Trevor Gleeson is expected to soon join Nick Nurse's coaching staff in Toronto after announcing his departure from the Perth Wildcats of the @NBL, league sources say. Gleeson led Perth to five Australian club championships.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 12, 2021
That is part of the case for keeping Lowry, no matter who the Raptors pick. In Lowry and VanVleet, you have a successful backcourt that can defend above its size. Having both of them around would not preclude the Raptors from playing the two veterans and the rookie together, given that Suggs and Green are both taller than the incumbent 6-footers. It would, on the other hand, allow the Raptors to minimize the high-stress situations in which they would have to immerse the rookie. In other words, the Raptors would only have to throw the rookie in the deep end when it is desirable and convenient for both the team and the player. They would not be forced into it.
Additionally, the rookie would help preserve Lowry, who the Raptors surely would not want pushing 35 minutes per game during the regular season in the year he turns 36. The same can be said of VanVleet, who hits the floor hard as much as any player in the league, and has the bruises and lingering injuries to show for it. A backcourt rotation of VanVleet, Lowry, Green/Suggs and a presumably re-signed Gary Trent Jr., with Malachi Flynn serving as No. 5, might be undersized, but it would also be dangerous, prolific and tough. Having the first four players eating up about half of the Raptors’ total minutes would be a strong position from which to operate.
Saying that, the roster construction would not be ideal, just as it wasn’t last year. The Raptors will have to find a way to address the frontcourt generally, and centre specifically. That might require moving on from Lowry, and pushing the rookie and Trent into bigger roles next year. That could work out, too: It won’t be the broad strokes that determine how this offseason goes for the Raptors, it will be the specifics. It will be the details.
“Honestly, we’ve always been a group that takes talent first,” Dan Tolzman, the Raptors’ assistant general manager and vice president of player personnel, said last week. “The best available players are usually who we go with. We’ve never really made draft selections based on the current roster, because there are so many uncertainties. … We could have our whole core lined up to draft for someone to plug-in, and then a blockbuster trade comes and all of a sudden we’ve got holes all over the floor. So it’s never something that, at least, we try to factor in when we’re gonna select anybody.”
Fit matters more with free agencies and trades, when you tend to be leaning short-term versus long-term, than it does in the draft. Still, the same theory holds: Talent is paramount, and you use the rest of your resources to make the team as complete as possible. So long as the Raptors have one eye on the here and now, though, Lowry’s return at a price both sides can live with has to be considered, no matter whose name Adam Silver calls on July 29.
The Raptors can make a very strong offer too. They have the No. 4 pick in this draft, which is the cut-off for what people seem to think is a class with four elite prospects at the top. The 76ers can make a strong offer with Simmons but the Raptors have Siakam, who is 27 and was Second Team All-NBA for the 2019-20 season. That would be a hell of a package. Maybe Toronto would think that’s too much. There is also Fred VanVleet plus No. 4 and picks. Never underestimate Masai Ujiri’s creativity and ability to get things done.
Nurse and the Raptors are rebuilding a chunk of the coaching staff after a spate of departures.
Sergio Scariolo left to coach top EuroLeague team Virtus Bologna while retaining his job as the head coach of the Spanish national team, and Jama Mahlalela, one of the keys to the team’s developmental system, left Toronto to join the Golden State Warriors organization. And the Raptors had never filled the front row assistant job held for about half of last season by Chris Finch, who quit to become the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Gleeson has a long and varied resume, not dissimilar to Nurse’s.
The native of Warrnambool, Victoria has coached in the Continental Basketball Association with Quad Cities and Sioux Falls, coached for two seasons in South Korea and was an assistant with the Australia Boomers national team at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2014 FIBA World Cup. He spent two seasons as a skills coach with Melbourne and Hawthorn of the Australia Football League.
Filling one of the coaching vacancies just begins a summer of major decisions and perhaps upheaval for the Raptors, who missed the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons earlier this year.
Typically, the players the Raptors have taken in the second round have been seniors with perhaps minimal upside or significant flaws in their game. It’s rare to find someone with a high upside at this range, especially someone with layers yet to be unlocked because of their age. Picking Isaiah Todd at this range could be a boon for the Raptors.
Admittedly, Todd will come in as a project, one that could take two to three years to get to an NBA level. That said, he doesn’t turn 20 until later this year, and he’s still growing into his body. What’s more, Todd has a modern game for a forward — he’s basically a spot-up shooting guard trapped in a big man’s body. Given Todd’s perimeter shooting, quickness, and athleticism, he could fit with the Raptors’ need for lengthy defenders and potentially develop into an excellent 3-and-D-type player, if not more.
Isaiah Todd & Pascal Siakam’s Combine Comparison
Todd’s measurements are close to Pascal Siakam’s, so imagine someone of that size, with similar quickness, hunting for shots around the perimeter. Todd’s release point and his relative quickness to get to the peak of his shot make it a hard shot to block. Even at this point, he doesn’t have any hesitation pulling up behind the arc, whether he’s stationary or via catch-and-shoot on the move.
Can Todd develop a face-up game? There’s a good chance, given his physical tools and age, if he ends up with the right team.