Title: What will the revamped Raptors rotation look like next season?
Date: July 25, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I took a crack at projecting the Raptors’ rotation as part of a site-wide NBA initiative, but mostly I used the assignment to work through the team’s potential thought process at a few key spots.
There are two gaping holes in the starting rotation. Three of the six primary contributors to a 2018-19 NBA championship are entering or well into the decline phase of their careers, and trades are possible. The roster is flush with low-risk bets on redraft candidates and even lower-risk bets on relative unknowns.
It’s the kind of roster situation a head coach who built a reputation on uncertainty, experimentation and ingenuity might have a field day with. Or a field year, as it were. If the Toronto Raptors allow Nick Nurse to go full mad scientist — a term that got thrown around much too prematurely in a strong but not all that unconventional rookie NBA season — things could get really interesting.
Of course, there are other factors that will go into the deployment of a fun roster on paper. The veterans will need to be taken care of, to several ends: They are all still quite good, their trade value will need to remain high in case a market materializes and the Raptors will be competitive enough overall that it makes sense to keep quality vets involved and happy. There will also be smaller factors like who the team is more heavily invested in, something that doesn’t always make a difference but can shift things at the margins. Some players may be able to contribute a little in the near-term, but that will have to be weighed against how much they may be able to contribute later if given some development time instead. There are some question marks as to who will make up the back end of the roster, too.
When The Athletic asked us to do rotation projection pieces, the range of possibilities had me quite excited for the exercise.