Toronto’s reception and coaching staff have shown for some time that they intend to prioritize player development and evaluation over a chance to sneak into the playoffs, says Lewenberg. This is why it was not surprising to see Kyle Lowry and OG Anunoby held a crucial game with the Wizards on Thursday.
Lewenberg traces disappointing year back to offseason decision to prioritize financial flexibility over maintaining big ones Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol. The remaining front court could not match their production, which reduced the team’s chances of competing.
There is more on the Raptors:
- Even after the slide started, the team had too much talent to make tanking a realistic option, Lewenberg says in the same song. There is no reason to stop productive young players like Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet or Anunoby, as he sat on the sidelines of Lowry after failing to trade him on the deadline, wouldn’t have put the Raptors in position to get a top pick.
- Reluctance to give Ibaka a two-year contract played a big role in slowing down Toronto’s season, argues Toronto Star’s Dave Feschuk. The front office had an eye on the salary cap when it made a one-year offer to Ibaka, a move that Feschuk said shocked many Raptors players. Ibaka ended up going to the Clippers for $ 19 million over two years, while Toronto replaced him with Aron Baynes on a two-year, $ 14 million deal.
- Sportsnet’s Michael Grange calls team president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster speak to fans about the medium and long term goals of the organization. Grange notes that the Raptors have made conflicting moves this season, with some designed to win now and others focused on the future. Coach Nick nurse was left to explain how the team went from an NBA title to exiting the playoffs in two seasons.