The Toronto Raptors have played their way back into the playoff picture following an absence from the postseason last year. Their 31-25 record has them seventh in the Eastern Conference. With a playoff spot well within reach, the Raptors could use an extra addition to their roster.
The area the Raptors could best use depth at is the point guard spot. Fred VanVleet is a very good option who made his first All-Star Game. The Raptors’ main ball handlers behind him are Malachi Flynn and Dalano Banton. Neither youngster is ready to take on a significant role as a backup floor general, though Banton has definitely earned a spot in the rotation. While both of them find their footing, Toronto should look for a veteran to finish out the season as a depth piece.
Toronto’s bench is full of backup bigs like Chris Boucher, Precious Achiuwa, Khem Birch and trade-deadline acquisition Thad Young. With VanVleet comfortably set to be the Raptors’ franchise guard for the future, Toronto needs to find a more suitable backup point guard. The buyout market should offer plenty of options.
Raptors Buyout Candidates
3. Tomas Satoransky
Satornaksy, who landed with the San Antonio Spurs once the trade deadline was over, would help the Raptors further satisfy their infatuation with guys that stand between 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-9.
This season, Satoransky has not done much. Over the past four seasons, though, he has averaged 8.4 points, 4.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game and shot 48.2 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from deep. His versatility has always made him an attractive backup option. Similar to Banton, Satoransky has point guard tendencies. He will need to bounce back in order to be a worthwhile addition. If he does find his footing again
2. Dennis Schroder
Schroder is the best point guard that will likely hit the buyout market that the Raptors can sign. His scoring and playmaking skills make him an ideal backup behind VanVleet.
This season, he averaged 14.4 points and 4.3 assists per game for the Boston Celtics, who shipped him to the Houston Rockets. The rebuilding Rockets could cut him in favor of allowing their young guards to get more playing time. In Toronto, he could team up with the Raptors’ backup bigs to make for a decent pick-and-roll tandem while providing some pesky point-of-attack defense.
Schroder’s skills eventually run somewhat dry, which is why Boston was looking to move on from him. But the Raptors don’t have to consider him a long-term option. Trying him out in a reduced role is a low-risk, high-reward move.
1. Eric Bledsoe
Although he has not yet been released from the Portland Trail Blazers, Bledsoe seems like a likely candidate to hit the buyout market. Although he is currently dealing with an Achilles injury, Toronto should look his way.
Few buyout options would be as good of a defensive reinforcement as Bledsoe. The two-time All-Defensive Team member would be a strong addition to a Raptors team stacked with other great defenders. Placing him next to VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes would create a strong, switchable defensive unit. A lineup like this could become very useful in the playoffs and high-leverage situations.
Offensively, Bledsoe is a good playmaker and rim attacker. He is averaging 9.9 points and 4.2 assists in 25.2. minutes per game. In a limited role, he should be a strong addition.