The Toronto Raptors have managed to scrape and claw their way to a 6-7 start in the 2023-24 season, as fans have seen the very enticing highs and depressing lows that Darko Rajakovic, Gradey Dick, and Pascal Siakam have reached in the first 13 games of a pivotal season.
While it’s hard to look at a below .500 record and be too excited if you are a Raptors fan, there have been some promising trends early in the season. Scottie Barnes looks like an All-Star, OG Anunoby has been dominant on both ends, and Dennis Schroder has been a tremendous offseason signing.
Unfortunately, the Raptors have seen some concerning issues pop up. While 13 games are clearly not long enough to start ripping the roster to shreds for a team that went 6-7 against a very difficult schedule, things could become that bad if the Raptors let these problems fester.
Should fans be panicking about the state of the Raptors, namely as it pertains to some trends that stand to bring any positive momentum to a grinding halt? It’s time to examine this trio of developments and figure out if any of them are actually worth worrying about.
Toronto Raptors panic meter: Which trends are worrying?
Gradey Dick’s shooting
Any criticism of Dick in his rookie year must be tempered with the fact he turned 20 years old. He is still growing into his body, yet he’s still shown a great feel for the game for a rookie. However, it’s fair to worry about why it’s taken so long for his shot to come around.
Dick is making just 27% of his shots overall and 24% of his 3-pointers despite shooting a good deal of triples per game. With Dick drilling over 40% of his 3s at Kansas and hovering close to 50% for most of the season, the regression has been a bit startling.
Will the Toronto Raptors keep letting Gradey Dick shoot?
Getting rookies into comfortable situations where they can do what they do best is so essential for any coach. Dick may be doing a lot well, but if his shooting isn’t clicking, what exactly does he do at an above-average level that should warrant consistent minutes in the rotation?
Rajakovic seems willing to let Dick play through his early struggles, and there’s a good chance that a streaky player in college is just in his head as he adjusts to life in the pros. He will likely be fine and have a very long career as a scorer in this league for Toronto, but it’s also not unreasonable to want more if he’s going to be in the rotation.
Panic Meter: Moderate