Drake should re-release Views with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan on the cover because the Raptors will be viewing the remainder of the NBA Playoffs from the 6, again. Toronto posted another 50+ win regular season, but once again their two “stars” showed too much inconsistency when the play mattered. I understand that Lowry missed most of the season after the All-Star break after having wrist surgery, but when you’re a guy that wants to command $36 million+ per year in your next contract, you better find a way to up your play come playoff time no matter what. Just take a look at Kevin Durant who missed just about the same amount of time. You’re a clown if you think those two should even be allowed to breathe the same air.
Now, let’s talk about these playoffs. Toronto should have never struggled with Milwaukee in the manner that they did. Yes, the Bucks have a solid young team, but if Toronto wanted to prove they were fit to take down King James, then that series should have been a sweep or 5 games at the most. Lowry and DeRozan are solid players, but they lack the killer instinct to dominate lesser opponents in the postseason. The crazy thing is that throughout the majority of their 10 playoff games, Serge Ibaka seemed to be the guy they leaned on to lead them in games and that’s a huge problem in itself. Not to mention during their sweep by the Cavaliers they routinely complimented LeBron? That showed nothing but fear that Toronto has of him and he definitely knew it seeing how he acted like he was going to drink a beer and then taunting Ibaka by spinning the ball twice in his face before draining a 3. Kyrie Irving even threw LeBron an alley-oop off the glass in traffic. When a team has no respect for you and you ALLOW them to continuously disrespect you, you’ve lost before the game even started. Some hard fouls, some maybe even flagrant would’ve derailed Cleveland from such disrespect.
The future for Toronto is very uncertain to say the least. First, the FO needs to evaluate Head Coach Dwane Casey because his ideas are stale and some of his lineup choices are downright questionable. When you routinely get manhandled in Game 1s you are obviously unprepared for the series and that falls on the coach. Toronto also needs to find a way to move the contracts of Jonas Valanciunas and DeMarre Carroll because just like their play, their contracts are in the way too because combined they make just over $30 million. If they find a way to offload those guys then resigning ONE of either Serge Ibaka or Kyle Lowry would fit. Wipeout the cap holds of P.J. Tucker and Patrick Patterson and Toronto can swing for the fences in free agency. As much as Toronto would love to keep Lowry, they just cannot sign him to a contract that’ll be 5 years in length and worth north of $180 million seeing that he will turn 32 at the end of next season. The Raptors should resign Ibaka and let Lowry walk and then go out and sign a solid point guard such as George Hill or Jeff Teague and slide a sharpshooter such as J.J. Redick next to DeRozan on the wing. Ibaka can also start at Center in today’s NBA and that would allow him to be around the rim more instead of on the perimeter with spread 4s. Finding a serviceable spread 4 to slide next to Ibaka shouldn’t be too hard to find in return for Valanciunas or Carroll. All of that said, add in a solid 2-way bench wing and Toronto will still have Corey Joseph, Norman Powell, and young bigs Jakob Poetl, Pascal Siakam, and Lucas Nogueira to have a solid bench product. Don’t rebuild Toronto, just remake your team to solely fit around DeRozan and DeRozan only.
Written By: Nyck Young