Despite Sitting in First, Raptors Still have Some Room for Improvement
It’s back to business for the Toronto Raptors as the team is set to refocus on the task at hand.
The trade deadline is in the rear view mirror and just over a week remains before the buy out market shuts down for good. The Raptors have their sights squarely set on the NBA Finals with a need to improve further, with an empty roster spot that can still be filled over the next few days.
And really, the Raptors had the 15th roster spot open all year for this very moment. With 50-plus games under the belt, the organization has a large sample size to evaluate after which they could look at the buyout market and add a piece that will plug a hole in the roster. 57-games through the season, the Raptors can very clearly roll out whichever lineup they please to generate a top-10 offence and defense in the league, but that is not to say that the Raptors still cannot get better.
It’s a three-point shooting league and no one can ever have enough shooters, especially the Toronto Raptors. After missing out on Marco Belinelli, the need for perimeter shooting is still very much a need for a Raptors team occupying the bottom third for three-point percentage in the league.
Luckily for the Raptors, the NBA is littered with shooters and so is the buyout market, and the Raps will have options over the next week. Whether or not they acquire the right piece is a different question and one we don’t currently want to ask to break to optimism on this Thursday afternoon.
As recently as yesterday, the Raptors were linked to Orlando Magic swingman Arron Afflalo, a player who at one point was really quite good, but has since seen a drop in productivity and playing time. Although only a buyout candidate to this point and that is a very important thing to note, Afflalo is still a 37% three-point shooter on the season and is 38.6% lifetime from beyond the arc. He is also widely known as one of those three-and-D guys.
Other potential buyout candidates that the Raptors can take a look at are Corey Brewer and Ersan Ilyasova. Ilyasova, may be a long shot for the Raptors, but assuming he is bought out, he would be a very valuable stretch-four that the Raptors could look at as an option off the bench. Currently shooting 36% from long range, Ilyasova is also averaging 11-points per night along with 5.5-rebounds per game.
On the other hand, Brewer is a guy who really has no role on the Los Angeles Lakers and while he will never be the guy to light it up from downtown, he could add some wing depth for the Raptors in case tragedy hits and the team is force to face an injury.
At the very least, the Raptors must try to do something. Even just to show the roster that the front office is backing it’s players and is willing to add even a minor piece to the puzzle if it means helping the Raptors acquire that extra edge. The Raptors are in the best position to win this year and everyone must remain all in!