The Toronto Raptors are going to take on one of the best teams Australia has to offer when they face off against the Cairns Taipans in their second preseason game. Names like Jakob Poeltl, however, won’t be suiting up.
Darko Rajakovic said that birthday boy Poeltl is dealing with an illness and will not suit up against Cairns. With young big Christian Koloko also out due to respiratory issues that have gone back months, Toronto will play this game without either one of their true 7-foot centers.
Otto Porter Jr, a veteran looking to claw his way back into what has become a very crowded rotation, will also be out of this game as he tries to build his strength back up. One more big name for Toronto is a standout backup eyeing a breakout.
Precious Achiuwa, who sat out the win against the Sacramento Kings with a groin strain, will not play despite Rajakovic saying his left groin strain is feeling “much better.” With so many names on the mend, Toronto must show off how good their depth truly is in this one.
Toronto Raptors injury report: Jakob Poeltl, Precious Achiuwa out vs. Taipans
While the Australian side doesn’t have a stable of NBA-level bigs to combat Toronto’s lack of depth, that doesn’t erase the fact they pay at a breakneck pace that could make for an interesting game. The paint could be wide open for Toronto if they don’t cover adequately.
Perhaps a player like Pascal Siakam could end up starting at the center spot before making way for backups like Chris Boucher or Thad Young. With the top three center options out, it’s all hands on deck to figure out the best plan of attack for Rajakovic in this one.
The Raptors need to use this game as a showcase for their younger players while still giving some of their established players the room to try some new things out. This could prove to be more difficult without Poeltl and Achiuwa, but the Raptors will need to make lemonade out of these lemons.