Raptors' Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Norman Powell ruled out indefinitely, shaking up Toronto depth chart
The Raptors have sustained multiple injuries so far, but these are the biggest yet
The Toronto Raptors have already endured several injuries this season. Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet have all missed time so far, but no matter who has been on the court, the 18-9 Raptors have just kept winning. This latest set of injuries, however, will test that trend perhaps more so than any they have sustained so far.
Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell have all been ruled out indefinitely, the team announced Thursday. Gasol is dealing with a left hamstring injury. Siakam suffered a groin injury on Tuesday. Powell has a subluxation of his left shoulder. All three are vital to Toronto's success this season.
Siakam has been one of the very best players in the league to this point in the season. Averaging over 25 points per game in replacing Kawhi Leonard as Toronto's primary scorer, Siakam is mounting a serious bid to be named the NBA's Most Improved Player for the second consecutive season. Nobody has ever pulled that off, but given his elite two-way play and remarkable growth this season, Siakam's candidacy is legitimate.
While his numbers are down this season, Gasol remains an absolutely essential part of Toronto's lineup. He is averaging a career-low 6.6 points per game due in part to shooting a ghastly 37.6 percent on 2-pointers this season, and his 6.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists are also among his lowest totals ever, but Gasol is as sturdy defensively as ever. The Raptors have allowed only 99.2 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor this season, a staggeringly low figure for someone who has played as many minutes as he has. He also remains a devastating passer and is shooting 35.2 percent on 3-pointers this season.
Siakam is an MVP candidate, but Gasol is arguably Toronto's next most important player. He has the best net rating among Toronto's starters at +10.8, and he is one of only two players on their roster whose absence leads to the Raptors getting outscored (alongside Siakam).
After years of struggling to shoot consistently, Powell is making 39 percent of his 3-pointers on nearly five attempts per game. That has made him one of Toronto's primary scorers and a key component of their excellent bench lineups. He isn't nearly as impactful as Siakam and Gasol, but he is a solid role player that could help just about any team.
it's worth asking whether or not the Raptors will reconsider breaking up this roster before the trade deadline in light of these injuries. Gasol and Ibaka are on expiring deals. Lowry is a free agent in 2021. All three would be invaluable pieces for a contender, and Toronto could turn them into assets that better fit the timelines of Siakam and VanVleet. Toronto is expected to be a player in 2021 free agency, so acquiring assets now is critical in their effort to lure top talent down the line.
It's too early to determine whether or not the Raptors will pursue such a path, but these injuries, at the very least, should push them down to sixth in the Eastern Conference behind the Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers. They could still make noise in the postseason, but for the time being, the Raptors will look like a very different team.
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