The Raptors won the Eastern Conference under the leadership of Kathy Coach, but the loss of the playoffs made Casey stunned, and made Ujeri determined to dismantle the deep-rooted Lori and DeRozan dual-core partners. In exchange for Leonard is a gamble, then this gamble can let the Raptors harvest the corresponding return?
New road opened by Ujeri
Although the Raptors have been improving under the coach of Casey, the team has clearly entered the "bottleneck of James's roadblock." The Raptors have fallen to the feet of James and Cavaliers for three consecutive seasons. Let Ujeri lose trust in the existing lineup.
Even if they don't trade DeRozan, the total salary of the Raptors in the new season will reach $136 million. They have no reason to overthrow the existing lineup to rebuild, and retaining DeRozan and Lori means that the team needs to continue to increase investment. In the title competition, they will also need more deals like the selection of the show to exchange for Tucker and the signing of high pay to retain Ibaka.
But the question is, can the Raptors rely on DeRozan and Lori to break through the bottleneck? They have not proved that they can do this for the past three seasons. Even though James is traveling to Los Angeles in the offseason, the two giant teams that have risen in the East are not the ones that the Raptors can easily take.
Then, instead of continuing to expect DeRozan and Lori to break the ceiling, it is better to put the treasure on Leonard's deal.
Although sending DeRozan sparked complaints from Toronto fans, it was more about dissatisfaction with the emotional level than the strength of the team.
To be honest, the arrival of Leonard makes the Raptors look better, but the Leonard deal does not cost the Raptors a premium, but instead has the limitations of the Raptors of Lori and DeRozan. More choices in the direction of the team is more operational.
But the deal is not perfect, the locker room is also a key issue for the Raptors' new season: the point to be clear is that the Raptors are not just trading DeRozan, the way the team treated DeRozan before and after the trade apparently caused The player's dissatisfaction.
Ujelli’s thinking is commercialized. He looks at the pros and cons of the deal from a management perspective, and the perspective of the player’s entry into the event is completely different, and the interest needs between players and executives are also conflicting. of.
So, can Leonard convince the Raptors players? Since the purpose of trading Leonard is to let the team break the barrier of the playoffs, the only thing that can convince the team is that Leonard proves to his teammates that he can lead the team to complete the goals that were not completed in previous seasons.
The playoffs are when we rate the deal. Look at the Raptors, the regular season should not be a mess, Danny Green will also become a lubricant between the "indigenous people" and "new aid" in the locker room, and Leonard's professionalism in the game It also allows the team to maintain a united and forward-looking atmosphere.
From the preseason point of view, the Raptors players are also working hard to match Leonard to help him adapt to the new environment.
After all, Leonard is a gamble of Ujeri. I think it is appropriate to describe this tyran without breaking it: the Raptors need a new starting point, and Leonard’s deal gives the starting point of Ujri. It also allowed the team to pull the starting line to a position closer to the finish line.
Even if the Raptors in the new season are still unsuccessful in the playoffs, and Leonard jumps out of the contract, the Raptors have a reason to rebuild. If the Raptors choose to rebuild, the clear point is that the Raptors It is the reconstruction after the failure of the crown after taking the risk, rather than the passive smashing of the team's disintegration, which is quite different from the difference between the excellent GM and the mixed GM.
Defending the first in the east
The Raptors played the best 59 wins and 23 losses in team history last season. Although the bleak exit of the playoffs questioned the gold content of their record, I still think the new season's Raptors have the first strength in the East and the Eastern Conference. Phase.
In fact, after the deal of DeRozan, the Raptors looked at the strength of the paper from the lineup, and each position has sufficient thickness. As Varan Hughes said:
"We are really good on the paper lineup. We have rotations in every position. We have excellent pitchers. The inside position is not bad. We can accomplish some great achievements. All we have to do is prove this. One point, this is the key."
After Leonard’s arrival, the Raptors have completed an upgrade with their flank. They will have Leonard, Anunubi, Danny Green, Deron Wright, Powell, Myers in the new season . The combined high-quality flanking lineup is clearly comparable to the Thunder, Jazz and Celtics.
In particular , the significance of Leonard to the Raptors is not only to make the team's flank stronger, but also to give the Raptors a true core of both offense and defense. This is what DeRozan did not do: Leonard, Danny Green, and Anunubi's starting lineup will obviously make the majority of the league's team chill on the defensive end.
