Surprise, it’s Toronto temperature time again! It’s always better to write about the Toronto Raptors when they kick ass and take names and this week was the epitome of it. Before going too far, a little exercise:
Raise your hand if you had the Raptors 4-0 to beat the Indiana Pacers twice, the Magic of Orlando and the best – at the time – of the Eastern Conference, New York Knicks. Thank you all for being honest and not raising your hand. A lot of class acts, you a lot.
Interested in another hand raising exercise? Take the temperature!
The Raptors, the whole team strong
Maybe you aren’t interested in another hand raising exercise. Well I have the first bad news for you there is no live chat feature to say you don’t want to do that and I wrote the question already. Sorry!
Now, raise your hand if you had Gary Trent Jr. leading the league in interceptions and tied for leading the league in deflections with Fred VanVleet. More hands up? Again!
What a revelation this team has been, and really, should Raptors fans be surprised? There haven’t been many iterations of the Nick Nurse Raptors who, in Jack Armstrong’s words, don’t work their tails on the defensive end. The real eye-opener for this year’s Raptors squad, however, is tucked away in the tweet below:
The beauty of the small sample sizes, take away the failed home opener of the Wizards and the Raptors shoot up to 8th in offensive efficiency (17th otherwise), by Cleaning the Glass. pic.twitter.com/d73NHpQVcz
– Vivek Jacob (@vivekmjacob) November 2, 2021
This Wizards of Washington The game was an absolute tire fire riddled with excuses why Toronto played just as badly as they did, so for my part, I’m inclined to do exactly what Vivek said and wipe that game out of memory at times. ‘to come up. With that, if you associate this bubbly, but utterly surprising – we’re still being honest, right? – Offensive rating With Toronto’s 8th overall defensive rating, the Raptors are starting to take the form of a playoff team, dare we say it, potentially dangerous?
If you needed a refresher, that also happens without All-NBA forward and owner of our hearts, Pascal Siakam, who appears to be ahead of his rehab schedule. How sweet!
Star Boy OG Anunoby
OG Anunoby’s meteoric week continues on the theme of the Raptor revelations. While many have thrown OG’s name in the ring for Most Improved Player – and rightly so – seeing the results of what it would take to win this award is still slightly shocking. Maybe a memory jog is in order?
And that absolute tour de force against the Knicks?
There has always been a belief that with the right opportunity and a chance for injury for once in his career, OG could propel his attacking game to higher heights. Is there still other equipment for the young OG? What will Anunoby look like when Pascal returns? Maybe even better ?! For my part, I am extremely excited to find out.
Khem Birch, Mr. reliable
Khem Birch: âI feel like the perception is that last year I racked up a lot of points on average (after signing with the Raptors), people think I’m having a bad year. I don’t feel stressed and have always been a guy who wants to make winning games and I don’t care about the score of the box. “
– Josh Lewenberg (@ JLew1050) November 2, 2021
What is not mentioned in the quote above is the context of why Birch is saying what he said above: Khem got his contract, which means he didn’t has more to focus on setting up empty stats, especially now that he’s not on a bad team to secure his future in the league. There is a level of humility and honesty that comes with saying these things out loud, and Birch once again shows why the Raptors appreciate him as much as they do.
Now if only Nick Nurse could start the man!
Who is not
Chris Boucher, lost in the sauce
Stating that the whole team is strong at the start of this article could have been a little exaggerated, because Chris Boucher definitely doesn’t play strong basketball. As well as sometimes looking absolutely lost on the defensive end – see above, embarrassing tweet – his offensive numbers and opportunities to correct those numbers have crumbled. Check out this mess:
14 minutes per game, 33/21/63 separate shots for 5.6 points, four rebounds and one block per game.
Boucher’s game seemed to stagnate and it’s amazing the Raptors’ professional development team hasn’t been able to make a positive impact further. Has Toronto ever seen Boucher’s gambling ceiling?
Precious Achiuwa, always finding its place
Raptors with Khem Birch on the ground in the last 3 games: +41 in 83 minutes. Raptors with Precious Achiuwa: -20 in 55 minutes.
– Josh Lewenberg (@ JLew1050) November 2, 2021
If Precious Achiuwa maintains this level of play, maybe some of these opportunities for Chris Boucher to right his ship might present themselves after all!
Precious is pressing in almost every facet of his game right now. Offensively, Coach Nurse wants Achiuwa to develop his ball handling skills, so he often puts Precious in situations where he has to do quick rebound readings and the results haven’t been pretty. Itinerant violations, straight passes into the hands of defenders and an overall quality of “clumsy” in the end result prevailed.
I mean, the effort is there, but Precious Achiuwa needs to be infinitely more controlled in what he’s doing offensively.
It’s like he’s running, attacking and wondering what to do AFTER the ball leaves his hands.
– Chris Walder (@WalderSports) November 2, 2021
Will the nurse continue to force a square peg through a round hole until that round hole is square from the simple squeeze of the repeated action? Very possible!
Goran Dragic, what a shame
Remember when Goran Dragic did that in the Raptors squad two weeks ago?
Well, he’s since recorded a total of 14 minutes over four games and three consecutive DNP-CDs. It might be something or it might be nothing, but the Raptors have won every game since Dragic hit the bench for good.
While it would certainly be ideal for Goran to have minimal commercial value for the Raps, seeing him pinned to the bench gives me, personally, extreme joy. Sorry, never sorry.