Disappointing Raptors Home: What We Learned

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

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

The Raptors fell quick, 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, Crew. To the extent that any sport in January is a must-see, so was this one. The Raptors had been unhealthy on each ends of the ball.

“We have got an extended strategy to go together with some consistency,” coach Nick Nurse stated after the sport. “I want I might say we had been making some progress by on the brink of match clever with power, connectivity and all that stuff, after which tonight we did not have good power to start out his sport.”

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 realized – or have realized – within the Raptors’ six-game house.

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

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

Utilizing Barnes as a checker was all the time a smart strategy to make the most of his passing whereas his grip and taking pictures had been nonetheless creating. Because the Raptors noticed drop place after working again place, they started utilizing extra catch and roll. This put Barnes able to make use of his measurement and passing in conditions that required him to make selections quicker.

Barnes had a 30-to-6 turnover ratio throughout the homestay.

Barnes stated he focuses on getting the ball aspect to aspect, making it simpler to maneuver the ball that means. He cannot get his focus utterly on that, as a result of it isn’t an finish in itself. Typically, 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 area and get the protection to maneuver that means. Within the fourth quarter vs MilwaukeeNonetheless, he confirmed he can rating on a few of the finest tire keepers within the league. The extra stability he reveals, the extra unpredictable he turns into. Over time, this could have optimistic 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 seek out that stability. As it’s, he handles it very well.

The Atlanta sport was totally 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 a few of the smaller defenders, which he did quite a bit final yr however hasn’t achieved so reliably this yr. He solely had two assists however had 27 factors and grabbed 12 rebounds. Maybe specializing in a unique function has opened up extra of his sport that was lacking within the early a part of the season.

Protection isn’t good

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

Nurse has made a robust adjustment not too long ago, 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 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 nicely beneath his kind for a lot of the season. Dijonte Murray Scare him into getting quick 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 arduous to tug off.

Protection was alleged to be the power of this crew. it isn’t. The Raptors won’t ever be constant sufficient on offense to tug 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 harm, was a shiny spot for the Raptors. As the house run went, Uchiwa acquired 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 sport, together with One of the vital irresponsible discipline objective 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 checklist apart from OG Anunob.

The beginning 5 remains to be a difficulty, largely 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 crew

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 middle of some heavy reserve models which have been stable for the crew, whereas Anunobi is again in a really dependable place. Each of them contributed quite a bit to many victories this yr.

Nonetheless, for the reason that protection remains to be so unhealthy, it is very important acknowledge their shortcomings as nicely. 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 most important turnover hazard on the crew. 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 a number of possibilities.

The Raptors do not have 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 the vast majority 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 crew isn’t adequate

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

In the long run, they went 3-3 by a plus/minus rating of 16. They made a doomed comeback late within the sport in all three losses which is a good a part of that optimistic 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 sure to scout the market as distributors over the following few weeks.

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

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