It’s sensible enterprise observe to take what you’ve skilled and apply it to future endeavours and it goes for the Raptors because it does for any company on this planet.
The staff has come by means of an up-and-down first half of the NBA season — 17-19 because it prepares to begin the second half Thursday in opposition to Atlanta in Tampa, Fla. — and it has proven flashes of having the ability to vault to the higher echelon of the Jap Convention. However that’s provided that some issues they noticed within the first half are fastened or maintained within the second half.
Here’s a have a look at 5 of them:
- Can Pascal Siakam regain his all-star type? It’s a thorny subject, one which has layers past the comprehension of everybody besides the person concerned. However how Pascal Siakam comes again to begin the second half of the common season goes to be fascinating to observe and vastly important to the Raptors probabilities.
Siakam, by his personal admission, didn’t deal with the playoff bubble life nicely final season. He mentioned he misplaced his pleasure for the sport, a part of his spirit, a few of his vitality. And he some troublesome stretches within the first half, like a six-game stretch in late January when he had 15 factors or fewer 4 occasions.
Now he has to come back again after having missed virtually two weeks, at the very least, due to the NBA’s well being and security COVID-19 protocols. Whether or not he was contaminated by the coronavirus or not, that’s a very long time away from the sport for somebody who thrives on fixed work.
The Raptors want him to be extra the all-star Siakam than the run-of-the-mill Siakam to have a profitable second half. He was too spotty within the first 36 video games.
- Will any of the reserves get up? It’s a flaw within the development of the roster in some ways. There are far too many gamers with the identical fundamental expertise in backup roles and it’s no marvel coach Nick Nurse goes by means of a gaggle of them almost each sport looking for a mix that works.
Not one of the prospects — Terence Davis, Stanley Johnson, DeAndre’ Bembry, Aron Baynes, Yuta Watanabe, Matt Thomas, Patrick McCaw — have actually stood out. Davis leads the group in factors (7.1) per sport; Baynes leads them in minutes (19.7), largely as a result of he has began 26 video games earlier than giving manner most nights to Chris Boucher. Past that, the numbers are comparable.
Some nights, some have been good; some nights the seek for contributions has been futile. Night out that course of, getting one in all them or two of them to grab the chance and take the job full time is a should within the second half.
- Do the Raptors must make a deal? We’re about two weeks away from the March 25 commerce deadline and president Masai Ujiri and normal supervisor Bobby Webster have some arduous selections to make.
A few of it goes to the backup scenario: If they will deal for one confirmed veteran wing to come back off the bench and be constant, it might be an enormous increase. They’ve resisted the urge to date to noticeably contemplate roster strikes however they do have a wide range of playing cards they could play. Amongst them: dealing expiring contracts for ones that run out previous this season. though they’d lower into cap area they is likely to be saving for this summer season; and dealing a few of the draft picks they’ve within the subsequent 5 seasons to sweeten any deal.
It’s not simple as a result of there are such a lot of groups nonetheless in competition and discovering a prepared commerce companion with one thing you need and one thing they want from you is so much simpler mentioned that completed. Nevertheless it’s going to be one thing to observe between now and March 25.
- Can Norm Powell and OG Anunoby proceed their development? Powell and Anunoby had large first halves. Powell (18.4 factors per sport) pressured the Raptors to vary the best way they play, with coach Nick Nurse going to a smaller lineup, as a result of he was so productive as a starter.
Anunoby, nonetheless suffering from accidents that stored him out of 10 video games and caught up within the COVID-19 internet that pressured him out of at the very least two extra, has been the versatile defensive presence the Raptors want however his enchancment as a scorer (13.8 factors per sport), particularly close to the basket, has been a nice shock.
The 2 have tended up to now to be a bit up and down, however the Raptors can’t afford that this season. They want the identical kind of manufacturing within the remaining 36 video games.
- Can the Raptors deal with the grind of the schedule? In some ways, the Raptors have been fortunate within the first half of the season. That they had just one sport postponed due to COVID-19 — some groups had as many as 4 — and solely misplaced important gamers for 2 of their first 36 outings, barring any developments over the all-star break.
However the second half isn’t any picnic. The Raptors must play 36 video games in simply over two months and the way they deal with that load will go an extended technique to figuring out the place they end. Nurse has already began speaking about discovering video games wherein to relaxation his closely used gamers (Kyle Lowry turns 35 this month, Fred VanVleet is among the many leaders in minutes performed).
They’ll want some breaks, like no long-term harm points and no additional rash of coronavirus absences, they usually’ll want the identical luck within the second half that they’d within the first. And that’s a giant ask.