Title: Jalen Harris leads next-gen Bench Mob audition as thinned-out Raptors lose to Grizzlies
Date: May 8, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Jalen Harris getting a big late-season opportunity and why those chances matter for future years.
On the final day of the 2016-17 season, the Raptors played the Cavaliers with little on the line. While it would technically represent a preview of their second-round playoff series, Cleveland had already secured home court for that eventuality even though the Raptors could match their record with a win. Understandably, the Cavaliers rested LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
The Raptors faced a slightly tougher decision. Raptors 905 were in the midst of what would be their run to a championship, and a number of the depth pieces they’d turn to if they rested their top guys were in Mississauga. As fortune would have it, the 905 swept Cleveland’s affiliate in the first round, freeing up that depth brigade for the NBA regular-season finale, without risking their availability for the second round. Toronto opted to rest DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka while limiting four of their primary rotation pieces, including Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas, to 17 minutes or fewer.