Young Raptors wing needs to prove himself now or face some dire consequences

Toronto traded a first-round pick to acquire Ochai Agbaji, but he's been largely underwhelming so far in his Raptors tenure.

Toronto Raptors v Denver Nuggets
Toronto Raptors v Denver Nuggets / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

The injury bug struck again for the Toronto Raptors, as they were down four starters in their March 13 matchup with the Detroit Pistons. Toronto could breathe a sigh of relief when it was announced Immanuel Quickley would be available to play, but despite his best efforts to keep the team afloat, the Pistons defeated the Raptors with a final score of 113-104.

In a game with many inactive players, there were multiple opportunities for some of the younger players to break out and make a name for themselves in the process. One such player who has been expected to step up in an enhanced role is Ochai Agbaji, yet in the loss to Detroit, he posted zero points, three assists, one rebound, and two steals.

With Scottie Barnes out, Agbaji has largely taken the starting role, given his solid defensive abilities. By no stretch is Agbaji expected to be an offensive force, but his stats are beginning to show he's damaging to the team rather than beneficial.

Ochai Agbaji is proving to be an ineffective player on the Raptors thus far.

At the very least, Agbaji was seen as a promising guard-forward with the upside to be an effective 3-and-D role player. In 14 games with the Toronto Raptors thus far, Agbaji has averaged 5.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, and one assist on an average of 18 minutes a night.

They aren't horrible stats per se, but it's the advanced metrics where you notice his flaws at a heightened degree. Ochai Agbaji has been shooting a horrendous 35% from the field and a measly 25% on his three-pointers. Even worse, Agbaji has a plus-minus of -51 for the Raptors thus far, showing his presence on the court is largely ineffective. He's still relatively young with room to grow, but if Agbaji keeps up this appalling production, the coaching staff will find it hard to justify giving him any meaningful rotational minutes.

Toronto's front office saw something in Ochai Agbaji when they dealt out a first-round pick for him and Kelly Olynyk. It may be a late first-rounder in a weak draft class, but it showed Toronto were willing to pass up on a potential prospect because they viewed Agbaji highly as a player who was losing opportunity to develop with the Jazz.

Ochai Agbaji must improve his on-court play to at the very least, league-average shooting splits because as decent of a defender as he is, his offensive woes are much too detrimental to ignore. Toronto's staff is amazing at getting the most out of their players, so hopefully given an adequate amount of practice in the offseason, Ochai Agbaji can prove himself as a solid foundational piece for the Raptors' young core moving forward.

Next. 3 positive takeaways from the Raptors' latest loss. 3 positive takeaways from the Raptors' latest loss. dark