The Toronto Raptors started off 2022 with three straight hard losses, moving the team closer to trading one of their starters and making a concerted charge at acquiring Victor Wembanyama or Scoot Henderson. Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers coming to town didn’t seem like the easiest game on the schedule.
Despite their lack of momentum, the Raptors picked up a much-needed 117-105 victory that was bolstered by a Scottie Barnes masterclass on both ends. With four of their next six games coming against teams that are below .500 on the year, the Raptors could turn things around.
Raptors fans already photoshopping Wembanyama in Raptors jerseys need to put their fantasies on hold for a bit, as Toronto might try to squeeze every drop of success they can get out of this team before finally settling into seller territory.
If the Raptors want to move forward positively, the Portland win could help them turn over a new leaf and get back in the win column more consistently. These three trends, shown off in both the Portland game and some of their prior losses, are reasons to look on the bright side.
Toronto Raptors: 3 reasons for fans to stay positive.
3. Christian Koloko has confidence
Koloko has experienced ups and downs during his rookie season, but that was to be expected with someone as raw as him offensively. When he’s been on the floor in the last few weeks, Koloko has put together a very promising set of games against some challenging opponents.
Koloko is averaging 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in the last four contests, missing just one shot from the field in that span. His game-clinching 3-pointer against Phoenix was one of the highlights of the season, as it showed that the game is starting to slow down for him.
The Toronto Raptors have high hopes for Christian Koloko.
Koloko may not have the gaudiest block numbers, but it is very clear that he can impact the game on the defensive end with his size and mobility. Toronto’s aggressive defense needs a rim protector, and Koloko has taken steps toward eventually becoming that player.
The 3-pointer seems like a funny moment, given how unusual it was. However, the fact that Koloko is on the floor and willing to take that shot in that situation shows that both the team and player feel extremely comfortable about where he is at right now.