Winner: Toronto’s bench
Toronto’s much-maligned second unit did indeed rank at the very bottom of the NBA in points per game. Luckily for Nick Nurse and a collection of stars who saw their bones grind into dust, the combinations that helped key Toronto’s late-season surge will return in 2022-23.
Toronto ranked 25th in bench points from February 10 onward, showing that Young made a considerable positive impact. While 25th is nothing to jump for joy about, it indicates that Young’s veteran savvy and Precious Achiuwa’s breakout were invaluable developments for this team.
The Toronto Raptors will have a much better bench.
The Raptors have one of the best starting lineups in the game, but leaning on those stars for 40 minutes a night in regular-season games is the very definition of playing with fire. The Fred VanVleet late-season erosion shows the dangers of that style.
With one more mid-level exception player coming into the rotation and/or Koloko developing much more rapidly than anyone expected, Toronto’s once subpar rotation could step on the gas pedal and become a respectable unit. No more 42-minute nights in January!