Near­ing the point of low re­turns

The Peterborough Examiner - - SPORTS - Doug Smith Read more on Doug Smith’s Sports Blog at thes­tar.com and send your ques­tions to [email protected]­tar.ca We re­serve the right to edit for length, clar­ity and punc­tu­a­tion.

The league lead­ers in min­utes played this sea­son in­clude Kyle Lowry (now injured) and Fred VanVleet. This is a con­cern­ing trend and one that I don’t ex­pect to be sus­tain­able through­out the course of the long NBA sea­son … If Nick Nurse wants to con­tinue to have them both start­ing and fin­ish­ing games, what can be done to help re­duce their work­load? Should Ma­sai Ujiri be look­ing to ac­quire a third point guard such as Jeremy Lin, who was ser­vice­able in that role last sea­son? Speak­ing of Lin, if a team was to de­sire his services at some point, would he be able to sign with an NBA team this year?

— Dr. Justin

Even be­fore Fri­day (when Lowry suf­fered a frac­tured left thumb that’s ex­pected to cost him two or three weeks) I think coach Nick Nurse re­al­ized he had to trust the likes of Ter­ence Davis or Matt Thomas, or get Pat McCaw back in fol­low­ing knee surgery. It was not sus­tain­able and ev­ery­one knew it. I also think Ma­sai will even­tu­ally look to get a third point guard some­how, but that’s go­ing to take some ros­ter ma­nip­u­lat­ing. I don’t know what Lin’s con­tract is in China, but if he’s got an NBA out or wants to wait till the end of sea­son, he’s free to sign with any NBA team. It won’t be the Rap­tors.

Given that you’re work­ing on your tome (and hope­fully not your demise), I was won­der­ing if pig­gy­back­ing on that you could do a “Where are they now?” fea­ture on the blog. Pick some ob­scure for­mer Rap­tor and give us their where­abouts and what they are up to.

— Santino

Yeah, try­ing to do an ex-Rap­tor of the week each week in Noth­ing But Net, and I’m sure that as the sea­son drones on we’ll get to some ob­scure ones.

Con­sid­er­ing the lack of depth on the Rap­tors, what would be a suc­cess­ful road trip? I’m think­ing 2-3 would be good con­sid­er­ing the tal­ent of the teams they are play­ing. I am sur­prised that Ron­dae Hol­lis-Jef­fer­son and Stan­ley John­son are not get­ting any floor time con­sid­er­ing they’ve played for other teams. I’m sur­prised Ma­sai brought them in if they’re that weak.

—Dave

Hav­ing got­ten the New Or­leans game de­spite los­ing two key guys in the process, get­ting one more on the road would, I think, make it a good trip (the Rap­tors played the Lak­ers in the second game late Sun­day). But re­ally, it’s all about find­ing groups that work to­gether, get­ting some depth pieces in place, and was even be­fore Kyle and Serge Ibaka went down with in­juries. It’s a long sea­son. At some point, both John­son and Hol­lis-Jef­fer­son are go­ing to have to play. They just aren’t con­sis­tent or good enough right now. Doesn’t mean they won’t be.

Are there any “un­der the radar” play­ers you’re keep­ing an eye out for? Michael Porter Jr. has my at­ten­tion, from No. 1 high school player to an in­jury rid­dled start of a ca­reer, now with Den­ver. — Paul M.

Yeah, he’d be one, but I also won­der how long it’ll take in New Or­leans for them to re­al­ize Nick­eil Walker-Alexan­der is a bet­ter player that Lonzo Ball. And I know he’s un­der the radar for the wrong rea­sons, but Ken­drick Nunn in Mi­ami caught my at­ten­tion.

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