Is it time to panic since the Raptors started 3-0 for the first time in 15 years and became the first team in? 20 to blow double digit leads in each of those losses to start a year (hat tip to Elias Sports for this one)?

Short answer: no Despite Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers’ pre-game talk about the Raptors being a group that was “forever together” and therefore always completely in sync, yes, four of them are no longer true five starters together are well-oiled machines, but Aron Baynes is still trying to adapt, with mixed results, and the bench looks new overall after getting Chris Boucher and Matt Thomas on more regular roles, it will take time to build familiarity, especially after a short training camp

As always, Kyle Lowry and pretty much all of the other four Raptors led to success. Lowry was in four of Toronto’s top four-man formations (based on net ratings)

The main problems arose when the six-time All-Star is sitting. All-Star colleague Pascal Siakam did not have any units as a lead dog

Siakam got off to a strange start, looking a lot more energetic, caged, and seemingly having more fun than in the bubble, but he was also a bit error-prone, mad at officiating, and has the later games he gets to the full faded Is it fatigue? Frustration? This wasn’t the Siakam we saw launching the 2019-20 campaign, this Siakam was a Top 10 MVP Candidate after the first month or so

This guy looked solid in the first quarter: (20 points when shooting on Jan. September, 13 rebounds and seven assists against three turnovers plus 15), fewer in the second quarter (5/18 from the field, eight rebounds), two assists, three turnovers, -9), good shooting, but overall ineffective in the third quarter (18 Points on 7/13 shooting, 3 rebounds, two assists, two turnovers, -19) and horrible games to close (two points in 27) minutes of the fourth quarter, including zero, yes, zero, trips to the free-throw line, three turnovers, three templates, 1/9 of the field and an ugly -20)

In summary: Siakam is in the second half of the first three games -39, 6 in the first two quarters, never reached the free-throw line in the first or fourth quarter of a game, and committed five fouls in the last seven minutes of defeat on Tuesday

He also wasn’t the all-world defender he has played in recent years (lit by Brandon Ingram, Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons)

Add in the slow starts for key guards Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell, and even the good work done by Lowry and OG Anunoby doesn’t matter much (and Anunoby only got eliminated offensively against Philadelphia) The team lacked creators, players other than Lowry willing to attack downhill and try to foul the Raptors were a bomb away hoping for the best squad Nobody has had a higher percentage of three-point points (48% of shots) so far in Toronto were three points and the team only has an accuracy of 20) You’re bound for fourth from last in drives per game, last in converted drives, field goal attempts of drives and field goal percentage of drives.They at least create assists off drives (third in the league) and don’t flip a lot, but they don’t get a lot of free throws either Raptors will have to mix it up for more offensive success, but may not have the staff to do so

They were terrible at pick and roll (most recently in points per possession for the ball handler in pick and roll), in isolation loathsome (most recently tied), unsuccessful in posting, and were horrible in transition, a longstanding staple past Raptors teams

In those early days, Nick Nurse is still looking, shocking everyone by reaching out to underutilized swingman Stanley Johnson when his sixth husband and Johnson rewarded the move with a strong performance, Thomas and Boucher barely played this time around (Alex Len was used for matchup purposes for Boucher, as he is physically far better equipped to fight giants like Joel Embiid and Dwight Howard) Len was pretty average, but mostly uninspiring on his Raptors debut.Terence Davis and rookie point guard Malachi Flynn stopped playing, and neither was veteran DeAndre ‘Bembry, who looked interesting in the minutes given

Dean Oliver’s Four Factors have long been considered reasonable numbers to help you understand the strength of a team

Well it’s early, but Toronto ranks 26th Place in the effective field target percentage (8 in the last year), the last in a free throw attempt (13 in the period 2019-20), 23 in sales percentage (17 last year) and the offensive rebound percentage (24 before) Defensively, they finish 16, 15, 2 and 28 Place opposite 2, 15, 2 and 22 a year ago

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Pascal Siakam

World news – CA – WOLSTAT RAPTORS BLOG: Siakam has to be much better, otherwise this team will be lost

Source: https://torontosun.com/sports/basketball/nba/toronto-raptors/wolstat-raptors-blog-siakam-needs-to-be-much-better-or-else-this-team-will-be-lost