A check up after a few weeks

So it's been a few weeks now and the our favourite dinosaur team is sitting at 4-2 good for 5th in the eastern conference sandwiched between Milwaukee and Charlotte (imagine saying that at the start of the year). A few things have stuck out to me early in our title defence season.

What’s going on with the rotation?

Much like last regular season Nurse has made some weird line up decisions as far who he's deciding to trot out there. We saw a lot of Terrence Davis in preseason (yes I know it's preseason but still he was our 8th man) and the focus seemed to be allowing him to the primary ball handler in line-ups where someone like Freddy would be out there as well to supply some shooting. However in recent games he only logged 8 minutes against the bucks, 1 minute against the pistons and only 30 seconds against the magic. I personally really liked (much like everyone else in raptors twitter) what I saw out of Davis early on, he offered some elite athleticism that no one else could really offer in the backcourt and made some good reads playmaking wise, and still contributed with the a few catch and shoot 3's. A player that can do the things he can should be perfect to Lowry a spell, because the minutes he is currently logging (1st in the league at an insane 38 minutes a game!!!!!!!!) is unsustainable given his age and playstyle. Our young core of Pascal, Freddy and OG can handle bigger workloads and it's important the vets a given the rest they need come playoff time.

The young guys

Seeing Pascal make the leap we all thought he was capable of plus more has been so much fun to watch to start the season. As a shooter last year Pascal it felt like Pascal rarely made an 3's that weren't catch and shoot from the corner but now seeing him having the confidence to string together multiple dribble moves and shoot from behind the arc or a deep two (grrrr), it really make you wonder how much better could he become. It still seems like every game he'll have a layup or two around the ring that he misses that definitely seem like he should make, whether that’s a lack of natural touch or he's just rushing it I'm not sure but if that's something he can fixup he could average around 30 a game. He's showing against the bucks wasn't fantastic partly due to being guarded by Giannis most of the time and his alarming tendency to get into foul trouble that has seemed to pop up this year, which is quite worrying. To be fair though he doesn't struggle against Giannis he was second in defensive player of the year voting last season for a reason, he's one of the only guys that can truly guard all 5 positions.

OG Anunoby also sees to building on from his rookie year, he was never able to get quite right last year with all of his injuries and personal issues he went through last year. He's been the perfect role player and a bit more to start the season, he defends at a really elite level and can check anyone 1-4 with his freakishly long arms and big hands. Although Giannis' stat line last game looked less than ideal I thought he had a few nice one on one possessions on Giannis last game and did a good job of walling off some of his drives and keeping him in front and forcing him to pick up his dribble. His shooting also seems to have taken a step forward since that promising rookie season, he's currently hitting 45% of his 3's which seems unsustainable (hopefully I'm wrong) but if he can settle in between the high 30's and low 40's he's still a great option for Freddy, Kyle and Pascal kickouts. As a playmaker he seems to have made some strides as well throwing a nice variety of bounce passes, chest passes and even passes out of the Siakam-esque spin into tight windows to find guys. If he can continue to develop his handle and be able to dribble in traffic instead of just straight line drives off close outs he could be a really nice third wheel to pair with Giannis in a few years.

Title Defence

We're still going to be a team that ends up with home court advantage and pushes for 50 wins. This team clearly isn't as good as last year and that's OK!!!. After every loss or stupid Norm pull up 3 or passed up Gasol shot don't stress, we will be ok. We are champions and this is our victory lap even if it ends up finishing as a loss in 6 to the sixers in the second round. The Lowry championship parade gifs will be enough to get us through all of our troubles, we're probably in for a weird year next season, so lets enjoy this one!.