2023-11-01 · 2 min read · NBA/Basketball
The Toronto Raptors welcome the Portland Trail Blazers

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP | Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a tough start for the Toronto Raptors, sitting with a 1-3 record through 4 games, and so far, coming off an embarrassing home loss to the lowly Portland Trail Blazers.  And things have gone about what most would have expected.  Defensively, this team has been solid, getting back to using their length and athleticism to fly around, create deflections and turnovers and in turn, give themselves fast break opportunities.  They currently rank in the league in team defence.
On the other side of the ball though, it’s been a different story.  Half court offense has been this teams Achilles heal so far (a surprise to no one), mainly due to the fact that they have not one player that you would trust with the ball in their hands in the last two minutes of a game.  Shot creation has been a glaring issue for years, one that Masai Ujiri has yet to address.
As a result, this is what this team is now up against, and there’s no real reason to think it will improve baring personnel changes.
Toronto has implored a new strategy this season: take more three point shots, which has produced a mixed bag of results.  Last season they were at the bottom of the league in both three’s taken and made, this year they’re middle of the pack in each category.
It’s not a bad idea.  For a team that's as offensively challenged as Toronto, taking more three’s can be an equalizer, as we saw on opening night when they shot 40% from distance taking down Minnesota in a nice win.  The flip side of that is that you live and die by it, and when shots aren’t falling, it can create situations like the loss to Portland in which the bench was a combined 0-7 from deep, or in the equally horrible loss in Chicago, when the team couldn't make a shot in the 2nd or the 4th quarter.
In terms of the rotation, Scottie Barnes play has been a huge positive.  The third year forward has posted impressive numbers thus far.  He also looks way more assertive in the half court, and is playing with the ball in his hands much more this year.  The jump shot still has a ways to go, though he’s shown more confidence taking and making shots, particularly off the dribble.
Big picture, The Raptors are who we thought they were.  A 41-41 record and an 8 to 10 seed seems in this team’s destiny.  Welcome back to the years of purgatory, Raptor Fans
Sports Tree Profile

By: Eddie Huband


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