3 very bold predictions for next quarter of Raptors’ 2022-23 season

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 12: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 12: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Raptors are 11-9 after the first quarter of the 2022-23 season. While some Raptors fans may have wanted to see them pick up a few more wins after failing to nail down victories in winnable games, Toronto has performed well considering that names like Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes have missed time with injuries.

The Raptors are navigating not only some insane injury misfortune, but also one of the league’s toughest schedules with a team that is still very young. Even with all of these obstacles, Toronto’s defense remains one of the most difficult in the league to master.

In the next 20 games, Toronto plays the rival Celtics, 76ers, and Nets a combined five times while also locking horns with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Bucks twice. That’s a daunting gauntlet that Toronto needs to run, but Nick Nurse has shown that he can squeeze wins out of this team in shocking fashion.

These three bold predictions may not seem like as much of a system shock after the Raptors finish up their next 20 games. In a year where the Raptors have played games with 10 active players, any one of these three futures becoming a reality should be surprising to absolutely no one.

Toronto Raptors: 3 bold predictions for the next quarter of the season

3. Gary Trent Jr. thrives as the Sixth Man

Trent was sent to the bench in his return to the lineup, moving Thad Young into the starting lineup at the center for what could be an indeterminate amount of time. If both players replicate their performance in the Cleveland victory, this arrangement should stay permanent.

Trent finished with 14 points and seven rebounds while being much more efficient from the field and showing more consistent effort on the defensive side of the ball. Trent could thrive in this new role, as it could allow him to get up shots more consistently without having to defer to the big names constantly.

Gary Trent Jr. could be the Toronto Raptors’ Sixth Man.

When names like Siakam and Fred VanVleet are on the floor, Trent’s touches and shots are minimized. Bench scoring has been a problem for years, so this will allow Trent to be the primary perimeter second-unit scorer while still getting the opportunity to close with most of the starters.

Trent needed to get back on track, and continuing to throw him out in the starting lineup clearly was not making him a more efficient shooter and active defender. Nurse hinted that Trent is fine with the switch, which should make this move an easy call for the Raptors.