3 positive takeaways from the Raptors' latest loss that give hope for the future

The Toronto Raptors might've lost to the defending champion, Denver Nuggets, but their gutsy performance proved their rebuild is headed in the right direction.
Toronto Raptors v Denver Nuggets
Toronto Raptors v Denver Nuggets / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages
1 of 3

The Toronto Raptors have been dealt a bad hand in the latter half of the season, losing both Scottie Barnes and Jakob Poeltl to respective hand injuries. The string of misfortunes continued going into Toronto's matchup against the Denver Nuggets on March 11, as they lost key starters Gary Trent Jr. and Immanuel Quickley. For a Raptors team that has been struggling as of late, facing off with the defending champion Nuggets at full strength looked like another blowout loss was imminent.

But to everyone's surprise, the Toronto Raptors managed to keep the Denver game within reach, even leading by 22 points at one point in the second quarter. Nevertheless, you can never count out a game Denver Nuggets team with champion spirit, as they fought back after halftime to win the game 125-119. It was a tough loss for a Raptors unit with fighting spirit in their own right, however, the loss was far from soul-crushing as it highlighted three key positives for Toronto's future.

3. Gradey Dick showed massive strides in playmaking abilities with new career-high

It was a stellar night for young Gradey Dick in the Raptors-Nuggets matchup, as he took it upon himself to dish out a new career-high seven assists. Dick did not show murky court IQ either, as he only committed one turnover for the whole game, showing his ability to be a playmaker has the potential to be another crafty tool in his arsenal.

Gradey Dick's rookie campaign started very topsy-turvy, as the Raptors were still figuring out what direction to take the team in. Dick was far from a pivotal piece in the Raptors rotation, but now with the team fully committed to going young, the rookie is taking every opportunity to showcase his well-rounded skills as a versatile player.

Gradey Dick has more to his game than just three-point shooting, as he showcased a career-high seven assists against the Nuggets.

With significant NBA minutes being latched under Dick's belt as of late, these small steps forward in his progression by finding his teammates on the right play shows Gradey is poised to be a fundamental component of the Raptors young core for years to come. For a guy coming out of Kansas with rave reviews on his shooting ability, he's shown to be more than just a shooter and it looks like the Raptors front office made the right call selecting Dick.