I knew someone growing up who had a recurring dream in which he was falling. Granted, this is a common enough dream, but his had a unique twist to it. He was walking down a yellow brick road, all the while being taunted to keep going by those on the edges of the path. Without fail he would reach the end and wake up from falling off the edge.
So what does this have to do with the Raptors? Absolutely nothing. I just needed a transition to mention the Wizard of Oz. You know, the movie about a fake all-powerful wizard who people/animals/things seek out to ask for gifts from?? Well I’m going to step into the role of the fact wizard and distribute some gifts.
Sure, this sounds like a dumb thing to do. But it’s only preseason and I’m writing this well watching the Jays take on the Rangers. I only have so much attention span write now, and research isn’t in the cards for tonight.
In other words, here’s what I would give to a few of our Raptors this season if I could.
Terrence Ross: Live Every Day Like It’s Preseason
Preseason Terrence Ross is a real thing. This is the second year in a row that I’ve entered the season mentally ready for a Ross trade. In fact, I’ve been expecting it for some time now. And for the second year in a row, preseason Terrence Ross has shown up and tricked me into caring about him again.
His handle looks improved, his pull-up game has been on point, he is shooting without hestitation, and he is making the right decision more times than not. If Ross plays like this for a full season he drastically changes what the Raptors can do on the court. He would also greatly improve his trade value…which isn’t a bad thing either.
Jakob Poeltl: Courage
Yes, he’s a rookie. And yes, there are going to be growing pains. But through three preseason games he has looked hesitant to bang with the big bodies underneath the basket. There are, as we knew upon his selection in the draft, glimmers of serious talent, but there seems to be a toughness lacking early in his career.
Pascal Siakam: Minutes, and Plenty of Them
I love Siakam. He has shown many raw tools within a package of pure energy/effort. What’s not to love? I’m already imagining a future where Siakam becomes the starting power forward, and he’s already making a case for earning NBA minutes early this season.
But the NBA minutes he is earning will likely not be enough for the developmental goals that I’m picturing. Playing in front of him is Valanciunas, Patterson, Sullinger, and possibly Nogueira, along with small-ball units that feature Carroll as a big man. Even if he plays ahead of Nogueira, we are still talking about limited minutes with the Raptors.
Every chance there is Toronto needs to send him to the D-League for extended run. We need another Norman Powell situation here. Spotty minutes early with Raptors, followed by dominating in the D-League and learning the system, before returning to the big club for extended run. Siakam could follow this same pattern this season.
Fred VanVleet: The15th Man
Kidding. I don’t need to give him this since he’s already done enough to take it himself. Capable defense, has shown the ability to run the offence, and does a great job of Nash-ing the pick-and-roll. I entered the preseason hoping that Jarrod Uthoff would make it a battle, but Fred’s running away with it after three games.
DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry: Rest
I’m fine with not winning as many games as last year. The important thing is that the Raptors need both Lowry and DeRozan to be healthy and rested when the playoffs start. I’m in the camp that minute usage was a reason that both struggled for long stretches against both Miami and Indiana in the playoffs last year.
And this isn’t new. This has been a general fan request for more than a year. The Raptors shouldn’t ask either to be top 10 in the league of minutes per game this season.
I suppose this is what happens when it’s preseason and the Jays are in the playoffs.
If you could grant one wish to a Raptor, what would it be?Follow @raptorsrepublic