Two games into preseason, the Raptors have had more intrigue around them than originally anticipated. Leaving the results aside, several players have shown enough growth and improvement, or just flat out been better than expected. Terrence Ross looks like he's found a new gear, Norman Powell's shot looks better than ever, Pascal Siakam is bringing that infectious energy off the bench. It is all good in Raptor land at the moment.
On the other hand, the Clippers lost by 780 points (approximately) against the Warriors last night so basically everyone's playing for second anyway, and we're all going to die soon so does anything matter? The answer is yes -- the Raptors beat the Warriors in the first preseason game, so the Raptors need to win by 781 points to stamp their championship credentials. Preseason is hard enough to get excited by, but basketball is back and hope springs anew. Don't harsh my mellow.
Here are three things to watch for:
Terrence Ross aka Will Barton 3.0
Terrence Ross scored 23 points in 20 minutes last game.
"You can never fully be out on Terrence Ross."
- Isaac Newton
I'm curious to see whether he can keep it up, because if we know anything about Ross, it's that he can be relied upon for inconsistency.
The Battle for the 15th spot
Fred VanVleet has been really solid this preseason and looks to justifiably have the inside track on the last roster spot, especially given Delon Wright's long term injury. He has more than held his own against the Warriors' and Nuggets' potent backcourts, and brings an air of stability and serenity whenever he plays.
Still, the versatility of Drew Crawford and the dynamism of Jarrod Uthoff are intriguing, and I'm curious to see if they can stake their claim for a roster spot as well.
How much will you love Pesky Siakam
The Raptors definitely have some room for someone to grab minutes at the backup 4/5 and Pascal Siakam is making a great case that it should be him. Even though he didn't follow up his 9 point, 8 rebound effort against GSW with another strong performance against the Nuggets, the energy and athleticism he plays with has been a joy to watch. Consider that this is a dude who came up through Masai Ujiri's Giants of Africa camp a few years back and it's hard not to root for this success story to continue.
Where to Watch: 10:30 PM EST, TSN 1/4