Things are bleak around the Toronto Raptors right now. Potential All-Star Scottie Barnes keeps ripping things up, but the 9-14 team has now lost four games in a row and six of their last seven. Unfortunately, the Raptors still wouldn't retain their first-round draft pick if the season ended right now.
Masai Ujiri's worst nightmare has come to life. Even as Darko Rajakovic came in to replace Nick Nurse, the roster Ujiri assembled is once again too good to avoid recouping their draft pick while not good enough to actually win on a consistent basis and get to the playoffs.
With the season crashing a big trade that will likely include Pascal Siakam waiting in the wings, it makes sense as to why some Raptors fans might want to call time on this season and check back in when they finally pick a direction. Those who do that may risk some interesting trends in the latter half of this season.
The Raptors are still trying everything to get back on track, which could lead to them eventually finding some formula that works and gets them back on the proverbial track as they try to rescue what is left of the season. These three developments alone are worth watching.
Top 3 reasons to keep watching the Toronto Raptors after 9-14 start.
3. Gradey Dick returning
The Raptors sent Dick down to the G League after a rough start to life in the pros, but they have not changed their belief in his talent or fit on this team. Having just turned 20 years old and coming into the pros with concerns about his frame, it may have been too much, too fast for Dick early in this season.
While Dick wasn't very efficient, that was due to the fact he was tasked with creating most of his own offense, which he won't have to do in the NBA. His shot appeared to return after a very rough start, as did his confidence when rising up from 3-point range.
Gradey Dick could be unleashed by the Toronto Raptors.
Rajakovic has seemingly been ready to go back to Dick in the rotation now that veteran sniper Otto Porter Jr. is going to miss some time due to a foot injury. He won't play most of the game, but the fact he's on the floor shows that Toronto's faith in him as an impactful shooter and playmaker hasn't wavered at all.
While it remains to be seen just how high his ceiling will be, it seems very hard to believe that a player who was a knockdown shooter in both high school and college will struggle to hit those same open jumpers in the pros. When the 3-balls start falling, Dick will help spark this Raptors offense.