Failing to retain at least one of Serge Ibaka or Marc Gasol during the 2020 offseason is turning out to be a “rare misplay” by the Raptors‘ front office, according to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. As Grange points out, Toronto has been one of the NBA’s worst defensive rebounding teams, and the overall team defense has slipped to the middle of the pack after ranking within the top five in each of the last two years.
League sources tell Grange that the Raptors don’t actually have much interest in pursuing Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, but he acknowledges that it makes sense that Drummond was linked to Toronto, given the team’s deficiencies in the middle and on the glass.
As Grange writes, the Raptors will face some tough decisions in the coming weeks and months as they try to determine how to address the center position and figure out whether Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell, who are both eligible for free agency at season’s end, will be a part of their future.
Here’s more from around the Atlantic:
- Raptors forward OG Anunoby, who returned on Tuesday after missing 10 games with a calf strain, showed why the team was willing to lock him up to a lucrative long-term extension prior to the season, making an impact on both ends of the court in the team’s win over Milwaukee, writes Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Interestingly, Anunoby replaced Aron Baynes – not Powell – in the starting lineup as Toronto opted for a small starting lineup with Anunoby and Pascal Siakam at the four and five.
- With center Mitchell Robinson on the shelf, the Knicks have had internal talks about big man Norvel Pelle, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. However, New York has a full roster and would have to waive a player to make room for someone like Pelle, who will be a free agent on Thursday if he clears waivers after being cut by Brooklyn.
- Tyler Johnson appeared in only seven of the Nets‘ first 24 games, logging over seven minutes in just one of them. However, he has reclaimed a rotation role in the team’s star-studded backcourt as of late, averaging 8.3 PPG on .486/.480/1.000 shooting in Brooklyn’s last six games (19.3 MPG). “I just love him as a person and a player, his competitive spirit is outstanding,” head coach Steve Nash said of Johnson, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “He’s been making some shots as well, and he’s very capable offensively, of course. But just that competitive nature I think is really important for our group.”