Toronto Raptors: Who should be the rotation players off the bench?

Toronto Raptors - Chris Boucher (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Chris Boucher (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors roster is set for the 2020-21 season and the decision on who gets what minutes is harder than we think.

The Toronto Raptors are just days away from their home opener against the New Orleans Pelicans which will kick off their 2020-21 NBA season but there are still some questions that surround the potential bench for the team.

During their preseason games, we’ve seen a glimpse of what rookie Malachi Flynn can do on the court and what sharpshooter Matt Thomas could do as well when you give him more minutes.

The bench could vary from three players to even five players as the team has a wide variety of skilled guys who all give the team something that will help them succeed.

The “Locks”

With the Toronto Raptors starting lineup pretty much set in stone with Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and Aron Baynes, it leaves Nick Nurse to decide who he wants coming off the bench in a permanent bench role. It may be harder for Nurse than we actually think because of some certain Raptor performances in the preseason, in particular, Matt Thomas and rookie Malachi Flynn.

Other than Thomas and Flynn the Raptors have two to three players that are for sure locks coming off the bench for the team and they are Norman Powell, Terence Davis, and recently signed Chris Boucher.

Powell who has been coming off the bench for the Toronto Raptors for a while now has done a pretty good job at it with the minutes he’s been given, especially this past season as he averaged 16 PPG and shot pretty well from the floor. Powell brings athleticism to the floor and he is someone who is a three-level scorer, now I’m not trying to compare Powell to other elite three-level scorers in the league but he’s definitely come a long way since his rookie season and can help out the Raptors in many different ways.

Davis who debuted last season as a rookie coming off the bench for the team did the same thing averaging a pretty good 7.5 PPG and 3.3 RPG in just 16.8 minutes a night on average. This season he’ll look to have a higher role coming off the bench averaging north of the 16.8 minutes he received last season.

He is also someone who can easily bring that spark off the bench will benefit the team on nights when their offence is lacking or if they just need that extra little boost to get them over the top. He can score in almost every way on the floor, it may not be consistent but he can help put the team in almost every way on the offensive side of things.

Boucher who just recently re-signed with the organization is going to be given more minutes as he’ll now act as the teams new backup centre to Aron Baynes due to the recent departures of Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol. Boucher can shoot the three relatively well, drive to the rim hard and not shy away from contact, and he is also a great shot blocker as he showed that this past season averaging 1.0 BPG.

The “Maybes”

Now that we’ve gone through the three Toronto Raptors who will more than likely be coming off the bench for the team, let’s go over the other players who are in the category “maybes.” They’re in this category because they made a name for themselves in the three preseason games and put themselves in contention to come off the bench which is making the decision for Nick Nurse much harder than we think it actually is.

The players who were playing well during the preseason and that were impressing Nick Nurse and his staff were Matt Thomas, Malachi Flynn, and even DeAndre’ Bembry as well. Thomas who was on the team last season never saw much time on the floor due to a deep bench and the limited role he could provide for the team.

Flynn who just got drafted into the NBA this year is playing like he’s not a rookie at all and that he deserves to be getting some minutes this coming season and Bembry who was signed in the off-season plays exceptional defence, brings toughness to the floor and can provide some scoring off the bench when needed.

All three of these players could provide a spark off the bench, especially if the Toronto Raptors are lacking some offence or defence. Thomas can come off the bench and shoot the lights out which will definitely improve the bench scoring. Flynn who may be a rookie right now sure isn’t playing like one as his shooting has looked phenomenal as well as his defence as it is looking NBA ready.

Lastly, Bembry would kind of act like a Hollis-Jefferson replacement in my opinion because of his stellar defence and his physicality. He brings toughness to the floor and can also provide some offence but nothing out of this world as he isn’t that type of player that will score the lights out.

If it was up to me and I had a choice of picking a nine or ten-man rotation for the Raptors, I would simply have the starters who are starting (Lowry, VanVleet, Anunoby, Siakam, and Baynes) and then I would for sure have Powell, Davis, and Boucher as the sixth, seventh, and eighth guys off the bench.

Next. Toronto Raptors: Expectations for each bench player going into 2021. dark

I would then throw Thomas and Flynn in there as the ninth and tenth man in the rotation but if I had to choose between both guys to make it only a nine-man rotation, I would just pick the guy that fits the best scenario of the game. The same thing goes for Bembry as well, if the team is in need of some stops and a spark off the bench, Bembry would be a nice choice for a player to come off the bench deep into the rotation.

So here are my lineups for the starting and bench rotations…

Starters: Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Aron Baynes

Bench: Norman Powell, Terence Davis, Chris Boucher, Matt Thomas, Malachi Flynn