Title: Raptors’ recent roster shuffling reveals clearer picture of player’s roles down the stretch
Date: January 22, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors playing shorthanded so often and what they might be able to learn from it for once they’re healthy.
“I hate worrying about the future ’cause all my current problems are based around the past.” – Modern Baseball, “Fine, Great”
To hear him tell it, it is a damn good thing Nick Nurse gained experience coaching in the G League. In that environment, rosters are constantly being shuffled for call-ups, 10-day contracts, overseas deals or the search for marginally better waiver-wire fits. The only constant is the absence of constants, something Raptors 905 head coach Jama Mahlalela is learning right now just as Nurse did a few years back.
This isn’t supposed to be the case once a coach graduates to the NBA. The rosters — at least the top 12 or 13 spots — are supposed to be stable, and while every team deals with injuries over the course of an 82-game season, there is an expected sense of certainty.
That has not been the case for Nurse in his rookie season with the Raptors. The team has dealt with a significant number of small injuries and have treated players, particularly Kawhi Leonard, cautiously to compound that. Nurse half-joked this week that he doesn’t think too far ahead or fret about who he doesn’t have available, he just shows up at the team’s walkthrough, sees who’s available, and goes from there. Dealing with caution against a rigorous schedule, a superstar who missed most of last season due to a chronic overuse injury and a growing understanding and application of sports science and data, is becoming a reality of “modern basketball.”