Title: 8th man power rankings: The options after Raptors lose Patrick McCaw
Date: November 7, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors’ need to experiment with their depth now more than ever with Patrick McCaw injured.
It’s taking the NBA less time to catch on to Matt Thomas than the other way around.
In just his fourth appearance Wednesday, teammates and opponents alike showed themselves aware of Thomas’ prolific outside shooting ability. Early in the fourth quarter, Serge Ibaka found Thomas in the corner for an open look. Ibaka is not known as the savviest playmaker, and part of his improvement in that area this year has been anticipating the kind of help that freed Thomas. A minute later, Norman Powell drew multiple Sacramento Kings in transition and fired a difficult pass leading Thomas into the corner. De’Aaron Fox flew dramatically past Thomas with a close-out, fell victim to a pump-fake and then watched as Thomas drilled a second three over a pair of arms.
This, in short, is what the Raptors need from Thomas when he gets an opportunity. The Raptors have started the year hot from long range, and when that ultimately regresses, Thomas can provide additional juice — and spacing — for the second unit. There will be bumps with the other aspects of his game, particularly on defence. With the number of plus-defenders the Raptors play regularly, that may be fine if Thomas can punish defences in this manner.