Eastern Notes: Gasol, Carter, Simmons, Booker

With Kawhi Leonard gone from Toronto, veteran big man Marc Gasol becomes even more important to the Raptors’ success this season and beyond than he was during the team’s memorable run to a title during the 2018/19 campaign, writes Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer.

With Leonard back home in California, forward Pascal Siakam becomes the undisputed future of the Raptors, with his development into a star of paramount concern for Toronto’s long term outlook. And as Tjarks analyzes, Siakam is at his best – or at least was last year – when playing alongside Gasol.

For one, Siakam loves to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim, so it’s important to play him with a center who can shoot well enough from the outside to drag Siakam’s defender out of the paint.

Additionally, Siakam is not yet an elite play-maker, so it helps to have other players like Gasol around him who can keep everyone else involved in the offense while Siakam plays in attack mode.

Finally, Gasol provides a large body that Toronto can use during the regular season to bang with big Eastern Conference centers like Joel Embiid over the course of an 82-game season. As Tjarks analogizes, Gasol essentially acts as a lead blocker for Siakam, clearing obstacles for Siakam to thrive.

There’s more tonight from the Eastern Conference:

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4 thoughts on “Eastern Notes: Gasol, Carter, Simmons, Booker

  1. richard1-2

    I think MOST LIKELY Raps will get into the 2nd rd. That’s where it ends. IMO, the RAPS had NO BIZ winning the ring. Sports alot of the time is unpredicatable. I compare 2019 NBA Finals to the 2004 Finals. Detroit wasn’t supposed to win vs. a juggernaut like those Lakers. But the Lakers fell apart. Just like the 1989 Finals. Never know….

    • brendanpeters15

      The Raptors had the best player in the playoffs who outplayed everyone on the court, and Curry missed clutch shots like he always does when he doesn’t have Durant to hit them for him. It’s as simple as that.

  2. Archie M.

    If this is indeed his last season, I hope Vince joins the slam dunk contest AND WINS IT. Perfect ending, book ending his career with slam dunk titles. His legacy, after all, is being one of the most exciting players and most vicious in-game dunkers of all time. Of course, also one of the most creative slam dunk champions in the history of the NBA.

  3. Raps can use Gasol to bang with big bodies like Embiid? Perhaps someone didn’t watch their playoff matchup when Joel ignored Gasol while choking out Siakam‘s game almost entirely. I think they had Harris guarding Gasol and Marc did nothing to dissuade that effective strategy. Gasol did defend Embiid fairly well, when it mattered.

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