Nick Nurse and the Toronto Raptors may be thankful that the Christmas holidays are upon us and 2022 is coming to a close. They have won their last two games, including Friday night’s 118-107 road victory in Cleveland, but stand in 10th place in the Eastern Conference.
It’s been a trying first 33 games, but all is not lost. With a record of 15-18, there are 49 games left for the Raptors to announce themselves as playoff contenders. It’s not entirely impossible, as a similar start last season was followed by Toronto reel off a record of 33-17 once the calendar year switched.
In the meantime, Pascal Siakam has been the guiding star for this squad, coming off of a 52-point performance in a victory over the New York Knicks and a near triple-double against Cleveland. Unfortunately, other than some consistent stellar defense from OG Anunoby, the Raptors have played well below expectations to this point of the season.
There are several factors that explain why the Raptors have struggled to this point of the season, but there are multiple factors working in the team’s favor as the calendar gets ready to flip to January 2023. here are three reasons this 2022-23 season is not over.
Top 3 reasons the 2022-23 Toronto Raptors season isn’t finished.
3. Injured players are healing
The Raptors have suffered more than their fair share of roster depletions due to health concerns. While it is not an excuse, it does not help a team trying to build chemistry. It also hampers consistency and continuity in terms of minutes distributions and quality of play.
Every player of consequence has lost valuable playing time starting, with Precious Achiuwa out indefinitely and playing in just 12 games. Gary Trent Jr. has also been dropped from the starting lineup and has missed seven games, while Otto Porter Jr. has played in just eight contests.
The Toronto Raptors have rarely been healthy in 2022.
Even Scottie Barnes has missed four games and struggled to make an impact consistently. Is a nagging injury bothering him? Pascal Siakam missed 10 games.
One small silver lining is the fact that the team has played better in recent weeks. Another positive is that Achiuwa may be back in the lineup before the end of this month.
In the Raptors’ last three games, in which they are 2-1, all of their heavy hitters have been in the lineup. Consistency and continuity in the lineup will lead to chemistry and growing confidence in the team. Provided this group can stay relatively healthy for the rest of the season, good things can happen.