3 Raptors who could be removed from Nick Nurse’s playoff rotation

CLEVELAND, OHIO - MARCH 06: Head coach Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - MARCH 06: Head coach Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Yuta Watanabe, Toronto Raptors
TORONTO, ON – MARCH 18: Yuta Watanabe #18 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have announced to the rest of the league that they are a viable playoff team, as Nick Nurse has taken this team from the No. 4 overall pick to (potentially) a top-six seed in the Eastern Conference. His rotation tinkering is one of the main reasons that Toronto has been so surprising this season.

The Raptors have been so decimated by poor depth and injuries that they have played games with as few as seven or eight bodies at a time. Is there any team that is more equipped to navigate the world of truncated postseason rotations than the Raptors?

When the postseason rolls around and the rotation shrinks up, Toronto already has a collection of eight or nine players that should see at least some time in the postseason. That means some players that Raptors fans have grown accustomed to seeing could be tossed aside.

These 3 players could be in line for a reduction in minutes when the postseason comes around. Nurse will have to make some tough choices here, as he can’t afford to take his stars off the floor for long stretches if they want to pull off an upset.

3 Toronto Raptors players who could lose rotation spots in the playoffs.

3. SF Yuta Watanabe

Watanabe isn’t getting a ton of action at the moment, but Nurse has been willing to go back to him when he wants to add more shooting. However, unless someone in the rotations struggles to the point where they are unplayable, Watanabe will likely remain rooted to the bench.

Watanabe can offer some value as a shooter and high-energy defender, but there are reasons why Nurse took away some of his minutes apart from some of the starters getting healthy. Watanabe’s issues with creating his own shot are too detrimental for Nurse to overcome.

Yuta Watanabe won’t be in the Toronto Raptors’ playoff rotation.

While Toronto is still not a great team with regards to their 3-point shooting, the woes in that area might not be enough to give Watanabe another chance to earn more playing time. At this point, he’s nothing more than a nice high-energy depth piece at the end of games.

Watanabe still has a future with this team, but the odds of him making any sort of dent in the postseason picture are partially zero. If the improbable happens and he ends up getting some minutes due to injuries or shocking ineffectiveness, he better be ready to go.