After starting the season relatively strong, the Raptors really fell into a slump over the last several months, only picking up the occasional game. So it makes sense that the front office would be looking to make a bold play and shift up the roster.

That’s where the New York Knicks came in, offering RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and a 2024 second-round pick to the Raptors for OG Anunoby. The Knicks have had their eyes on the two-way player for a while now, and it’s evident his play on the Raptors just isn’t leading to winning basketball.

Unlike some of 2023’s crazy off-season trades where certain teams got fleeced, neither the Knicks nor Raptors come out of this hard-done-by.

RJ Barrett returns to his hometown, and OG Anunoby gets a new start on a team where he might fit at least a little bit better. 

Losing OG Anunoby

The Raptors may have struggled quite a bit this season, but that doesn’t mean losing a player like OG Anunoby doesn’t leave a hole on the court. Known for his versatile defensive presence and quick hands, he was a defensive anchor for many Raptors lineups.

He also had a knack for locking down the best guards on opposing teams, freeing up Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes. Just take a look at his league-leading 1.9 steals per game, and you’ll understand his defensive impact.

However, he did leave much to be desired on the offensive side of the ball, consistently averaging just under 15 points.

There will be some definite growing pains for the roster, but the acquisition of RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley should alleviate them pretty quickly. It will just take a little time to adjust to Anunoby’s absence, but if the Raptor’s recent win over the Cleveland Cavaliers means anything, it shouldn’t take too long at all.

RJ Barrett Acquisition

The acquisition of RJ Barrett by the Toronto Raptors in the trade with New York may prove more and more beneficial for Toronto as time goes on. Barrett, a talented and versatile wing, brings a wealth of skills and potential to the Raptors’ lineup.

Averaging 18.2 points per game this season, the young guard is already a valuable scoring option, but he also boards quite well for his size, averaging 4.3 rebounds per contest.

It also doesn’t hurt that Barrett is a born and raised Canadian, and it’s probably going to be quite nice for him to play for his hometown team and get some love. He received a more than warm welcome from the Raptors fans when he was introduced against the Cavs.

Moreover, Barrett’s potential to be a long-term starter and even a star for the Raptors is an exciting prospect. As the eighth Canadian to play for the team, Barrett has the opportunity to leave a lasting impact and become a franchise fixture for years to come.

New Role Players

The Toronto Raptors not only secured the dynamic talent of RJ Barrett in their trade with the New York Knicks but also acquired valuable role players in Immanuel Quickley and a decent future pick.

Quickley, a 24-year-old point guard, brings a combination of skill and athleticism that significantly enhances the Raptors’ backcourt. Specifically, his ability to shoot from deep, sitting at 40% from three, will greatly help the athletic Raptors roster.

Quickley is also pretty decent in the pick-and-roll, which could really help out Toronto, especially in the half-court. It never hurts to add some energy and playmaking to the bench, especially if your starters are having a bad night.

As for the second-round 2024 pick, it will provide little to no value in all likelihood. While you sometimes find Nikola Jokić in the second round, most players become average at best. 

Toronto Raptors Season Outlook

It’s too early to say whether or not the Raptors will be able to turn it around and make a playoff appearance, but they’ve definitely taken a step in the right direction. The acquisition of RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley has injected new energy into the team.

The Raptors now boast a versatile roster with a mix of established stars and emerging talents. Pascal Siakam still leads the team with his 22.4 points per game, while Scottie Barnes continues to showcase his multi-faceted skills and grow year after year.

Barrett’s return to his hometown adds a sentimental and dynamic aspect to the team, with the potential to become a long-term star.

We acknowledge that, at least in the short term, the Raptors’ defensive rating will most likely suffer, but sometimes you need to undergo short-term pain to see long-term gain.

Currently sitting at 13-20, the Raptors still have a good chance of at least finishing the season with a 500 record and making their way to the playoffs in the tough East. It’s far too early to see the Raptors as any real contender, but it never hurts to get your young players some playoff experience.

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