Toronto Raptors Quarter-Season Awards: Which players stood out?
Hard to believe we’re already 20 games into the 2021-22 NBA season. Even harder to believe that Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, and this Toronto Raptors team have already experienced such a vast array of successes, failures, and momentum changes.
The Raptors went from a playoff afterthought to one of the hottest teams in the league when the season kicked off. After some injuries and disappointing finishes managed to derail their momentum, Toronto has managed to slide to a 9-11 record after their first few sets of games.
We still like to keep things upbeat. Let’s hand out some quarter-season awards to the most deserving basketball players north of the border. Even with the record being what it is, this franchise has given fans plenty to root for.
Players have already started to emerge as potential stars and long-term assets. Others have made massive improvements to their overall game. Some have…let’s just say they’ve underperformed.
Toronto Raptors 2021-22 Quarter-Season Awards.
MIP: Gary Trent Jr.
Playing on a young, developing roster gave Trent some pretty stiff competition for this award, but none of them has improved to the same degree Gary Trent Jr. has. Trent is becoming one of the most scintillating buckets not just in Toronto, but in the entire Eastern Conference.
We always knew he could hit tough shots. This is an example of a microwave, feast-or-famine-type scorer becoming more consistent night in and night out. He’d have hot nights last season where he couldn’t miss a jumper and go for 25, but now he’s doing that every other game.
Toronto Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. has become an elite defender.
Trent may end up on an All-Defensive team at the end of this season, as he has legitimately been excellent on that end. The steals per game, increased effort, and better on-ball guarding have all helped him turn things around.
His offensive talents combined with the fact he is leading the league in deflections with four per game make Trent the MIP of this team. With a few more strong games under his belt provided the calf injury isn’t too serious, he could set the stage for a very prosperous Raptors career.