Raptors News: Losing streak, pending returns, best Raptors, Trent trade

Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr., Toronto Raptors
Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr., Toronto Raptors / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

Another week, another bushel of losses. It's Tuesday, so it's time for Raptors News!

The Toronto Raptors are now riding a 13-game losing streak heading into Tuesday night's hosting of LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. If there is one player the Raptors don't want to see in the midst of a demoralizing losing streak it's LeBron James. The scars of "Lebronto" have not fully healed.

The Raptors played just three games in the past week as the NCAA Tournament lightened the schedule. It could have been seen as an opportunity for the team to lick its wounds and get back toward full strength, but instead they continued to lose. An eight-point loss to the Brooklyn Nets was followed by a 44-point beatdown by the New York Knicks and a 15-point loss to the Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers.

In that 13-game losing streak the Raptors have been outscored by 17.4 points per 100 possessions, a staggeringly bad number. That includes a 41-point loss to the New Orleans Pelicans to begin the streak and the 44-point loss to the Knicks last Wednesday. Their next three games are against LeBron, Anthony Edwards and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Players returning?

Tuesday night's game against the Lakers was already going to be difficult, but Gary Trent Jr. has been the team's leading scorer the past couple of weeks and will miss the game due to rest purposes. The tank is on!

At the same time, however, help may finally be here. RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley have been out for weeks for personal matters, but both are listed as probable to return tonight against the Lakers.

Having capable offensive initiators will elevate the Raptors' offense from "below NBA level" to at least "bottom-5 in the NBA". It may not be enough to secure a win tonight or in the next few games, but it gives them a fighting chance to get one before the end of the season.

Best Raptors according to PER

Ranking the very best players in the history of the Toronto Raptors will largely land on the same handful of players. There is nothing wrong with that, but we naturally index certain stats or accomplishments (points, All-Star appearances, playoff success) and neglect other impactful metrics.

That was the theory behind looking at the 12 best Raptors players in history according to PER, the first mainstream all-in-one metric designed by John Hollinger. Some of the expected names are on the list, including at the top, but a few surprises are littered throughout - including at No. 3.

For another ranking list, we wrote an overview of the top scorers on the team this season as well.

Summer additions

The Toronto Raptors will likely be active this summer as they continue to reshape the roster. Veterans could be heading out, others could be coming to town, and draft picks will be joining the team to start their NBA careers.

Who could the Raptors be drafting? Bleacher Report recently had a mock draft with the Raps taking three players, including one March Madness star and a wing who could be the steal of the draft.

What about trades? We analyzed one trade idea that would send Gary Trent Jr. to the Orlando Magic in exchange for draft capital and an Australian veteran. Should the Raptors make the trade?

Free agency? The Raptors' dream free agent to step in as the team's second star could be more available than expected after the latest reporting. If not him, other options are available at a lower price point.

Finally, which players are likely to be leaving the team this summer? We highlighted three players who are as good as gone this summer.

What's Next

The Toronto Raptors finish their homestand against the Los Angeles Lakers tonight before hitting the road for the brutal combo of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks. This group of Raptors likely has around a 30 percent chance in total of winning any of those games.

Then comes the golden opportunity. Sunday, April 7th at 6:00 pm the Raptors will return to Toronto and host the Washington Wizards in their best chance to break the losing streak and avoid the ignominious feat of losing their final 21 games of the season.

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