When the Toronto Raptors signed DeMarre Carroll in 2015 he instantly became one of the franchise’s most hyped signings and rightfully so. Carroll was coming off a career year with the 60 win Atlanta Hawks. During that very season, he averaged a career best 14.6 points, 2 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game. Carroll’s value was also boosted by an impressive Playoff showing in which he averaged 17 points per game and showed off his trademark lock-down defense. The 2014-15 DeMarre Carroll was a Dwane Casey type of player; a rugged defender who could score when needed. The Raptors new acquisition could almost be compared to an older, less athletic and more expensive three-and-d version of Terrence Ross.
The relationship between DeMarre Carroll and the Toronto Raptors got off to a decent start. Sure, he was happy and grateful for the opportunity to play for the Raptors but Carroll’s play would need to do the rest of the talking. Toronto’s $48 Million Dollar signing was unable to play in the teams first game of the 2015-2016 season. Carroll made his Raptors debut in the team’s second game of the season however, it was extremely forgettable.
As each game passed it was clear something was not right. Eventually, it was revealed that Carroll had suffered a knee injury which would require surgery. Appearing in just 26 of 81 regular season games during the 2015-2016 season, Carroll left Raptors fans desiring more. In of his greatest games as a member of the Toronto Raptors, DeMarre Carroll exploded for 21 points against the Miami Heat in the 2016 Playoffs. Constant flashes of potential left many wanting that high level of play on a regular basis.
This past season was supposed to be another big year for the Toronto Raptors. The former Atlantic Division champions were riding high after the team’s first ever appearance in the Conference Finals. A portion of Toronto’s success hinged on DeMarre Carroll’s ability to put his lackluster play from the past season behind him and most importantly, stay healthy. Fortunately for the Raptors, the now 31-year-old did manage to stay relatively “healthy”. However, Carroll once again failed to live up to the expectations thrust upon him.
It is important to remember that the man dubbed “Junk Yard Dog 2.0” was not brought in to be a big scorer. Yes, he did score in bunches and at times and in large figures but, his defense was the Raptors biggest interest. Defense which seemed to be lacking the edge and grit that earned him his big shot in Toronto. This could be a result of the various foot and knee injuries as well as, a low confidence. Sometimes there were moments were Carroll would show flashes of his big money value but for the majority of his time in Toronto he was a non factor. Adjusting into a bigger, impact role just never quite worked. Also, the Raptors isolation heavy offensive system probably never suited Carroll to begin with.
Winds of change
When the Toronto Raptors traded their former big money signing this summer it singled the end of a failed experiment. Two seasons, a mere 98 of a possible 164 games and just 9.5 points per game later, the DeMarre Carroll era in Toronto is now over before it could even really get going. For the Toronto Raptors to continue to compete in the Eastern Conference the trade was a necessary move. Having DeMarre Carroll under perform for another two years at a $24 million price tag simply was not going to cut it. For Raptors fans and management alike they are left to wonder:”What could have been?” Perhaps if Carroll was the same player he was back in 2015 we would be in a totally different position. However, after a short two-year stint with the Toronto Raptors it may be best that both sides are going in a different direction.