Title: Sometimes it snows in April — maybe one day we’ll see the Raptors again
Date: April 21, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the return of the real Raptors, a fourth win in a row, and Prince.
Wearing purple, the Toronto Raptors looked more like themselves than they have in months.
Or, at least, the version of themselves they expected before the 2020-21 season went off the rails. Whether they’d get anything close to this version has been an open question. You might even call it a firm no since Norman Powell was traded — and welcomed in touching fashion — to Portland. These Raptors have oscillated between struggling, thriving and painfully thinned out, first by misfortune and then by choice. The purgatorial space they occupy in the standings has at least incentivized some extra rest for key players, opening the window for a new wave of Raptors to thrive.
The result was a 6-4 stretch with only a combined 17 games for their four best players: Kyle Lowry (toe and rest), Fred VanVleet (hip), OG Anunoby (calf, knee and rest) and Pascal Siakam (shoulder and rest). At long last, the depth was delivering — and growing before Nick Nurse’s eyes. It all begged a pair of questions: What would a healthier version of this team look like? And is it too late for it to matter?
The answer to the first question is a resounding “pretty good,” as made plenty evident in their 114-103 victory against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.