The NBA has seen a few teams adopt size in an attempt to gain an advantage. What Toronto Raptors lineup could combat the likes of the Philadelphia 76ers?
This offseason has indicated that a trend could be on the horizon. Zigging when the rest of the league is zagging is sometimes a recipe for disaster, but other times it can prove to be fruitful. The trend in discussion is team’s making the conscious decision to field bigger lineups. Specifically, teams from the Eastern Conference. How would the Toronto Raptors counter this move?
The Raptors will encounter the Philadelphia 76ers and the Indiana Pacers on a frequent basis – more so the Sixers, as they reside in the Atlantic division. Both teams have made the switch to a more traditional frontcourt, while the Sixers have an all-around big lineup.
After trading away Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat for Josh Richardson, the Sixers went on to acquire Al Horford in free agency, while retaining Tobias Harris in the same period. Along with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the Sixers have a real shot at a title this season – though nothing is certain in basketball.
The Pacers have opted to try the frontcourt of Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, a frontcourt that’s been tried in the past with mixed results. This time, the Pacers have more faith in the duo. Turner has added a three-point shot to his game to stretch his game out and allow Sabonis to work in the paint.
Even the signings of T.J. Warren and Malcolm Brogdon have increased the Pacers size a little bit. While they aren’t in the same ilk of quality as the Sixers, Indiana is a talented team and will be even better once Victor Oladipo returns from injury.
Both teams are dangerous, but the Sixers look like the real deal at the moment. If anyone stands in the Toronto Raptors way this season, it’s them. Nick Nurse is going to need to fight fire with fire and combat the Sixers big lineup. We’ve seen him use Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol as a frontcourt pairing during the playoffs to good success. Could he do it again?