The Toronto Raptors have done most of their offseason heavy lifting, assuming that a Pascal Siakam trade does not materialize. Signing Ron Harper Jr. and Javon Freeman-Liberty to two-way contracts means that the roster appears to be complete as the dog days of summer start to creep up on the team.
The Raptors’ offseason has been mocked across the NBA spectrum, with many analysts viewing Toronto’s inability to either retain Fred VanVleet or get something for him before walking away as a huge strike against them. However, the Raptors managed to bounce back after his departure.
Masai Ujiri may not have been able to knock things out of the park this offseason completely, but he did a solid job with the hand he was dealt. With VanVleet getting such an insane contract from the Rockets, it makes sense as to why Ujiri had some trepidation about signing him.
The Raptors can officially start getting introspective about the 2023 offseason, looking at how they performed with the circumstances that befell the organization. The final picture might be a lot better for the franchise than the initial reactions may have made things appear.
Toronto Raptors 2023 Offseason Report Card
Signing Jakob Poeltl
Ujiri may have raised some eyebrows when he declared the Austrian big man is a top-10 center in the league, but that statement looks less ridiculous the more you look at it. Poeltl, who signed a four-year contract worth just under $80 million, is just what he needed.
Poeltl didn’t arrive in Toronto in time to save the season, but he had enough skills to show that he could be the ideal shot-blocker and rim protector that Toronto’s chaotic defensive scheme needed. His efficiency will help him score points without demanding the ball.
Jakob Poeltl will help the Toronto Raptors.
Poeltl may not be the best free-throw shooter or the most varied scorer in the world, but that doesn’t mean that his contract is a poor use of available funds. After all, Poeltl’s defense has proven to be just shy of elite, and players like him don’t come around that often.
New head coach Darko Rajakovic has a history of working with rim-protecting big men, as Steven Adams and Jaren Jackson Jr. started to really do some damage in his system. Poeltl could be the next guy who benefits from the Darko boost, as he still has plenty of solid basketball left in the tank.