Every NBA team has issues that could plague their season, and the Toronto Raptors are no different. Picking up on certain trends that follow a team around regularly can provide glimpses and insight into what that team’s future may look like.
In the Raptors case, a young team trying to find its way is struggling with poor defensive rebounding numbers and overaggression in the defensive end often leading to some wide-open shots for the opposing team.
Wednesday night, the game came down to a failed last-second shot by rookie Justin Champagnie. The seven offensive rebounds allowed to the Oklahoma City Thunder contributed to a 110-109 loss even after an impressive comeback by the Raptors.
Sitting near the basement of the Eastern Conference, the Raptors are a sustained winning streaking from being in the thick of the playoff conversation. Things are better than they seem after a tough stretch of games. These 3 x-factors could decide the Raptors’ push for a playoff spot.
3 X-factors that will determine success for the Toronto Raptors.
3. Injuries and roster depth.
Injuries are an unavoidable part of professional basketball, and every team has to manage the forced changes and upheaval to their playing rotation. Having said that, head coach Nick Nurse is hamstrung with his substitution rotation as well as his starting lineup.
First, Goran Dragic has played five games as a Raptor and is away from the team pending a trade or buyout. Losing OG Anunoby and Khem Birch was an absolute gut punch. Even though young players like Scottie Barnes and Justin Champagnie will get more playing time, the rotation is not firing on all cylinders.
Toronto only has two true centers in Birch and Precious Achiuwa. Achiuwa missed the Thunder contest due to a shoulder issue, and his absence forced Chris Boucher into the lineup,
The Toronto Raptors are lacking depth due to injuries.
There may be trade options available to increase the team’s frontcourt depth but how desperate is the injury situation that Raptors’ management would be willing to swing a deal?
This is the second time this season both centers have found themselves on the injured reserve list. Without a traditional point guard that has more experience than Dalano Banton behind their starters, the first five are getting stretched to breaking point so far in 2021-22.