Toronto Raptors: Takeaways from a manhandling by the LA Clippers

Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Norman Powell (Photo by Anatoliy Cherkasov/NurPhoto via Getty Images) /

Is a lineup switch necessary?

Fred VanVleet was a noticeable absence tonight. In a game when nobody was hitting shots from afar, VanVleet could have been a driving force on offense.

Despite that, however, it may be time to explore a few different options in the lineup. Serge Ibaka did not look like himself tonight, and Gasol was the better of the two big men, especially defensively. Furthermore, Norman Powell is playing much better since being inserted into the starting five.

When VanVleet comes back, it could be a good time to stagger Lowry with Ibaka and VanVleet with Gasol. Currently, Gasol and Ibaka do practically rotate and there could be some value in doing the same with Lowry and VanVleet.

During this game, the Clippers showed what it was like to have an indomitable bench boasted with Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams. Unlike most teams in the league, the Clippers don’t start their best five players.

The Raptors could take a page out of the Clippers’ playbook by starting Lowry, Powell, Anunoby, Siakam, and Ibaka and then bring Gasol and VanVleet off of the bench.

The purpose would be to exaggerate the ability of the Toronto Raptors’ offense over the course of the game. Additionally, you’ll want to pair Lowry with Ibaka rather than Gasol, as it seems like Ibaka has a better basketball relationship with Lowry. Let’s not forget the pick-and-pop from the elbow that Lowry and Ibaka have epitomized over the years.

This switch in the starting lineup could prove worthwhile over the long run. And if it doesn’t work, then Nurse can switch back easily to his ol’ reliable starting five. It’s a long season, he might as well make some adjustments.