The NBA offseason has been dominated by trade rumors involving Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell. One of the rumored teams interested in Durant or Mitchell is the Toronto Raptors, who are eyeing one more big name that can take them over the top.
Mitchell is still on the trading block, even though it looks like he and the New York Knicks are on a crash course. Toronto is still dangling around the Mitchell sweepstakes, even though they face long odds of acquiring him.
Mitchell scored 25 points per game so far in his career. That is going to help this Raptors team, even if there are some questions about his fit. Toronto was 20th in team points per game last year and 25th in field goal efficiency, so he would fill a need.
While it would be cool to see Mitchell in a Raptors uniform, there are some issues with his style of play that might make it difficult for Toronto to become a champion with him in the backcourt. That is why Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster should not go all in for Mitchell.
Donovan Mitchell hurts the Toronto Raptors’ defense.
Mitchell’s defense has declined since his rookie year, and it wasn’t even that good when he came into the league. Mitchell has been a net negative on defense in each of the last three years, ranking in the ninth and 15th percentiles in terms of points allowed per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor.
The Raptors were a great defensive team last season. Toronto was ninth last season in defensive rating. That vision of an all 6-9 lineup has made Toronto such a unique team that they were able to confuse opposing offenses. Mitchell comprimises that.
The Raptors are building something great right where the ceiling is unlimited. It does not seem right to waste that potential by mortgaging the future for someone who might not get them over the top. OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. fit with this team so well because they both play both sides of the court.
Anunoby came to the league as a great defender, and he got better as a scorer. Trent averages a career 115.3 defensive rating, but he still played disruptive defense last season. It doesn’t feel like now is the time to mess with the core.
Adding Mitchell would improve the offense a bit, but giving up Anunoby and Trent hurts the defense a ton. It is not worth it for the Raptors to lose the great system that Nick Nurse built by getting a scorer who does not fit in the squad. Giving up multiple picks and players like OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr is not worth the price for Mitchell.