Pre-game news & notes: DeRozan gets the night off, Bruno starts

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It’s been a fun day. A good day. It’s incredibly nice to have basketball back, to have the Toronto Raptors back, to have MLB playoffs and some hot Leafs Process-ing to fill in the gaps, to have just watched an incredible WNBA finals series, and to be drawing nearer to the start of the NBA’s regular season. The last week-and-a-half maybe haven’t taught us a ton about the 2017-18 Raptors just yet – there are patterns that need forging, blips that need to be proven over a larger sample, threes that need to eventually drop – but there’s nothing like basketball to remind you how much basketball’s been missing in your life.

It’s also an annual reminder of how great the RR community is, the Raptors Twitter community is, and how great the communities on RealGM and R/TorontoRaptors are, too. It’s biased and hubristic, but the appetite for even preseason action, content, and opinion from the Raptors fanbase continues to affirm that this is an exceptional fanbase and readership.

(Pander, baby, pander.)

Anyway, let that serve as a preamble since I wrote the preview and covered off most of what we’re looking at.

The game tips off at 10 p.m. on TSN2. You can check out the full game preview here.

Raptors updates
The Raptors will be resting DeMar DeRozan for this one, which was predicted earlier on. They figure to get Serge Ibaka a night off at some point, too, not only to keep established players fresh for the start of the regular season but to continue opening up minutes for younger players to develop and make their cases for roles or roster spots. DeRozan drawing out would seem to suggest Norman Powell will play after missing Tuesday’s game with an ankle strain. Either way, DeRozan sitting and Kyle Lowry returning could mean Fred VanVleet’s minutes come alongside Delon Wright, or that any of K.J. McDaniels, Bruno Caboclo, and Alfonzo McKinnie will see extended run on the wings

Check back shortly for updates on Powell and OG Anunoby, who is yet to make his preseason debut as he eases his way back in.

UPDATE: Bruno is starting! All hail Bruno! Powell is starting, too, giving us a look at him with some starters.

UPDATE II: Miles didn’t play in the first quarter and it appears he might be getting the night off, too.

Assuming relative health and no additional rest, here’s how the rotation might look:

PG: Kyle Lowry, Delon Wright, Fred VanVleet, Lorenzo Brown
SG: Norman Powell, K.J. McDaniels, Andy Rautins
SF: Bruno Caboclo, Alfonzo McKinnie, (OG Anunoby)
PF: Serge Ibaka, Pascal Siakam, Kyle Wiltjer
C: Jonas Valanciunas, Lucas Nogueira, Jakob Poeltl, Kennedy Meeks
TBD: OG Anunoby, Norman Powell
OUT: DeMar DeRozan, C.J. Miles
INJ: Malcolm Miller

As usual, we’ll track the minutes and battles in this space, noting how the playing time is breaking down over the five games. It doesn’t necessarily mean someone is ahead because they’ve played more, it’s simply meant as a refresher.

Known commodities: DeRozan 44, Ibaka 39, Valanciunas 34, Lowry 20
Competition 1: Miles 43, Powell 20
Competition 2: Nogueira 32, Poeltl 23
Competition 3 (maybe?): Wright 46, VanVleet 31
Competition 4: McKinnie 22, Rautins 13, McDaniels 12, Wiltjer 8, Meeks 3
The LeBron Stoppers: Siakam 45, Caboclo 34, Anunoby 0
Two-Ways: Brown 12, Miller 0

Note: There was a box score error in the opener that may have exact minutes for Lowry/DeRozan/Powell/Wright a little off.

Trail Blazers updates
The Blazers have two starting spots to figure out, and it seems likely they’ll rotate those spots around a bit in the preseason to get a feel for who and what works with their two guards and centers. Evan Turner and Ed Davis drew the starts in their opener, but Turner makes much more sense off the bench as a second-unit creator and Davis is a known commodity comfortable in either role, one they could easily plug in and out as opponents or the performances of the other forwards dictate.

For tonight, Moe Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu draw the starts at the forward spots. That’s a pairing light on shooting but heavy on length and defense, and in that sense they shoul;d prove a nice challenge for the new offensive principles the Raptors are trying to hammer home.

Shabazz Napier missed Tuesday’s preseason game with a hamstring injury but returned to practice Wednesday. C.J. Wilcox has also been dealing with a knee injury and is yet to play in the preseason. Noah Vonleh, as Steve mentioned earlier, suffered a shoulder strain last week and is expected to miss about a month.

PG: Damian Lillard, (Shabazz Napier), Isaiah Briscoe
SG: C.J. McCollum, Pat Connaughton, (C.J. Wilcox), Archie Goodwin
SF: Moe Harkless, Evan Turner, Jake Layman
PF: Al-Farouq Aminu, Ed Davis, Caleb Swanigan
C: Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Meyers Leonard
TBD: Shabazz Napier, C.J. Wilcox
INJ: Noah Vonleh


  • It’s been quite a day! The big news, of course, is that the Raptors have pen-to-paper on a four-year, $42-million extension with Norman Powell, a great day for the player and certainly one to celebrate for the franchise. You can read all about that here.
  • Raptors 905 tickets went on sale today, so a friendly reminder that promo code “REPUBLIC905” will get you a discount at this link all season long.
  • Unrelated to basketball – sorry for pushing my AGENDA – please think about giving blood, if you’re eligible. The country generally runs at a shortage in a handful of blood types, it takes like 45 minutes tops even with the questionnaire and everything (which you can do online beforehand to save time), and they give you cookies after. All the info you need is at blood.ca. It’s important and pretty easy and free cookies.
  • Miss you, James Johnson.

  • We’ve passed this along on Twitter, but if you follow us and @GetInTheAction and RT the post below, you’ll have a chance to win two tickets to the home opener. No strings attached other than following both accounts and RTing. We’re exploring more ways to be able to give stuff away during the season, so let’s give GetInTheAction a reason to keep hooking the RR community up.

The line
The line, as with most preseason games, is off the board.

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