Old man Paul Pierce once said that the Raptors don’t have the “it” factor that would push Toronto deep into the playoffs. Well, after the Wizards took Kyle Lowry and company to the woodshed, no one’s questioning Pierce’s words any more.
So what’s next for the Raptors? Should they blow the team up and move forward with a near unrecognizable lineup from what they had a season before? With that said, let’s take a look at three Raptors that could move this offseason.
Kyle Lowry. It’s no secret Lowry was almost exiled to the New York Knicks last year before James Dolan called off the deal. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Toronto, as Lowry led the Raptors to a franchise-best 49 wins this past regular season. But all those wins can’t hide the fact that Lowry fizzled in the playoffs, as he averaged just 12.3 points on an ugly 31.6% shooting in the first round series against Washington. At this point, it’s fair to say that Lowry isn’t the player that will take the Raptors into the next level. At 29 and with a laundry list of past injuries, Lowry must be one of the guys GM Masai Ujiri is contemplating of trading this coming offseason.
DeMar DeRozan. Look, DeRozan can score on a variety of ways. He can create his own shots, and score a truckload of points. The problem is that he also takes a lot of bad shots. In other words, DeRozan is a highly inefficient go-to scorer that is risky to have for a championship contender like Toronto. His field goal shooting percentage has gradually dwindled over the past three seasons. In the 2012-2013 season, he shot 44.5% from the field. Then the season after, he shot 42.9%. Last season, he managed to be even worse with a Nick Young-certified 41.3 FG%. DeRozan has two more seasons on his contract with a 2016-2017 player option. Don’t be surprised if Ujiri deals him away, too. Back in April, basketball betting site TopBet had the Raptors at +5000 to win the 2015 NBA Championship. Will they fare better or worse in 2016?
Landry Fields. We might never see Fields in a Raptors jersey ever again. Landry impacted the team that spent $8.5M last season to see him warm the bench. In exchange for that sum of money, Landry played for nine games and averaged a meager 1.8 PPG. Expect Fields to wound up somewhere else next season, as he’s clearly not the type worth retaining.