Ah, I remember Monday. A younger time, a more innocent time... a time when I thought the Toronto Raptors had a great opportunity to start 2023 off right, with a win against a feisty Indiana Pacers team currently sitting well above them in the standings.
And so here we are, once again, hoping the Raptors take advantage of an opportunity to right the ship — because, at 16-21, those opportunities are dwindling. Tonight’s matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks is the first game of a six-game homestand, with no back-to-backs; the Bucks themselves are on a B2B, will be missing Khris Middleton, Joe Ingles, Goerge Hill and Jrue Holiday, and the Raptors are healthy (minus Otto Porter Jr.), with a relatively easy schedule for the rest of the way.
The Raptors have the 2nd easiest remaining strength of schedule this season. 21 of their 45 games remaining are against teams currently under .500.— Keerthika Uthayakumar (@keerthikau) January 4, 2023
In other words, if they’re going to turn it around, it’s gotta start right here, tonight.
If not, well, trade winds are blowing (or dominoes are about to fall, as other execs are saying as detailed in Michael Grange’s piece earlier today). I’ve written about not blowing the team up, not firing Nick Nurse, and not trading Fred VanVleet, but at some point... the Raptors are going to cross the proverbial Rubicon and will have to make a move, lest they be stuck in purgatory forever.
They can change course, starting tonight. Will they? Let’s watch!
Where to watch:
Sportsnet, 7:30 pm ET
Toronto Raptors — O.G. Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr.
Milwaukee Bucks — Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pat Connaughton, Brook Lopez, Grayson Allen, Jevon Carter
Toronto Raptors — Otto Porter Jr. (foot – out)
Milwaukee Bucks — Khris Middleton (knee – out), Joe Ingles (knee – out), Goerge Hill (non-COVID illness – out), Jrue Holiday (non-COVID illness – out)