Five Things I Dig and Don’t Dig about the Toronto Raptors Preseason

Uno mas exhibition recreation till the 2022/2023 NBA season commences for the Toronto Raptors. There are prime expectancies for this crew – each internally, from moi, and from a lot of NBA media (#5). Brian Windhorst used to be the most up-to-date blogboyman to rave Raptors.

Before then, I’ve some ideas on what the preseasons confirmed us and what we would possibly or won’t be expecting in the coming months. Let’s roll.

1. DA DALANO D

Dalano Banton’s emergence this preseason shouldn’t be an excessive amount of of a wonder. He’s already performed the identical of 2 preseasons spending the summer time at the helm of 2 separate Nick Nursian basketball groups – Summer League and FIBA AmeriCup. There, with most commonly resounding effects, the quantity and heavy lifting fell upon his shoulders.

In preseason, thus far, Banton’s taken a big step ahead. It’s an itsy-bitsy pattern of 4 video games, however Banton’s remaining yr of five issues on 5.2 makes an attempt on 46% taking pictures in 14 mins consistent with recreation in the common season has reworked into 10.5 issues on 7 makes an attempt on 62% taking pictures in 14 mins this preseason.

What’s a little extra sudden and spectacular has been Banton’s development on defence.

Banton is, impressively, seventh in defensive ranking this preseason amongst gamers who’ve performed a minimum of 12 mins consistent with recreation in a minimum of 3 video games – Davion Mitchell, a renown defender, the best guard forward of Banton.

Banton has at all times been a hellacious full-court prowler and is still. Poor Daishen Nix.

It’s the crew defence and talent emigrate a couple of movements, despite the fact that, the place Banton’s progressed. Below, Banton’s monitoring Payton Pritchard, hampering his development up courtroom. Banton avoids Grant Williams elevator door shoulders on a hand-off, then sags to forestall a Malcolm Brogdon force and, concurrently, shoots the hole on the kickout for a decide.

Banton’s additionally taking a look like a succesful again as much as for Freddy when protecting the pick-and-roll. In coaching camp, Nick Nurse, in keeping with the unending queries referring to Freddy VanVleet’s mins, discussed that Freddy used to be Toronto’s lone elite defender of the decide and roll.

Malachi is simply too small; OG too giant; Gary too sluggish; everybody else too 6’8”. That leaves Dalano who’s fast sufficient to stay on-ball and sufficiently big to take care of switches as Toronto is cherish to do.

In the following clip – I realize it’s a hand-off no longer a pick-and-roll [getting footage is hard in the preseason, gimme a break] – you’ll see each Banton’s versatility and persisting foibles.

Once once more, Banton haunts the ball service, Alex Caruso. Coby White comes up for a fast lateral, Freddy and Banton seamlessly switch assessments like they’re each measurement 32s. Then issues move awry. Banton turns into totally ensconced with the ball and forgets all about his new task, White.

That’s a just right instance of the place Banton’s at. The framework is there and the attainable mightily nice, however nonetheless the abnormal slip up: leaping a pump faux, emerging out of his defensive stance, a meandering or two.

If Banton achieves a semblance of scoring and defensive consistency early on in the season, Nurse could have every other agent of chaos to expectantly wield in the warmth of a recreation.

2. OG SEPARATION ANXIETY

My middle can’t undergo every other yr of OG tumult.

I need him to prevail. So badly. I need him to get the touches he merits. So badly. I need him to stick in Toronto glad as a clam, endlessly. So badly.

But in the 4 preseason video games, issues had been…no longer so beautiful.

In 22 mins consistent with recreation, OG’s averaged 8 issues on 42% taking pictures, and an icky 85.7 offensive ranking. That’s in comparison to remaining common season’s 17 issues on 44%, and 112.2 offensive ranking in 36 mins.

I know. It’s tougher with Scottie, Precious, and Pascal blossoming. I’m no longer going to overreact both. I know, readers, it’s PRESEASON for the umpteenth time, I get it. Lets simply put it this manner: thank the Lords of Lawrence Heights that OG is a defensive Leviathan.

The taking pictures will come (he’s averaging 0.3/2.8 threes consistent with recreation), I’m no longer involved. It’s, as soon as once more, the loss of separation off assaults that concern me.

Maybe I’m naive. I refuse to name OG a three+D or no matter identical you care to make use of. He’s greater than that. I consider in him. I need it to be so. Toronto, desperately, wishes it to be so in the event that they need to take an enormous Eastern Conference bounce.

My religion comes with just right reasoning; he possesses just about the identical frame as a Killer Robot – like the one that when gained us an NBA championship. OG’s lengthy. He’s fast. He can shoot. He can cram. He’s mutantly more potent than maximum and as soon as suplexed, Cleveland Cavaliers centre, Jarrett Allen. None of it issues if he can’t layer all of it in combination right into a triple-threat trifle.

With pull-ups, he’s been k. OG narrowly neglected a wonderful spin fadeaway in opposition to Chicago and speared a couple of step-backs in opposition to each the Celtics and Bulls. I query if the ones are go out methods greater than fluid completing strikes. Like this leave out with a sticky Jaylen Brown draped upon him.

OG’s first step can’t get through Jaylen, so he spins to make space for a step-back and Brown’s everywhere it.

It’s the ol’ identical tale. Neither OG’s first step nor his ballhandling is sufficient to disrupt a defender’s place. As above, the pull-up is the results of what doesn’t occur in introduction.

