Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium is reporting the Raptors have expressed interest in acquiring Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. Amit Mann and Aaron Rose look at how the 25-year-old would fit on Toronto.
AMIT MANN: All right, let's go down that trade package, what could potentially happen. So Donovan Mitchell, and as we're talking about this, and I messaged you about this today, the New York Knicks are really interested in Donovan Mitchell-- like really, really interested. Like, they've been creeping in Utah for a couple of years now and showing that they really want him.
But if the Raptors were to show interest, what is your feeling on Donovan Mitchell on the Raptors? 26 points per game last season, 44% shooting, 35% from 3, superior athleticism, a great shot creator. He would be the best shot creator on the Raptors, and he would obviously help them with their penetration, getting in the paint, something that they're really struggling with. It's one of the reasons why they just simply don't have a great halfcourt offense. What are your thoughts on Donovan Mitchell being a Toronto Raptor?
AARON ROSE: Well, I think everything you just said there is 100%, right? He is a fantastic offensive player. He would be the Raptors' best offensive player. But I do have questions about that. Masai Ujiri, at that season ending press conference that we keep going back to, said he wants two way players.
And I asked him, what if there was a player who was really talented, objectively a really good basketball player, but didn't fit what the Raptors were looking for? And he said something along the lines of we're looking for two way players, and if we can't find them, we will develop them. That's what they're trying to do.
He also joked about how that's Bobby Webster's idea-- or, sorry, that's Bobby Webster's job to find those guys. But to me, what he was saying was we don't want guys like Rudy Gobert. We don't want guys like Donovan Mitchell who don't play one side of the court.
They want guys who do it all. They want guys who can do a little bit of everything. And the other thing is, you know, we just came out of an era where Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet were the two point guards together. And this is not to slag them because those were successful guys playing beside each other.
But I have questions. If you can throw out a guy like Fred VanVleet who's maybe six feet tall and a guy like Donovan Mitchell, I think is listed at 6 foot 1, as your starting backcourt and win on a nightly basis with that size, I have the same questions about the New York Knicks being able to do it with Jalen Brunson and Donovan Mitchell. And I think if you're going out and acquiring a guy who really only plays one side and he plays that side spectacularly, among the best players in the league-- but to me, he doesn't fit with the Raptors are looking for.
And to give up all of the future first round picks-- again, Masai Ujiri has never traded multiple first round picks in a trade. And to give up all of that and players, the kind of package that we know the Jazz are looking for, something that's, you know, worth more than five or six first round picks together, whether that's players and picks, I think that's too much for the Raptors to do right now, especially when we know he wants to bring back this core. The Raptors want to bring back this core and see what they can do together next season.
AMIT MANN: Yeah, respect his 6'10 wingspan, though. I can't believe he has a 6'10 wingspan. That's insane. Like, wow,
AARON ROSE: So maybe that makes him a Raptors guy. But I think he's 6 foot tall, 6 foot 1.
AMIT MANN: Yeah.
AARON ROSE: And I have some questions, again, about his defense.
AMIT MANN: Yeah, and Rudy Gobert as-- I mean, indirectly, he has called him out in some ways, saying that, you know, if guys can't keep players from getting to the rim, yes, it makes my life hard, and they've had obviously their issues, and that's why they're-- boiling point. Rudy Gobert is now on the Minnesota Timberwolves. They got their Twin Towers thing, which is going to be interesting to see. But I think about, you know, was it that no one held him accountable?
Like, there's obviously some God given limitations for him. But clearly, he's athletic enough to guard players, right, at the shooting guard position. He can do it.
It's just like he, I don't know, for whatever reason just didn't decide to do it. So do you think the Raptors could find a way if he was brought into the culture and they had a conversation with them and they said, you know, you got to do this-- this is how we play. This is like a non-negotiable. Do you think that they could find a way to make him play defense at 25 years old in the NBA?
AARON ROSE: Yeah, and I'm sure-- the Raptors made Gary Trent Jr. a better defensive player. Now, Gary is by no means a great defensive player. I'm not even sure he's a good defensive player.
But he is a better defensive player than he was when he showed up from Portland. So I'm sure the Raptors would make Donovan Mitchell a better defensive player. But I'm not trading all of the things that they want, all those future picks-- Gary Trent Jr. OG Anunoby, that kind of package, the kind of package we were just talking about for Kevin Durant-- I'm not giving up as the Raptors front office for Donovan Mitchell and then having to answer these questions. How good can he be defensively?
Will he fit with our system? If it was a plug and play player like Kevin Durant, like Kawhi Leonard, where I have everything answered, and now I think I'm a championship team, I'll move heaven and Earth. I'll do all those things that I have to do to get that type of player.
But I'm not sure Donovan Mitchell is that type of player. And to give up what it seems like they're looking for-- a package, as I said, that's going to be more than Rudy Gobert. And to me, that was a crazy trade in the first place. That seems like something the Raptors aren't going to be open to this summer.
AMIT MANN: Yeah, in the end, I do think that players end up going where they want to go in the NBA. And so that's why I do think that Kevin Durant is going to be a Phoenix sun, and I do think Donovan Mitchell, if he is traded he's going to be a New York Knick.
And how that works, Jalen Brunson, Donovan Mitchell, that is not-- like, as you said, that's not something that I think is going to work in the modern NBA. Sure, you might win a round. Sure, you might win two rounds.
But you are not going to win a championship with that as your backcourt. That's just how I feel. It is what it is.