Are the Raptors heading towards a possible early Extinction this year?

Last week the Toronto Raptors made a move to acquire a solid veteran in Serge Ibaka from the Orlando Magic. This move was made shortly after it was announced that Cavs forward Kevin Love would miss an extended period of time. I made the reference during one of our recent podcasts that I believe that this showed that the Cavaliers appeared Vulnerable, and the Raptors understood this. While the Celtics and Danny Ainge sat around with their thumbs up their ass because they “haven’t seen the potential or their starting unit”, and clearly Jae Crowder is the second coming in their eyes, the Raptors pounced. Sure it wasn’t free, with a return package including Terrance Ross to the Magic, but it nonetheless showed that they were finally able to make a run for the east. Along with the Ibaka move they picked up veteran PJ Tucker from the Suns. Also a good move to ensure depth, adequate of a deep postseason run. Then today chaos erupted.

It was announced that All Star, Kyle Lowry, would miss what is likely the remainder of the season, and isn’t guaranteed ready for the beginning of the playoffs. While it’s not a death blow, this is absolutely negative news north of the border. Lowry was enjoying a fine year, Averaging almost 23 ppg, while shooting a clip of .417 from three (per basketballreference.com). Whether people want to admit shits about to get wonky or not, I have little reason to believe it won’t. Let’s just take a look at the options for his replacements. 

Internally the Raptors are looking at Cory Joseph,  and Delon Wright. Both fine contributors of the bench. But that’s just it. They’re not going to able to step in and replicate his performance. Those expectations are just way too lofty, especially with how well Lowry has handled this squad all year. Interesting enough there are two veteran floor generals , (maybe) on the Market. First the Obvious ex Mav, Deron Williams. And more recently ex New York Knick, Brandon Jennings. While some may say Williams would possibly give up signing with Cleveland at the chance for starting with Toronto, it seems unlikely. D-Will wants to win, and the Cavs present him the best opportunity, even with a reduced role. Jennings on the other hand is erratic, and while he certainly could log valuable minutes, lacks perimeter shooting abilities. This becomes problematic alongside Demar Derozan, whose perimeter game certainly wouldn’t be considered a strong suit.

Personally I think this is more than losing you’re starting Point Guard. You’re losing one of your leaders, as well as you’re best perimeter option, which is huge among today’s playoff teams. Not to mention he will have little to no time to build Chemistry with Ibaka and Tucker. While I’m not saying this will ultimately doom the Raptors, it will at the very least set them back handily.

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All Facets of the Game NBA All-Star Ballot

We’re less than two months away from the all-star game and the ballot just opened up to all fans. So it’s time we show you who we believe should be on both conferences all-star teams.

Eastern Conference

Starters

1JWALLGuardJohn Wall He’s moved himself into the elite point guard discussion this season. He can score at the rim with the best of them, he’s only 0.3 assists per game from leading the league and he’s third in steals per game. He’s been the best point guard in the east and should be compensated with a starting position in this years all-star game.

NBA: Preseason-Chicago Bulls at Milwaukee Bucks

Guard: Jimmy Butler Between he and Dwyane Wade, you can flip a coin. That being said Jimmy, gets me nod for this spot. He’s been one of the better two-way players in the entire league and he’s having a career year. He’s taken the third most free-throws in the league and is playing his way towards a max contract after declining the Bulls first offer.

1LBJ

Forward: LeBron James The leagues best player is a shoe in, year in year out. The 25 points a night leads the eastern conference and his 7,8 assists per is up a full assist from his career average. Right there in the MVP discussion per usual, LBJ would be here with or without the numbers due to the fans.

tumblr_miugb1TXJc1s6bjpio1_400

Forward: Carmelo Anthony As bad as the five win Knicks have been, Melo isn’t the reason by any means. One of the leagues best scorer, as per usual, Melo has been scoring and rebounding at a solid clip. Carmelo deserves better than this, but maybe he should have listened to his instinct and left for Chicago.

1VUC

Forward: Nikola Vucevic The surprise of the bunch to many, but Nikola has been nothing short of amazing this season. Averaging 18 and 12 is no joke, and doing it on 51.5 percent shooting is impressive. Impressive enough to get him a starting bid.

Bench

Kyle LowryJeff TeagueDwyane WadeTobias Harris – Jeff GreenPau GasolChris BoshAl Jefferson

Western Conference

Starters

Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz

Guard: Stephen Curry The league’s MVP thus far has been nothing short of spectacular. Averaging 24/7/5 on almost 50/40/90 shooting, Wardell is third in PER and is who everyone wants to watch when the team from Oakland takes the floor.

1BEARD

Guard: James Harden – He’s scoring the most points per game in the entire NBA, the beard is a strong MVP candidate. Not only has he done it just scoring, but he’s assisting and rebounding at a high level as well; 7 and 6 per, respectively.

1BLAKE

Forward: Blake Griffin – Mr. I only dunk seems to be shooting pretty good outside of just dunking the ball. Shooting 49 percent from the floor and an outstanding 53 percent from three. His rebounding numbers are down, but Blake is a star, and he shines during the all-star game.

1AD

Forward: Anthony Davis – Has a star blossomed before our eyes. AD may be the best player in basketball this season. Best two-way player in the game deserves this nod more than maybe anybody. Will he be the first MVP in the last 20 years that isn’t one of the two best teams in his respective conference?

1MARCGASOL

Forward: Marc Gasol – The best center in the NBA this season, Gasol has featured a little bit of everything this year; scoring, passing, defense and rebounding. He should be a starter as he’s at the top of the list, as the two starting west guards are, for the MVP.

Bench

Damian LillardChris PaulKlay ThompsonMonta EllisKobe BryantLaMarcus AldridgeDeMarcus Cousins