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RAPTORS BLOG: With Barnes out, Anunoby reminding everyone what he’s capable of

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Did you overlook about OG Anunoby? The shockingly robust begin to the season by Scottie Barnes, the breakout of Gary Trent Jr. and regular two-way performances by Fred VanVleet might need caught your consideration extra. To not point out Anunoby, anointed as the highest scoring choice within the absence of Pascal Siakam, struggled in his first two video games, capturing 7-for-34 (21%, together with 2-for-14 work from three) and as many turnovers as assists.

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However Anunoby’s been taking part in at just about an all-star degree since, averaging 22.8 factors, 5.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals, two assists for each turnover and 46% capturing from the sphere, together with 41% from three. The capper was his dominant outing at Madison Sq. Backyard, merely the most important stage within the NBA. Sure, Anunoby had assist in keen the Raptors again in a sport they appeared poised to drop (from Trent, from VanVleet, from Khem Birch and the remainder of the bench), however Anunoby was the distinction.

With out Barnes and Siakam somebody wanted to hold the load, and Anunoby answered.

How’s all of it going to work as soon as these forwards are again? Who is aware of. For now, Anunoby will get an opportunity to be totally unleashed.

And within the meantime, Birch continues to indicate why, as talked about right here final time, he must be beginning. He’s a lunch pail, coronary heart and soul kind of participant who doesn’t attempt to do an excessive amount of and likewise doesn’t make many errors. The defence thrives when he’s on the market and he additionally frees up teammates like VanVleet and Trent to get open photographs along with his screens, even when referees are inclined to maintain eagle eyes on him and name a good variety of unlawful screens which might be on the fence.

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Treasured Achiuwa may gain advantage of being an power participant off the bench, just like how Siakam was as soon as utilized.

Trent and VanVleet lead the NBA in deflections and deflections per sport. VanVleet has led the league in deflections in every of the previous two seasons. Add in Anunoby, Barnes and finally Siakam and there aren’t many groups much less enjoyable to play in opposition to.

The Raptors lead all groups in steals, deflections and unfastened balls recovered and quit the fewest opponent’s factors within the paint per sport (regardless that they sit third-last in blocks per sport).

Right this moment in random details: Trent threw down his first dunk of the yr vs. the Knicks and he had two jams as a Raptors final season. In a extra notable stat, Trent is capturing simply 29% on nook three-pointers within the early going of this season, far under his profession averages of 41.5%, although his total three-point capturing share is nearly precisely what it was in his 17 video games as a Raptor following the commerce with Portland.

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One other random truth: 4 straight didn’t play, coaches’ resolution for Goran Dragic. The final time that occurred when Dragic was wholesome was when he was backing up Steve Nash as a rookie in Phoenix.

With Malachi Flynn now becoming a member of Dalano Banton within the rotation and displaying one thing, don’t count on issues to vary anytime quickly. Nor ought to they. If Dragic isn’t going to play on an evening Toronto is lacking the scoring of each Siakam and Barnes, when is he?

Once more, on Dec. 15 numerous gamers turn out to be commerce eligible, making a match extra possible. Don’t count on Dragic to make issues awkward although. He’s not a rock the boat kind and it nonetheless looks like he’ll get to Dallas with Luka Doncic sooner or later.

RJ Barrett is trying mighty good in Yr 2 after taking a sizeable leap as a sophomore. He received no matter he wished in opposition to the Raptors — together with Anunoby — on Monday. And wait till they begin calling among the hacks on his drives too. Barrett simply shook off two unhealthy video games in opposition to Orlando in the beginning of the season and has been on fireplace ever since. Along with his buddy Zion Williamson nonetheless harm, Barrett and Ja Morant, taken a spot in entrance of him, have emerged because the faces of that draft class.

THREE STARS

1- OG Anunoby

2- RJ Barrett

3- Gary Trent Jr.

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