Chanukah gifts and wishes for Toronto Raptors fans this holiday season

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 5: Fred VanVleet #23, Precious Achiuwa #5, Dalano Banton #45, Chris Boucher #25, and Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 5: Fred VanVleet #23, Precious Achiuwa #5, Dalano Banton #45, Chris Boucher #25, and Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

For us in the Jewish community, the last week was spent celebrating Chanukah, the eight-night festival of lights. There’s plenty to be thankful for this holiday season, even amid some iffy performances from the Toronto Raptors. 

The Raptors are still trying to wiggle their way into the play-in tournament this season amid a series of crushing injuries, difficult finishes in close games, and uncertainty over the direction of the franchise.

Still, there is no use in being pessimistic over the holidays. The Raptors have plenty of positive things going for them at the moment. While they need to show them off with more consistency, Toronto is doing everything they can to reward a fanbase that has followed this team to hell and back.

Raptors fans have received some big gifts as well lately, and there are some presents that they are still hoping to receive.

Gifts Toronto Raptors fans should be thankful for

Scottie Barnes has been everything that Raptors fans could have asked for. His stat line of 15.1 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game barely tell the story of how impactful he has been.

He has all the tools to be one of the league’s premier defenders for a long time, and the sky is the limit for his offense. Barnes truly is the first thing Raptors fans have to be thankful for this Chanukah.

Although Barnes is the guy that has been on fans’ minds all season, Raptors fans have also been very thankful for the addition of Gary Trent Jr. Trent has been one of the team’s most consistent players this year, providing some key shooting. Trent has also been solid on defense, as his length for a guard works well with what Toronto wants is trying to do.

Toronto’s length gives them a lot of options for perimeter defense, as the Raptors are first in the NBA in steal differential per game. The Raptors are also limiting teams to only 83.2 attempts a night, the lowest in the league.

The one sour taste to the Raptors championship in 2019 was that the team had to trade away DeMar DeRozan to do it. One thing Raptors fans should be happy with this year is the fact DeRozan is winning. As the Bulls sit atop the East, DeRozan is a lock to go back to the All-Star game this year.

The rest of the NBA is starting to give Deebo the respect Raptors fans always have.

A few gifts Raptors fans hope to receive this holiday season

One thing fans have been griping about lately is getting a true center, and for good reason. Only four teams in the NBA have a worse defensive rebounding differential than Toronto, and the Raptors are allowing teams to shoot 45.8 percent from the field.

A proper big man could allow Toronto to finally stop giving up easy stuff, a needed change. It should be HIGH atop their hypothetical wish list.

The Raptors have come a long way from the “bench mob” days when the deep reserves would run through teams. On the flip side of that particular coin, Toronto has struggled to figure things out off the bench this season, and prolonged injuries have made that problem worse. Guys like Svi Mykhailiuk see too much run, and often lose control of the game.

The last and most significant Chanukah wish for Raptors fans is the prolonged health of the core unit, especially OG Anunoby. The Indiana alum has taken another massive step forward in terms of what he is doing for the squad when he is on the court.

He is averaging over 20 points a night while pitching in with elite play at the other end. Unfortunately, Anunoby is dealing with injuries again, and we just got the news that he will remain out for the foreseeable future. As the holidays are all about family, fans want nothing more than for Anunoby and the whole team to stay healthy.

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