USA TODAY Sports
The Indiana Pacers host the Toronto Raptors on Friday night but these aren't the same Raptors that earned one of just three wins by a visiting team so far this season at the Fieldhouse.
The Toronto Raptors arrive at Bankers Life Fieldhouse as a team in transition after recently dealing Jose Calderon and Ed Davis for Rudy Gay. It appears the Raps aren't done dealing as they've been mentioned in rumors involving a deal to trade for Carlos Boozer.
So Toronto is still trying to put things together on the fly but will have enough talent on the floor to give the Pacers fits if they aren't on point defensively. I recently swapped questions with Scott Campsall from RaptorsHQ. Here's what Scott had to say about the state of the Raps.
IC: The Raptors recently traded for Rudy Gay, thus shoring up the wing position with dynamic, tough covers along with DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross. Was this a good move for the Raps? How has Gay fit in with the other young wings so far?
RHQ: The trade and the subsequent fallout has been the subject of much debate over the course of the last week or so. On paper, the Raptors are getting a borderline All-Star and legitimate go-to guy -- something the team has lacked for quite some time.
Salary-wise thing are obviously a bit more complicated. There is also the question of whether or not he will fit in with the current team the Raptors have in place, and thus I don't think we can really judge the trade until we see what the next move is for the Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors.
So far though, Gay has been impressive in his three games with the team. His scoring prowess draws extra defensive attention, which frees up others like DeRozan and Lowry to get their games off. It will be interesting to see how those three play once they all get used to sharing the floor with one another.
IC: Is there a sense that the Raps have some direction with how they are building the roster now? Which players don't figure to be part of the long-term plan?
RHQ: Good question. Prior to the Rudy Gay trade, the Raptors seemed like one of those teams that were simply stockpiling assets. Now, it seems like Colangelo has committed to building a team around Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay with Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas being the youngster that figure into the plan somewhere down the line.
In theory, this means that players like Alan Anderson, Andrea Bargnani and Landry Fields don't seem to figure into the long term plans. But, to be honest, it isn't entirely clear. Fields and Bargnani both have contracts that will make them difficult to deal and if Anderson could be brought back at a reasonable figure next year, I think the team would do it. Again, this is a situation that will get much clearer when the next move is made.
IC: Kyle Lowry is a tough-minded point guard that has given the Pacers fits in the past. Is this now his team to run with Calderon out of the picture or will the Raps continue looking to up grade the point guard position?
RHQ: I would think, given the fact that they gave up a first-round pick to get him and that they have finally trade Jose Calderon after years of speculation, Kyle Lowry is the point guard that Colangelo has put his faith in going forward.
Lowry has shown flashes of brilliance over the course of his career and one of the biggest things that has held him back has been his personality. I think the hope there is that with Rudy Gay - one of his best friends - now in town, Gay will be able to help keep him focused and in check, enabling him to perform out on the court.
IC: What gets you excited about the Raps future despite the struggles this season?
RHQ: Well, there are a few exciting aspects to this team now. One of the things that has been most exciting about this season has been watching Valanciunas and Ross play because, despite any additions to the team that are made this season, they represent the future of the team. Both players have shown flashes of the players they could potentially be in a few years and, if they were to reach that potential, they could lift this team to another level.
Obviously the addition of Rudy Gay has been another exciting aspect of the team. By adding Gay, this team has a dependable scorer to compliment Lowry and DeRozan, which drastically changes the look of this club.
The Gay trade also adds a degree of uncertainty to this team. It seems like there needs to be another move or two made before everything falls into place. So, to a degree, that is exciting as well.