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.