Scottie Barnes and Toronto Raptors could not have started their preseason schedule much better than they did against the rebuilding Utah Jazz in Edmonton. Toronto knew they had the chance to show off the depth this roster has to offer, and they made sure Utah knew this bench is not to be trifled with.
The Raptors pulled off a 114-82 victory despite only being ahead by one point when halftime rolled around. Even without Otto Porter Jr. due to a nagging injury, many of the team’s top bench players looked much more effective offensively than they did down the stretch last year.
The preseason is the time when players that will not get tons of time in the regular season can make their case for an enhanced role. With how productive the back end of the roster was, Nick Nurse has to be feeling much better about the completeness of his team.
The Raptors should come away from their dismantling of the Jazz with these three concepts embedded firmly in their minds. There is still a ton of preseason basketball to go, but these trends look set to continue and potentially bleed into the regular season.
3 takeaways after dominant Toronto Raptors win vs. Jazz.
3. Chris Boucher and Precious Achiuwa are much improved.
Achiuwa and Boucher are in much different stages of their career, but both of them will be asked to perform equally effectively off the bench. Both started off hot, with Boucher, in particular, stuffing the stat sheet and announcing his presence.
Boucher recorded a points-rebounds double-double in just 14 minutes of work, showing more evidence that he is back to the form we saw in the Tampa bubble. Achiuwa was not going to be outdone, as his stats belie the fact that his newfound aggression is here to stay.
Chris Boucher and Precious Achiuwa stood out for the Toronto Raptors.
Achiuwa recorded 10 points and five rebounds in this contest, going 4-8 from the field and looking like the multipositional stopper fans were promised in the Kyle Lowry trade. The aggression that helped him come alive in the second half was still there, though he still needs to work on his interior finishing.
While it’s hard to assuredly say that Achiuwa and Boucher will replicate last year’s performance based on a handful of minutes against a rebuilding team, they both managed to show that their offseason hype was warranted. Even with Otto Porter Jr, the bench looked solid.