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Serge Ibaka and Danny Green Discuss Raptors' Addition of Marc Gasol

By Derrel "Jazz" Johnson
February 8, 2019
5:45 p.m. ET

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Serge Ibaka and Danny Green Discuss Addition of Marc Gasol To Toronto Raptors Atlanta-- The Toronto Raptors just boosted their center spot with the addition of a versatile, highly skilled player. Center Marc Gasol has many talents, and one is defense, as he won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award back in 2013. That was years ago, but he still knows how to play the game in effective fashion. Gasol joins Kawhi Leonard, winner of the 2015 and 2016 Defensive Player Awards, on a 40-16 Raptors squad that through yesterday's games is one of the only teams in the NBA to rank in the top 10 in both offense and defense.

InsideHoops.com exclusively spoke with three-time NBA All-Defensive team member Serge Ibaka and one-time NBA All-Defensive team member Danny Green about adding Gasol after the Raptors defeated the Atlanta Hawks 119-101 at State Farm Arena last night.

“It’s good for the team,” Ibaka said about the addition of Gasol. “Like you said, we have another guy who can play (elite) defense so it’s always good for the team.”

Green discussed the potential for the Raptors to improve defensively: “I think we have the potential to be really good, we just have to put the pieces in the right positions, put it together and get the chemistry right,” Green said. That’s going to be the tough part.”

Raptors head coach Nick Nurse also discussed Gasol, who is averaging 15.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and a career-high 4.7 assists this season, after the game: "I think that there's a lot of positives with a guy like Gasol, and I think most of them come with being battle-tested," Nurse said. "I think we all know that those playoffs can get wild and woolly, and he's a guy that's been through them, deep, many times. He’s played international at the highest level many times, and he should give us a settling force with his ability to have to ball, deliver it to people. He’s a safe pair of handles that can pass it.”

Nurse was non-committal on how Gasol would impact the lineup with the team, or the “hard part” that Green referred to. “I don’t think I’m going to do anything drastic right away,” Nurse said. “Serge is used to starting, I think Serge has earned and played his butt off.”

Against the Philadelphia 76ers, Gasol should be a great addition to guard and attempt to slow down Joel Embiid around the basket, but what about the rest of the best of the Eastern Conference? Is the smaller frontcourt of Ibaka and Pascal Siakam more effective against the Boston Celtics? Or against the Milwaukee Bucks, who just added Nikola Mirotic? Would Gasol and Ibaka be the better combo, or Gasol and Siakam?

Nurse and the Raptors have 26 game left in the 2018-19 NBA season to answer those questions.

Derrel "Jazz" Johnson is a multi-media sports and entertainment journalist in his ninth season covering the NBA, and a regular contributor to InsideHoops.com. Keep up with Jazz on Twitter @jazzjohnson10, Instagram @JazzJohnson1, and at YouTube.com/RazzandJazzSports.