Toronto Raptors: Three takeaways from easy win vs Chicago Bulls

Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Serge Ibaka (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Battle for rotation spots

It appears there are a couple of battles for spots within the rotation.

Serge vs Gasol

Through three games, Serge Ibaka has thoroughly outplayed Marc Gasol. He’s been better defensively, a more impactful finisher around the hoop, and perhaps most importantly, incredibly active on both sides of the floor.

Both players have clearly defined strengths that they provide over the alternative. Gasol is a better playmaker, a better screener, and does a better job securing the defensive glass (even if it’s not him actually grabbing the rebound).  Ibaka is a better finisher, mobile defender, and more impactful on the offensive glass. Gasol was a better player than Ibaka last season, but it was close enough that Ibaka could easily surpass him with an additional year of age.

Maybe Nurse isn’t ready to make Serge the full-time starter once again, and he probably shouldn’t. But Ibaka has played well enough to at least make it a conversation. At the very least, we could see Nurse use a matchup-based approach, using either player depending on the opponent.

Terence Davis vs Patrick McCaw vs Matt Thomas

With VanVleet, Lowry, and Powell all taking up a good amount of time at the guard positions, Nurse will likely need to choose two of these three options to receive consistent minutes.

The easiest pull would be Thomas, who did not appear in the first two games. However, Thomas looked incredibly poised in his début last night, and the Raptors have enough good defenders to help overcome his potential shortcomings on that end.

I’ve been rather outspoken on the Terence Davis vs Patrick McCaw discussion, believing Nurse should stick with the rookie rather than the offensively limited McCaw. But if push comes to shove, my instinct is Nurse will choose the veteran.

No decision needs to be made until McCaw is back and healthy. He’s currently listed as day-to-day with a knee.

Reasons to keep watching the Raptors this season. dark. Next

Stanley Johnson vs Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

I’d probably lean Hollis-Jefferson, but choosing this is like picking between kidney stone and a hemorrhoid. I’d rather just not talk about it.