Raptors Notes: Core, Trade Options, Poeltl, Shooting Woes

The Raptors remain high on their core of Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes, Fred VanVleet, and OG Anunoby and believe that quartet is a strong foundation for an elite team, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca.

If the front office is sincere in that belief, it would make sense to aggressively seek out an upgrade on the trade market prior to this season’s deadline to complement those core players, perhaps using a future draft pick or two, Grange argues.

Grange points to Spurs center (and former Raptor) Jakob Poeltl as an ideal target for Toronto, based on his ability to protect the rim on defense and finish at the rim on offense. Poeltl is also on an expiring contract and has full Bird rights, making him a logical option for the Raptors, who want to maintain their cap flexibility while having the ability to invest in a player they like. Given Toronto’s shooting woes, the team could also talk to San Antonio about veteran forward Doug McDermott, Grange notes.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Within his Sportsnet.ca story linked above, Grange says the Raptors are believed to be making calls with “some more urgency than would otherwise be expected from a management group that tries to keep things low key.”
  • The Raptors are one of the NBA’s lowest-ranked teams in terms of both three-pointers per game (25th) and three-point percentage (26th), prompting Eric Koreen of The Athletic to explore what they can do address their shooting woes. While it would help if certain players – like VanVleet, Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr. – bumped their three-point rates to their career averages, acquiring another shooter should also be something the team seriously considers, as Koreen outlines.
  • Despite falling below .500 following two ugly losses in Orlando, the Raptors remain optimistic that better days are ahead, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. “We can’t hit the panic button. I know that a lot of people do hit that panic button real quick but (we’re) not doing that,” Siakam said. “… There’s no finger pointing. We’re all in this together. No matter what’s happening, those guys in here, I love them and I want everyone to succeed, I want us to succeed as a team. I think we’ve all got to do it together. Everyone’s in this together and we’ve gotta get out of it together.”
  • In case you missed it, we passed along a series of injury updates on Raptors frontcourt players on Tuesday.
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