Title: Preseason and postprandial: 15 takeaways from a sleepy Raptors-Bulls Thanksgiving exhibition
Date: October 13, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I provided takeaways from the Raptors’ third preseason game, the annual depth-chart showcase colloquially known as The Blake Murphy Bowl.
Every preseason holds the promise of one game perfectly tailored to my particular niche interests.
In earlier years, the NBA had a long enough preseasons that teams would punt on one or two games, giving their key players additional time off and getting a longer look at depth pieces. As teams have put increased emphasis on stocking their G League programs and finding competitive advantages from internal development, those extended auditions have grown in importance. The introduction of two-way contracts, and the resultant addition of on-the-margins decisions to make in camp, has had the same effect.
When the NBA shortened the preseason to four or five games, that became trickier to balance. Players need time to get their rhythm and conditioning in place for opening night, putting a premium on more scarce preseason opportunities. Thankfully, there is Japan. The Toronto Raptors spent most of the last week overseas for a two-game series in Tokyo. A return flight Friday left the team plenty lethargic come Sunday. Heads hung low at locker stalls, voices skewed raspy and bags sagged beneath eyes. They say, as a rough estimate, that it takes one day to adjust for every hour of time difference. A tight turnaround probably minimizes that rate but renders the first days back even more out-of-sorts.