Jordan Nwora: 2023-24 Season in Review

After being involved in one of the biggest trades in Raps history, Nwora finished the year strong

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.

On January 18, 2024, Pascal Siakam was traded to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Bruce Brown, Kira Lewis Jr. (from the Pelicans), three first-round picks, and of course, Jordan Nwora. Two weeks prior, Toronto had also shipped out fan favourite OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn to the New York Knicks, in exchange for Mississauaga’s own RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley.

Before coming to Canada, the Buffalo, New York native had been mainly a rotational player in his young NBA career. In 172 career games, Nwora had only made 29 starts, a number that would only grow by one in a Raps uniform, and a number that didn’t grow at all this year in Indy. With the Pacers, he averaged 5.2 points, 1.8 rebounds 1.0 assists, and 0.4 stocks (blocks plus steals). He shot 30.6 percent from distance on two attempts per game and 45.1 percent from the field as a whole, only appearing in 18 of the 40 games for the Pacers before he was traded.

Nwora was joining his new franchise during one of its most turbulent times in recent memory. Being part of the return that saw Toronto’s star player shipped off to another country can’t be easy, but he made his presence felt almost immediately.

There are three different segments to the Louisville alum’s 34-game tenure with Toronto last season. Segment one features only the first four games, as it illustrates the rest of Nwora’s time in Toronto to a tee. In the wing’s first two games representing Canada’s team, he only played 12 minutes combined and wasn’t particularly effective in them.

But in the next two games he exploded.

Nwora flipped the switch dropping 24 points, nine rebounds, and six assists in a one-point loss to Atlanta, followed by a 17-point, and two-rebound outing in a win against the Bulls. It was fascinating to witness the pack-a-punch offence that the wing can bring with a solid stroke from deep.

Phase two consisted of the next 14 games for Nwora in a Raptors uniform, which wasn’t pretty. He averaged 4.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.9 assists, and 0.6 stocks. He shot 34.9 percent from the field on 4.5 attempts and 20 percent from downtown on 1.7 attempts per game. This was a tough stretch for the 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward. He wasn’t getting consistent playing time averaging just over 10 minutes per game, the shot wouldn’t fall, and Nwora seemed to still be getting used to being on his third team in four years.

Segment three was a completely different story.

Similar to how his first four games went, with a slow first half but strong finish, it’s exactly how the next 30 or so games would go. In Nwora’s final 15 games (excluding one game where he only played four minutes), he averaged 11.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.3 stocks, and played over 20 minutes per game . The 25-year-old cashed in at a 51.9 percent clip from the floor on 8.4 attempts, 39.2 percent from behind the arc on 3.4 attempts, and even shot a respectable 75 percent from the charity stripe.

When Scottie Barnes and Jakob Poeltl suffered injuries and RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley missed games due to unfortunate circumstances, Nwora stepped in and provided some relief. He showcased that he is a talented shot-maker who can go for 20 on the right night with positional size to rise over defenders for easy jimmy’s. He also showcased that he has a willingness to crash the boards with sneaky athleticism and positioning. The defence does leave something to be desired, however, but with size and youth on his side the right team could get the most out of him on that end of the floor.

Moving forward, it’s unclear where Nwora fits into the Raptors’ future. The former second-round pick is an unrestricted free agent this summer and it’s possible the two sides could go their separate ways. The Buffalonian has a $5.7-million cap hold which could be used for some extra wiggle room should Nwora not come back.

It was an up-and-down season for number 13, it’s not easy coming into a new situation let alone a transitioning one, especially when you are a part of the package for one of the greatest players in franchise history. Nwora is only 25, has good size, and has shown flashes of dazzling offensive skill. He could develop into an all-around player, the question is will be wearing a Raptors uniform when that happens or somebody else’s?