Talking Points – Raptors Vs Thunder
It would at this point in the 2021-22 NBA season be a safe assumption to say we’ve learnt just everything we can about where each team appears to be heading right now.
Now is a good time to be looking at the bigger picture overall, and considering what the Toronto Raptors’ stats look like, the numbers look fairly solid. Currently at 28-23, seventh in the Eastern Conference, and ranked 13th on offense, and 16th on defense, things could have been worse.
Still, as we look ahead to their upcoming game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, it would be tempting to rate them a perfectly average team – comparatively speaking. But in all fairness, that would be ignoring their dormant potential as a powerhouse getup.
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Impressive is the fact that Toronto are currently riding high on a five-game winning streak. But impressive in its own right, considering all they’ve achieved this season so far, there’s actually so much more to this than meets the eye.
To single out but one particular achievement, during those five games, they’ve faced only the very cream of the Eastern Conference crop – think Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, and Atlanta Hawks.
If this were indeed just another “hot streak”, then luck would have had to be uncannily on their side. Also, other than putting it all down to timing, it would be much more fair to say that the Raptors may very well be showing incredible improvement as a team – not to mention on the chemistry side of things.
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For Raptors fans, it would have been more than reasonable to expect a proper offense a tough thing to master ahead of this season. Since they’ve greatly lacked shooters, their three-point attempts have been far and between also.
Another consideration to this end would have been Fred VanVleet replacing Kyle Lowry. Even though VanVleet slipped into his new role apparently effortlessly, it had been much more of a push to fill the position left vacant by VanVleet.
Both Goran Dragic and Malachi Flynn failed dismally at trying to launch.
What’s definitely helped has been Pascal Siakam emerging into the superstar we’ve always suspected he really could be. During Toronto’s five-game winning streak, he’s managed to outplay Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, Bam Adebayo, and even Trae Young. Even with an eye on the Playoffs, Siakam is more than likely going to emerge the best player on the floor opposite just about any team in the East.