Title: First look at full-squad affirms depth as a strength, and other observations from Raptors-Suns
Date: November 3, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, I broke down the Raptors’ win over the Suns, Kawhi Leonard’s jammed foot, and more.
Early in the fourth quarter, OG Anunoby caught the ball above the elbow and immediately handed it off to Fred VanVleet. VanVleet drove down the right side of the key and fired a bullet of a pass to C.J. Miles in the far corner. Miles smoothly knocked it down, putting the Toronto Raptors ahead of the Phoenix Suns by 18.
It is exactly what people may have expected from the Raptors had they looked this far ahead on the schedule before the season. That it happened as seamlessly as it did on Friday, though, was a pleasant and somewhat unexpected surprise. Raptors’ all-bench units were struggling to date and this marked the first game back from injury for VanVleet and from a personal absence for Anunoby. Miles, meanwhile, entered play in a 6-for-26 3-point shooting slump to start the season. Delon Wright, not on the floor for this moment but a key member of a functioning Raptors bench, was also still working his way back to top form following an adductor injury.
Friday was the first time in nine games this season that the Raptors have had their full roster available. Over the course of 82 games, teams can’t expect to be fully healthy. Starting the season with this tough a stretch was unusual, though, especially with the added wrinkle of Kawhi Leonard missing two games for rest.