Style of Play
Under head coach Nick Nurse the Toronto Raptors play a very aggressive switching/rotating perimeter defensive scheme. Offensively, the Raptors rely on the threat of credible three-point shooters who space the floor in their half-court sets, which then allows ballhandlers to explode to the basket when the defense gets tight trying to deny shots.
Powell has made himself valuable to the Raptors schemes at both ends of the floor. As mentioned, Powell out scores his opponents when on the floor. He is also averaging 1.3 steals per game this season. Powell is like many of his teammates hard working and he runs the floor.
With the Raptors’ aggressive defensive style, a confident productive player will thrive as bodies are needed to survive the energy levels that get used up. Powell is one of eight Raptors who play more than 20 minutes a game and one of 11 players who play more than 10 minutes per game.
At the offensive end, above and beyond the scoring this season, Powell provides exactly what the Raptors need from their second unit. With Serge Ibaka, Chris Boucher, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at the center and forward spots, Powell and Terence Davis are the two guys that can both create offense off of the dribble and score.
In the Raptors’ 121-113 victory over the Golden State Warriors on March 5th, 2020, not only did Powell score 37 points but he was 50 percent from three-point range and an efficient 13/21 overall or 61.9 percent. He is becoming a player that opposing defenses cannot leave open but he is quick and fast enough to expose his primary defender off of the dribble if they mark him too closely.
His consistency and by extension improved scoring is a key factor in why, after both Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green left the Raptors in the off-season for teams in Los Angeles, the Raptors are as potent a team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference as they were last season when they were crowned NBA Champions. His 39.8 three-point percentage more than adequately replaces Danny Green’s long-range production.
What is comforting about Norman Powell is that he is a gym rat. So even with his previous struggles, he has always been in the Raptors’ system and rotation developing and contributing from day one. Now, after five years in the Raptors system, it might be his time to shine. The Raptors believe Powell fits into their plans and he is proving that decision correct.