Although Leonard is nearly injured for a season, Leonard is still making progress from the nine games he played last season. At least in the last nine games of the Spurs, Leonard has begun to develop. He has always been a weak pick-and-roll skill . If he can use it as a regular offensive weapon, then the vacancy after DeRozan's departure will make up, and Lori can continue to maintain his original pace, he and Leonard are not the players of conflict, Renner The court space that De and DeRozan used on the offensive end is actually quite close.
In the preseason, Leonard is still in the adaptation stage, and his actions and reactions seem to be lagging behind. The Raptors need to give Leonard some time to adjust. After all, not playing for a season has a considerable impact on the professional players' ability to adapt to the strength of the game and maintain physical fitness.
Even if the team changed the new coach, but Nas is still close to the eyes of Casey, the overall thinking of the team should not have much change, and the old players are also respectful to Nas , this is also the best laydown of the Raptors. The coach's confidence. For example, the Cavaliers dismissed Blatter to hire Tyrone Lu.
Since the Raptors will continue to maintain their original pace, the second team will still be the selling point of their new season: it is also a good operation to renew the contract with Van Fleet at a reasonable price, and the Monroe offensive efficiency signed by the base salary. Not worse than Bolter, but Boltel's frame is not available to Monroe. In this way, the Raptors have more reason to reduce the rotation of the 5th position and use the small ball lineup.
In the era of Kathy coach, the Raptors are not very cold with the use of Varan Hughes, the defense of the inside has always been a point that Casey values. After Leonard's arrival, the team actually got more resources to play the ball, so in the lineup of Nass, I think the position of Varan Hughes will still not change. Lori, Green, Leonard, Anunubi, Ibaka, seems to be the lineup of the Raptors and opponents in the new season .
In the use of the inside, in fact, the Raptors and the Rockets have similarities, Capella is very important, but the winner of the Warriors is Tucker, and Valan Hughes is also the reason. But Varan Hughes is not a player that the team can abandon. After all, there are 82 games in the regular season. Before considering how to play the Celtics and the 76ers, you must first get a playoff ticket.
Of course, the Raptors' regular-season level is reassuring for fans. As long as the core players don't have a season-old injury, the Celtics and the 76ers want to get the first place in the East without being so relaxed.
Leonard's going or staying? How does the Raptors move next?
Toronto in Canada in the free agent market, there is a natural disadvantage, combined with Wu Jie said after the transaction - "a top five player in the league if we have the opportunity to get, then we should do it" , Then you can see the motives of this transaction and the possibility of further development.
Although trading Leonard is a high-risk operation, it is important to know that the Raptors have not only acquired Leonard's use of the season, but also gained a long-term contact with Leonard . After the Thunder have tasted the sweetness of Paul George's renewal, why can't the Raptors believe in Leonard?
Besides, although the turmoil of Leonard's offseason has refreshed the fans' impression of him, he is not a problem player . If the city of Toronto is sincere, then Leonard is not a nonsense. The current situation has changed from "no intention to play for the Raptors" to "may renew the contract to stay in the Raptors" . This attitude change is of course good for the Raptors. If you can retain Leonard, then the Raptors will be in the East. The Haoqiang Group still has a place to even open the championship.
To take a step back, even if Leonard leaves the team, the Raptors can get rid of most of the contracts in the next two seasons and completely rebuild: Lori, Van Fleet, Ibaka’s contracts are all Expires after the 19/20 season .
But looking back to the new season, the Raptors have to do the impact of the East, impact the champion, which is also a level of wages to reach 144 million US dollars. And the salary pressure will be another thing that Ujeri needs to deal with: if Leonard chooses to stay in the team, Ujry will obviously have to set him a corresponding lineup, then the team has limited space. How should we strengthen?
On the basis of the top salary Leonard, the Raptors will renew the contract year of Danny Green. If Varan Xinas is out of the contract, what price does the Raptors have to renew with him? Therefore, the Raptors also have potential super-luxury tax pressure, which is another problem that Ujeri needs to solve .
Last season's Raptors were actually in an awkward bottleneck, just like the third-best pioneer in the West, who relied on the draft to complete the rise. After becoming a playoff team, they also completed the lineup with low-level Taobao. For example , Van Fleet, Sikakam, Bolter and Deron Wright were all selected for the Raptors last season. The bench is strong, but as the information bonus space is getting smaller and smaller, it is getting harder and harder for the playoff team to rely on the draft to supplement the battle. The existing lineup is not enough to support them to become the top team. So they all need to break the barrier to the top group roads.
But the Raptors are different from the Blazers in that Ujelli chooses to take a new step and use the gamble to get the chance to open the ascending channel . And then the next step of Ujeri and the Raptors will depend on the record of the new season and Leonard's choice.
This article is a draft of Sina NBA
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