The Toronto Raptors are getting their share of Canadian content this weekend. And if you thought the Oklahoma City were deep into the whole red flannel and maple syrup vibe, let me introduce you to the Indiana Pacers, a team filled to the brim with Canadians!
First, there's Montreal’s Chris Duarte, who’s unfortunately injured and will miss tonight’s game. The 2021 first round pick (13th overall) had an impressive rookie season, averaging 12.5 points per game; his numbers are down so far this year but hopefully he can bounce back when he’s healthy again.
Next up, Toronto’s Oshae Brissett, who made the Raptors look foolish for letting him go (Toronto signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2019 but let him walk partway through the Tampa season); he signed with the Pacers in XXX and had an impressive 16-game stretch to close out the 2020-21 season, averaging 13 points and 7 boards on 47/42/76 shooting splits. Last year he came back down to earth a bit, but still played 23 minutes a night (and started 25 games).
Now, however, he’s out of the rotation — he’s appeared in just six games, for a total of 51 minutes.
That’s possibly because Benedict Mathurin has become a star rookie sixth man through the first month of the season. Mathurin, picked 6th overall, is averaging 20 points, 3.5 boards and 2.2 assists in 28 minutes off the bench, with 46/44/85 shooting splits. I mean, holy crap! Forget just great rookie numbers, those might be Sixth Man of the Year numbers!
Finally we have Indy’s other Canadian rookie, Andrew Nembhard, drafted 31st overall; the 6’5” guard is playing 20 minutes a night and averaging 6.5 points, 2.3 boards and 3.5 assists.
With all of this CanCon, it’s safe to say that Nick Nurse’s other team — Team Canada — is in good hands. But tonight, his Raptors are going to be in tough.
Not only are the Raptors are still without Precious Achiuwa and Pascal Siakam, but they’ll also be without Fred VanVleet, who’s dealing with a non-COVID illness. Khem Birch is close to a return but it sounds like Monday is most likely.
For the Pacers, other than Duarte, they’ll be missing Daniel Theis, who just underwent knee surgery.
Where to watch:
Sportsnet, 7:00 PM ET
Toronto Raptors — Malachi Flynn, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Christian Koloko
Indiana Pacers — Andrew Nembhard, Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Jalen Smith, Myles Turner
Toronto Raptors — Precious Achiuwa (ankle – out), Khem Birch (knee – out), Pascal Siakam (adductor – out)
Indiana Pacers — Chris Duarte (ankle – out), Daniel Theis (knee – out)