What Serge Ibaka going to Toronto means for Celtics
Feb 15 2017 by Kelly Saunders
Even better, the price to make this upgrade was entirely reasonable.
Serge Ibaka, right, with the Orlando Magic, tries to stop Miami's James Johnson from getting to the basket on Monday night. But that hasn't happened as the Magic remain a bottom-of-the-standings team in the East and Ibaka hasn't made a noticeable impact - especially on the defensive end, where he usually thrives. Ibaka was averaging a career-high in FG attempts per game (12.6) and usage rate (21.0) in Orlando this season. A switch-friendly Ibaka-Patterson-DeMarre Carroll frontcourt will come in handy in the playoffs, and the removal of Ross from coach Dwane Casey's rotation means Powell (a better player) will have an increased role. He maintained that a world-class shooter like Ross (38% from beyond the arc for his career, with picture-perfect form) would always command interest.
This is a brilliant move on the Raptors part as they will look to get back on track after losing six of their last 10 games and falling into a fourth-place tie wth the Atlanta Hawks. The others: Kevin Durant, Kristaps Porzingis, Brook Lopez, Al Horford, and Marc Gasol. He can stretch the floor and be at least a nominal defender, despite having pretty grisly defensive numbers this season. Whether the team shows any signs of contending with Ibaka may help in that pursuit. "I spent five good years there and grew a lot".
Ross, a 26-year-old swingman stuck behind DeMar DeRozan is putting up 10.5 points per game this year.
Ibaka has not played well in his two meetings against the Celtics this season, netting four and eight points.
Orlando corrected a mistake with Tuesday's deal, but it still has plenty more corrections to make. The Magic could then go into the spring hoping to land one of the top picks in what is thought to be a loaded 2017 National Basketball Association draft, and finally get the franchise's next foundational star. At the moment, that lower pick would be the 25th pick. If he wants to be a little more aggressive and deal even more future picks along with the youngsters still onboard, he can.
The Raptors, meanwhile, get an extremely talented player in Ibaka, and hope his talents can help them move forward during the second half of the season.