Two years after the Raptor's close NBA championship battle, the front office continues to build on a unique roster focused on extremely tall players with high-level athleticism. However, after Toronto broke up the Kyle Lowry-Demar DeRozan nucleus and rented superstar Kawhi Leonard for their championship run, it became apparent that the franchise was not a popular free-agent destination.
Decorated front office team president Masai Ujiri and coach Nick Nurse constructed a roster around 3D wings in their star player Pascal Siakam, recently drafted forward Scottie Barnes, O.G. Anunoby, and Precious Achiuwa. In addition, two tough-minded guards leading the charge are Fred VanVleet, and Gary Trent Jr. The team also signed Otto Porter Jr. and Juancho Hernangomez, who had an outstanding performance at the recently held European Championship.
Fast Break Oriented
The Raptors thrive in transition offense, with multiple players capable of finishing around the rim. The stats back up the team's mindset. In the previous season, Toronto Raptors were second in points off turnovers and third in fast break scoring.
What the team lacks in a half-court set with few sharpshooters on the offensive end, it tries to compensate in run and gun style with a transition mentality. Scottie Barnes and Achiuwa were draft hits from the Toronto front office, and both fit the philosophy perfectly. Barnes was the target for many clubs around the league, but the Raptors feel they found a foundational piece in him.
How Can the New Rule Help Raptors?
The NBA decided to make a few rule changes for the current season. One of these was the league’s decision to stop so-called "take fouls" that came from Europe and deprived fans of many great transition finishes. A take foul is an intentional foul that prevents the fast-break opportunity, and the defender commits it without making a play on the ball. The referee will stop the play in case of a foul and give the attacking team one free throw and possession of the ball. However, if the defender tried on the ball, referees could assess the situation and call a regular foul by giving two free throws.
This new rule won't be enforced in the game's last two minutes, regular and overtime. The league doesn't want the new rule to kill the momentum of a team fighting for a comeback, while the NBA still wants to have a clear path to the basket rule, which can be like a foul.
Fans will hopefully see more attractive transition baskets, and if play stops because of the foul, the attacking team will get the free throw and the ball.
Can the Raptors Take Advantage of the Rule?
The Raptors are not among the contending teams, at least according to most sportsbooks. With such emphasis on the fast break and the new rule, we can see some additional momentum coming Toronto's way. Sports bettor tip: BetMGM Sportsbook Ontario has some amazing exclusive offers for those new to sports betting.
The raptors started the season 2-2, and all their games were competitive and close. Without a doubt, the new take rule will create more opportunities for the Raptors to come on top in close games.
The crucial part will be the free-throw percentage for the Canadian team. So far, the Raptors have below average free throw percentage of 83%, with some critical pieces like Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes, and Precious Achiuwa below 70%. If team and volume shooting players like Siakam improve their free throw percentage, the Raptors will benefit from the new rule and could move up in the standings.