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The Eastern Conference was in a thrilling arms race on NBA trade deadline day. The Philadelphia 76ers had already acquired Tobias Harris, and the Milwaukee Bucks added Nikola Mirotic to their stable of shooters that day. The Toronto Raptors weren’t quiet either, as Toronto added Marc Gasol just before the deadline passed.
Gasol’s absolute peak is behind him, but he’s the type of player who should have a huge impact on a team that can add him without giving up too many major pieces, as the Raptors did. That has not happened thus far.
Monday’s game between Toronto and the Cleveland Cavaliers was emblematic of Gasol’s time with Toronto thus far. The big man posted just 2 points in his 22 minutes played, missing five of his six field goals and adding seven rebounds, four assists, one steal and three turnovers. At times it was easy to miss his presence on the floor entirely.
Unfortunately for both the Raptors and Gasol, that performance wasn’t that much of an outlier for him based on his Toronto tenure. Gasol is averaging 8.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.9 blocks per game with the Raptors while shooting 45.3 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from 3-point range.
Many Toronto fans were sad to see Jonas Valanciunas go in the Gasol deal. Those fans have been proven right about grousing over the trade, as Valanciunas is averaging 18.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 blocks per game with the Memphis Grizzlies, while shooting an impressive 59.4 percent from the field. Gasol has not been able to make that much of an impact on his new team, not yet at least.
The Raptors should view Serge Ibaka’s incoming three-game suspension as something of a blessing in disguise. Toronto needs to use these next few games to figure out how to involve Gasol more on both ends.
To get past the rest of the teams vying to be the next Eastern Conference champion, the Toronto Raptors need more than 9 points per game out of Marc Gasol. Giving up real role players and adding someone who isn’t being utilized properly is not a winning postseason formula.
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