The Toronto Raptors have become one of the most consistent teams in the league over the last decade despite, for the most part, a lack of star power. In order to accomplish those goals, both Dwane Casey and Nick Nurse have been able to make Toronto one of the deepest teams in the league. The Raptors bench in 2020-21, however, is a different story.
Even though they’ve managed to keep Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and Pascal Siakam in town, keeping them has meant they had to sacrifice a lot of bench depth in order to make the deals work.
The lack of talent on the bench has been evident over the last few weeks. The Raptors rank 23rd in the league in points scored by the bench, as moving Norman Powell to the starting lineup has had a disastrous effect on Toronto’s second unit.
In three ugly losses against the Pistons, Celtics, and Hawks interim head coach Sergio Scariolo had to reckon with the fact that his bench, as a whole, is simply not good enough to compete with some of the best in the league.
The Toronto Raptors bench has a shocking lack of depth
Toronto’s bench production is even more concerning when you consider that Sixth Man of the Year candidate Chris Boucher is having the best season of his career on the bench. Without Boucher, Toronto’s production off the bench might be the worst in the league.
The likes of DeAndre’ Bembry, Yuta Watanabe, Terence Davis, and Stanley Johnson all see heavy minutes. Despite that, only one of those players (the notoriously inconsistent Davis) is averaging more than 4.4 points per game. In fact, Watanabe and Johnson aren’t even averaging three points per contest.
The Raptors average 113 points per game, and 76 of those points come from Lowry, VanVleet, Siakam, and Powell. Only Boucher and OG Anunoby are in double figures outside of that group. In the modern NBA, playing so many players that can barely crack four points per game on 40 percent shooting is simply not a winning formula.
While the lack of a true No. 1 scorer might give off the impression that Toronto is a very balanced team, the reality is that the Raptors are one of the thinnest teams in the league. When the playoffs come around and Toronto needs to pull away in the second half, will Johnson and Davis really get anyone on the opposing team spooked?
Yeah, didn’t think so.