Raptors not overreacting to lack of ‘sunshine and roses’ after ugly win against Bulls

Title:Raptors not overreacting to lack of ‘sunshine and roses’ after ugly win against Bulls
Date: December 30, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors’ ongoing offensive struggles after they narrowly escaped a near-upset from the Bulls.

The​ Toronto Raptors are mired​ in​ an offensive slump.

This is​ not particularly debatable. On​​ Friday, they matched the worst 2-point shooting night in franchise history and were run off the floor by a sub-.500 Orlando Magic team. The two performances prior — a shorthanded beat-down from a very good Philadelphia 76ers team on the second night of a back-to-back and an ugly if spirited post-Christmas comeback win against the Miami Heat — were understandable, albeit moderately concerning. Do not consider Sunday’s 95-89 victory against the Chicago Bulls a return to form.

The Bulls are no longer the laughing stock they were earlier in the season, when they were down several key bodies and the Raptors summarily punked them in Chicago with two-thirds of a roster. Since replacing Fred Hoiberg with Jim Boylen, the dead-coach bounce has been real, with Chicago’s defence ranking in the top 10 in the league in that time. Getting Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen back from injury has made the offence at least a little more threatening. Wendell Carter Jr. is growing rapidly.

Still, the Bulls also offered an opportunity for the Raptors to get right. Even down Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas, they were significant favorites. Maybe it wasn’t a game the Raptors could have expected to cruise in, but were there a night on the schedule to work some kinks out, Chicago was it. Things are about to get much tougher again for a week or two, with games ahead against Utah (a top-three team at limiting shots at the rim and a top-five defence overall), San Antonio (on fire the last month, surely with a charged-up DeMar DeRozan), Milwaukee (who have had the Raptors’ number twice already) and Indiana (the league’s best defence).

Continue reading at The Athletic.

2 thoughts on “Raptors not overreacting to lack of ‘sunshine and roses’ after ugly win against Bulls

  1. Gerrard Rocchi says:

    Hi Blake, long time reader, Athletic subscriber, and lover of all things Raptors. In fact, I even sport a #55 jersey to many games, which likely makes only me and Delon the ones wearing that number. But, in addition to the direct disappointment with Delon’s reticence and passive play at times, relative to my expectations, it seems to me like the Raptors commit more turnovers by the other players on the floor when he runs the point. Is this just my imagination? If it is real, I have noticed he is playing as if he has last year’s bench on the floor with him. He gives it up early, circles under the basket and heads for the other corner, leaving players with less adequate handles than the starters to weave above the key. It is possible, in this view, that his deployment or usage is sub-optimal for the line-ups he plays with. And if Ethan Sherwood Strauss’s “Rock, Paper, Scissors” view of matchups is accurate (and I believe it is), I think the same applies to how one plays with one’s own teammates. Would love your views. Gerry

    • Blake Murphy says:

      Hi Gerry,
      The Raptors have about the same TO% with or without Wright and actually turn it over slightly less when Wright is the lone PG than in other scenarios. So in purely statistical terms, that impact isn’t there. With that said, the offense has struggled in those minutes and he’s clearly still learning how to be the lone PG, something he’s rarely done (fewer than 1000 minutes) in his career. He’s oddly inexperienced as a solo PG for a 26-year-old in year four.

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