Toronto Raptors dominant November key to season-long success

Toronto Raptors - Serge Ibaka (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Serge Ibaka (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Norman Powell (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /

What did we learn?

After the first full month of the NBA season, there was a lot that we were able to learn about the Toronto Raptors as a team. They have had to play around with rotations due to injuries. Those injuries have revealed an incredible amount of talent beyond the first unit.

We learned that the Raptors have depth on the wings. OG Anunoby was bouncing back from an up-and-down year, and the backup forward position was a question mark with new signings Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Stanley Johnson. While Johnson hasn’t made the impact Toronto hoped, the wings who are playing have impressed, with each of them bringing something different to the table.

OG Anunoby had a breakout November. Even though he dealt with an eye contusion, he still put up impressive numbers. He has found a role on offense, being an active cutter and shooting from distance when open. He is putting up career highs in points, field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, and assists. His defensive skills have always been a strength. They’re somehow even better this season.

It took some time, but Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is beginning to find his groove on the team as well. Jefferson has been a serviceable rebounder and impressive defender, allowing him to earn some backup minutes. His offense has gradually improved, although there is still some work to be done.

Rookie Terence Davis has also shown his worth during the month of November. He has been a strong contributor off the bench and has grown into a nice offensive option for the team.

Currently starting due to Lowry’s injury, Norman Powell is posting career-highs in several categories. He’s also shown an increased level of intensity defensively, pressuring opponents and cutting off opponent’s airspace.

All the forwards are impacting the game in different ways. However, the common denominator is their defensive play.

The Raptors require defensive energy and hustle from everyone. And so far this season, the wings have brought both those characteristics each time they stepped on the floor. If the wings continue to improve their play during the season, they can be a dangerous unit come March and April.