Everything has a cost in the NBA. Tanking nets higher value draft picks, but can also create an environment where winning basketball isn't prioritized and if that goes on long enough you can lose culture. Too many young players and suddenly there isn't enough playing time for everyone to develop. Not enough youth and you run the risk of having little-to-no-potential on the roster. Even under the best conditions, it's hard to strike the right balance.
The Raptors have been forced into a position, through sickness and injuries, where a player like O.G. Anunoby gets to test his limits in a primary role. At this point, I think we've gotten a decent sample of what that looks like on a team this limited by the aforementioned injuries. This isn't to say that Anunoby shouldn't have a headlining role -- and games where he rises as a primary option -- once the roster is healthy. This is to say that we have seen a sufficient amount of the grind. Hell, even Kevin Durant -- one of the greatest players of all time -- did an interview where he gently suggested something to the effect of "hey, you see the roster around me, don't expect too much".
Coach Nurse isn't enjoying the challenge of scheming and crafting endless game plans for end for a depleted roster either: "Once in a while, you might enjoy the challenge, but not for three weeks in a row here. It's getting, it's not that enjoyable." And while the next man up commentary continues to be prolific among the players, there's no doubt that wears thin. It's hard to win in the NBA and although the in-between has seen some success everyone is waiting for health to come back.
"It causes so much other time spent away from focusing on the game. On trying to figure out when this guy is back, where this guy is, when his treatment is, when his MRI is, where he is, is he traveling, is he not traveling. There's just so much. Is he sick? Is it covid? There are so many other things that you're spending and occupying, and that's not what you really want to do. We want to focus in on the games and putting all of our energies there. We have to do the best that we can.
Nick Nurse on dealing with injuries