We have an opportunity for you to hit us up with your questions in this, our weekly mailbag feature. Have a question regarding player movement, the salary cap or the NBA draft? Drop us a line at HoopsRumorsMailbag@Gmail.com. Here are this week’s inquiries:
What’s your opinion of the Serge Ibaka trade from the Raptors’ perspective? They have Jonas Valanciunas, drafted Jakob Poeltl, as well as Patrick Patterson and Jared Sullinger. So why trade from the backcourt depth for something that doesn’t appear on paper as a need? — Matt Elliott
The Raptors believe they are in position to contend for a title this season, and the organization didn’t see Poeltl, Patterson or Sullinger as a difference maker at power forward. After losing to the Cavaliers in last year’s Eastern finals, Toronto didn’t want to enter the playoffs with basically the same roster. Ibaka is a better shooter and rim protector than anyone they had at the position and he got a ton of playoff experience in Oklahoma City. No matter how much the Raptors may miss Ross, it was worth rolling the dice on a deal that makes their starting lineup significantly better.
Who would Detroit give the hardest matchup to, Boston or Washington? Is there a player out there that would fit their biggest need before the deadline? — Mark Holmes
Despite their 27-30 record, the Pistons wouldn’t be an easy playoff matchup for either team. The Celtics, with their rebounding and interior defensive issues, would probably have a tougher time containing Andre Drummond in a seven-game series. Detroit has discussed a deal that would send Reggie Jackson to Orlando in exchange for D.J. Augustin and Jeff Green. While that may help with chemistry issues, it’s not a talent upgrade and it wouldn’t guarantee the Pistons a playoff spot. They could also revisit a deal with Minnesota for Ricky Rubio, who continues to be available. More likely, Detroit will save its most significant moves for the offseason.
Isn’t Kyle O’Quinn a legitimate candidate for Most Improved? Who would be his competition? — Ed Fields
The 26-year-old center has stepped up his game this season and has helped the Knicks deal with a disappointing performance from Joakim Noah. However, the modest increase in his numbers (going from 4.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game a year ago to 6.4 and 5.6 this season) won’t be enough to take home the award. Bucks point forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is almost a shoo-in for the honor, even though he was recognized as a star before the season began. His averages are up significantly in points (16.9 to 23.4), rebounds (7.7 to 8.6) and assists (4.3 to 5.4) and he has become an on-court leader for the Bucks. His most serious competition was probably Zach LaVine before the season-ending ACL injury. O’Quinn is having a nice season, but this year’s award belongs to the Greek Freak.