Disappointing Raptors Home: What We Learned

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

Relying on how shortly some gamers get well from accidents – considerably Phoenix‘s Devin Booker And Minnesota‘s Cities Carl Anthony – the wild birds The underdogs betting streak may be in as much as 9 of their subsequent ten video games. Eight of these video games will likely be on the street, with the Raptors falling 5-13. This can deliver the staff 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 got an extended technique to go along with some consistency,” coach Nick Nurse mentioned after the sport. “I want I may say we have been making some progress by on the brink of match smart with power, connectivity and all that stuff, after which tonight we did not have good power to start out his recreation.”

Or on a regular basis, actually. With few exceptions, the Raptors could not string collectively a number of stops on the night time. It is a matter. 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 12 months’s staff. Overlook the purpose guard. Barnes is an on-screen bully.

Utilizing Barnes as a checker was all the time a smart technique to make the most of his passing whereas his grip and taking pictures have been nonetheless creating. Because the Raptors noticed drop place after operating 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 throughout the homestay.

Barnes mentioned he focuses on getting the ball aspect to aspect, making it simpler to maneuver the ball that method. He cannot get his focus fully on that, as a result of it is not an finish in itself. Generally, particularly within the video games in Milwaukee and New York, Barnes was too content material to carry out the following go somewhat than use his dribbling to take up house and get the protection to maneuver that method. Within the fourth quarter vs MilwaukeeNonetheless, he confirmed he can rating on among the finest tire keepers within the league. The extra steadiness he reveals, the extra unpredictable he turns into. Over time, this could have constructive ramifications for the crime.

Barnes, nonetheless, 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 steadiness. As it’s, he handles it very well.

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

Protection just isn’t 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 12 months, which is the largest motive they discover themselves of their present positions.

Nurse has made a powerful adjustment just lately, with the 2nd unit returning to the world place on the defensive transition somewhat 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 that they had, which limits the utility of the swap.

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

towards hawks, Fred VanVleet He had one of many worst defensive video games this season – and has been properly beneath 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 desire to have VanVleet defend the ball so he is free to make intelligent performs within the paint, however towards groups with two dynamic guards like Atlanta it is laborious to drag off.

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

Treasured Uchiwa is coming

Aside from Barnes, Treasured Ichiwa, who missed a lot of the primary half with an ankle damage, was a vivid spot for the Raptors. As the house run went, Uchiwa obtained 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 Some of the irresponsible subject aim makes an attempt ever You’ll ever see. Then, Uchiwa swooped into place, trying extra like a second-half model of himself from final 12 months. 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 checklist apart from OG Anunob.

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

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

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 models which have been stable for the staff, whereas Anunobi is again in a really dependable place. Each of them contributed lots to many victories this 12 months.

Nonetheless, because the protection remains to be so unhealthy, you will need to acknowledge their shortcomings as properly. Anunoby does 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 staff. 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 finest when he can take just a few possibilities.

The Raptors do not have an edge guard to permit Anunobi and Trent to chase after them whereas nonetheless having an inexpensive 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 noticeably change the Raptors’ roof.

It makes you concentrate on the close to future.

This staff just isn’t ok

The birds of prey are as wholesome as they’ve been all 12 months spherical. That they had 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 a giant pitch throughout this stretch. they didn’t. Masai Ujiri and the entrance workplace needn’t be pressured to, however they’re certain to scout the market as distributors over the following few weeks.

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

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