The NBA trade deadline signaled a self-imposed end of an era for several teams — namely the Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors.
Though the transaction (Marc Gasol to Toronto for C.J. Miles, Delon Wright, Jonas Valanciunas, and a future 2nd round pick) was tough for many to swallow, it helped to create a union of sorts between the fan bases of two franchises.
This year, the Grizzlies will miss the playoffs for only the 2nd time since the 2010-11 season. The Raptors are headed towards their 6th straight post-season run, hoping this time to make it all the way to the Finals in a LeBron-less East.
In what is primarily a lost season for their team (from a competitive standpoint), Grizzlies fans will need to find an external reason to continue to watch basketball past early April. I’m here to declare that this reason should be the Toronto Raptors. Though the cities of Toronto and Memphis are vastly different, the franchises and fans themselves can empathize with each other on a personal level.
You don’t have to spend much time on Twitter or Reddit to realize that fans of both franchises take an extreme amount of pride in their respective players and all that they have meant to their programs.
There has been a ton of “cross-pollination” between the two fan bases over the past week, with both sides crossing over conference lines to reach out and request that the other team take care of their favorite son.
Fans from both teams have made a concerted effort to unite the two fan bases in support of the other as we move forward into this new chapter of the NBA, the chapter where there is no Gasol on the Grizzlies and the Raptors have a chance to legitimately make it to the NBA finals and challenge the Golden State Warriors.
Further Reasons for an Alliance (AKA the “BearKlaw”)
- The farthest that either team has made it in the playoffs is the conference finals.
- Both franchises were founded in Canada in the 1990’s. The Grizzlies even kept their Canadian roots by maintaining the Grizzlies mascot, because it definitely has nothing to do with the bluff city.
- Vince Carter! (ok, I know that one is a stretch).
- I am not alone in this quest to unite fanbases.
Next time when you are scrolling through League Pass on a Monday night and you see that the Raptors are playing the Nets (literally what happened to me this week), I implore you to switch over, watch the home broadcast, and remember this (doctored) scene from step-brothers. Go Graptors.
Grizzlies fans: in case you aren’t familiar with the newest additions to the teams, here is a scouting report on the newest Grizzlies from a Raptors fan
Big trade today obviously, and I appreciated the info from the Grizz fan’s about Gasol so I thought I’d give a brief summary of the players moving to Memphis. Original source can be found HERE
Having a bit of a rough year. Hasn’t shot the ball with any consistency, and since he isn’t a great defender he often becomes a negative on the floor when his shot is not falling. With that being said, I think there is still reason for hope that he can contribute. He has always been considered great in the locker room, and apparently his mentor ship helped a lot of the young guys on the bench to start to breakout last year. Lastly, his playing time was going down this year as Norman Powell started to play well, and I’m sure the lack of consistent playing time made it hard for him to get his rhythm back. He was actually playing well his last stretch of games so maybe a consistent role in Memphis will help rejuvenate him.
Overall he is a good player. But this year Norman Powell has played well and probably plays the role that the Raptors need from their backup 2 guard better than Wright could. Delon was also becoming a [restricted] free agent this summer, and since the Raptors wouldn’t be able to pay him much it made sense that they use him in a trade now.
Although he is a PG, he is not really a floor general or your traditional PG I guess. He isn’t really the type that will run your offense and set guys up the way some PG’s do. So often times he plays best off of someone else being the primary ball handler (Like Conley).
He can get to the rim with regularity, however his finishing on his layups is inconsistent. Some plays he gets some smooth finishes looking like Kyrie, but other times he looks like a fool trying to finish like Kyrie. Last season he shot 36.6% from 3, but this year it has dipped to 33%. Sometimes you’d wish he shoots it more, and people sometimes complain that he doesn’t have enough confidence in his jumpshot to shoot it regularly, which makes it easier to guard him. Defensively, he has good length and can get steals and contest shots and I think he is actually a pretty solid defender.
If he can continue to put things together, I think he could be a very solid starter that could get to the rim and get layups and/or find his teammates, and could also shoot the 3 well and defend. He just has little things to iron out that will take him from being a good bench player to a good starter.
Fun Fact: He is the only player in the NBA to have a son who is also playing in the NBA. That son being Kelly Oubre Jr. Here is a clip of Delon proving he is indeed his daddy. Basically this is a running joke for Raptors fans because Delon Wright has had some moments where he has owned Oubre before. This one coming at the end of last years playoff series where Oubre was talking a whole lot all series long.
JV is a legend. I was able to meet him and get his autograph a few years ago so I feel extra sad to see him let go.
He is a great rebounder, screen setter, finisher in the pick and roll and out of the post. Can also hit the three at a respectable rate, and is a physical presence. His main weakness is that he is a slower player and his pick and roll defense can be exploited – which is why he doesn’t play at the end of games a lot for the Raptors. But he can protect the rim pretty well.
His production this year in as few minutes as he has played is actually pretty impressive (13 pts, 7 rbs in 18 minutes per game) and he has always matched up well against the best bigs in the league like Embiid and Cousins.
Overall I don’t have much else to say about him. He is a good player, good person and he is an established commodity.
That’s all I have to say. Take care of em please, especially JV 🙁
Zak (@BarnBurnerBro) is a native Memphian who covers the Memphis Grizzlies, Tigers, and St. Louis Cardinals for The Barn. He spends his free time exploring breweries, restaurants, and leading the Ivan Rabb stan club.
Feature Image [Reddit u/RestInSpaghettiSauce]