On the surface, one could look at Serge Ibaka on this list and say “What?! This guy doesn’t fit the team or the timeline!” To this hypothetical naysayer, I say hogwash!
While we all dig what he’s done for the Jazz, there’s a chance Derrick Favors’ days with the team are numbered. Even if he manages to hang around, his time as a high-level starter may be done. Enter Ibaka, the former Defensive Player of the Year candidate turned stretch big who averaged 14.8 PPG last season.
Whether or not Gordon Hayward leaves the Jazz, the team isn’t looking to start over. They’ve got their cornerstone piece locked up long-term in Rudy Gobert and need to bring in quality pieces to play with him. Favors’ ability to mesh with Gobert offensively has always been in question, but Ibaka’s burgeoning outside game would work well.
Last season, Ibaka took four three-pointers every game and banged them down at a 39 percent clip. His defense may not be as dominant as it once was, but he’ll still make life hard on opponents and get his fair share of weakside blocks.
The Raptors are likely motivated to keep him, however.