Resisting 905 mediocrity

Certain Raptors fans may be allured by the prospect of tanking, but sitting at 6-5, the 905 need to resist, and rise out of, mediocrity.

Coach Eric Khoury’s post-game answers were as long as Kawhi Leonard’s trademark replies. It was short, to the point, and left very little to chew on. The 905 had just given the Birmingham Squadron their third win of the regular season, losing 95-115.

After beating them the previous day, it was an embarrassing defeat at home to a basement-dwelling G League squad. The 905 were down 10 in the first quarter, 21-31, and lost the second, 22-35. That gave the Birmingham Squadron a 23-point lead going into halftime. In the second half, the 905 couldn’t play well enough to overcome their first-half deficit, the closest they got was within 17 points.

For a coach who’s as young, smart, and driven as Khoury, for someone who’s been with the Raptors long enough to know what goes into a championship recipe, his expectations for the 905 remain pent house-level, Absolute Tower high.

This week, the 905 will continue their home stretch against the East’s first-ranked team Cleveland Charge and the sixth-ranked Maine Celtics. Playing against better teams will hopefully force the 905 to step up to their level.

We are in interesting times. 2023’s newness has now faded, and the coldest days are ahead of us. The parent team just played its 51st game, and the NBA trade deadline is right around the corner. Whether they tank or keep competing remains a mystery. The Raptors sit 12th in the East, and the 905 are 6-5, 11 games into a 32-game regular season. These games may seem a little futile right now, but Khoury’s career progression, as well as the 905’s core, depends largely on how competitive they remain in these uncertain times.

The 905 have already sent Saben Lee and Sterling Brown up to the NBA. Fans got to witness Christian Koloko at Paramount this past week, and he attempted five threes in three G League games. Depending on how the Raptors do and his performance, he may continue to spend more time with the parent club, but when he’s down here, the 905 is where he can work on his glaring weaknesses: decision-making after catching the ball off the roll and perimeter defence (if you want to read the most in-depth analysis on Koloko ever made, see here).

“In college, I used to be able to switch onto guards, and this year, I did a couple of times [in the NBA], but I still need to get better at that,” Koloko said. “This is the perfect place for me to do that.”

Second, Reggie Perry‘s career progression after spending close to two seasons with the 905 will be a reflection on its developmental system. Khoury showered praise on Perry being “one of the smartest players I’ve ever been around.” That is a huge endorsement coming from such a bright basketball mind.

Perry will need to continue defending smaller guards from the perimeter, and prove that he can contain them. Offensively, he’s proven he can do it all, but will need to learn to play through non-calls and temper his emotions when needed.

Lastly, Gabe Brown continued to show he’s great in offensive transition in the Kids Day game. He’ll need to continue showing NBA front offices that he can play at a League pace, and finish at the rim or hit the three (which he’s shown) in transitions.

The 905 face the Cleveland Charge at home on Thursday, February 2nd at 7:30 pm.

15 thoughts on “Resisting 905 mediocrity”

Leave a Comment