The Toronto Raptors had their chance to take over the Eastern Conference recently but tumbled.
The Raptors are currently 29–18 and lie in the second spot in the east.
Before Friday’s win, the Raptors were on a 5 game losing streak. Toronto has one of the best duos in the game right now featuring Kyle Lowry and DeMar Derozan.
It’s the First time in history that Toronto’s backcourt participates in the All-Star game in back to back seasons. With having one of the best duos in the game what’s going on with their team?
The Cleveland Cavaliers were handing the keys to the Raptors for the number 1 seed in the East. The Cavs are in a slump, going 5–5 their last 10 games. Toronto didn’t take the gift they had been handed by the Cavs but the Raptors still have key losses to title contention teams.
Toronto has key losses that are glaring to look at. The Raptors feast on the teams that are not in the title hunt. The Raptors are 1–8 against the league’s four best teams - Cleveland, Golden State, Spurs, and the Rockets.
Toronto look uncomfortable when they play those great teams. In their last 10 games, the Raptors don’t look like a team ready to get over the hump to beat the Cavs in the playoffs.
The Raptors last 15 games: 6–9, OFF RTG 108.3 (Ranked 12th), eFG 49.5% (Ranked 29th), -1.01 (ranked 17th). Another key problem is that they’re 1st in turnovers and 29th in assists per game. They need more playmakers to reach their full potential. They tried switching the lineup and changing the rotation but that still didn’t work.
Part of the reason is injuries and rests days.
The bench is not the problem for the Raptors, Terrence Ross and Norman Powell have been the offense key for the Raptors second unit. Ross averages 10.6 PPG, shooting 44%, he’s shooting his career high currently.
Lowry and DeRozan have the bench help but the starting lineup help isn’t quite there yet.
Usually, the good teams like the Warriors, Clippers, Spurs and Cavs have 3 ‘Stars’. The Raptors are missing that 1 ‘Star’ on their team.
With the trade deadline coming up, a Star that the Raptors can reel in is Paul Millsap.
The Raptors hole on the team is at the power forward position. They tried playing Lucas Nogueira at the spot but he wasn’t a great fit, averaging 5.2 ppg with 5 rpg.
They also tried Pascal Siakam who averaged 4.5 ppg with 3 rpg. Jared Sullinger has been injured all season and Patrick Patterson is used for the second unit.
The lack of production coming from the PF position is a problem.
Paul Millsap is averaging 18.9 ppg with 8.8 rpg and shooting 44% from the field. Millsap would be a perfect fit for the Raptors. He would give the Raptors the ‘Big 3’ they need so badly in Toronto.
Paul Millsap would solve all the Raptors losing streak problems but would he solve the problems against the Cavaliers in the Playoffs for the Raptors?
The Raptors might not see any NBA finals until Lebron James moves on from the Cavaliers or hangs up his basketball shoes. Adding Millsap would make the series more competitive but he wouldn’t solve the late exit problem. The Cavaliers own the East and at the minute, own the Raptors.