Tip off of Raptors to highlight what happened to the Toronto Raptors Part 2.

What Happened to the Toronto Raptors Part 2

What happened to the Toronto Raptors? A lot has happened since I wrote part one. Nick Nurse was fired and the team in now doing an extensive search for a new head coach. However, we will get more into that in the coming weeks. But for now let us get into part 2 of this series on what happened to the Toronto Raptors this past year. This issue has been culminating for the last couple of years. Do you want to guess? I think most of us know where I am going.

What Happened to the Toronto Raptors Part 2 – Did Not Developed their Bench

This has been the issue for the last couple of years. The Raptors did not play their bench much. Actually they led the league in the least minutes played by a bench this year. As a result, the starters played heavy minutes this year and this is supported by statistics. Pascal Siakam played the most minutes per game of any player in the NBA. Fred Van Fleet was fifth highest. OG Anunoby was 16th highest and Scottie Barnes was 27th highest. That is a lot of players on your team in the top 30.

On top of that, Otto Porter Jr. was injured for the year and the bench was basically Precious Achiuwa, Chris Boucher and a little bit of Thaddeus Young this year. The rest of the bench players saw only spot minutes and if they committed any mistakes, they would be yanked out and might not play again for a while. And even the main bench players minutes could be spotty at times.

The result was that the bench had no cohesion, no identity and no purpose. Also, with a lot of players needing developmental minutes to improve, they never got the minutes they needed. Why was that? In a nut shell, short term versus long term thinking. And this comes down to coach versus front office. The front office wanted the coach to develop the players they drafted and brought in and give them minutes. The front office felt that the team was not ready for a deep title run. Instead, they wanted to develop some players that were raw and flawed in some ways and see if they can turn them into diamonds with player development. And it makes sense because part of the Raptors identity as they have had a reputation for player development.

However, Nick Nurse doesn’t developed players and never has. The players that were developed were under former coach Dwane Casey. Remember the famous bench mob, that was Casey and not Nurse. Nurse plays veterans and that is pretty much it. Think about the championship team, who played? Veterans. This is fine when you have a team full of veteran players. However, when the veterans players started leaving, there were no new players being developed to eventually replace them. As a result, that is why you have so many players not improve under his tenure. Because of his mentality, newer and younger players were never really used properly or used much at all. Scottie Barnes was the exception but he was the number four pick in the 2021 draft. He had to play Scottie. However, the same can be said of his development, as it also stagnated this year.

The result was a bench unit that did not play much and when they played, they could not contribute much because they did not play much. See the vicious cycle? And this resulted in a lot of losses because either they bench got destroyed by the opposing teams bench or the starters ran out of gas because they were playing so much. It was a lose, lose situation.


Can the bench situation improve? I say it will definitely improve next year. With Nick Nurse gone, the Raptors are looking for someone with some developmental skills. Also, they have a lottery pick and might be able to pick up a player or two in free agency so things are looking up. However, the Raptors will have some work to do to bring back their reputation as a good player development team. But they are moving in the right direction. So lack fundamentals, bench situation are now covered. One more part to go!

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