The Toronto Raptors are in a new chapter of their franchise.
The team has made it clear that there are in a rebuild after trading away O.G. Anunoby and Pascal Siakam.
The main priority for the Raptors now is to develop the young players on the team and to build towards the future.
There has been a lot of speculation on how the Raptors will approach the rest of this season. Toronto currently sits 12th in the Eastern Conference with a 16-28 record. They have the sixth worst record in the NBA.
However, despite being 12 games under .500, the Raptors are only 2 games back of the Atlanta Hawks for the final play-in spot.
The Raptors could try to go for the play-in with this group, or they will not prioritize winning and try to keep their 2024 first-round pick which is Top-6 protected. If the Raptors end up finishing with the sixth worst record in the league, they will have a 45.8 percent chance of keeping their pick.
One player on the Raptors roster who isn’t in favour of tanking for a draft pick is Jakob Poeltl. He was recently asked by TSN’s Josh Lewenberg if the change in direction makes him feel differently about re-signing with the Raptors this past or his future in Toronto:
“Not necessarily. The only thing that was important to me is that I want on a team that could play competitive basketball. As long as it’s not a team that was really actively trying to tank, I guess, was the thing for me. Like, I want to play on a team that’s trying to win every night. So, for me, even though we had some changes and we lost some really good player I think we’re still on a course where we’re trying to build around this team right now and we’re not hunting for a No. 1 draft pick, you know what I mean? So as long as that’s the case I think I’m going to be happy here and I’m hoping to contribute to this new Raptors team, this new project that we’re starting.”
It’s clear that Poeltl doesn’t want to be part of a team trying to tank. However, that could end up being the case in Toronto. It’ll be interesting to see how Poeltl ends up fitting in with the Raptors long-term plans.
Raptors could have a fire sale
With their recent change of direction, the Raptors could embrace losing for the time being. Toronto has players on their roster that could be of interest to many teams.
One player who is reportedly getting a ton of interest is Bruce Brown. Two more teams have recently been linked to the Raptors guard.
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