3 moves Toronto Raptors can make to increase playoff chances
The Toronto Raptors are currently smack dab in the middle of the NBA standings, as they stand 9-9 with nearly one-quarter of the season in the books. This has to be a bit disappointing for Nick Nurse, as he very rarely has been able to lean on his best and most experienced players.
While the Raptors suffered a big home loss against the Brooklyn Nets, none of the star trio comprised of Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and Scottie Barnes was able to suit up. As a result, all of the problems inherent with this roster construction were exposed by a Nets team that could not miss.
However, the Raptors have some changes to make to the squad when those standouts come back. Nurse is well aware of the fact that he is in charge of a team that can suffer some serious scoring droughts and continues to struggle with perimeter defense.
The Raptors have some changes that need to be made, as the logjam in the middle of the Eastern Conference is making it even tougher for them to escape the play-in tournament and make good on their promise of imminent progress in the standings. These tweaks may end up saving their skin in the short term.
3 changes the Toronto Raptors must make to improve playoff odds
3. Decide on a backup point guard
Watching how Nurse has used Dalano Banton and Malachi Flynn has been genuinely infuriating. Just when one of them appears to be taking off and getting into a groove, Nurse will send them to the end of the bench after on bad game and immediately replace them. This needs to stop.
It’s tempting for Nurse to do this, as the two have such different skill sets. While Banton has his 27-point game against the Pistons, he makes more sense as a defensive stopper. Flynn should be the choice if Nurse wants an offensive injection. One of these two needs to be trusted.
Toronto Raptors: Nick Nurse must pick Dalano Banton or Malachi Flynn
Even after he stunk it up against the Nets, Flynn might be the better short-term choice than Banton. Just one game before, Flynn and his much-improved 3-point shot were tearing the Hawks apart. The pro-am legend has a better history of offensive excellence than the toolsy Banton.
VanVleet will not be fully healthy as he tries to shrug off this mystery illness, and he isn’t going to be adequately supported when he returns if the Raptors don’t change some things up. You can go all-in on Banton’s length or Flynn’s creativity, but Nurse needs to pick a side and stick to it.