What positional gap should the Raptors fill at trade deadline?

Masai Ujiri, Bobby Webster and Nick Nurse have leaned into their version of "big-ball" this season which has left them vulnerable on the defensive boards. Despite that, the center position may not be the biggest spot that needs addressing at the trade deadline.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: And we're going to get into this in a second, but the centers that they have, they're rolling with them for a reason because they're mobile, they're big, they can guard on the perimeter. And they're kind of willing to eat some of their defensive rebounding efficiencies like Jesus assault last night. I felt-- I tweeted it. It's like, OK. You got to stop.

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Offensive rebound, bucket for the Dallas Mavericks. This is kind of part of the experiment. Is that they want to see how they can make things work. What is the things that they really need? And that's why I feel like they really do need to bring in some sort of guard off the bench because even whatever your plans are for the rest of your stance here with this core of your team, you need to know what you need off your bench. And Gary Trent going out it kind of has shown how desperate they are for something, anyone to come off the bench. And so you need to know what kind of holes do you need to plug. And that's why I think they do need to make a move for some sort of guard someone, anyone.

The center thing, they need it, obviously. But they're not looking to win a championship this season anyways. But a guard off the bench, they need to know how they're going to fill that hole because that is not going away. And Scottie Barnes, they have committed to him being the backup point guard, and if anything, they should have committed to that months ago. It shouldn't have been this coming up now. They should have done this a few months ago when Delano Banton and Malachi Flynn just decide that you're not going to be playing too much. That's it. You give them a chance, and that's OK, but they could have pulled that string a lot sooner.

And then you could have looked at how can we address the other needs that we need because neither of those guys are going to be filling that shooting guard need. They're not terrific shooters, or they're not tall enough or whatever.

JOSH LEWENBERG: Yeah, you're right about the center position. They tried to address that. They tried to go the traditional center route with the bargain bin last year in getting guys that, yeah, they're big, and they might address that position on the depth chart, but how is it going to play out on the court? And ultimately, it was a disaster with Baynes and Lynn, and that's why they went a completely different route this year, and they said, OK, unless--

I think if they could get an elite traditional center, I think this is just a way that the NBA works now is like those guys still have value. If you could find an elite big, the best of the best, those guys are always going to have some kind of a positive impact no matter how much the game changes just because of how good they are and how dominant they are. But if it's not the top tier, then you might as well just go with somebody that's going to fit your style better and the style in which the NBA is trending and that's what they've done here with Ashua and with Birch.

I mean, even Turner. Like, is Turner a traditional center? He shoots the three-ball pretty well. I think he has like some traditional center qualities defensively as a rim protector and all that. And he's good enough that you alter your philosophy in how you play a little bit. It's worth it for him. And I'm not even sure how much they would have to alter their philosophy. But for a guy that isn't quite at that level, yeah, it's not worth slowing yourself down and limiting what you can do defensively in terms of versatility to bring in a seven-footer. That's not their biggest need right now. As much as it might seem like it from a depth chart standpoint, it's not.

So I think like if what they end up doing is adding in a bargain type of way where you're trying to get somebody with like a second-round pick or something like that, then, yeah, the more pressing need is probably going to be shooting and on the wing because I don't think you want whatever a second-round pick is going to bring in in terms of like a backup center. How many Plumlee brothers are still in the league?

AMIT MANN: Too many.


AMIT MANN: Yeah, exactly.

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