When he does get motion, OG’s loss of frame keep an eye on and stability – to be truthful, it has progressed – abate his talent to get his legs below him for a blank pull-up or to complete close to and round the rim with the entirety of his athleticism and energy. Instead, his inertia will get him into uncomfortable scenarios.

To compensate, Nurse has made some extent of having OG extra motion in motion through the usage of hand-offs and ball monitors. That’s been fruitful. OG and momentum equals large, hulking body meteoriting at the rim or cyclone-spinning our bodies about.

It’s simply no longer sufficient for OG or the Raptors.

There’s nonetheless time for him to develop. OG’s best 25 – (minus all the time he’s neglected).

So, don’t you naysayers use this for some more or less Declaration Against OG. A DAOG gained’t go with this House of Lordz.

All that stated, my anticipation is guarded.

3. PRECIOUS-LY PROGRESSIONG

(I hate to juxtapose this with OG, however because it occurs they did it first).

We knew this used to be coming.

The indicators have been there.

How briefly and forreal, we couldn’t actually know. Preseason suggests it’s quicker than later.

I attended Raptors coaching camp in Victoria this previous September. Media got here in a couple of mins sooner than each and every follow concluded. And each and every unmarried time, there used to be Precious, at the identical hoop, operating, necessarily, the identical drills.

Precious has all the time in the global to flourish. He’s best getting into yr 3 of his profession and, actually, yr 0.75 as a real offensive creature.

Like OG, Precious has had an unimpressive preseason taking pictures 37% from the box and scoring 10 issues in 19 mins consistent with recreation. His offensive ranking a tad higher at 94. But, not like OG, the place my expectancies are upper and my endurance a wee bit thinner, I’m enthralled.

It’s no longer all there. Sometimes it’s the clunky end, from time to time it’s the loss of frame keep an eye on, or the overzealous jack, however, a minimum of a couple of occasions a recreation, Precious does one thing extremely uncommon for a person of his measurements.

Like surging down the flooring like a predatorial shark.

Or throwing dimes like a wishful philosopher close to a fountain.

Or reducing the paint like a triple Henkel.

Okay, I’m carried out with the similes.

It’s no longer simply in transtion. Here, Precious completely freezes Malcolm Brogdon simply sufficient to get through him and use his measurement to comb Brogdon apart. That’s fleet-of-foot belongings you don’t from maximum energy forwards. Not to say the delicate end. There are few gamers in the league in a position to dealing with that quickness and energy.

Precious is out of keep an eye on every so often. But there have additionally been occasions when regardless of Precious bobbling the acquire or stampeding uncontrollably down the lane like a barrel of determined fish, he’s nonetheless ready to complete.

The enlargement appears to be hourly at this fee.

Also, if you wish to have extra optimism take a look at Samson Folk and Jamar Hinds communicate all issues Precious.

4. OF A GREATER GARY

It’s tiny. I know. But it’s there. I see it. The iota of distinction.

2021-22 Gary Trent Jr. averaged an 8.5 help share on 21.2 utilization in the common season.

2022-23 Gary Trent Jr. is averaging 10% on 15.9 utilization.

…Do I sense a paradigm shift…?

Gary’s a bucket. Anyone who has doubted it’s seeing it once more together with his 52% taking pictures on 8 makes an attempt a recreation thus far in preseason. But that’s all Gary’s been recognized for.

We’re seeing, ever so rather, extra.

Some of the passes had been evident hand-me-offs. A designed play or a easy wing reversal. Stuff like this under, despite the fact that, is CREATIONISM – the secular sort.

Gary eludes two separate defenders with a take care of tighter than I recall. Then will get to the paint the place he unloads a head-up, single-motion, one-handed, in-traffic, bouncer. A go at the higher echelon of problem in each imaginative and prescient and execution.

This subsequent one is a little out of desperation, however there’s 0 hesitation in Gary’s go. He knew the place OG used to be from the git-go. Translation: Gary’s taking a look in different places than the rim.

For younger gamers (reminder Gary is a yute), the shift from scorer to playmaker is a hard one. It took Pascal some time to get there; it might also for Gary. The first indicators of enlargement are at all times the maximum wondrous.

We’re no longer all that expectant of Gary both – on account of Toronto’s dire want for scoring. If he by no means handed, we’d settle for that during trade for his taking pictures and mid-range introduction.

That’s why those little glimpses of one thing extra are to be celebrated. They are possibly indications of alternate that may refreshingly ship variance to a relatively, offensively, stale roster.

[close your eyes and envision, my friends]

In this new global: Gary…may just convey the ball up…all the manner…up. Or….begin some first movements. Or… as I’ve already argued, be even better-suited to steer the bench.

Let us dream.

5. SHOOTING [THEMSELVES IN THE FOOT]

Guess who has the second worst three-point taking pictures share in the preseason?

Guess who has the third worst free-throw taking pictures share in the preseason?

Go on, give it a bet.

Anomalous? Maybe.

Otto Porter Jr., the fourth-best shooter on the crew(?) has but to play. None of the guys getting runs past due in the recreation are shooters both – apart from our boy Gabe. That may well be a part of it. Who are we fooling despite the fact that, we’ve all observed with our personal eyes the abhorrence this is Toronto’s taking pictures.

The Raps ended remaining yr twentieth in three-point share and twenty third in unfastened throw share. The remaining 4 video games have left us little hope that issues will likely be other.

It’s preseason. It’s worrisome.

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