Shaq and Charles Barkley criticize Raptors roster after playoff exit

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - APRIL 18: Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - APRIL 18: Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors can leave the postseason with their head held high, as they went out swinging against the Philadelphia 76ers despite losing many key players due to injury in that series. Shaquille O’Neal’s predictions of a Philadelphia sweep didn’t seem to come true after all.

The Raptors won 48 games in a year where most of the experts saw them as a fringe playoff team that was likely going to end up in the lottery. The fact that they were as competitive as they ended up being speaks volumes about Nick Nurse and his ability to win games with undermanned teams.

Even though the Raptors manage to wiggle their way into the playoffs and will enter 2022-23 with all five of their starters under contract, some of the national talking heads aren’t as sold on Toronto’s outlook. Both Shaq and Charles Barkley seem to think a change is needed.

Barkley said that the Raptors are in “no-mans land” and only good enough to make the postseason before a quick exit. O’Neal agreed, saying that the Raptors don’t have any true stars. This sounds like the ramblings of two guys who have not paid any attention to the Raptors this season.

Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley aren’t fans of the Toronto Raptors.

Apparently Pascal Siakam, who put together an All-NBA season by carrying this team in the second half, doesn’t count as a star. Fred VanVleet must not count either despite becoming the first undrafted player in 15 years to be named an All-Star. Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes doesn’t do it for you?

The questions about this team’s ceiling as presently constructed are valid to at least consider, but dismissing Siakam and VanVleet with such ease is disrespectful to what they have accomplished this season. This was not some random fluke that will dissipate next year.

While the Raptors had some success against Philly in the regular season, losing against them is not some sign that this is a broken roster. They were a young, overachieving team that was taken down by a superior opponent in the playoffs. That’s nothing to get too distraught over.

The Raptors know that this roster is nowhere close to completion. More depth and quality will need to be added at some point in the offseason. Barkley and O’Neal being so quick to dismiss Toronto may set themselves up for mockery in the future if the squad starts off hot next year.

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