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If you turn on a Raptors game in the middle of the second or late third quarter, you’ll see a long, wiry frame not named Chris Boucher that crawls all over the floor, catching, then recovering, sometimes stucking loose balls away, grabs a hard rebound sometimes, but does so while always in the right place

Having been a member of the Memphis Grizzlies for the past two seasons, shuttling back and forth between the G League and the parent club, it’s uncanny how smoothly Yuta Watanabe fits into Toronto’s plans just like Nick did at the start of last season Nurse was looking for players on his bench to raise their hands and make a difference, and the second Japanese NBA player ever (Yuta Tabuse was the first) did just that

“I’m a hard worker, I’m always in the gym preparing for the game,” Watanabe said after helping the Raptors beat the Pacers. “Whether I play or not, I always am ready when i sit on the bench i’m always locked in, i always know what’s going on and i’ve been doing this since my beginner year i haven’t really had an opportunity for the past two years but now my opportunity is right there so i have to seize them I just have to keep myself locked in and concentrate on the games I don’t play ”

When the Raptors first invited Yuta Watanabe to training camp, it was simply an opportunity to compete Toronto has made a habit of turning G League players into NBA rotation pieces, and they have in its 22 games Seen enough in the G League last season where he averaged 17 games seen 2 points, 60 rebounds and 19 helps along with a steal and block to give him a shot he should be behind the likes of Paul Watson Jr Standing and Oshae Brissett in the pecking order, so the challenge was clear, how much to impress Watson was offered a full contract, but Brissett dropped out despite having made a notable contribution last season

“I know my friends and family are really happy, I have a feeling that a lot of people in Japan are happy too”

Watanabe took his chance, the 26-year-old is full of exertion and intensity, giving you the occasional three pointers and backing away from anyone.When the Raptors had two wins in their first ten games, Nurse was still trying to find the best pattern for his Deciphering Rotation He has found this to be a team that lacks the experience and know-how of years past and it seems that the base he wants to work with is showing solid basketball fundamentals and Minimize errors

“That’s a kind of Yuta right there,” said the nurse. “He gives us the greatest effort, never stops running, never stops cutting, he’s always on the glass, he comes with loose balls, that is kind of his thing

“He’s got a little bit of points It’s not like he’s a non-offensive player, he has a little bit of points that will come when he feels a bit more comfortable out there but just love the energy, the cutting and the hustle and bustle ”

Lately, the 26-year-old’s contributions have become more important due to the absence of Pascal Siakam with a swollen left knee.Just like Sister Siakam hired to defend smaller guards on the fringes, he was able to do the same with Watanabe recently against the Pacers succeeded in doing this, but he also spent some of his time standing up against the greatness of Myles Turner – currently the NBA’s leading shot blocker – and did an admirable job

“He’s a little slender and gives some weight to his opponents that he ends up guarding, but he’s stronger than he looks and he fights and he gives you maximum effort and fights out there,” said the nurse. “I’m learning just know him and I like what I’ve seen so far ”

Watanabe is the prototypical glue in every way. Think of the PJ Tuckers, Andre Igoudalas, and Shane Battiers of the world.They are obviously at the high end of what Watanabe is aiming to achieve with his career, but maybe a former raptor fits into Jorge Garbajosa better The Spaniard maximized his skills and always seemed to be in the right place at the right time

The importance of Watanabe’s posts and the cracking of that Raptors rotation is hard to underestimate given the impact it had on his native Japan.Although it feels like eons ago, Toronto played in Tokyo about a year and a half ago and is the fan base Growing media scrums with Watanabe have attracted significant Japanese media exposure, and Nurse admirably stayed longer to make sure he could answer as many questions about his newest bank clerk as possible

For Watanabe, he knows that his focus and determination to this point has brought him here, and he hopes this will continue to help sustain this sudden ascent

“I know my friends and family are really happy,” said Watanabe. “I have a feeling that a lot of people in Japan are happy too. I just feel like I have to keep playing hard and keep believing in myself , and I hope more people will see my games ”

Yuta Watanabe

World News – CA – Yuta Watanabe makes a name for himself as the New Glue Guy of the Raptors