If, after watching the last two Toronto Raptors games, you feel like bowing out of this one thinking, this team isn’t worth watching until they right the ship, well, I can’t blame you. And who wants to watch them play the Orlando Magic, losers of seven straight games and owners of a 5-18 record??
I’ll tell you who: Me! I want to watch the Raptors play the Magic, for one reason: Paolo Banchero.
The Magic rookie is averaging 23 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, on 47% shooting. Those are pretty freakin’ great numbers; not that I’m saying Banchero is this guy, but LeBron James’ averages as a rookie were 21/6/6 on 42% shooting. Not bad, eh?
Watching a future All-Star fixture in his first season is always a treat. And you know what? There are other fun pieces on this team as well! We’ll miss seeing Jalen Suggs (out with a knee injury), but Franz Wagner and Cole Anthony are also fun players to watch, and Bol Bol is... well, Bol is a dang treat!
Bol Bol is so much more than just a fun story; he’s legitimately one of the most talented and exciting young players in the NBA. He dropped a spectacular 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting at Brooklyn on Monday. #MagicTogether pic.twitter.com/dlGLOrJfks— Brett Usher (@UsherNBA) November 29, 2022
Now, as with most teams giving tons of minutes to young players, the Magic don’t play much D (27th in defensive rating). The Raptors’ offense has been in the toilet since Pascal Siakam got hurt, and hasn’t been much better since he came back (105.1 ORating in the last three) so hopefully we’ll get to see the best of both worlds: Orlando’s young guys doing fun things, and Toronto’s offense taking advantage of the Magic’s poor D to get themselves back on track.
Lineup-wise, Christian Koloko will start once again for the Raptors, with Gary Trent Jr. coming off the bench. Otto Porter and Precious Achiuwa remain out.
Where to watch:
TSN, 8:00 PM ET
Toronto Raptors — OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes, Christian Koloko
Orlando Magic — Markelle Fultz, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero, Bol Bol, Moe Wagner
Toronto Raptors — Precious Achiuwa (ankle – out), Otto Porter Jr. (toe – out))
Orlando Magic — Wendell Carter Jr. (foot – out), Gary Harris (hamstring – out), Jonathan Isaac (knee – out), Jalen Suggs (knee – out), Chuma Ekeke (knee – out), Mo Bamba (back – out)