2018 Playoffs | Eastern Conference Semifinals: Raptors (1) vs. Cavaliers (4)

Blogtable: What is next step for Toronto Raptors?

Each week, we ask our scribes to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.

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Where do the Toronto Raptors go from here?

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David Aldridge: Tough, tough call. The failure against Cleveland was so complete and such a disappointment, I’m sure, to everyone in the organization. The easy move would be to dismiss Dwane Casey, but that doesn’t mean it would be right. Did he make DeMar DeRozan basically disappear (66 shots to score 67 points in four games)? Your best player has to be great at this time of year; DeRozan was, decidedly, not great against the Cavs. Serge Ibaka was a non-factor and, ultimately, benched. Do the Raptors need to hear a new voice after seven years of Casey’s? GM Masai Ujiri knows his team much better than I do and only he can answer that thoroughly. But what Cleveland did to Toronto wasn’t just about Xs and Os; James owns the Raptors mentally and emotionally, just as Michael Jordan owned good Cavaliers and Hawks teams in the playoffs back in the day. It is up to Ujiri to decide whether that’s acceptable, because I’m not sure it’s correctable.

Steve Aschburner: Back to the drawing board? Actually, I’m not recommending a complete overhaul. That’s neither practical nor necessary. And let’s face it, a lot of us were complicit in the misguided notion that the legitimate changes coach Dwane Casey and his staff made in the Raptors’ strategies — which led to their great regular-season success — would translate not just to the playoffs but to a showdown with LeBron. A deep bench, for instance, loses value when everyone else’s bench gets shortened. The Raptors covered James with length and quickness, but lacked strength and toughness, so there’s a box in need of checking. Here’s another: Split up DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry with a blockbuster trade. Not to worry, their friendship will endure, but Toronto needs a fresh dynamic.

Shaun Powell: You mean, other than home? Well, I wouldn’t say back to the drawing board, because it would be a mistake to overreact to getting swept. The Raptors should just allow internal growth to happen; their young players will only learn from this. And next time, try double teaming LeBron. Goodness.

John Schuhmann: They should explore their options, but they shouldn’t make changes just for the sake of change. Championships aren’t the only thing that defines success in this league, there are a lot of teams that would love to be where the Raptors are, and the development of their young guys (OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam, in particular) offers the possibility of being a better team next season, even if they stand pat. Of course, they do need to figure out why they had such a hard time defending the league’s best offenses this season.

Sekou Smith: The Raptors need to thumb through the Toronto yellow pages and find a good brain doctor to help them get over this LeBron complex they have developed. It’s gotten silly, the power he wields over that group. I also think that now is the right time to assess the composition of that roster and decide if it’s time to make significant changes at the top of the food chain. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are all stars, fantastic players and leaders in Toronto’s locker room. But if they consistently come up short in the playoffs year after year, it’s GM Masai Ujiri’s responsibility to at least consider his options regarding those two. Hard choices are in order when you fall flat at the most important times of the season year after year.