After days of anticipation, an almost goodbye game, and hours of refreshing Twitter, only one of Toronto’s starting guards were moved at the trade deadline. Kyle Lowry, who seemed to be the NBA’s most sought after prize on Thursday, ended up staying with the Toronto Raptors past the deadline. Norman Powell, on the other hand, was traded for league veteran wing Rodney Hood and young 3-and-D guard Gary Trent Jr.
After clearing health and safety protocols, both Hood and Trent were able to join the team in last night’s game against the Suns. Seeing Trent in the starting lineup seemed like a huge surprise at first, but one that was almost written in the stars. In 1998, one year before Gary was born, the Toronto Raptors traded with the Portland Trailblazers to acquire Gary Trent Sr. In honour of his father, Trent decided to wear the same number, 33.
While Trent only contributed 8 points to the Toronto Raptors late-game loss to the scorching Phoenix Suns, his biggest contribution was off of the stats sheet. Defensively, Trent brought a huge element to the Raptors starting line-up; switch-ability. Throughout the game, Gary was assigned to defend one of the game’s more dynamic shooters in Devin Booker. At 6’6″, Trent has the ability to switch between both guards and wings, much like OG Anunoby. Any switches the Suns tried to make with Booker as the ball-handler tonight resulted in either OG or Siakam – two other skilled defensive players – switching onto him. This combo of Gary and OG limited the budding superstar to just 16 points on 42% shooting.
But guards and wings weren’t the problem for the Toronto Raptors tonight, it was the centre position. Whether it was Deandre Ayton or Dario Saric, the centres for the Suns complete torched the Raptors. Despite being a mostly mid-to-long range shooting team, the Suns put up a whopping 58 points in the paint with 9 offensive rebounds. This glaring weakness covered up a spectacular 27/11/6 for Pascal, who led the Raptors in all three categories.
With Kelly Olynyk potentially being bought out by the Rockets, the Raptors could look to acquire a centre post-deadline.
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