RAPTORS BLOG: Horrendous November shooting holding Toronto back


Only Charlotte has shot worse this month

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If you can’t shoot, you generally can’t win NBA basketball games. Not in today’s game. And right now, the Raptors can’t shoot. Not even a little bit. Return Fred VanVleet, Otto Porter Jr. and Pascal Siakam to the lineup (and maybe even Scottie Barnes, given he was trending up with his shooting) and things will change, but right now, they aren’t giving themselves much of a chance, no matter how well they play in other areas.

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Maybe if Brooklyn wasn’t finally at full strength Wednesday’s game would have ended differently (Toronto was flattered to only lose by 14 points). Maybe not. But 36% shooting from the field, including 24% from three-point range won’t cut it.

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Toronto’s shot 29.7% from three in 12 November games (including just 24% over the last five). Only Charlotte has shot worse. Toronto’s one of only four teams hitting fewer than 10 triples a night this month.

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One of the team’s best shooters, in terms of his track record, Gary Trent Jr. is having the farthest thing from a contract season. He’s nailed 19.5% of his three-point attempts in November on 5.1 attempts, second only to Fred VanVleet’s 11.2 (VanVleet has hit 37.3%, trailing only the surprising Malachi Flynn). Chris Boucher, Scottie Barnes, Juancho Hernangomez and O.G. Anunoby have all hit less than 30% of their attempts.  have both hit 26%. 

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Some more thoughts:

    • As the first quarter mark of the season approaches, Toronto sits 10th in offensive efficiency (before Thursday’s games), 14th in defensive efficiency and 10th in net rating. That’s not bad considering the absurd run of injuries and illnesses that have destroyed any attempts for cohesion and familiarity. In the most recent nine games, the ones where Siakam has been out and many of his most talented teammates have joined him in street clothes, Toronto’s ranked just 20th in offensive efficiency, 18th in defensive efficiency and 25th in net rating. No team has a lower true shooting percentage or effective field goal percentage than Toronto over the last nine games. Only one team is assisting on a lower percentage of its offence than Toronto in that span. 
    • Also notable: After surprising everyone by starting as an elite defensive rebounding team in October, Toronto has slipped to the third-worst defensive rebounding team in the league. That will happen when you lose your starting power forward, backup centre and backup power forward, third-string centre and others.
    • I like Jeff Dowtin Jr. He can play and he goes hard.
    • A random one on how even the most talented players can have an off night: Brooklyn’s Joe Harris is as good as it gets as a three-point shooter, yet he’s looked terrible the last two games. He missed 5-of-6 three-point attempts against the Raptors a game after missing 6-of-7. Three games before that he missed 4-of-5 and earlier this month he missed 7-of-8 in a game. Yet he’s still hitting nearly an NBA average 35% of his trey attempts in November. How? Because he can go on heaters like the combined 8-for-14 shooting in the two games before these last couple. 
    • Nic Claxton is starting to flourish. We kept hearing he was good, now he’s showing it. Claxton leads the NBA with 44 dunks. Anunoby’s tied for sixth with Jarrett Allen, who the Nets crazily gave away for next to nothing.


1 Kyrie Irving 

2 Nic Claxton

3 Thaddeus Young

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