The Raptors are coming off of a weird, weird stretch of games. They lost on the road against Indiana and Houston in similar ways; both games were closer than they should have been because of fourth quarter comebacks. Both were fairly understandable losses. Then they went ahead and beat Dallas, but only after notching a 15-point third quarter. Everything all around is weird, but you kind of have to expect that in the grind of an 82-game series. There’s decidedly no reason to worry. Some assorted stuff:
Delon Wright’s minutes:
First, on Delon Wright. He did not earn a DNP-CD because a trade is imminent, and then play the next game to showcase his value. That’s not how these things work. Far more likely is simply that he’s a victim of the numbers crunch with so many playable guards and wings on the roster.
Anthony Davis and co:
Also, per Woj, Anthony Davis has requested a trade from the Pelicans through his agent, Rich Paul. There are confusing rules out there regarding players on designated rookie contracts, which includes both Kyrie Irving and Davis himself. You are allowed to have two players on designated rookie contracts on the same team, but you cannot trade for both of them. Therefore, the Celtics must trade Irving if they wish to acquire Davis. Kawhi Leonard is not on such a contract, so those limitations do not exist for Toronto. If you’re the Raptors, you throw the farm at New Orleans, including some combination of Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Fred Van Vleet, Jonas Valanciunas, or more, and copious picks. I seriously doubt it’s a top offer. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Raptors to pair Davis with Leonard.
More likely is that the Raptors make some calls about New Orleans’ mid-tier guys, including Nikola Mirotic or E’Twaun Moore. Both would fill positions of need off the bench as shooters and initiators from the wing and power forward position. The framework for those would probably be a young player+money+a pick. (Not to say that this is the trade, but CJ Miles and Wright work, money-wise, for both teams). It’s still not super likely; this would require New Orleans to decide that a fire sale is in order. Trades are unlikely, but Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster may decide to swing for the fences this year.
News on the Raptors from outside:
The Ringer crew had some love for Toronto in their NBA show released this morning, but they of course opened the story talking about snow in Toronto. (There hasn’t really been much snow so far this season.) It is understandable, I guess, because they’re all in LA, where snow is rare. There were some topical basketball comments:
“This team to me, when you look ahead to the playoffs, is still the favourite, over Milwaukee, over Toronto,” said Danny Chau.
Kevin O’Connor has been infected with Boucher mania: “Right now they’ve been experimenting with Greg Monroe, and that experiment will be over soon, as soon as Valanciunas returns. I would argue Chris Boucher should be playing over him.”
“It almost feels as though the Raptors are trolling the league.” Fair enough.
You can read all about it here, where they spend a solid 14 minutes giving the Raptors almost nothing but praise. Chau will be releasing a Toronto Raptors-based piece this week, and expect that to be fantastic. His deeper features are excellent, so keep your eyes peeled.
Plummeting in power rankings:
NBA dot com’s power rankings were also released today, and the Raptors fell from the third position to the … ninth best team in the league? No real reasoning for it, but you can find the power ranking here.