Pre-season load management caught up to the Raptors last night, as most of their top players sat out for rest — and the young guys who played in their place looked exactly like you’d expect against a healthy Bulls squad. Not much to talk about, so let’s keep it quick:
With most of the team sidelined, OG Anunoby had the spotlight. He was... fine? He used his strength to get in the lane on multiple occasions, something I always like to see. But he did make that old mistake — let’s call it “the MoPete” — of leaving his feet too soon and getting stuck in the air as the defense successfully rotated over to him more than once.
OG’s teammates did a good job of moving without the ball and presenting themselves to him, and he did end up with four assists. But that won’t always be the case; let’s hope OG cleans up that bad habit.
Is Chris Boucher Ready to Leap?
I’m really impressed with Chris Boucher so far in the preseason. He looks confident, his game looks smooth. Last year, he often looked to be going too fast, and wanted nothing more than to shoot the ball. Now it looks like the game is slowing down for him, and he can let things come to him.
He finished with 11 points and four boards in 20 minutes. Everyone is saying OG is gonna take the Siakam-like leap this year, but what if it’s Boucher?
Matt Thomas, Playmaker
We all know Matt “99%” Thomas can shoot. Can he do anything else? Hard to say for sure yet, but the pocket pass he made in the second quarter to Dewan Hernandez out of a screen and roll was great to see; he bounced it perfectly into Hernandez’ hands for the layup.
Passing to the screener is a basic basketball skill, obviously, so I don’t want to give Thomas too much credit. But as Raptors fans, we can only cringe at the memory of a guy like Jason Kapono, who, like Thomas, was a bomber brought in to shore up the outside game — but brought absolutely nothing else to the table. If Thomas is a decent passer, in addition to being a sharpshooter, I’ll take it.
Why is Patrick McCaw?
I’ll admit, I’m with most of Raptors Twitter when I watch Patrick McCaw — as in, I just don’t see what the team sees in him. Even in his pre-game interview with Matt Devlin, Nick Nurse mentioned how he really wanted to get McCaw an extended run. Why? I think we have enough of a sample size to know what he brings to the table, which is a lot of energy and not much else.
The Raptors’ “big” signings of the summer — McCaw, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Stanley Johnson — continue to be non-factors. Jefferson is pretty active, and I can see him finding spot minutes. Johnson looks like he’s got one foot out of the league (so does Cameron Payne, honestly). Of all of them, McCaw seems to be the one the team is highest on. What am I not seeing?
Sagaba is Gonna Be Fun
Did you see Sagaba Konate come in, sink two free throws and throw down a vicious two-hander? He almost nailed a corner three too! There was a definite buzz from the crowd when Konate entered the game; I think he’s gonna be this year’s Boucher, or Bruno Caboclo, if you will.
I hope he at least sticks with the 905 so we can see him get some game action!
One more preseason game to go. Honestly, all of the things that have been present since the first game continue to be on display; if anyone is gonna make a leap and show something they haven’t yet, Friday is their last chance.