Title: Analyzing the new-look Raptors offence in its first game post-Kawhi Leonard
Date: October 24, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I broke down how the Raptors distributed their offense in their first game without Kawhi Leonard.
The 2018-19 Toronto Raptors had one heck of a 2019-20 opening night. There were, of course, the rings and the banner. There were old faces returning, like Eric Moreland and Jodie Meeks. There were also gargantuan stat lines. The NBA’s four leading scorers at the end of Tuesday night were all champions last season.
Two of them, however, were playing head-to-head for their respective Los Angeles teams. Danny Green was a monster, hitting seven 3s on his way to 28 points. Kawhi Leonard was his usual self, scoring an efficient 30 with deadly mid-range accuracy and a lease at the free-throw line. The only names ahead of them were Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam, with 34 points apiece.
In one fell swoop, Tuesday shone a spotlight on the biggest questions facing the Raptors this year and their potential answer: How, exactly, do you go about making up for the loss of Leonard and Green on offence?
The Raptors did their best. In a 130-122 overtime victory against the Pelicans, they scored 113 points per 100 possessions, exactly their median output from the 2018-19 regular season. That’s a pretty good outcome on a night with a clear emotional hangover – and turnover toll – early on and good-not-great shooting. There were some red flags and there were some encouraging signs.
What follows is an analysis of the Raptors’ offence in their first game without Leonard.