Toronto Raptors: Why It's Not Time to Hit the Rebuild Button in Toronto

Patrick BrittonAnalyst IJune 19, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 23:  Jonas Valanciunas (R) from Utena, Lithuania greets NBA Commissioner David Stern after he was picked #5 overall by the Toronto Raptors in the first round during the 2011 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center on June 23, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After improving on last season’s win percentage, and with the amount of cap room the Raptors have, now is not the time to rebuild in Toronto.

With the number eight pick in this year’s draft, the Raptors will be too good to finish high in the lottery next year. They can either use the pick in a package to acquire a star small forward such as Rudy Gay, Andre Iguodala or Luol Deng, or keep the pick and draft Perry Jones III, a player out of Baylor with tremendous upside.

Along with the mid-lottery pick, the Raptors also have Jonas Valanciunas heading over for next season. He will step in and be the starting center right away as he is a great defender and terrific rebounder. Valanciunas will help make up for Andrea Bargnani’s average defense down low, and he should make the All-Rookie team next year.

It is no secret the Raptors have money to spend this summer. While they shouldn’t spend the money foolishly, it makes sense to go after a big name in free agency. Steve Nash is a natural fit because he is a Canadian citizen, and although Jose Calderon played well for the Raptors last season, Nash is the superior point guard.

With point guard, center and small forward all addressed, the Raptors will have a play-off caliber lineup with Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan contributing as well. DeRozan started off slow last year, but showed he was capable of taking on a large chunk of the scoring load at the end of the year. Having Nash will really help DeRozan’s game as he is one of the best facilitators in the league.

With a formidable starting lineup, the last thing the Raptors need to do in the offseason is sign a quality bench scorer. Randy Foye and Jason Terry are both free agents and could provide the offense the Raptors lost from their second unit when they traded Leandro Barbosa to the Pacers in March.

While it is not guaranteed the Raptors will have a team this good when training camp starts in the fall, at the very least they should have a much better team than last year. The Raptors should make a push for the playoffs in the 2012-13 season.