Jordan Nwora makes statement for more playing time as Raptors fall to Hawks

Nwora had one of his best games ever.
Jan 22, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Jordan Nwora (13) walks out to the
Jan 22, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Jordan Nwora (13) walks out to the / Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors were looking for warm bodies to fill out their rotation during their road tussle with the Atlanta Hawks. On top of the fact Jakob Poeltl and Immanuel Quickley were ruled out prior to the game, RJ Barrett took this game off with knee swelling. This pushed Jordan Nwora into the spotlight.

Nwora, who came to the Raptors with Bruce Brown in the trade that sent Pascal Siakam to the Indiana Pacers, has spent his first few games in Toronto colors rooted to the bench. Nwora was given a shot against Atlanta, and he certainly did not disappoint one bit.

Nwora finished the game with 24 points on 7-16 shooting and 3-7 from 3-point range. With nine rebounds and six assists, Nwora picked quite the time to have one of the finest games of his NBA career. This move may have been enough to force Darko Rajakovic's hand and give him some extra minutes.

Nwora faces an uncertain future, as he is no lock to be in the Raptors' plans for next year. If this was his audition in his quest to stick around once Masai Ujiri finishes remaking the roster, he's done a fairly exceptional job of playing to his strengths and executing on offense.

Jordan Nwora makes case for Toronto Raptors rotation spot

In the past two seasons, split between the Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks, Nwora averaged 8.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game while making 38% of his 3-pointers. A champion with the 2021 Bucks, Nwora showed he can play a role, albeit a small one, on a team with championship aspirations.

The scoring has never been a problem for Nwora, as he was a very skilled offensive player at Louisville and managed to exceed second-round pick expectations in the pros with his sweet jumper. Even if he never becomes a solid defensive player, consistency and figuring out when to attack will be key to him sticking in a pro rotation.

Toronto will likely add some intriguing young players in the 2024 NBA Draft on top of some veteran free agents, but a few more games even half this good from Nwora might make it difficult for Toronto to give up on him. A semi-local product who grew up right across the border in Buffalo, Nwora might be having a Barrett-esque homecoming bump.

The Raptors need to find developmental wins from less heralded players if they are to turn this thing around. While Jontay Porter's improvement is certainly an interesting development, Nwora's past history in the pros and strong 3-point shot could give him a very strong runway to success in the pros.