The Toronto Raptors went a long time without feeling the sting of the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, but they have been blindsided with the loss of three rotation players. Star forward Pascal Siakam, rookie point guard, Dalano Banton, and standout shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. have all entered the league’s health and safety protocols.
The Raptors finally started to get healthy when OG Anunoby and Khem Birch returned to the lineup, but that momentum has eroded now that two of the team’s four leading scorers and a key rotational piece off of the bench will miss some time.
The Raptors have been playing without all of their heavy-hitters all season long, as they have just one game this year in which all five of their presumptive starters and Birch have all been healthy at the same time. Trying to get contributions from bench players is nothing new for Nick Nurse.
While these three could return to the team after their 10 days in the protocol has elapsed, it remains to be seen how long they will be out. These three players need to play their best basketball of the season in the middle of a tough three-game stretch against the Bulls, 76ers, and Cavaliers.
3 Toronto Raptors who may improve without Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr.
3. Svi Mykhailiuk
The Raptors added Mykhailiuk with the expectation that he would provide some near-elite 3-point shooting on a team that currently lacks impact playmakers on the wing. Instead, we’ve seen Mykhailiuk search for consistency all season long, with some mixed results.
Mykhailiuk is averaging just 6.7 points per game and making just 32% of his 3-pointers. Mykhailiuk has not made more than two 3-pointers in a single game this season. Trent can get hot in a second, but without that microwave scoring ability, even more pressure falls on the Ukrainian veteran.
Svi Mykhailiuk will play a vital role for the Toronto Raptors.
While the Raptors did add two guards in Brandon Goodwin and Nik Stauskas to help offset the loss of trend, Mykhailiuk will still earn with the bulk of the minutes at the backup shooting guard spot. Svi won’t need to score like Trent, but 6.7 points per contest will not cut it.
We’ve seen Mykhailiuk play well in the past, as he had some impressive starts when thrust into the lineup. Toronto needs that player to reemerge, as Mykhailiuk and the Raptors will need to take on some of the most impressive teams in the league during the next few games.