2022 was successful for the Toronto Raptors, as they just drafted a lottery pick in Scottie Barnes and immediately returned to the playoffs after a one-year hiatus. Not bad for a team projected to be in the middle of a rebuild.
On top of Barnes proving his quality on such an extreme scale, Toronto saw Fred VanVleet become an All-Star and Pascal Siakam make All-NBA. There’s a solid foundation to build on in years to come.
However, last year wasn’t perfect or smooth. Nick Nurse has some changes to make in the offseason.
There should hopefully be a natural uptick in progression in skill and confidence from players like Barnes and Precious Achiuwa. It would be great if the team’s defensive rebounding improves.
There are three adjustments that the Toronto Raptors can make in the upcoming season to be more successful. Implementing these changes would help Toronto set itself up for an even more prosperous future by making these tweaks.
3 changes the Toronto Raptors must make in 2022-23.
3. Prioritize defending the corner three.
The Raptors have upped their long-range shot attempts on offense, taking 34.1 per game making 34.5% of them in 2022. However, it’s at the defensive end where Toronto needs to be better to deter opponents from taking the three-point shot. In particular, they need to take away giving up the corner three.
Toronto’s issue in 2022 was Nurse’s aggressive switching and helping defensive sets. They are so aggressive and swarming on the perimeter that opponents who move the ball well can end up with an excess number of open corner threes.
The Toronto Raptors must make defensive changes.
On November 18 last year, Toronto lost 119-103 to the Utah Jazz. In that contest, the Jazz bombed away, going 19-46 on three-pointers and was 7-13 in the corner. Ten days later, in a matchup against the Boston Celtics, the Raptors allowed their divisional rivals to shoot 6-12 on corner threes.
When the opposing ballhandler beats that trap or recognizes where the extra pressure is coming from, a shooter waiting for the ball to be swung his way has an immediate open look from the corner.
While some of those sacrifices are par for the course when it comes to a team that plays as fast and aggressive on the floor, it should be a priority for the Raptors to prevent opponents from taking corner threes.