The Toronto Raptors are in need of some reinforcements, as a team that was expected to make it to the postseason has stumbled out of the gate, with the lack of perimeter depth coming back to bite them in the butt. With a battle-tested veteran like Iman Shumpert on the market, president Masai Ujiri and GM Bobby Webster should’ve been all over someone that could make the Raptors a more lethal team on both ends. Unfortunately, their ambivalence cost them.
Shumpert agreed to a deal with the Brooklyn Nets, giving the fearsome trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden some extra veteran moxie and perimeter defense. Considering how badly Toronto needs both of those things, Ujiri has to wonder if he should’ve gone after him harder.
Iman Shumpert can hit some open jumpers and shut down opposing wings, both of which could’ve helped the Toronto Raptors
Shumpert, a former first-round pick who originally made his name with the New York Knicks, developed into a quality role player while playing on LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers, as he won a championship in 2016. Shumpert had a brief cameo with the Nets last year, averaging 4.2 points per game. In his career, Shumpert is a 34 percent three-point shooter.
Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet can make for quite a lethal backcourt tandem, but Toronto is severely lacking behind those two. Matt Thomas is a great shooter, but his defense is merely average. Terence Davis has failed to take the second-year leap most expected, all the while remaining a poor defender.
This roster has a weird mishmash of veterans, developmental projects, and players in their prime. Rather than all melting together into a big, cohesive unit, the Raptors look like a team that is playing at three different speeds right now. Shumpert’s ability to both completely eliminate the opposing team’s best wing is valuable, but he is a perfect veteran glue guy that could help bring this uneven locker room together. Instead, Ujiri missed out on him, and Toronto will have to deal with him wearing Brooklyn black and white.
While coming to a displaced Canadian team that isn’t guaranteed a playoff spot might not be the most attractive thing for a player like Shumpert who is chasing a championship at this stage of his career, Ujiri could’ve potentially pilfered him off the free agent market by being more aggressive. Instead, not only is Shumpert not a Raptor, but he’s plying his trade for a division rival.