Title: Raptors as buyers: Is adding a centre the only trade deadline path?
Date: February 25, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors expanding their trade deadline search beyond just the centre position.
One of the changes at the heart of the Raptors’ turnaround has been their embracing of lineups without a traditional centre. It was not quite as simple as jettisoning Aron Baynes (or Alex Len) from the starting lineup, a move teased once during their 2-8 start and then shelved for another 15 games. Instead, Toronto’s move to less traditional lineups with more regularity has come in segments.
During the team’s first 10 games, they were outscored by 52 points in 211 minutes playing one of their centres (a net rating of -10.6 points per-100 possessions). Those minutes were largely responsible for creating holes they couldn’t dig out of. That Norman Powell was struggling and that the bench wings — namely Terence Davis II and DeAndre’ Bembry — had not yet emerged left little in the way of an obvious full-time solution. Even still, the Raptors won the other 269 minutes significantly (+6.8), cobbling together positive minutes with Chris Boucher, Stanley Johnson or OG Anunoby (or Pascal Siakam, if you prefer to describe it that way) at the five.