During the NBA Preseason, it looked like the Toronto Raptors may be one of the deepest teams in the league, but since the Regular Season started the names this team relies on have disappeared.
Nothing about this Toronto Raptors season has been anything close to respectable. Raptors fans knew that the losses of Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol didn’t make this team better, but this roster on paper should still be a lock for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Currently sitting at a 1-5 record with no inspirational basketball being played as a team, the Raptors’ biggest worry is now much more than playoff seeding. We’re talking about it being a stretch to make the playoffs at all.
It is absolutely still too early to smack the panic button (although we’re not far off), but a few more weak performances and serious questions will have to be asked about this roster’s makeup. Masai Ujiri isn’t known for his patience and will not sit back and watch a team in a stalemate. No one on this Toronto Raptors team should be safe if players don’t pick up the pace here.
One of the Toronto Raptors biggest issues – The bench
There are several major issues with this Toronto Raptors team, the center position being a major one. The biggest issue right now though has to be the play of the bench for the Raptors.
Chris Boucher has really been the sole bright spot of the Toronto Raptors bench at this point and has been one of the only reasons the Raptors have been semi-competitive in some of their games so far.
After their disgusting loss to the Boston Celtics, Nick Nurse went off to the media about the play of his team. Most notably calling out: Norman Powell, Terence Davis, Matt Thomas, and rookie Malachi Flynn.
When it comes to the four names called out by Nurse, it has been a disappointing and truly unacceptable start at this point. Flynn should be left off the hook to some degree as a ‘playoff’ team like the Toronto Raptors shouldn’t be dependant on a rookie at one of their deepest positions.
When it comes to the other three though, expectations were high going into this season and these players should have known they would have been relied on more than ever on one of the thinnest rosters in recent Raptors memory.
Norman Powell: 22.2 mins | 8.5 pts | 1.3 reb | 0.7 ast | 1.2 stl | 0.3 blk | 0.8 TO |
Terence Davis: 10.3 mins | 5.8 pts | 1.8 reb | 1.0 ast | 0.3 stl | 0.3 blk | 1.3 TO |
Matt Thomas: 15.7mins | 7.0 pts | 1.7 reb | 1.7 ast | 0.7 stl | 0.0 blk | 0.3 TO |
Malachi Flynn: 6.7 mins | 0.0 pts | 0.0 reb | 0.3 ast | 0.3 stl | 0.0 blk | 0.0 TO |
Just not okay numbers from these chaps. These four guys came in hot to NBA Preseason, only to have completely fizzled out early into this year. The capabilities of all of these players are much higher than what they are giving the Toronto Raptors right now and have to pick up the pace quick.
Powell was averaging 16 points a game last season and was a reliable starter throughout the Toronto Raptors’ many injury woes. He looked like a potential sixth man of the year candidate. Now he looks like he could be the first head on the chopping block should the Raptors start selling off pieces.
A lot of things have to turn around for the Toronto Raptors if they want to compete in a much more competitive Eastern Conference and one of the first groups that have to find another gear is the bench unit. To think there were rumblings of a Bench Mob 2.0…