The Toronto Raptors may once again be faced with the prospect of mixing up their starting lineup before they can build much in the way of comfort or chemistry.
Norman Powell left the team’s game against the Boston Celtics about seven minutes in, following a possession where he looked to be laboring through some sort of leg pain. A shot of the bench showed Powell holding his right thigh or hip, and he was off to the locker room with Alex McKechnie shortly after. Later replays showed Powell appeared to take an Aron Baynes nee in the right thigh/hip.
The Raptors announced late in the first that he has a right hip-pointer. That’s essentially a bruise on the pelvis, and the severity can vary widely.
Were Powell to miss extended time, the Raptors may consider starting C.J. Miles, who would provide the starters with additional spacing and decent defense. Miles was considered for the position before the season but has since found a good rhythm with the youth-heavy bench unit, forcing defenses to sell out to keep the ball out of his hands and opening up a lot of room for others to operate as a result. Miles has been a little slow to get going individually in terms of sheer volume, though it hasn’t had a negative effect on bench groups (though he does have the third-worst net rating on the team at plus-1.5). Miles has played sparingly with the starters, and that might be an opportunity to get him in even more of a groove.
The team could also consider starting rookie OG Anunboy, who closed Thursday’s game in Powell’s place with the starters and would offer strong and versatile defense with a willingness to at least shoot from the corners and a growing comfort level putting the ball on the floor and creating for others off the bounce. Opposing defenses may not pay him a ton of attention on offense, but the starters have played like that with forwards before, few of who offered the defensive upside. This would disrupt the rotation some, but with pascal Siakam playing well off the bench, too, it could allow Dwane Casey to tighten things up while keeping both players in the mix.
How the Raptors come out in the second half should give at least some indication as to their thinking in that spot. (Update: Anunoby started.)
Prior to going down, Powell was scoreless with a rebound, assists, and steal in seven minutes. He’s averaging nine points, 1.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.2 steals with a 52.7 true-shooting percentage on the season.
Powell was spotted leaving the arena on crutches.