The Raptors Are Gasol In
Thursday's NBA Trade Deadline saw more (trans)action than MyGM mode in 2K. For the past few years, the focus has been all about the strength of the Western Conference. However, throughout the 2018-2019 season, the spotlight has slowly shifted to the east -- especially after Thursday's Trade Deadline.
Other than Boston who plans to rely on the luck of the Irish, the top teams in the East all got stronger Thursday afternoon by bolstering their bigs. Philly got Tobias Harris, the Bucks got Nikola Mirotic; and Toronto got 2013 Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol.
Although, it did cost the Raps a few fan favourites, because you can't get one of the most accomplished bigs in the NBA without a price.
Firstly, Delon never proved himself to be a starter. He was walking away this summer at free agency and he was taking his Snickers with him.
As for Cj, another integral part of the Bench Mob, his better days are behind him and we need the cap space for the additional costs of Gasol. Also, while in Toronto, Miles may have found his niche in the fashion industry. Cj's Pj's have been a commercial hit and we know Miles won't be losing any sleep after this trade in those pajamas
But JV definitely hurts to lose. He has been one of our longest serving Raps and worked his tail off to not get phased out of the league, adapting to the modern game and modifying his body. But the reality is -- how many DPOY awards has an Itty Bitty Baller won? How many championships has an Itty Bitty Baller even been in?
Itty Bitty Ballers don't win championships. But the Klaw and Gasols do.
The only people who disagree with this trade are the same ones who disagree with the Leonard and Derozan trade. With the uncertainty of Kawhi's return this summer, the Raptors are putting it all on the line this season.
The Raps now posses, essentially, three Defensive Players of the Year:
- Kawhi Leonard: 2015, 2016.
- Marc Gasol: 2013 (beating out Serge Ibaka who placed third).
- Serge Ibaka: 2012 (finished second but we're going to round up).
Honourable mention to Danny Green who was on the NBA All-Defensive Second team in 2017.
But most importantly, next to Nikola Jokic, Gasol is the best passing center in the league. So for all the dweebs who long for advanced statistics.
The seven-foot Spaniard has led the league in elbow touches the last six seasons. But not the elbow touches we were all use to in the 2000's
This stat refers to how many times Marc touches the ball in the elbow of the court, (the area of the court where the free throw line meets the lane line). Not as impressive as touching your elbow with your tongue, but it will definitely help our deadly perimeter shooting.
Over the last decade, the Raptors have been evolving at the center position via Europeans. It started with 2006 first-overall bust Andrea Bargnani, who is still hated by the City of Toronto (excluding Vaughn), then in 2011, Bryan Colangelo doubled down on European exports bringing in JV. However, through poor Borat impressions and his relentless work ethic, Valanciunas won the Raptor fan base over rapidly. Now, we continue the trend with the better half of the Gasol brothers, who will certainly be an upgrade at center for the next two seasons.
The MLSE has been on steroids this past week. Between all the business with the Buds and Raps, we have now set ourselves up for multiple championship contending seasons.
After the Leafs brought home Muzzy last week, they locked up Matthews for a handful of years to come. And now, before the ink on Auston's new contract even dried, Masai Ujiri goes out and gets the Raptors one of the most decorated bigs in the NBA -- officially completing Toronto's Big 3. There has not been a better time to be a fan in Toronto than now.