Despite a tough loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, one bright spot for the Toronto Raptors was the strong outing for rookie Gradey Dick. In just over 28 minutes of play off the bench, Dick did have five fouls to his name, but it didn’t stop him from impressing with 16 points, going four of six from three-point range.
With the absence of OG Anunoby due to injury, Dick found himself in a significant role, which was a far cry from six minutes played against Chicago and two minutes of playtime versus Minnesota. Even though Dick had a stellar bench performance, it doesn’t nullify the Raptors’ evident bench woes.
Aside from Dick, the Raptors bench production heavily relied upon Malachi Flynn, Precious Achiuwa, and Chris Boucher. Flynn had seven points, and two made three-pointers, but it didn’t overshadow his weak court vision, resulting in three lousy turnovers.
Achiuwa had six points, seven rebounds, and three assists, but shooting 30% from the field surely doesn’t warrant any praise. Boucher brought his usual hustle, but he wasn’t much of a needle mover either, as he shot an atrocious 16% from the field.
A solid night from Gradey Dick doesn’t hide Raptors’ bench troubles.
Newcomer Jalen McDaniels didn’t offer much to the game either, as he only played three minutes. Toronto was lucky to see the Dick find success in the Philly matchup. Otherwise, the collective bench would’ve been dreadful, as usual.
The Raptors bench continues to be an apparent weakness, and Masai Ujiri and company need to address this issue soon, or else the team is in for another mediocre season.
There are two veterans, Thaddeus Young and Otto Porter Jr, who are simply warming the bench for Toronto. The fact that Young and Porter could have easily been offloaded in the offseason, yet were kept to sit on the bench and provide no value, is an indictment on Ujiri and his offseason plan.
It is worth cutting someone like Flynn from the rotation to see if these wily vets still have something to offer. Achiuwa, McDaniels, and Boucher shouldn’t be safe either when it comes to potential experimentation.
Should any one or all of these players find themselves in a visible slump, the opportunity is there for one of the veterans to try and make an impact. This is not to say that Young or Porter are saving graces to a poor bench outright, but when the Raptors have so little to work with, all possibilities are worth exploring.