Disappointing Raptors Home: What We Learned

TORONTO – On the bottom stage, Raptors vs Atlanta Saturday was significantly essential.

Relying on how shortly some gamers recuperate from accidents – considerably Phoenix‘s Devin Booker And Minnesota‘s Cities Carl Anthony – the wild birds The underdogs betting streak might be in as much as 9 of their subsequent ten video games. Eight of these video games shall be on the street, with the Raptors falling 5-13. It will convey the workforce to the brink of the commerce deadline.

The Raptors fell brief, by no means nearer than seven fourth-quarter factors in a straight 114-103 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, which is equally disappointing, if Considerably extra dysfunctional, Workforce. To the extent that any recreation in January is a must-see, so was this one. The Raptors have been unhealthy on each ends of the ball.

“We have a protracted technique to go together with some consistency,” coach Nick Nurse mentioned after the sport. “I want I might say we have been making some progress by on the point of match smart with vitality, connectivity and all that stuff, after which tonight we did not have good vitality to begin his recreation.”

Or on a regular basis, actually. With few exceptions, the Raptors could not string collectively a number of stops on the evening. It is a subject. That is what we discovered – or have discovered – within the Raptors’ six-game residence.

Scotty Barnes has discovered his/her function (for now)

Scotty Barnes He discovered his function with this yr’s workforce. Overlook the purpose guard. Barnes is an on-screen bully.

Utilizing Barnes as a checker was all the time a wise technique to benefit from his passing whereas his grip and capturing have been nonetheless creating. Because the Raptors noticed drop place after working again place, they started utilizing extra catch and roll. This put Barnes ready to make use of his measurement and passing in conditions that required him to make choices sooner.

Barnes had a 30-to-6 turnover ratio in the course of the homestay.

Barnes mentioned he focuses on getting the ball facet to facet, making it simpler to maneuver the ball that means. He cannot get his focus utterly on that, as a result of it is not an finish in itself. Typically, particularly within the video games in Milwaukee and New York, Barnes was too content material to carry out the subsequent move reasonably than use his dribbling to take up house and get the protection to maneuver that means. Within the fourth quarter vs MilwaukeeNonetheless, he confirmed he can rating on a few of the greatest tire keepers within the league. The extra stability he reveals, the extra unpredictable he turns into. Over time, this could have constructive ramifications for the crime.

Barnes, nevertheless, was extra influential than he had been all season within the function. The longer he stays in it, the higher he feels he should really feel to search out that stability. As it’s, he handles it rather well.

The Atlanta recreation was completely different for Barnes, as Atlanta wasn’t often the quarterback Onyeka Okongwu on him. After a tough first quarter, Barnes discovered a number of alternatives to take down a few of the smaller defenders, which he did rather a lot final yr however hasn’t completed so reliably this yr. He solely had two assists however had 27 factors and grabbed 12 rebounds. Maybe specializing in a special function has opened up extra of his recreation that was lacking within the early a part of the season.

Protection will not be good

With nothing in the way in which of a dependable 25-minute-a-night edge guard, the Raptors’ defensive potential is restricted to OK. Not so this yr, which is the largest purpose they discover themselves of their present positions.

Nurse has made a robust adjustment just lately, with the 2nd unit returning to the world place on the defensive transition reasonably than discovering a person. It helped them clear issues up a bit.

Sadly, the Raptors do not let their opponents waste sufficient of their half of the sphere. They do not have the person defenders they thought they’d, which limits the utility of the change.

Raptors protection, the final seven video games

Low cost ORtg vs rap ORtg 22-23 distinction eFG% vs rap eFG% 22-23 distinction


113.2 (15)



53.7 (16)



110.5 (26)



52.9 (23)



114.2 (10)



52.1 (26)



113.2 (14)



55 (10)



108.8 (30)


63.4 / 61.7

51 (29)



111.4 (22)



52.5 (24)


(The Raptors performed two video games in opposition to hornets; The imply of those two video games was used to calculate the differential in opposition to the imply; League standings in brackets)

in opposition to hawks, Fred VanVleet He had one of many worst defensive video games this season – and has been effectively under his kind for many of the season. Dijonte Murray Scare him into getting brief frequent jumps, whereas Tra Younger He was quickly approaching him. The Raptors usually want to have VanVleet defend the ball so he is free to make intelligent performs within the paint, however in opposition to groups with two dynamic guards like Atlanta it is laborious to drag off.

Protection was speculated to be the energy of this workforce. it is not. The Raptors won’t ever be constant sufficient on offense to drag off this stage of reliability.

Valuable Uchiwa is coming

Other than Barnes, Valuable Ichiwa, who missed a lot of the primary half with an ankle damage, was a brilliant spot for the Raptors. As the house run went, Uchiwa received stronger, ending three video games in a double-digit streak, and regaining fluidity from each ends.

Achiuwa had an outrageously messy run in Charlotte’s first recreation, together with One of the crucial irresponsible area aim makes an attempt ever You’ll ever see. Then, Uchiwa swooped into place, wanting extra like a second-half model of himself from final yr. He hit 4 of his 9 3s however extra importantly he made highly effective, managed strikes into the paint.

Defensively, Achiuwa has as a lot upside as anybody on the record aside from OG Anunob.

The beginning 5 remains to be a problem, principally for defensive causes. If Achiuwa maintains this tempo, he might discover himself beginning quickly.

OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. Freshmen, not transformational gamers for this workforce

Gary Trent JrTheir final two video games however, he and Anunobi have helped stabilize the Raptors offense as their numbers come again from the depths. Trent has been within the heart of some heavy reserve items which have been stable for the workforce, whereas Anunobi is again in a really dependable place. Each of them contributed rather a lot to many victories this yr.

Nonetheless, for the reason that protection remains to be so unhealthy, it is very important acknowledge their shortcomings as effectively. Anunoby would not have one very a lot defensively, however he is nonetheless an adventurer when he will get into the paint, and he is the largest turnover hazard on the workforce. The protection cannot deal with a stay ball flip. Trent is a excessive threat, excessive reward defender. Anunoby is much less so, although he is nonetheless at his greatest when he can take just a few possibilities.

The Raptors haven’t got an edge guard to permit Anunobi and Trent to chase after them whereas nonetheless having an affordable Plan B. With out this aggressiveness, Trent loses nearly all of his defensive utility, whereas Anunobi loses fairly a bit. Anunoby is not defensive of himself, whereas Trent is not constant or versatile sufficient to significantly change the Raptors’ roof.

It makes you consider the close to future.

This workforce will not be adequate

The birds of prey are as wholesome as they’ve been all yr spherical. They’d a house of six video games and have been favorites in 5 of them.

Ultimately, they went 3-3 by a plus/minus rating of 16. They made a doomed comeback late within the recreation in all three losses which is a good a part of that constructive differential.

The Raptors wanted to make up an enormous pitch throughout this stretch. they didn’t. Masai Ujiri and the entrance workplace needn’t be compelled to, however they’re certain to scout the market as distributors over the subsequent few weeks.

(Picture: Atlanta’s Trae Younger driving between treasured Raptors Uchiwa and Scottie Barnes in the course of the second half on Saturday: Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press by way of AP)

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