5 Raptors who are playing for their future in Toronto

These Raptors must improve their play if they want to stay with the franchise.

Toronto Raptors, Bruce Brown
Toronto Raptors, Bruce Brown / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Jakob Poeltl

The Raptors gave up their 2024 first-round draft pick to get Poeltl from the Spurs at the 2023 trade deadline. They wanted a strong rebounder and rim protector to anchor their defense. Poeltl’s ability to make plays helps as the seven-footer does not stretch the floor.

Toronto had multiple building blocks entering the season, but now they are focused on maximizing the talent around Scottie Barnes. The 22-year-old just made his first All-Star appearance and has the potential to be a dominant two-way force. His jumper is improving, but the Raptors certainly want shooting around him.

Poeltl is playing for his place. Is a traditional big man the best fit next to Barnes? Does Toronto attempt to trade the seven-footer for a more modern center? Adding some floor spacing could do wonders for the Raptors, who sit 21st in offensive rating.

The Toronto Raptors signed Jakob Poeltl to a four-year $78 million extension in the 2023 offseason. He has a $19.5 million player option in 2026 and won’t be easy to trade. Teams are going away from traditional big men and looking for more versatility and flexibility with their lineups.

Poeltl must step up down the stretch. He needs to prove his rebounding, rim protection, and playmaking are vital. It won’t be easy and do not be surprised to see his name pop up in trade rumors this summer.