Over the past decade, the Toronto Raptors have generally been an organization that’s been able to generally “figure it out,” more or less.
Unsure if Kawhi Leonard will want to play in Toronto at all? Well, we all know how that one turned out.
Lose Leonard for nothing in free agency after just one year? Well, the Raptors set a franchise-best .736, including a 15-game win streak in the year after.
Finish 12th in the East while having to play the entirety of their home schedule in Tampa due to COVID-19 restrictions? Well, they drafted Scottie Barnes, who wins NBA Rookie of the Year.
Lose Kyle Lowry in a sign-and-trade to Miami? Well, Fred VanVleet made his first All-Star Game in his first season.
But right now, the Raptors appear far removed from the organization we’ve seen over the entirety of Masai Ujiri’s tenure at the helm of the organization.
Sitting 12th in the Eastern Conference, the Raptors have yet to win three games in a row all season long and have lost nine of their last 12 games.
And if they’re on the path to figuring it out, well, there’s still quite a bit of work to do.
An article from TSN’s Josh Lewenberg is the latest piece of smoke around the organization, suggesting that Nick Nurse and the rest of the team might not exactly be on the same page to turn it around.
“Over the weekend, Nurse held individual meetings with many of his players and coaches, conversations that were described as ‘intense’ and weren’t universally well received,” Lewenberg reported.
It’s easy to see why there’s frustration in Toronto, which is far removed from its preseason ceiling of being one of the conference’s top teams.
After an All-Star campaign a year ago, it’s been a bit of a down season for VanVleet, who’s dealt with a serious of injuries.
Gary Trent Jr. has been in and out of the starting lineup, with trade rumours swirling around his expiring contract.
Pascal Siakam and O.G. Anunoby are both having the best individual seasons of their careers, but there have been too many nights this season where their great performances are still resulting in another loss for Toronto.
Barnes’ stats might not look much worse than his dynamic rookie season, but they don’t look much better.
As for when it comes to two of Toronto’s key bench pieces, injuries have been decimating: Otto Porter Jr. has played in just eight games, while Precious Achiuwa’s played in just 13.
The details of Lewenberg’s report don’t necessarily mean a trade or a firing is coming — but it doesn’t appear like things are all too rosy in the locker room, either.
With the trade deadline on February 9, all eyes are on Toronto to see if there are any major moves on the horizon. Tick, tock.
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