Raptors Cage

What’s not to like so far?

Critiques typically spread between two slices of praise to create a ‘compliment sandwich’ for overly sensitive individuals. It seems like an okay tactic, so let’s try it with the Raptors. Rather, let’s keep these sammies open-faced for now so we’re not overloading on compliment-carbs.

Freddie isn’t so steady

Fred has been injured, which isn’t ideal in and of itself. Fingers crossed that this isn’t a continuing trend. Otherwise, he just hasn’t been as reliable with the ball. Maybe he is trying to do too much. He’s shooting under 40% from the field and under 30% from three. His shot attempts are up and his turnovers per game have nearly doubled from last season. Last year, it seemed he could do no wrong, and this year it seems like he is capable of doing a tiny bit wrong.

The good: Fred’s proven himself on countless occasions and this shouldn’t be any different. Frankly, the Raptors haven’t needed him to be that calming influence as of yet. They’ve been beating pretty much everyone by healthy margins. Fred thrives under pressure when it counts. He’s just toying around until his teammates require him to crank the steadiness up to eleven.

CJ hasn’t been very good 

CJ is here to do one thing – jack treys. Well, not so much jack them, but actually bury them. He’s been okay at tossing them up, but he’s hitting less than one per game. Plus, now he’s injured.  He’s always been a streaky shooter, but with him entering this season in excellent shape, Raptors fans were hopeful for more favorable streaking than not.

The good: He had a couple of cool dunks? His pajamas are pretty sweet? I don’t know. We’re rooting for you, CJ.

Pascal can’t hit a three

The human Tasmanian devil is shooting under 17% from beyond that line where the points are worth 50% more than they are from everywhere else. They’re worth 200% more than free-throws for goodness sake. With those staggering increments, it is no wonder game-play has altered so much to favor the three. Siakam was poised to improve in every area this season, but it hasn’t materialized thus far for him from beyond the arc. Perhaps a project for next offseason.

The great: Literally everything else. Pascal is currently averaging 8.5 spins per game by the way.

Other notable negatives

Kawhi’s been injured. He’s back now but here’s to praying there’s no ripple effect. Norm’s out. He’s actually been pretty decent, so this isn’t ideal. He’s playing within himself and it will be nice to see him back in a month’s time doing some of the same.

OG’s shots go in at a decent clip, but man, that stroke; not even Bob Ross could paint that thing into serenity. Sometimes he looks more fluid than water out there, but other times it’s as though he’s running around in a pair of Timberlands. The good: his defense has been excellent. The team is making no-look steals. Is that even a thing?

JV’s minutes are down, but his PPG are up. He looks confident out there in concert with Serge – who for some reason does not miss shots anymore. That’s fun. You have to love the team-first mindset these guys have.

Overall, the critiques are minimal. The guys are 11-1. An adequate roasting is impossible. And if we had to conjure up a metaphorical compliment sandwich, it’d be entirely bread, no spread. That’s gross. Things are almost too good to be true now. With that in mind, everyone take a moment to knock on a thick piece of lumber.

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