Should The Raptors Risk The Future For Anthony Davis?
Source: Nick Turchiaro\USA TODAY Sports
The Toronto Raptors are amongst one of the favorites to land “The Brow” Anthony Davis. In my last piece, the Raptors weren't mentioned as the five teams that would likely be able to acquire Anthony Davis. The Raptors at the time appeared long shots in the Davis sweepstakes. Now Toronto has good odds. The last time they were the favorites in acquiring a big name player, look no further than this past summer when Masai Ujiri pulled the blockbuster move trading for Kawhi Leonard. The Raptors seemed to be pushing hard for Anthony Davis. Is it worth it trading for the five-time all-star?
Anthony Davis is one of the best big men in the league. He's hard to guard and can overpower other big men in the league despite being a little undersized. He's athletic and quick, and he's a defensive monster that comes up with blocks multiple times in the game. Ranking second in the league in that category. He holds opposing players to a 45 field goal percentage and Davis has only given up less than eight baskets a game while on defense. His presence on the defensive side of the ball is hard to ignore. Davis surprisingly has yet to win defensive player of the year honors. He was nominated for the award, losing to the Utah Jazz Rudy Gobert.
On the other side off the ball, Anthony Davis is just as good. This season Davis ranks third in points with over 29 points per game behind both shooting juggernauts Steph Curry and James Harden. This is the third straight season where Davis has averaged more than 28 points a game. He's unguardable when it comes to scoring in the paint ranking second in the league. He's one of the best rebounders in the league putting him fourth. He's been of one the most used players in the league. Not many teams have a player that can contribute to their team to the lengths that Davis has for the Pelicans. There's a reason why Davis was a nominated for MVP last season and deserves to be in that same conversation with LeBron's and Harden's of the league.
The Raptors do have intriguing pieces to land Davis. Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Delon Wright and throw in either Jonas Valanciunas and a first round pick would be the ideal package that Toronto would offer to New Orleans for Anthony Davis. The question is though, should the Raptors make this trade? The answer depends on the circumstance of what happens to Kawhi Leonard this summer. If the Raptors can sign their all-star forward to a contract after this season than Ujiri should pursue this trade. The Pelicans clearly aren't willing to hurry up and trade Davis out of town with them still in the playoff picture the Raptors have time to figure it out. With both Kawhi and Davis together the Raptors would be hard to score on. Having two of the best defenders in the league would be a coach's dream and an opposing teams nightmare. Also including both men's stellar offensive abilities, Kawhi and Davis would be one of the best duos in the league, if not the best.
The chances of Kawhi resigning is still up in the air at this point. If Kawhi doesn't resign than Toronto shouldn't get rid of the young talent they have on their roster. Davis would be in a slightly better spot in Toronto playing alongside Kyle Lowry but Toronto would be worse off. Lowry and Ibaka are getting older and Toronto doesn't have the resources to put a solid team around Davis that could contend for a championship. Toronto would be better off keeping their young talent and building towards the future and still be competitive. Even without Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors are a middle of the pack team in the Eastern Conference. Another question is what if Davis doesn't resign after next season? Would it be worth it to take that risk? The answer is no again. Only having Davis for one season isn't good enough either. Ujir wouldn't be thinking about the future of this team. Toronto would lose too much just to try and chase a championship for a season. It's not worth it no matter how great Davis is. He would have to commit to the Raptors long term and so would Kawhi for this to work out.
The Raptors have seen too many rebuilding seasons in its history. Ujiri's risk with Kawhi was a small one considering they didn't have to trade away any of their younger core players. The risk for Davis, however, is huge and isn't worth it if there is no long term plan for either Kawhi or Davis. Ujiri would put the Raptors in a hole that could send them back to being a lottery team. Anthony Davis hasn't had much playoff success in his career, as he only made the playoff twice in the six seasons he's played in New Orleans. He could always change his mind and resign in the summer like a Paul George did in OKC. George signed a 4-year deal last year and is staying for the long haul with Russell Westbrook as they try and win a championship. Davis could embrace Toronto as his home but it would take a lot for him to stay in the TDot over the glamorous city of Los Angeles.