One thing from every Toronto Raptors game last week: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson still has limitations

Toronto Raptors - OG Anunoby (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - OG Anunoby (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /

Each week we bring you the most important play, stat, or moment from every Toronto Raptors game. This week’s highlights include Raptors’ historic passing, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s limitations, and more.

After a 3-0 stretch against a particularly easy set of opponents, the Toronto Raptors currently sit at 11-4. Despite their offseason losses, despite the injuries to Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry, and despite many folks early season dismissal, Toronto is currently tied for second in the Eastern Conference 15 games into the year.

And in those 15 games, we’ve learned a lot about this team. OG Anunoby has taken the leap, Pascal Siakam is becoming an MVP candidate, and several other Raptors are making their case for annual awards. But what did we learn from last week? Here’s one thing from every game.

Raptors break the franchise assist record

Last season, prior to the Marc Gasol trade, the Raptors ranked 22nd in assist percentage at 57.8-percent. By the end of the year, they ranked 12th at 60.3-percent. This season, they rank eighth at 62.3-percent.

Toronto is swinging the ball around the yard at an impressive clip, and they seem to be improving steadily over time. Their passing improvements were highlighted on Monday night, when they broke a franchise record with 40 assists.

Kawhi Leonard was an OBVIOUS positive for the Raptors offensively. However, his one shortfall was playmaking, and at times, the ball seemed to stick in his hands. Now, with a more egalitarian system, Toronto is moving the ball better than ever before. On Monday night, the Raptors had eight of the nine rotation players record at least one assist and had five players record five or more assists.

The ball is flowing in Toronto in a very convincing fashion.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson still his limitations

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been a revelation for the Toronto Raptors this season. He’s grabbing offensive boards, making smart decisions with the basketball, and defending his tail off.

However, on offense, there are still clear limitations.

Hollis-Jefferson “pops” on this play, spacing out to the 3-point line. The problem is, no one respects his jumpshot. Because of that, Fred VanVleet is surrounded on his drive, forcing him to give the ball up early.

This play serves as a reminder that while Hollis-Jefferson can make plays offensively, he still has his warts.

Hollis-Jefferson is not particularly useful unless he’s in the “dunker spot” — a spot on the baseline, typically around 7-feet or so from the hoop. With other shooters on the roster, that’s okay. However, it does limit Toronto’s options offensively.

Chris Boucher as a roll-man

Early in the season, Chris Boucher focussed on “popping” after the pick-and-roll, spacing the floor out to the 3-point line. As a stretch-five it made sense, opening the floor to allow others to attack the basket.

But Boucher is making just 30-percent of his 3-point attempts this season. And popping as a big-man is a little more difficult than a typical catch-and-shoot jumper. When you’re not hitting at a particularly high clip, defenses will leave you open.

So rather than continuing to launch triples, Boucher should look to roll after setting a screen.

He’s been more effective as a roller. And the running start allows him to finish at the rim with more explosion than his typical around-the-basket looks.

Particularly with Fred VanVleet, who’s more comfortable, operating on the perimeter anyways, Boucher should look to attack the basket.

Next. Three Raptors who could win awards next summer. dark

Make sure to checkout one thing from every game each Monday at Raptors Rapture.