If you haven't already, go read Zach Lowe on the state of the Raptors, DeMar DeRozan and Masai Ujiri's potential plans for the future. It's basically a perfect piece that gets at the enviable crossroads at which the team finds itself (assuming you can set aside a Toronto fans' natural state of depression and doom to see it). The Raptors are competing right now and also have numerous potential moves to make to set them up for an exciting and even better future. What a time to be alive, indeed.
Lowe's review of Toronto gets at a few things that many Raptors fans may have already realized. Namely, the team could or should find a way to involve Jonas Valanciunas more on offense; even with possible moves on the table, it is very difficult to go from being a good team to a truly great team; the team should look to upgrade at power forward if it has the chance; much of the Raptors' future will be decided by DeRozan.
It's hard to overstate the fact that this last point is the real driver of the discussion. DeRozan is having the best season of his career and maximizing every inch of his game. He may never become an elite three point shooter, but his skill at creating buckets, getting to the line and, as Lowe notes, playing in the pick and roll, have made him extremely valuable.
The question of course is: how valuable?
I feel like I've asked this question before (because I have), but now we're in the middle of the season and the Raptors are in second in the Eastern Conference and DeRozan is having a career year, so it feels fair to ask it again.
After he opts out of his current contract, should the Raptors re-sign DeMar DeRozan?
Let's go to the poll.
(Fanboy aside: I actually got to meet Lowe while he was in Toronto reporting for this piece. I went over and introduced myself while he sat courtside chatting with the National Post's Eric Koreen. I then blacked out and became unintelligible for a few minutes. In case Lowe reads this: nice to meet you, Zach! End of fanboy aside.)