The Raptors are just a bunch of questions, but tonight’s game against the New York Knicks should provide some answers. Despite a delay in the confirmation of the trade, and some visa issues, Marc Gasol will play tonight. He will come off the bench in his first game.
Gasol should offer an instantaneous offensive boost to Toronto. He’s a solid screener, a great popper, and an elite passer. He should work some magic with Kyle Lowry in high screening actions, and if Nick Nurse wants to get truly dirty, the Pascal Siakam-Gasol pick-and-roll should leave teams flummoxed and humiliated. The Raptors don’t need Gasol to beat the Knicks. But they will need him to going forward, so judge this game entirely on quality of play instead of the numbers on the scoreboard.
The Knicks are a walking corpse whose best player is certainly Noah Vonleh, but more certainly, cap space. Without a real opponent, this game is entirely about Toronto. The Raptors are the current embodiment of the pokemon Mew: mysterious, but still wrecking fools. I mean, what’s even going on with the end of their roster? Malcolm Miller finally earned an NBA contract, but he won’t play tonight. He is still rehabbing his game, which was covered fantastically by Andrew Damelin. At his best, he’s a switchable defender who knows his lane on offence: shooting, and nothing else. He’s got a sweet stroke, but his numbers haven’t yet matched his ability at the G-League level. He’s still rusty. Ben McLemore is also a theoretical shooter, but he hasn’t been able to stick anywhere yet in the NBA. He will also be unavailable. Toronto will again be short-handed. (The Raptors will still need to sign at least two more players in the coming weeks).
The game tips at 7:30 PM ET on TSN for TV and 590 for radio. The always great Vivek Jacob wrote a fantastic preview, which you can read here.
Neither Ben McLemore nor Malcolm Miller will be available, as the Raptors have a strange uphill battle to wage with the CBA. The details are explained in more detail here by Blake Murphy. Leonard is returning from knee soreness, and Gasol will play despite his status being up in the air only an hour or so ago. So, yeah, let’s do it.
PG: Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Jordan Loyd
SG: Danny Green, Patrick McCaw
SF: Kawhi Leonard, Norman Powell
PF: Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby
C: Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol
New York Updates
Emmanuel Mudiay and Frank Ntilikina are out.
PG: Dennis Smith Jr.
SG: Damyean Dotson, Allonzo Trier, Kadeem Allen
SF: Kevin Knox, Lance Thomas, Mario Hezonja
PF: Noah Vonleh, Luke Kornet, Isaiah Hicks
C: DeAndre Jordan, Mitchell Robinson
After starting at -12, the line has moved to -13 for Toronto. It still seems like the Raptors should easily cover. The over-under is 215.5.