Stock Down: Toronto’s ability to space the floor
This Raptors team is long and strong, but they won’t blow you away when you look at their collection of shooting talent. The center position is a major point of irritation, as Precious Achiuwa is almost a complete non-factor from beyond the arc and absent presumed starter Khem Birch shot just 29% from deep with Toronto last year.
The effects of having a player at center who can’t shoot were palpable in this game. Players like Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, and Fred VanVleet were attacking the rim, but the wall of white and blue jerseys in the center made it difficult for them to get any sort of sustained rhythm on offense.
The Toronto Raptors need their bigs to step up.
This could all be fixed relatively soon provided that Achiuwa starts to become a better jump shooter or Birch improves upon a shaky 2020-21 from deep. While Siakam and Boucher would certainly help in this area, the reality is that they are injured, and the Raptors need to find ways to adjust.
Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol made 34% and 40%, respectively, of their 3-point attempts under Nurse. This offense is really clicking when they don’t have a center anchored to the paint.
Nurse either needs to speed up the development process and get Achiuwa shooting as many 3-pointers as possible or come up with funky lineups to hide or paint over the lack of a stretch big.