The Toronto Raptors are set to face the Washington Wizards in their final preseason game and final opportunity to ramp up for the impending season. Toronto will have both Jakob Poetl and Precious Achiuwa back so the regular season rotation will have a chance to shine tonight.
Washington has the outstanding Jordan Poole on their team after an offseason trade that sent Chris Paul to the Warriors and Jordan Poole to the Wizards and containing Poole should be priority number one for Toronto. Jordan Poole is a very dangerous shooter and creator so it will most likely be up to Dennis Schroeder to contain him on the ball, and for Jakob to provide some rim deterrence if Poole finds his way downhill.
Toronto Point Guard Dennis Schroder is extremely confident in the Toronto Raptors winning tonight and even went as far as saying that Toronto is 4-0 in the preseason before tonight’s game even happened, so maybe that sparks something in Washington and we get a little regular season intensity in the preseason.
Scottie Barnes has been playing well in the preseason and it was extremely encouraging to see the way he has been defending, especially against the Chicago Bulls and we need to see that tonight. In the new defensive scheme he isn’t forced to go out to the perimeter as much which has allowed him to to impact the game defensively down low in a big way. So hopefully Scottie can be a part of the rim help that helps to contain guys like Jordan Poole and Kyle Kuzma. Scottie also has been a force in transition during this preseason and has done well utilizing his size en route to the rim in the half court which should continue tonight.
Pascal Siakam should be able to have his way tonight since Washington doesn’t have any notable wing defenders for the most part, with either Kyle Kuzma or Bilal Coulibaly being his primary defender.
Kyle Kuzma has blossomed into a pretty good player in Washington and it will most likely be the likes of OG Anunoby who is tasked with keeping him in check which for OG should be a straightforward task. OG also will have a favorable matchup defensively tonight and hopefully we see him hunt for his shot since there are more of them to go around now.
Tonight should be a fun game that features two teams trying to iron out any issues they can before the games start to count so this game will be as close to regular season action as we’re going to get before the actual thing.
The bench minutes will be intriguing tonight because we get to see it at near full strength and with guys like Gary Precious and Otto coming off the bench, not to mention rookie Gradye Dick and potentially Christian Koloko. The bench has a lot of strong options that provide plenty of ancillary scoring for Pascal or Scottie to gravitate around, they however are pretty weak on defense so we will see how that bodes throughout the game. Gary Trent Jr is usually a bright spot off the bench who slides into that role perfectly so his presence off the pine will be very useful.
It’s a homecoming for former Raptor Delon Wright and he has the potential to spell trouble for the Raptors bench lineups if left unchecked.
We saw multiple starters play well into the 4th quarter last game and with this being the final game before the season begins we should see the starters go deep tonight as well. Darko Rajokovic has already shown how life will be different with him as coach and if the preseason means anything then all Raptor fans should be encouraged. The ball is moving around a lot, the defense has been a tad more traditional than in years past and the vibe of the team heading into the season just seems very positive and hopefully that continues tonight and Toronto finishes the preseason with a perfect record.
Tip-Off: 7:30 pm EDT | TV: Sportsnet 1, Sportsnet 1 4K
PG: Tyus Jones, Delon Wright
SG: Jordan Poole, Corey Kispert, Johnny Davis
SF: Bilal Coulibaly, Deni Avdija
PF: Kyle Kuzma, Danilo Galinari
C: Daniel Gafford, Taj Gibson
PG: Dennis Schroder, Malachi Flynn, Markquis Nowell, Jeff Dowtin Jr.
SG: O.G. Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr, Gradey Dick, Javon Freeman-Liberty
SF: Scottie Barnes, Jalen McDaniels, Otto Porter Jr, Garrett Temple, Ron Harper Jr.
PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Precious Achiuwa Thaddeus Young, Mouhamadou Gueye
C: Jakob Poeltl, Christian Koloko Makur Maker
It is preseason.