Title: Lack of discipline, uncontested 3s and more: 5 stats to explain the Raptors slide on defence
Date: March 30, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I broke down the Raptors’ dramatic decline on the defensive end this season.
At the end of the 2019-20 season, four different Toronto Raptors received votes for the league’s All-Defensive Teams. None of them, however, actually made the team. Kawhi Leonard’s 2018-19 inclusion on the second team remains the only time a Raptor has gotten the All-Defensive nod — ever. Lack of official recognition aside, four players having an argument as one of the top defenders at their position is a good foundation for a strong defence moving forward.
The Raptors returned all four of those players for 2020-21. Two of them, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, were entering the early part of the peak phase of their development curve. One, OG Anunoby, was even earlier, still firmly in the developmental stage. And the fourth, Kyle Lowry, has long defied aging with guile and savvy. Add in the reigning coach of the year in Nick Nurse, and even with significant roster turnover, it seemed likely the Raptors would have a solid defence this season.