The Rest: 2022-23 Season in Review

Reviewing the 2022-23 season for the remainder of Toronto's bench.

The following is part of Raptors Republic’s series of pieces reviewing the season for the Toronto Raptors. You can find all the pieces in the series here.

Last season, the Raptors had a player finish first in minutes per game (Pascal Siakam) and another in fifth (Pascal Siakam). O.G. Anunoby and Scottie Barnes were each in the top 30. Given that there are 30 teams, a given team should have one player in the top 30 of minutes played -- not four. The incredible overtaxation on Toronto's starters was either a result of or cause of the bench's stagnation. Probably a little bit of both. But the bench numbers, compared to the starter minutes, were stark.

Toronto played its bench players the fewest total minutes in the league by more than 1000. The bench had the fourth-lowest 3-point percentage across the league and the second-lowest scoring average. At the same time it had the highest pace, largely because the only way for the bench to score consistently was in the open court. The bench did not complement the starters -- or the starters did not create enough advantages for the bench to be successful. Or both.

Otto Porter jr. - 8 games played (GP), 18.3 minutes per game (MPG), 35.3 percent from 3 (3P%)

If anyone would likely have fit perfectly into transitional- and starter-heavy lineups, it would have been Porter. He shot alright from deep in the eight games he played, and even though he didn't play nearly enough minutes for his on/off numbers to stabilize, he did have the largest positive impact on the team in regards to at-rim frequency. The team needed more shooting at the wing spots, and Porter was one of the only players who could give it off the bench.

Unfortunately, he started the season hurt and once returning only played in eight games before losing his season to a toe injury. The Raptors will be sure to need his theoretical skills as much or more this upcoming season than they did the last, and his ability to play in 50 or more games would go a long way to making Toronto's lineups make sense.

Modern basketball doesn't reflect well on players who only shoot 3s and play defense. You need to give more on offense to be a positive than just shoot. Porter is a great cutter and solid finisher. He is the prototype 3-D-C(utting) wing that new-age good teams want around stars. If he plays lots of games, Toronto would be happy. If he plays few games because Gradey Dick takes his rotation spot, Toronto would be happy. If he plays few games because he's injured again, that would be a problem.

Thad Young - 14.7 MPG, 4.4 points per game (PPG), 1.0 steals per game (SPG)

Young was quite solid after Toronto acquired him at the 2021-22 trade deadline. He hit his corner triples, made his hooks, and slotted in well into Toronto's active and turnover-forcing defense. He may not have been worth a first-round pick, but he still added quite a bit.

That was much less true in 2022-23. His minutes dropped by almost 4.0 per game despite his efficiency skyrocketing. Why? Largely because two of the major reasons he helped the team vanished. His corner 3-point shooting accuracy plummeted from an elite 45 percent to a non-existent 21. As a result, his frequency dropped massively, as he started turning down jumpers to hesitate his way into record-skip drives and dead possessions. At the same time, he lost a step on defense and had trouble keeping anyone in front of him.

He was always best used as a multiplier with the starters, but his shooting falling off meant he didn't fit there, either. Young sat 14 straight games to end the season, and it was the correct choice. He is a great vet, but he simply couldn't help the Raptors on the court.

Christian Koloko - 13.8 MPG, 3.1 PPG, 51.4 percent from 2 (2P%)

Koloko had as promising a rookie year as a second-round selection will usually have have. He looks almost guaranteed to have a long NBA career, which is far from a given for players selected in his draft range. Among all the players on the bench, Koloko was perhaps alone in overperforming expectations.