A picture of scotiabank Arena to highlight the Toronto Raptors front office and their sitting on the fence.

Toronto Raptors Front Office – A Lesson on the Dangers of Sitting on the Fence

I have been reluctant to talk about the Toronto Raptors front office but as the team sits at 8 and 11, I thought it was time to do so. The Toronto Raptors are in a bad position. They have not picked direction with their team. They have a blue chip prospect in Scottie Barnes who is already in his third year in the league and the team has not started to build around him yet.

The team also has three players on the last year of their deals in Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. who could all leave this summer. So what is the front office doing? Nothing. They are sitting on the fence. Why do I say that?

Toronto Raptors Front Office – Not Building Around Scottie Barnes

In the summer of 2021, the Toronto Raptors fluked out and was able to draft Scottie Barnes with the fourth overall pick. Barnes stellar play that season won him the rookie of the year. He did this in spite of some veteran players note wanting him to be featured in the office. The highlight was in the playoffs when he played well against the 76ers. In game one, he was the only player who showed up and played well before getting injured. However, he came back a few games later and help them win two games before losing the series in six games.

This was the time to start building around Scottie Barnes. Management should have traded Fred Van Fleet at this point as he was hindering Scottie’s progress as he did not want to defer to him. Also, at the trade deadline that same year, they traded a 1st round draft pick for Thaddeus Young for provided minimal help. The team got a second round draft pick which became Christian Koloko. The jury still out if he can even be an NBA player as he is currently hurt right now. It might have been nice to keep the pick and get a better prospect who compliments Barnes.

The very next year, they did the same thing at the trade deadline. They traded a 1st and 2nd round pick for Jakob Poeltl who is a good center. However, he does not shoot well and needs to be in the paint to be effective. This is a problem as Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes are most effective in the paint. As a result, there are spacing issues. This makes it hard for Barnes to play his game and get into the paint to find open shooters. So a lot of the time, Barnes ends up being a jump shooter in the corner which is not his game. However, give him credit as he has worked on his jumper and is getting more effective. But the reality is that management is not building around Barnes.

Toronto Raptors Front Office – Sticking with Current Core, Not Really

If the team is not building around Scottie Barnes, then they must be sticking with the current core. Well not really. If they were, they would have traded Barnes to Brooklyn for Kevin Durant a year or so ago. That is what the price was, Barnes and pieces. But the team said no. This past summer the team was inquiring about Damien Lillard but they were not going to offer Barnes or OG Anunoby in any trade. Also, they let Fred Van Fleet walk as they were not going to match Houston’s large offer. They did not extend Pascal Siakam or Gary Trent Jr. And OG Anunoby was not going to accept an extension as can get more money in the summer as a free agent. So obviously the team is not building around their current core of players. What are they doing? Who knows!

Conclusion – Reality

The Raptors are in a precarious position. The only somewhat logical move now is to start trading some players to find young prospects and picks to fit Scottie Barnes’ timeline and skill set. However, this might be too late was Scottie is in year three already and you have basically have four and half years to build a contending team around him or else he might leave. If you wait till summer, and decide to resign everyone or at least two of the three of your main free agents, you are looking at a team that is in the luxury tax but is not good enough to compete for anything for the foreseeable future.

If you let all your free agents walk, then you can start building around Barnes. However, you do not have a 1st found draft pick in the coming draft as that was traded for Jakob Poeltl. So more time will be wasted in trying to build around Scottie Barnes and time is ticking.

So as you can see, the Toronto Raptors have been sitting on the fence. I guess they think they can pivot in any direction at anytime. But the reality is that the fence that they are clinging so hard to is about the get demolished. Once it does, the franchise could be in no mans land for the foreseeable future. Their indecision will be costly. Hopefully, they wake up immediately.

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