The Toronto Raptors traded Pascal Siakam to the Indiana Pacers primarily to pick up a haul of draft picks and a solid veteran addition in Bruce Brown, but picking up former NBA champion Jordan Nwora seemed like more than just a throw-in to make sure the money matched up.
After some early DNPs and garbage-time minutes, Nwora has caught fire in the last two games to a degree that makes it seem very hard for him to leave the rotation for the remainder of the season. This has been quite the homecoming for yet another Raptor that is either from Toronto or grew up within driving distance.
Nwora hails from right across the border in Buffalo. Oddly enough, his father Alex is the coach at Erie Community College, where the Raptors used to have some of their early training camps. According to Eric Koreen of The Athletic, Nwora is excited to be back home and playing for his childhood team.
Not only does Nwora consider himself a Raptors fan who saw his first taste of NBA action during All-Star Weekend in 2016, but he claims he would have been at the championship parade in 2019 had he not been suiting up for Louisville at the time. It looks like Raptors fans have another RJ Barrett and Dalano Banton-esque story to root for this season.
Jordan Nwora grew up a fan of the Toronto Raptors.
Nwora has scored 41 points in the last two games while making seven 3-pointers. This shooting stretch is music to Toronto's ears, as he only made 10 3-pointers with Indiana this season. While he is an unrestricted free agent after this season, Nwora is making a compelling case to stay with his local team.
Nwora is just a few years removed from being a regular rotation player on a Bucks team that won a championship while also putting up a 13.0 points per game average in a 24-game cameo with the Pacers last season. As Gradey Dick continues to develop, Nwora looks like a more pro-ready scorer.
While he's certainly no neophyte, Nwora is just 25 years old, which could lead to more untapped potential ready to be unearthed. His defense may never become elite, but the shot-making he's put on display is far too effective to sequester on the bench for too long.
The secret formula for turning Toronto around in the next few years might be to assemble an all-local team of Canadians and Buffalo natives. With Nwora's hot start and Barrett's improved play, the early returns on this philosophy seem to be quite effective.