Or should we say the Raptors in the new look.
Plus with Norman Powell, who was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday, and also without Matt Thomas and Terence Davis, both of whom were treated for second-round picks in separate deals, the Raptors’ reworked roster will take the court for the first time Friday night to face the Phoenix Suns at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sportsnet ONE.
Here’s a look at three things to look out for when playing in the game.
New Raptors Debut
Unless you’ve gone out of your way to watch a lot of Portland Trail Blazers over the past few years – and we can’t blame you if you did, because Damian Lillard is at your destination – you didn’t probably not seen by much of Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood.
Therefore, Friday’s game should be of particular interest to fans, as these new faces – the players Norman Powell has been traded for – will likely make their Raptors debut.
As the old saying goes, first impressions are everything and this couple will have the opportunity to endow each other with loyal Raptors. It won’t be a small task considering how important Powell is to the Raptors, but at least a player like Hood is still a talented shooter who comes across as a more reliable option than the now gone Thomas and Davis.
And as for Trent, he’s still just 22 and in the middle of a breakout season, averaging 15 points per game and shooting 39.7 percent from three points. But beyond his numbers, Trent is set to become a popular player as his journey is expected to resonate with fans as a former second-round pick who has only squeaked and strived to improve since entering the league. NBA during the 2018-19 season.
Hoping that Trent and Hood have some solid games and be able to show what they can bring to the team.
It’s time to prove their courage
It will actually be pretty important that Trent and Hood come out of the game and play well on their first few trips with the Raptors, because it’s time for this team.
After the events of the deadline, with the Raptors choosing to keep Kyle Lowry, it is quite obvious that the Raptors have no intention of tanking and will now have to try and rack up as many wins as possible to get back into the tank. image of the playoffs.
Currently 11th in the East and 1 1/2 games behind the Chicago Bulls for that 10th and final play-in tournament place, the Raptors can get back into things; but they can no longer afford to walk on water.
Powell aside, the front office has granted head coach Nick Nurse’s wish to give this group a chance to prove themselves – now he has to come out and do just that.
The Raptors will be tough against a very good Suns team, but Toronto will just have to find a way to succeed against an elite opponent.
Health and safety protocol is leading the way again
Admittedly, finding that success will be a lot easier said than done, especially given the Raptors will be shorthanded.
The team have announced that DeAndre ‘Bembry and Paul Watson Jr. will miss Friday’s contest because they are in the dreaded health and safety protocols.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Bembry or Watson actually tested positive for COVID-19, but the team has just recovered from a nine-game losing streak largely due to COVID protocols.
So keeping your fingers crossed is nothing too serious and that no one else should miss out on games. The Raptors really can’t afford to go through this again.