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Gameday: Magic vs Raptors, October 29

I know Snowbirds are used to it being the other way around, but Orlando comes to Toronto for the first of three affairs this season.

I will not compare Scottie Barnes and Jalen Suggs. I will not compare Scottie Barnes and Jalen Suggs. I will not compare Scottie Barnes and Jalen Suggs.

…………….

SCOTTIE BARNES IS AVERAGING 17/8/2 with 57% true shooting and 21% usage rate.

JALEN SUGGS IS AVERAGING 11/4/4 with 40% true shooting and 25% usage rate.

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…………….

Where am I? What happened?

Damnit.

No, but really. Don’t do it. For the sanctity of two young, successful men, with promising futures and who could not control their past, leave them be.

I know you can’t help, but think, “what if?” I love the Sliding Doors counterfactuals as much as all other people who think they’re smart talking about alternative dimensions.

But it really is all about context. Suggs is likely struggling because Orlando is crud. No question, he’d be doing better in a Raptors jersey. Our team is better, first of all, but our franchise also fosters confidence (unless you’re not bought in …ahem…Malachi), encourages growth, and develops skillsets like no other in the NBA.

Would Jalen be as dominant as Scottie’s been thus far? I don’t think so. Would Scottie have been even better unleashed in Orlando? Possibly. BUT WE’LL NEVER KNOW. So don’t try thinking that you do.

You know what, just stop thinking altogether. Let Raptors Republic do all the brainwork for you. Subscribe to our Youtube channel, follow me on Twitter, look for our vast wealth of thoughtful writers and animated talkers like Lou, Manny, Oren, Samson, Brendan, Jamar, Kelsea, Zarar, Sahal, and many, many more – LOL – how was that for explicit advertising?

Besides, look how sweet and positive this is:

Jalen Suggs will be fine, if not very good, for years to come. His averages are solid for a rookie and he’s already a legitimate defender. He gets a steal a game and has the lowest defensive rating on the team (105, equivalent to the TimeLord and Wiggy). On Wednesday, Suggs held LaMelo Ball to 3/14 shooting, 3 assists and 3 TOs. That’s solid for a stinky, stinky team.

Speaking of stinky teams.

The Skinny

The Orlando Magic are the type of team – young, thin, poor rebounding, mediocre three-point shooting – that this predatory version of the Raptors will eat up like a bowl of shredded wheat. The Raptors could be slurping their bowl of milk early in the third come tonight.

It’s not Orlando’s fault – as much as any team’s failures and successes are theirs and theirs alone to bear. The Magic finally conceded their title as the most mediocre team in the NBA. They de-cored (you ever seen a pineapple peeled and cored? It’s worth the 1:09.) last trade deadline and were left with a litany of prospects and reclamation projects.

Prospects

Cole Anthony’s becoming a dynamic guard (he and FVV should go for a cappuccino and talk shop; Cole could learn many a thing from Papa VV). He’s crafty, spicy, and makes scooping lay-ups and falling jumpers that make a coach go “WHAT ARE Y…nice shot”. If he gets weapons around him and more space to operate, I foresee a promising future for the sophomore.

Unfortunately, tonight, he plays his future warrior self who’s one of the best on-ball defenders in the league and probably knows every move Cole want’s to do ahead of time.

Franz Wagner’s already showing to be multi-tooled. A big, pass-savvy wing who, at this nascent stage in his career, is lauded for being able to do a little bit of anything. I’d guess, he’s going to have the unenviable task of slowing OG Anunoby.

RJ Hampton is a dude to watch for follies and funnies. A ball of muscle who needs a fair bit of honing. He’s wild, supremely athletic, and wild. His shooting’s his weakness (he had an off-the-side of the backboard against Charlotte on Wednesday), but he’s coming along, a tad, in the playmaking department and loves freight training the paint.

Reclamations

This team is an archaeologist’s dream. Mo Bamba, Gary Harris, Wendell Carter Jr., and Moe Wagner (yes, relation to Franz), are all trying to prove their place in the League. For some, it’s going well, I suppose.

WCJ is averaging 12 pts, 9 boards, and a block in 28 minutes of action with a solid true shooting percentage of 61. I’m not selling my stock on Wendell Island; I see so much Al Horford in him, you’ll see how lithe and strong, at times, he can be.

Mo – not Moe, what are the chances of two Mo(e)s? – too, is showing speckles of success, 14/8/1.6 on 65% (never had any Mo equity, never will). Not sure he has the confidence and perseverance.

Gary and other Moe, I wish you the best.

Old Guard

Robin Lopez, who we all know and love, is there for the Disney and the tax breaks.

And, of course, the impossible-to-not-love Terrence Ross, who, like a shishito pepper, will go flaming hot 1/8 games.

Game Info

Tip-off: 7:00pm EDT | SN1; Sportsnet, BSFL | Radio: TSN 1050

Magic Lineup

Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz are still out with ACL injuries. Michael Carter-Williams had surgery to remove a bone fragment and repair a ligament in his ankle. Chuma Okeke (hip) is without a timetable. E’twaun Moore (knee) is also out and Mychal Mulder [Canadian!] (G League – Two-Way) is unavailable.

PG: Cole Anthony, R.J. Hampton

SG: Jalen Suggs, Terrence Ross, Garry Harris, Sindarius Thornwell

SF: Franz Wagner, Ignas Brazdeikis (Canadian!)

PF: Wendell Carter Jr., Moritz Wagner

C: Mo Bamba, Robin Lopez, Jon Teske

Raptors Lineup

Yuta Watanabe (calf) and Pascal Siakam (shoulder) are both still out, but they practiced with the Raptors 905 on Wednesday and will, again, on Friday.

PG: Fred Vanvleet, Goran Dragic, Dalano Banton, Malachi Flynn

SG: Gary Trent Jr, Svi Mykhailiuk, David Johnson

SF: Scottie Barnes, Isaac Bonga, Sam Dekker, Justin Champagnie

PF: OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher

C: Precious Achiuwa, Khem Birch

The Line

Orlando is gifted 8 points. They’re +267 on the moneyline.

The over/under is 210.

Orlando’s averaged 101 points/game. Toronto has scored 106.5 in their wins.

Maybe I’m super high off the Pacers smashing, but I’d take Toronto to cover and the over.

Bet wisely, friends.

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