3 surprising Raptors who emerged in preseason win vs. Taipans

TORONTO, CANADA - OCTOBER 15: Josh Roberts (C) #23 of the Cairns Taipans (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - OCTOBER 15: Josh Roberts (C) #23 of the Cairns Taipans (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Raptors were firing on all cylinders in their second of four preseason games. While the Cairns Taipans are one of the better teams in the Australian NBL, they could not stand up to Darko Rajakovic and his blistering offense despite multiple injuries.

While the Taipans are not full of NBA talent that could have reasonably been expected to give the Raptors a run for their money, far be it from anyone analyzing this game to be overly critical of a team that seized control from the jump and showed no signs of slowing down.

While Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes flashed enough in the early going to further emphasize the idea that Rajakovic’s offense is blending perfectly with this team, Toronto’s second of four preseason games was all about the seldom-used reserves coming into their own.

The blowout 134-93 scoreline is indicative of a team that got contributions from just about everyone on the roster. In a game where any one of Toronto’s players could have a fitting superlative attached to them, these three seldom-used players stood out above the rest.

3 lesser-known Toronto Raptors who dominated vs. Cairns Taipans.

3. Thad Young

Very few knew what to make of Young, as he was brought back for a good chunk of change despite an uncertain role and the team’s stated desire to move forward with their younger players. If Young and his wily style of play get into the game, he could thrive under Rajakovic.

Young showed that his agent is not preventing him from putting together a complete game, putting up nine points, seven rebounds, and two assists in 15 minutes of play. Young was one of many forwards who made life hard on projected 2024 first-round pick Bobi Klintman, who went 3-12 from the field and was a -34.

Thad Young looked solid for the Toronto Raptors.

While Young’s offensive versatility outside of being a connector who can distribute has largely ebbed away with time, it’s easy to forget he was earning starts as a small-ball center last season. The defensive versatility and veteran moxie he made a long career out of is still there.

On a team that ranks among the younger and inexperienced when compared across the NBA, having Young as a pseudo coach who could suit up as a defensive stopper when needed could prove to be invaluable. It helps that he can still connect on a couple of easy shots inside.