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Listen to That’s A Rap #57: On good roster problems and those new jerseys

Toronto’s got a minutes problem on the horizon that all teams would want. How will all these overachievers get ample playing time? Listen to the latest episode of That’s A Rap!

Orlando Magic v Toronto Raptors Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Tell me if this sounds familiar.

Raptors control early. Nikola Vucevic disappears (1-of-8 shooting before injuring his ankle). Magic annoyingly stick around. Raps pull through. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Alright, that’s probably a little harsh. Not only because Vucevic is now out for four weeks with an ankle injury, but it was just a season ago where Orlando handed Toronto’s two of their most lopsided defeats last regular season.

Nick Nurse continues maximizing the players on the floor, regardless of injuries and some bouts of stagnant offense. In the Raptors’ latest home victory (6-0 at Scotiabank Arena), Fred VanVleet may have led all scorers, but it was the bench’s contribution that, again, propelled Toronto to victory.

Listen to the latest episode of That’s A Rap, as we break down the Raptors latest victory, as well as other off-court news surrounding the team.

On This Week’s Episode:

As we discovered last season, this budding rivalry between MIP candidates, Pascal Siakam and Jonathan Isaac, has gone slightly in the direction of the young Magic phenom. Isaac once again kept Siakam in check with his length and mobility. Good thing the Raptors are not a one-trick pony. In fact, these Raptors are quickly establishing themselves as one of the deepest teams in the league.

After a one-year hiatus, it appears the Raptors have a new Bench Mob. Name any Raptors non-starter and you’re either naming an undrafted player (Terrence Davis, Chris Boucher, Matt Thomas), or non-lottery pick that’s over-achieved their draft position (Serge Ibaka, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Norm Powell). Toronto’s scouting and player development coaches are the real MVPs.

Toronto’s inching closer to full strength. Who’s the first man off the bench? Is Serge Ibaka still the nominal sixth starter? Has Terrence Davis passed Patrick McCaw as the third point guard? What about RHJ? Could his defensive intensity and offensive efficiency (especially in the dunker’s spot) earn him some transition time with the starters? Pretty awesome that the Raptors went from “who do we sign now that Lowry/Ibaka are out” to “there’s simply not enough minutes for all these great players.”

Five months after claiming the title, the Raptors are still learning ‘championship etiquette.’ Much has been made about Bobby Webster’s recent announcement that former Raptors would not be receiving Championship rings. More specifically, players that played during the 2018-19 season as Raptors, but not on the Championship-winning roster. That list would include Jonas Valanciunas, C.J. Miles, and Delon Wright, among others. While that may seem insensitive and a bit out-of-touch, it’s actually common practice. Anderson Varejao is the only player bestowed that honour, by the Golden State Warriors. In fact, he was offered on two occasions (turning down once). Do you side with tradition? Or did Toronto miss an opportunity to start a new trend?

Another trend has surprised the league... mediocre City jerseys from Nike. From Dallas’ Fresh-Prince-inspired threads to Milwaukee’s innuendo-filled jerseys, Nike shot several airballs with design, leaving fans dumbfounded and Twitter fingers happy. What’s your favourite City jersey? Which team actually nailed it?

As a Toronto Sports-based podcast, we felt compelled to discuss the Toronto Maple Leafs’ firing of head coach, Mike Babcock. In a city where the defending NBA Champions have started the season strong (10-4), despite the departures of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, as well as injuries to Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, the Raptors still sit second fiddle on most Canadian broadcasters to their Hockey counterparts. While it’s unfortunate for Babcock (and some Leafs fans), there’s always that hope that your favourite team can strike gold with the right coach. Oh, hi Nick!

1:30 - Champs Rule Everything Around Me

7:00 - Crew Runs Everything Around Masai

22:00 - Colleagues Rule Everything Around Me

28:05 - Carats Rule Everything Around Me

40:20 - Cream Rules Everything Around Milwaukee

50:25 - Coach Ruins Everything Around Maple Leafs