The Toronto Raptors caught yet another glimpse of the magic of general manager Masai Ujiri this past week when he successfully dealt Rudy Gay and Gay’s monstrous contract to the Sacramento Kings. In return, the Raptors received Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Greivis Vasquez.
While the absence of Gay certainly opens up doors for young players like Terrence Ross, the arrival of these new players to Toronto might hurt the role for some players. Specifically, it seems that new addition Tyler Hansbrough might see his minutes diminish now that Patterson is with the Raptors.
In their first game with the team on Friday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Raptors scored a 108-100 win. Ross and DeMar DeRozan led the way for Toronto, scoring 24 and 27 points respectively in the victory. However, the bench of the Raptors is where it gets a bit interesting.
In the win, Patterson played 19 minutes and finished the night with five points, five rebounds and one block. In comparison, Hansbrough saw the floor for only nine minutes in the contest, putting up two points, one rebound and two steals in that miniscule role.
While Friday could have largely been about the Raptors looking to get their new players familiar with their system and new teammates, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s Patterson and not Hansbrough that gets minutes at the power forward behind Amir Johnson. Though Hansbrough is a grinder that brings an air of toughness, Patterson brings a ton of potential to Toronto. Patterson has the ability to score and rebound effectively, but kind of got lost in the shuffle in Sacramento. With Toronto seemingly rebuilding after the Gay trade, playing a guy like Patterson and giving him opportunities seems like the right move and, judging by one game, that seems like what they’ll do.