The Toronto Raptors might have started off their season with a 108-105 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, but Nick Nurse’s side has its fair share of worries at the moment as well. The biggest is their long list of injuries, which have stretched bench players like Thad Young and Precious Achiuwa thin.
The Raptors’ new-look bench has been very limited in the early weeks of this season. Chris Boucher and Otto Porter Jr. are currently struggling with hamstring problems, and the former Golden State Warriors man could remain out for a couple of weeks.
On the other hand, Khem Birch has been dealing with a knee injury since last season that does not seem to have fully recovered. All three of them ended up missing the season opener against the Cavaliers. The bench players not named Achiuwa combined for eight points, which is unacceptable.
Young will be an X-factor for this bench, as the veteran leader and expert defender must play like the same dominant glue guy we saw last season to keep Toronto operating at peak efficiency. Young struggled in the opener against Cleveland, and he can’t afford too many clunkers.
Thad Young could be an X-factor for the Toronto Raptors.
Young started off the campaign with a poor display, putting up just three points and no rebounds or assists in 11 minutes of action off the bench. He did little to slow down a parade of Cavaliers that were slicing to the rim with ease.
The veteran has seen it all in a career that has seen him turn up for seven different franchises, so he should be confident of finding a rhythm soon. Young had a very positive debut campaign with the Raptors, averaging 6.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game in 18.3 minutes per contest.
It ended up earning him a two-year, $16 million contract.
His numbers might not have been eye-popping, but he was a vital contributor to the Raptors, who exceeded expectations in a lot of people’s eyes before being knocked out of the playoffs in the first round.
It is not just what Young brings on the court that is important for the Raptors. He is the veteran in this young team, with no other player older than 30. It was not rare to see him in the ears of the young players last year, as the 34-year-old brought a calming presence to the team.
Toronto will definitely need more of that veteran wisdom at the start of this season to get through an injury-ravaged period when everybody needs to raise their game. Young starting to ball out again will help Toronto immeasurably against a very difficult schedule.