Nearing the point of low returns
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.
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.
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.