Despite the good-great play of Cory Joseph, the occasional bursts from Terrence Ross and the surprise of Lucas Nogueira in the absence of Jonas Valanciunas, it is still clear that the Raptors bench is in need of improvement. While the return of DeMarre Carroll as well as Valanciunas will without a doubt help as James Johnson and Bismack Biyombo can return to their original bench positions, blowing leads and overplaying starters has been a problem the entire season. So, as every Raptors fan has already, I began thinking of ways to help with the problem, and here are a few that I have come up with.
Definitely not the popular opinion, but one that has to be said nonetheless. One of the main reasons for the decline of the bench has been the disappearance of 2pat as well as the inconsistency of Terrence Ross. However, it wouldn't be the first time it happened if both of those guys managed to turn it around. Patterson has been a key part of our bench ever since he was acquired from Sacramento in the Rudy Gay trade, as his three point shooting has been a key to the Raptors floor spacing. However, he is shooting 30.6% from deep this year and 36.3% overall and has looked lost out there offensively. Defensively, however, he has been quietly effective and you have to think it'll only be a matter of time before his shots start dropping. Terrence, on the other hand, has put together a very good recent set of games scoring 17 in back to back games against two very good defences in Charlotte and Miami. We all know at this point that Terrence can get it going at any time, but mental roadblocks have been an issue. But let's remember that Terrence was getting the job done fairly consistently two years ago and he will keep getting open looks while he shares the court with one of Lowry or DeRozan.
If those two get going, they will give Cory Jo enough help to be able to turn the Raptors bench around.
Trading for Zach Randolph
If you aren't sold on PatPat returning to form, then this proposition is for you.
It's no secret that the Raps' weakest position is power forward, even when Patterson was himself, and acquiring Z-Bo could give them an immediate lift at that position. Randolph comes from a defence-first system in Memphis, much like Dwane Casey is developing in Toronto, and he is a 20-10 threat on a nightly basis. He has tons of playoff experience and if a consistent, solid veteran. Whether you bring him off the bench or start him and bring in Scola, either way the bench is seeing improvement. Not too sure how the salaries would match or what Memphis would want in return, but it's something to take a look at.
Bring JV off the Bench
This has become a much more popular opinion over the past two weeks and, to be honest, it's starting to grow on me. Not saying it's what I would do, but I wouldn't be opposed to giving it a shot. Biyombo has been amazing filling in for JV, racking up 12-15 rebound night on a consistent basis while altering shots in a way JV simply cannot. He fits really well next to Scola, who makes up for Biyombo's lack of offence with his shooting and offensive game. 95% of Raptors fans have complained at one point or another about the lack of touches given to JV, so why not let him play with the bench where his scoring would be needed? Of all people on the team, Cory is the one who would make sure JV is fed, and he would get all the touches in the world if the bench players play like they have been. So why not give it a shot? It may be a win-win scenario or everyone.
Any more suggestions? Leave them in the comments.