Title: HOW TUCKER AND IBAKA ADD NEW DIMENSION TO RAPTORS’ DEFENSE
Date: March 3, 2017
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: For my latest at Vice, I broke down the defensive impact of the Raptors’ new additions and the new closing lineup they’ve stumbled into.
The timing could not have been worse.
Or perhaps it couldn’t have been better, if injury was going to strike at some point.
The gut-wrenching loss of Kyle Lowry poses a serious threat to the Toronto Raptors, and one of the biggest impacts is that Lowry won’t get much of an opportunity to develop a chemistry with the team’s two big deadline acquisitions, Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker. Considering both players were brought in to help boost a potential playoff rotation, entering the postseason without all the pieces having spent significant time together will be an unfortunate situation.
At the same time, though, Tucker and Ibaka come advertised as quality defenders. There’s never a good time to lose a player of Lowry’s caliber, and while Ibaka’s new position as the team’s No. 2 or 3 option is important, it’s what the two newcomers can provide defensively that makes the timing of Lowry’s injury a little easier to digest. It’s going to take some time to figure out, but Tucker and Ibaka afford the Raptors the potential to win at the defensive end of the floor with Lowry out, an important consideration with the offense likely to struggle.
The early returns are encouraging.