Before dispatching the Wizards, our beloved Raptors ran us through the ringer. Admit it, after game 4 you were wringing your hands in fear of, yet another, first round knock out. Great play was tempered by more than a handful of playoff dogs! Which players had our 6? Who let the team down? Starting with Casey, how did we perform in our first series.
Dwayne Casey: Mixed bag, average grade for first two games. Horrific coaching in games 3, 4, and all but the last 6 minutes of game 5. Excellent coaching in game 6.
OG Anunoby: Great steady play. Inspired first game. Did all that was asked of him and more.
Lorenzo Brown: Not enough game play
Demar DeRozan: Excellent steady play. Throughout the series Demar reacted well to the Wizards defence.
Serge Ibaka: Excellent and inspired first game. Disappeared for the entire rest of the series. Defence was marginally better than offence. Greatest disappointment on the entire team. Only game 1 kept him from getting an F.
Kyle Lowry: Very solid play throughout the series. Did not get to experience the real 'Lowry Time' of past years, but no complaints with what he did offer both on defence and offence.
CJ Miles: Solid play through the series. We would all have loved to see CJ get more looks and convert better than 38.7 from the three. His intensity was excellent, his defence was steady and his offensive court movement effectively spread the Wizard defence.
Lucas Nogueira: Only played in three games due to his inability to assert himself on the court. Lacked intensity, could not get involved in the action. Good plan for coach to limit his play.
Jacob Poeltl: Very disappointed with Jacob's play. On the defence, where we count on his intensity, he failed to box out. Poeltl showed us poor rebounding all series. Failed to play to regular season standards, no blocking, no intensity. I expected much more from Jacob. I really like him and was surprised he only gave us about 40% of the intensity he showed during the year.
Norman Powell: All year long, I have been disappointed with Norman. Although he only played in four games, Norman was terrible. His defence was marginal to good, his offence was non existent. Whenever he is in the game, I wonder what coach is thinking.
Pascal Siakam: Failed to play at the level of intensity of which we are accustom. All our young bigs let us down in the series. Pascal had a few good runs, but he lacked the consistency showed during the season. His rim protection and defensive rebounding also proved below standard. Game 5 and 6 proved Pascal's defence intensity is tied too closely to his offensive success, in this regard he could learn form consummate professionals like C.J. and Lowry..
Jonas Valanciunas: Good steady play in the last half of the series. Was marginalised by the Warrior defence more than I expected. At times he seemed to have trouble involving himself in the play. His usual awesome picks were weaker than in regular season play. Wanted to see better rebounding in games 3 and 4. I believe much of his uneven play was a result of Casey not using him enough. He earned Casey's respect all year, but was not rewarded with the playoff game time he deserved.
Fred VanVleet: Only had him for games 5 and 6, what a shame. He played aggressively on defence, and struggled shooting. However his play making and floor spacing was excellent. Siakum lit up like a Christmas tree thanks to FVV making some beautiful dishes. Wish I could have graded him higher but, considering his shooting numbers, I doubt Fred would have wanted me to give him more than a C+.
Delon Wright: Great series from start to finish. He could have taken more shots, he needs more confidence in himself. As always, I love his defensive intensity. Delon's fast court reads and hands proved to really impact the series with timely steals.
Team Grade: Overall, I liked our play, however, I felt we could have performed much better if Casey had coached more effectively in games 2, 3 and 4. Especially noticeable, until late in game 5, Casey's use of Jonas was terrible. Additionally, we lost ground with the inability of Poeltl and Siakum to protection the rim or rebound with the same tenacity as displayed in the regular season.
Rebounding, rim protection, ball movement, intensity are areas where we must get back to or exceed regular season performance: Unbalanced coaching, inexperience and nerves likely played a good part in our lack of confidence and intensity. I suspect we will bring much more to the table in the next series.
TEAM GRADE: B-
What do you think? How would you grade, coach Casey, the players and overall team play? GO RAPTORS GO!