1 short, medium, and long-term goal for Raptors to strive for in 2022

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 17: Head coach Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 17: Head coach Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors, Dalano Banton, Malachi Flynn
TORONTO, ON – DECEMBER 02: Dalano Banton #45 of the Toronto Raptors, a teammate of Malachi Flynn (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have managed to sneak over the .500 mark at 23-22 just over halfway into the season. With questions about their rotation, shooting skill, and underperformance against some of the worst teams in the league, the fact they’ve ended up here shows that Nick Nurse is doing a surprisingly solid job of coaching.

The Raptors are still trying to put development in as much of a spotlight as possible. Scottie Barnes and Dalano Banton are parts of this team’s future, and Toronto will try to mix in some learning experiences and tough love amid a push for one of the East’s playoff spots.

Toronto is not going all-in for 2022. This is a year in which they will likely lay the foundation for what could be a consistent contender. They need to set some meaningful goals and be able to meet those goals if they want to eventually progress to the next stage of retooling.

The Raptors should try to figure out how to best position their lineup for success in the here-and-now, get geared up for a late-season run, and adhere to their principles of developing the youngsters for the future.

3 goals the Toronto Raptors need to set and achieve.

Short-term: Find a backup point guard

Tuesday night’s win against the Hornets showed that the Raptors can use players like Pascal Siakam as a point guard in order to run the show in the offense. As fun as this was, Toronto should try to see if anyone else can answer the call. If they don’t, that could be trouble for Fred VanVleet.

VanVleet leads the league in minutes per game. Before sitting out against Charlotte due to knee soreness, he was on a streak of eight straight games in which he played at least 40 minutes per game. His bones will be ground into dust by April if the Raptors keep this up.

The Toronto Raptors need to give Fred VanVleet some support.

The two obvious candidates are Banton and Flynn, who turned in solid performances against Charlotte following G League assignments. With Banton coming into the game before Flynn, that could be a sign that he is more trusted in Nick Nurse’s mind than Flynn.

The Barnes and Siakam minutes at point might not be a long-term trend, but that duo should be efficient enough to eat up some time and give VanVleet a slight breather. Banton taking a step forward could give this rotation the bump they need to stabilize them amid a very challenging series of games.