The Toronto Raptors have been indecisive about who they want to keep at Center as the resident starter this year. Although it’s not a decision that is really game-changing, considering the Raptors current wave a success in 2018. But there’s never anything wrong with a little competition between teammates.
Jonas Valanciunas would typically be in the lineup, but the Raptors gave the start to veteran big man, Serge Ibaka against the Los Angeles Lakers. And man was that a great idea! Ibaka ended up out-scoring the Lakers in the first quarter alone. As the Raptors got off to an early blow out in the first 12 minutes of the game, Ibaka was front and center of the blowout, and responsible for most of it.
He had a career night on Sunday, as he finished with 34 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists in a matter of 34 minutes. It’s not like Ibaka was some scrub before, as he is off to a decent season. But with the way he got things rolling on Saturday night, it might be time for the 9-1 Raptors to start giving Ibaka the green light to start the game off more often.
More Ibaka Starts in the Future?
Ibaka is currently averaging more minutes than Valanciunas, but he hasn’t had many opportunities to kick things off like he did against the Lakers on Sunday night. That has to change, as Ibaka was a complete game-changer from the moment that the ball tipped off. Ibaka racked up 20 points in only eight minutes of playing time, as the Raptors got off to a dominating start at the Staples Center.
Valanciunas accounted for only 17 minutes where he logged 14 points and eight rebounds. The six-year veteran has been decent for the 9-1 Raptors, but it doesn’t seem like he has done much to earn himself more minutes on the floor. And at this rate, if Ibaka can stay hot after his career-night on the road, Valanciunas may see a slight decrease in his minutes as well. Should the Raptors attempt to make a full on change? Or should they just keep rolling with what’s already working?