Disappointing Raptors Home: What We Learned

TORONTO – On the bottom degree, Raptors vs Atlanta Saturday was notably 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 can be on the highway, with the Raptors falling 5-13. This may 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, Staff. To the extent that any sport in January is a must-see, so was this one. The Raptors had been dangerous on each ends of the ball.

“We have a protracted strategy to go together with some consistency,” coach Nick Nurse mentioned after the sport. “I want I might say we had been making some progress by on the brink of match clever with vitality, connectivity and all that stuff, after which tonight we did not have good vitality 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 night time. It is a subject. That is what we discovered – or have discovered – within the Raptors’ six-game dwelling.

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

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

Utilizing Barnes as a checker was at all times a wise strategy to make the most of his passing whereas his grip and capturing had been nonetheless creating. Because the Raptors noticed drop place after operating again place, they started utilizing extra catch and roll. This put Barnes able to make use of his dimension and passing in conditions that required him to make selections sooner.

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

Barnes mentioned he focuses on getting the ball aspect to aspect, making it simpler to maneuver the ball that approach. He cannot get his focus fully 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 cross slightly than use his dribbling to take up area and get the protection to maneuver that approach. Within the fourth quarter vs MilwaukeeNevertheless, he confirmed he can rating on a number 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 position. 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 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 number of the smaller defenders, which he did loads final yr however hasn’t carried out so reliably this yr. He solely had two assists however had 27 factors and grabbed 12 rebounds. Maybe specializing in a unique position has opened up extra of his sport that was lacking within the early a part of the season.

Protection is just not good

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

Nurse has made a powerful adjustment lately, with the 2nd unit returning to the realm place on the defensive transition slightly 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 sector. They do not have the person defenders they thought they’d, 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 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 under his type for many of the season. Dijonte Murray Scare him into getting quick frequent jumps, whereas Tra Younger He was quickly approaching him. The Raptors typically choose 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 presupposed to be the energy of this crew. it is not. The Raptors won’t ever be constant sufficient on offense to tug off this degree of reliability.

Valuable Uchiwa is coming

Aside from Barnes, Valuable 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 bought 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 subject purpose makes an attempt ever You’ll ever see. Then, Uchiwa swooped into place, trying 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 continues 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 strong for the crew, whereas Anunobi is again in a really dependable place. Each of them contributed loads to many victories this yr.

Nevertheless, because the protection continues to be so dangerous, it is very important acknowledge their shortcomings as nicely. 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 crew. The protection cannot deal with a reside 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 probabilities.

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 crew is just not 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 a giant 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 valuable Raptors Uchiwa and Scottie Barnes through the second half on Saturday: Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press through AP)

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