The Toronto Raptors playoff run came up short on Sunday, as they fell to the Brooklyn Nets 104-103. Toronto over came the odds this season and will look to the offseason, in need of a backup center, sixth man, a swing man, and most importantly resigning Kyle Lowry. With a weak eastern conference the Raptors finished 1st in the Atlantic division with a record of 48-34 advancing to the playoffs. Toronto had only reached the playoffs 6 times but also set a franchise record in wins. Even with an early first round exit the future looks very bright for the Raptors.
The start of Jurassic Park!
During the offseason the Raptors signed NBA Executive of the year Masai UJiri to a 5 year contract who made his first move by trading away 2006 1st overall pick Andea Bargnani to the New York Knicks for Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson, a future first round draft pick, and two future second round picks, Camby and Richardson were both waived after the trade. After starting the season 6-12 Misai Ujiri made a change by trading all star forward Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for swing man John Salmons, point guard Greives Vasquez, forward Patrick Patterson, and 6’6 canter Chuck Hayes. After the trade Toronto played extremely well as they kept their lead in the division, and went above .500 for the first time in almost three years. The Raptors entered the All-Star break with a 28–24 record, and DeRozan was selected to play in the All-Star game, being the fourth Raptor to do so. To finish the season Toronto went 42-22 after the Gay trade.
Two years ago the Toronto Raptors acquired 6’0 point guard Kyle Lowry who was an above average point guard in his time with Huston and Memphis. Once Rudy Gay was traded Lowry looked like the next man out as Greives Vasquez was coming in. Lowry then received a larger role and put up big numbers with career highs in points per game, rebounds, assists, and 3pt percentage. The 28 year old guard became good friends with Demar DeRozan and was the leader of a very young Raptors team. Lowry is set to a free agent this offseason and I’m sure Toronto will resign the Raptors MVP.
This offseason will be a lot of work for Ujiri. The team is in need of a 6th man, a swing man, a back up center and the contracts of guard Nando De Colo, Kyle Lowry, Patrick Patterson, and Grieves Vasquez are up. Some possible targets could be center Spencer Hawes who can back up Valanciunas and provide a bit of offence with the ability to shoot the three. Hawes is a free agent this off season and has a lot of size at 7’1 also averaging 8 rebounds per game. The Raptors also need a player who can play forward and the guard, but Misai Ujiri could start by looking at the open market. Vince Carter is available but it would be idle if the Raptors sign free agent swing man Shawn Marion who is a veteran and plays tremendous defence, which is coach Casey’s game plan. Marion is also former Raptor and played under Casey in Dallas.
Biggest Surprise and disappointment this season?
Dante De Caria, All day sportz news