I know, I know: You’re furiously reloading Twitter to make sure you haven’t missed any Woj bombs. It’s less than 24 hours before the NBA trade deadline!
But it’s also February. A short, but cold, and often depressing month. So: Take a little time for yourself, step away from Twitter, and join us as we take Toronto’s weekly temperature.
But let’s forget about that for now, and take a closer look at who’s hot and who’s not in the North!
Pascal Siakam: Not an All-Star, Just Awesome
Our man Spicy P did not get selected as an All-Star reserve last Thursday night. He also didn’t get selected to participate in the All-Star skills competition, announced last night.
What he did accomplish, though, was average nearly 20 points on 52% shooting including 5-for-13 (38.5%) from downtown. He had one of his best-all around performances of the year against Milwaukee last week; the Raptors fell behind in the second quarter and could never catch up, but Siakam was fearless, taking the ball to the hoop no matter who was guarding him and nailing his jumpers when the defense sagged off.
I suspect more than a few All-Star games are in Siakam’s future.
The Raptors just completed a very tough six-game stretch — Indiana, Houston, Dallas, Milwaukee, the Clippers and Philadelphia. Now? Things get considerably easier (on paper): Atlanta, New York, Brooklyn, Washington and then a full nine days off for the All-Star break.
Four games between now and February 22? That should help the Raptors mend all those nagging injuries that have been ailing them.
Overall, the Raptors have the easiest schedule of any team the remainder of the way. It may not be enough to get them back into the top spot in the East, but it should allow them to keep pace for the second seed at the very least.
C.J. Miles, Still Stroking it
Does this even qualify? I don’t know, but hey: when C.J. Miles played last week, he straight burned up the nets! Of course, he only played 22 total minutes, got a DNP-CD against Milwaukee and had all of 20 seconds against Philly.
That Clippers game though! Miles went 3-for-5 and finished with 15 points and four boards!
Miles seems to be the odd man out in a healthy Raptors rotation, but it’s good to know that he’s relocated his shot, should the Raptors need him.
Danny Green: Three-point Shooter...?
Green was selected to participate in his first All-Star Three-Point Competition, probably an overdue honour. Thankfully the selection committee wasn’t looking solely at this week’s games, because Green was an uncharacteristic 0-for-3 from downtown across the three games.
In fact, Green was scoreless against Milwaukee, and only tallied six total points against the Clippers and Sixers — though he did contribute eight assists across those two wins.
Green remains a key component of the starting group, and usually finds ways to contribute even when his shot isn’t falling. It’s possible he’s banged up, and he might benefit the most from the upcoming time off.
Fare thee Well, Malachi
Malachi Richardson was shipped out the door on Wednesday afternoon after a short and not-entirely memorable stay. Richardson showed flashes of firepower in summer league and the G-League, but couldn’t find the range with the Raptors, shooting only 31% in 22 games this season.
At least the Raptors were able to get something for him... oh wait, all they got was cash considerations. Bruno died for this!
The Leaky Boat That is the Memphis Grizzlies
Oh, so first it was Mike Conley and Marc Gasol for Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas. Then it was Kyle Lowry going to Utah and Mike Conley coming East.
Considering the Raptors’ front office never leaks anything, and word is the Jazz are similarly tight-lipped... and considering this is the same front office that couldn’t figure out which Brooks they were trading earlier this year... yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and point the finger at the Grizzlies here. Perhaps more importantly — it seems clear to me that they’re simply using Toronto as leverage, because I don’t see any real reason for these trade talks to be real from Toronto’s standpoint.
So to them I say: Please shut up. This trade deadline is already crazy with real transactions, please don’t make us have to put up with your fake stuff too.