How Norman Powell and Frank Vogel changed the course of Raptors history in 2016

Title: How Norman Powell and Frank Vogel changed the course of Raptors history in 2016
Date: April 22, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about one of the most important moments in Raptors’ history, Norman Powell’s Game 5 dunk against the Pacers in 2016.

It was as clear a metaphor as basketball allows. The ball, rattling insecurely, back and forth in Norman Powell’s right hand, with a franchise’s future in the balance. Everyone knew the stakes — of the game, of the series, and of the 2015-16 season — but few would have predicted that Powell’s hands would be the ones responsible for holding so much fate.

A second-round pick of the Raptors in the 2015 NBA Draft, Powell had earned rave reviews and secured a multi-year contract thanks to a highlight-filled All-Tournament performance at the post-draft Las Vegas Summer League. Raptors fans took quick notice. That fall, when splashy free-agent signing DeMarre Carroll struggled to fit his new club and later went down with an injury, fans begged for larger doses of Powell, the unlikely rookie standout. The Raptors were less sure, however. And so throughout the 2015-16 regular season, Powell oscillated between the Raptors’ rotation, bench, and the D-League, foreshadowing the next few years of his career.

In January 2016 when it was determined Carroll required arthroscopic knee surgery, and James Johnson later proved too inconsistent for Dwane Casey’s tastes, Powell took advantage, starting the final 17 games of the regular season and the first game of the 2016 playoffs against the Indiana Pacers.

Continue reading at The Athletic.

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