Why Gary Trent Jr. is the key to Raptors overcoming slow start

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 09: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 09: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have been one of the worst offenses in the league this year, as their half-court ineptitude and lack of 3-point shooting have put a hard cap on their ceiling. Even names like Gary Trent Jr. aren’t enough to rescue this team from such mediocrity.

The Raptors can’t even beat teams like the lowly Orlando Magic due to their substandard offense. Having one of the worst offensive attacks in the league is one thing, but having a group that bad while watching Pascal Siakam have an All-NBA season is inexcusable.

Unless a trade is coming, the Raptors are largely laying in the bed they’ve made with their substandard roster. Siakam is going to get his gaudy numbers, but he alone is not going to be enough to somehow turn this Raptors team into an offense teams need to respect.

Trent ascending, however, could be the X-factor that helps get this ship turned around. The Raptors have seen Trent perform much better than what he was putting on display early in the season, and that recent run of form might be the key to unlocking whatever potential still needs to be mined out of this offense.

The Toronto Raptors must utilize Gary Trent Jr.

Even when you factor in the five-point dud against the Magic, Trent has averaged 19.7 points per game since November 30. The move to the bench appears to have revitalized him, as he even helped slice up the Magic when he was forced to return to the starting lineup.

The Raptors’ biggest issue stems from a bad half-court offense, which is due to Trent and Siakam being the only ones who can create shots for themselves in these scenarios. When paired with an exhausting defensive philosophy and Nurse using his starters for heavy minutes, it comes as no surprise that the team looks gassed.

Trent may not be a 30-point per game scorer, but we’ve seen him hit those lofty heights as recently as last season. Rather than letting VanVleet chuck the ball from two provinces away and force-feeding offensively deficient players, giving Trent a license to cook may be the best short-term option.

The Raptors are currently running short on quality offensive options to lean on thanks to injury and performance, swinging the spotlight back in Trent’s direction. While the opt-out has been much discussed, Toronto paid him with the thought that he’d be an elite scorer for this team.

Now is the time to prove it.

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