The Raptors will get to repeat their last two games and hope for better results. The venues will be different for both but the same two teams stand in their way. First up is a re-match with Knicks that dismantled the Raptors down the stretch in the 4th at MSG. In that game Jerryd Bayless had a coming together that left him with a left hip pointer. He tried to go vs the Bulls the next night and was unable to go. Will see what his status is for tonight. If he can't go that leaves Jeremy Lin for Jose Calderon to deal with for the most part. It is hard to imagine the Raptors can change much in just a couple days to find a way to beat the Knicks or the Bulls for that matter.
Just 19 games remain in this season and for the Raptors it is much more about the individual parts than the wins and losses at this point. A number of players future with the Raptors will be decided in part based on how things go down the stretch. Ed Davis would be at the top of that list who has struggled for the majority of his 2nd season to this point. Still to move someone on a rookie contract is highly unlikely and it is next to impossible to get fair value in return. Amir Johnson has had a rough season as well. Depending on where the Raptors go in the draft it could make his future in doubt. If the Raptors hit the lottery and got Anthony Davis from Kentucky that would almost make it certain that Davis or Johnson would likely be out. When you consider the Raptors would have Bargnani and Valanciunas who are not going anywhere. There also might be a place for Aaron Gray moving forward. The rest of the Raptor additions have been a disappointment for the most part. Magloire and Butler it is safe to say will not be back. Carter is already gone. Gary Forbes may have an opportunity to prove his worth in these last 19 games. The trade of Barbosa perhaps benefits him more than anyone else. The Raptors will also have to decide what they want to do with Jerryd Bayless. He will be a RFA and have the chance to go elsewhere. The Raptors would be able to maintain his rights by matching any offer he would see come his way.
The Raptors will be looking to evaluate many things over these last 19 games. It is safe to assume some will confuse this with tanking. That ship or tank is silly to suggest at this point the Raptors are going to finish pretty much where we predicted them to finish on their merit. It was not with tanking in mind that I wrote the Raptors would finish 20-46 and 12th in the East. We are just over a month from the end of the season and yet again the focus is about the long term future and not the immediate future. Still this team is a long way from being competitive. While many look to next season as the year things finally start to turn around. That still could be true but if you expect an instant turnaround that might be a little much to expect. Bryan Colangelo will have a lot of tough choices to make this off-season and the start of those decisions is going to happen over this next month.