Raptors News: Poeltl disaster, losing streak, draft gems, summer trades

Jakob Poeltl, Toronto Raptors
Jakob Poeltl, Toronto Raptors / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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The Toronto Raptors are in a death spiral right now, which may be exactly what the (front office) ordered.

In the last week the short-handed Raptors, playing without the injured Scottie Barnes, Jakob Poeltl and Chris Boucher, and with RJ Barrett stepping away from the team for a few games after the death of his younger brother, have absolutely fallen apart in the face of any and all competition.

The Raptors were beat down by the lowly Detroit Pistons, then positively smothered in a home-and-home series with the Orlando Magic, averaging just under 100 points per game in two contests with the surging Magic. Combined with the winless week prior the Raptors are now losers of seven-straight games, and nine of their last 10.

That losing streak has them just a half game "out" of the sixth-worst record in the league, with the Memphis Grizzlies' 3-7 record in their last 10 barely allowing them to keep that slot. The Grizzlies may not care so strongly whether they are 6th or 7th, but for the Raptors it's a huge swing in odds to keep their Top-6 protected pick.

Other than losing, what has happened for the Raptors in the last week? Let's dig further into the latest edition of Raptors News and discuss the summer that is to come, and why the sins of the past may be crippling the team now and moving forward.

Regrading the disastrous Poeltl trade

At the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline the Toronto Raptors zigged when everyone thought they should zag, trading significant assets for center Jakob Poeltl. There is no question that the seven-footer has helped their defense and even been an asset on offense, but that doesn't mean it was a good idea to make the deal.

The Raptors have now committed to a non-shooting center, paying him a significant salary over the next four seasons. To earn the right to do that they sent out valuable draft capital, including a first-round pick that could be seventh or eighth this year or next. More so, doubling down on competing last season instead of embracing a rebuild meant Fred VanVleet walked for nothing this summer and the return on Pascal Siakam, at least, was lower than expected.

We went into greater detail on how the assets involved with the trade look a year later, and ultimately grade a trade that is seriously harming the Raptors' flexibility in building their next great team.