Embiid isn’t exactly a black mark against this defense, someone with the size to withstand his broadsides could’ve limited the damage.

Siakam and Chris Boucher can be a nuisance on defense in the regular season, but Embiid has given them trouble in this series. Khem Birch is the best center the Raptors have when the situation calls for a more traditional look. Ujiri needs to make an addition in this area as soon as he is able.

Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors need more size.

Ujiri could go in one of two directions here. He could either decide to lean on precious Achiuwa and get a 7-footer for cheap off the free-agent scrap heap or make a more impactful trade for a player in the Myles Turner tier. Both paths are more viable than running it back with this roster.

Embiid is not the only big man in the East that could cause the Raptors some trouble. Names like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant are going to continue to rule the roost in the conference, and their performance against Toronto is only going to be abated if they can get better rim protection.