The Toronto Raptors have been in the process of rebuilding their team since they came into the league. They’ve gone through a number of possible franchise players, only to find themselves coming up short year in and year out. This season, they again start with a borderline franchise player who has one foot out the door.
The big question for the Raptors this season will be whether or not they find a trade partner for Rudy Gay; that one move alone could swing their final record by as much as 10 or 15 games. Gay is one of the best pure scorers in the NBA, but his deficiencies on the defensive end are glaring. Ideally, he would be the second, or even third, best player on a championship team.
Toronto would be best served to get some good young pieces for him on their way to yet again another rebuilding process. They currently have a roster full of decent players who should be coming off the bench instead of starting. DeMar DeRozan, once thought to have the ability to be a championship piece, has reached his ceiling, and it’s either starter on a bad team or backup on a good one.
The only player on the roster that might still have the potential to start on a good team is second-year center Jonas Valanciunas. A classic back to the basket big man, Valanciunas could be another Brook Lopez by the end of the season.
Altogether, that mix, even with Gay, doesn’t add up to much. I’m going to take the road that the Raptors find a way to turn him into value in the form of young players and draft picks. If they do get rid of him, they’ll find any wins hard to come by down the stretch. All in all, I see them with a final record of 28-54.
The Toronto fans are tired of seeing rebuild after rebuild fail, but once again, they really don’t have a better option. Until they can find a true franchise player to build around, this cycle will keep repeating itself.