The final stretch of games for teams that don’t have a shot at the post season are normally used to evaluate your roster and the future of the franchise. In Sunday’s game against the Miami Heat, that is exactly what occurred for the Toronto Raptors. Coach Dwane Casey used the game against the best team in the league as a way to see who is most deserving of being a part of the Raptors next season.
There was one glaring weakness on the court which the franchise must address. The Raptors have absolutely no low-block offensive threat. Amir Johnson is a workhorse who excels at pick-and-rolls and never needs a play called for him. His back-to-basket game is non-existent. He doesn’t command double-teams, and can’t be depended on to get easy baskets.
Jonas Valunciunas is a work in progress. He is hybrid player with the athleticism of Johnson with some low post moves. He is inconsistent, and doesn’t have the mentality to plant himself on the block and fight for position.
The Raptors had hoped that Linas Kleiza might get them some post scoring, but injuries have hampered his play the entire season. Kleiza has been a disappointment, and won’t be around next season.
There has been some talk of bringing in Carl Landry from the Golden State Warriors. He isn’t the answer as his inconsistency has led him to being a perennial bench player. He also has the option to extend his contract with the Warriors, so why would he want to leave a playoff team?
The answer is Paul Millsap, who is currently with the Utah Jazz. He is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. The Jazz have Derrick Favors and Al Jefferson to re-sign this summer as well, and they can’t afford to keep all three. Millsap will command a raise, but I am sure you can sign him for less than $10 million, which is less than the Raptors will save by amnestying Andrea Bargnani this summer.
Millsap is a perfect low-block scorer. He always fights for his position and demands the ball, and attracts double-teams and understands how to pass out of them. He would create easy shots for Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan and open the lane up for Johnson.
The Raptors have built a nice unit of Gay, Derozan, Johnson, Valanciunas and Terrence Ross. Adding a front court scorer in the likes of Millsap would be a perfect compliment. His hard-nosed play on both ends would make Casey smile, and his unselfishness on the court would make the shooters happy.
There hasn’t been one ounce of bad press about Millsap and signing him is a no-brainer, so let’s hope general manager Brian Colangelo doesn’t think too long about it.
Follow Shahab on Twittter @SchoolboyShebe
Add Shahab to your network on Google+