Welcome to Tampa, Gary Trent Jr.—now please keep the Raptors' playoff streak alive

The home team on loan could use a boost.

click to enlarge Welcome to Tampa, Gary Trent Jr.—now please keep the Raptors' playoff streak alive

Last week, Tampa’s Toronto Raptors traded Norman Powell to the Portland Trail Blazers for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood.

While Hood is a nice wing player who can provide some decent minutes as a 3&D guy, Trent, Jr. was certainly the prize of the deal. He’s only 22, and provides some dynamite offense at the guard position, something the Raptors have been lacking on the bench. 

But who is this new guy? The Raptors have an established core of Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and Spicy P, so where does Trent, Jr. fit?

Well, he might have to replace Lowry in the starting lineup next to FVV, as the six-time NBA all-star is dealing with a foot infection, (and looking more in the future, Lowry is set to hit free agency after this season), but  Jr. also brings some great genes to the team. 

Trent, Jr.’s father, Gary Trent, actually followed an eerily similar career path. The power forward began his career with the Trail Blazers, and was traded from Portland to (get this) the Toronto Raptors. Crazy stuff, right?

But Trent’s father clearly passed on some of his NBA talent to his son, as Trent, Jr. posted a career-high 31 points in the Raptors’ loss to the Thunder Wednesday night, hopefully a sign of things to come, as the Raptors are still 18-30 and very much out of the playoff race. 

Jr. joins a long list of Raptors on the roster who weren’t super hyped up coming out of college. After a really solid career at Duke, he went to the Sacramento Kings early in the second round of the 2018 draft before having his draft rights traded to Portland (dad was drafted by the Bucks 11th overall, then traded to the Trail Blazers before playing a game for Milwaukee). Why Jr. fell to the second round is a mystery I might not ever figure out. He was a five-star recruit coming out of high school in California and regarded as the best shooting guard in the 2017 class. At Duke he had multiple excellent performances, even posting a double-double in an ACC tournament against Notre Dame. 

With Trent, Jr. in the fold, the Raptors now have a young starting lineup to start building around. FVV can move back to the point, Jr. can play the two-spot, OG can go back to his original spot on the wing, meaning Spicy P and Chris Boucher can line up as the big men. 

Hopefully the talent can start to show soon, otherwise the Raptors’ streak of seven straight playoff appearances could be kaput.

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