The blessing in disguise while the Raptors deal with injuries

The Raptors are dealing with injuries or illness to several rotation players and while it is impacting their record, Imman Adan and Yasmin Duale see a few positives to take for the future.

Video Transcript

IMMAN ADAN: Luckily for them, they're not going to be playing too many games. The next one after the Wednesday game against the Brooklyn Nets will be against the Dallas Mavericks. And then they have the Cavs coming up. My question to you is we've seen that the team has needed OG Anunoby.

The team has needed, of course, Fred VanVleet, who still seems to be a little bit hurt. And the team has needed Scottie Barnes to step up. What are you looking at with the other guys on the roster? Maybe Malachi Flynn, who had a great game, what are you looking at in everybody else? And who can really step up in this time where the Raptors are so shorthanded?

YASMIN DUALE: I think it's on Precious, honestly. Because OG--

IMMAN ADAN: Do we have any word if he's coming back?

YASMIN DUALE: Yeah, I wonder. It didn't sound severe. I could be wrong, but there's so many injuries. They're getting blurred.

He is an important factor in terms-- because I'm assuming he'd be out longer than Pascal. But yeah, I think that him filling out OG's role now that OG is doing a higher usage role right now would be important. And Precious has, I think, the potential to do exactly what OG was doing, be immovable defensively, to take those open 3's, to attack the closeout when he can, take opportunity when he can.

And I think this season, we've just seen an improvement in his IQ as a player. I think before, he was just prone to kind of those mental slip ups. I think he was overthinking things, trying to do too much at once. But now that he's simplified his role, which the Raptors are really good at doing, just getting players to distill--

IMMAN ADAN: Yeah.

YASMIN DUALE: --expand out of that. But you got to get the basics down. And I think that Precious has been doing that towards the last half of last season. He's been doing it since then.

IMMAN ADAN: Right. Precious is going to be a big one. I agree with you on that because especially when talking about stepping into OG Anunoby's role. Because quite often, the Raptors-- lots of people look at this team as a team that has a lot of similarly sized players and think let's consolidate them.

YASMIN DUALE: It ends there, though.

IMMAN ADAN: It ends-- Yeah, let's consolidate them. And it's like, you can consolidate OG Anunoby. Because you've got-- And it's like, no one does what he does for this team in order to make that work. And so getting the Preciouses to step into an OG Anunoby role who can one, guard one through five, as we've seen. But also-- yeah, he's struggling with his 3 point shot, but he's still there from beyond the arc. It's still someone that teams have to go out there and get.

And we're seeing right now the added skill set in OG Anunoby's game and why he's so integral to what this Raptors team does, especially when they're down a Pascal Siakam. But also OG's role is so important to making vision six nine work. It's so important to making the starting five work. He is integral to what they do.

And so, well, if you believe that this team can consolidate some of those pieces, that really requires Precious Achiuwa to take that next leap in his game. So I'm there with you on that. I loved getting to see some Malachi Flynn moments. I thought he played incredibly well, hit down some timely buckets, and honestly just was the sort of secondary ball handler that the Raptors needed.

It's unfortunate that we didn't get to see Dalano play. Injuries, my gosh. But he's been so good in the minutes that he's gotten to have. And I think a lot of that comes with-- and we talked about it on this pod last time-- the minutes he gets to see off ball, right?

He is such a good slasher. He's such a good cutter. He's shown an ability to knock down, catch, and shoot 3's, as well.

And so we're starting to see a lot of these pieces really grow, a lot of these players really grow into their roles. And unfortunately, that has to come sometimes with some injuries, right? The bad side of an injury, that we want to see Pascal out there, we want this team to be at their best because they're so good. And you're not going to lose these games to the Atlanta Hawks. But if we're going to look toward the silver lining at all, it's the fact that we're starting to see Scottie and OG's game take another level.

We're starting to watch Malachi Flynn get some minutes and finding his role on this team, same thing with Dalano Banton when he was healthy as well. So if we're going to be positive at all and we're going to find some silver linings, the development of this team is going to continue with guys out of the lineup because it's just giving a bigger role to some guys who might be very--

YASMIN DUALE: That's the natural, I think, necessary evil in basketball. It always happens that there's going to be players that are out during the year. And other players are going to step up and take the opportunity to develop. I think it's a natural flow of things. How many--

IMMAN ADAN: That's why you need a deep team.

YASMIN DUALE: --bench pieces have we seen it explode because a starter or a star was out and they had the increase in usage. And then they're all over the sports news coverage because people are like, whoa, get a load of this guy. It's like he just needed minutes.

IMMAN ADAN: Draymond Green would not be Draymond Green if David Lee did not get hurt. Right?

YASMIN DUALE: There's so many-- someone needs to write about that. The amount of players--

IMMAN ADAN: Paul George would not be Paul George if [? Danny ?] Granger did not get hurt.

YASMIN DUALE: There are so many examples.

IMMAN ADAN: It's true.

YASMIN DUALE: Didn't Pascal-- he started in training camp that year because OG was injured.

IMMAN ADAN: Exactly.

YASMIN DUALE: There are so many examples.

IMMAN ADAN: It would have been the OG, Pascal-- who's going to start depending on match ups. That's probably what the Raptors would have had--

YASMIN DUALE: Oh, yeah. Serge, Marc, yeah.

IMMAN ADAN: --had Pascal not-- And so, it's true. It is sort of the unfortunate-- is the unfortunate truth of sports. And that's why the Raptors have been so great at having young guys on the team, right? You don't just fill your final roster spots with Udonis Haslem because there could be some young guys getting minutes. And hopefully in a situation like this, they are able to develop.

And that's exactly what we're seeing with OG Anunoby. It's what we hope to continue to see with Scottie Barnes. And we got to see it with Dalano Banton as well. So hopefully some of these guys can start getting healthy and come back into the lineup. But I think there are some positives to take away.