The Toronto Raptors knew that they couldn’t go into the 2022 season with the same subpar bench from last year and convince their fanbase that they were trying to take a step forward. Bringing back Thad Young and Chris Boucher was a solid decision, but Toronto needed one more X-factor in their lineup.
Just a few months after Otto Porter Jr. won a championship with the Golden State Warriors, the Raptors were able to lure him over to Toronto with the promise of being one of the most impactful players in the team’s new rotation. He’ll provide the boost of shooting this team needed.
Toronto has one of the best starting lineups in the league, but their odds of making some noise in the suddenly extra robust Eastern Conference hinge on getting some extra support from their collection of backups. Nick Nurse has to be aware of the undue burden he placed on his starters.
While this new-look bench should be much better than last year’s group (especially considering how some of the younger members of this bunch have improved), there is still reason to be a little bit skeptical of how they perform. Should Raptors fans feel confident in how the bench will gel?
Toronto Raptors confidence meter: How good is the bench?
Very Confident: Precious Achiuwa, Thad Young
Achiuwa would have been as far down on this list as possible if this article was written in January, as he was a negative on offense. With his two-way dominance from last year established following a rise in 3-point attempts and efficiency, Achiuwa may end up being the first man off the bench.
Achiuwa was only a few ticks under 40% from 3-point range after the All-Star break, and he paired that efficiency with lethal versatility that helped him play well against some of the game’s biggest names. Achiuwa’s upward development is so enticing for Toronto in the short term.
Toronto Raptors: Expect big things from Precious Achiuwa, Thad Young.
Young will not be the elite scorer he was in his days with Philadelphia, but he proved to be a seamless fit on this roster. His rebounding and finishing are both solid, but he’s really made his mark as a solid connector who sets his teammates up with good passes.
Young fits in perfectly with Toronto’s schematic demands, which is likely a huge part of why Masai Ujiri decided to bring him back. Young has been around this game for a very long time, which will help instill in him the values needed to be the veteran rock on this young team.