five takeaways from Kawhi Leonard’s Toronto Raptors pre-season debut

Mike Ashley offering avid gamers a free break if Newcastle avoid relegation is an insult… I’d have advised him to shove it where the solar don’t shine

supplied by operate Media Channels restrictedThe Toronto Raptors bought the 2018-19 season off to a good inaugurate on Saturday evening with a 122-104 victory over the Portland path Blazers in their preseason opener.

Kawhi Leonard stole the display in this one, but the Raptors got contributions throughout the board from the likes of Pascal Siakam and Jonas Valanciunas.

With that in mind, here are 5 takeaways from the primary of 5 preseason video games for the Raptors…

Kawhi Leonard looks healthy

Kawhi Leonard’s debut went about as well as any one may’ve anticipated.

He was a bit rusty, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone seeing that this turned into his first NBA online game in virtually 9 months, however Kawhi turned into aggressive on offense and looked like his former MVP self on a few possessions, this crossover on Calib Swanigan being the most memorable:

Kawhi complete the game with 12 elements, three rebounds, one aid and one assume in 19 minutes of play. He tried eight pictures and obtained to the free throw line 11 instances. The Raptors outscored the Blazers with the aid of 10 aspects with him on the court docket, giving him the fourth-maximum plus-minus on the crew.

This could be the launch of whatever thing special in Toronto.

supplied by using function Media Channels restricted kawhi-leonard-092918-ftr-getty.jpg Pascal Siakam is a special player

speakme of particular, Pascal Siakam had himself a night.

while it might no longer seem to be it in accordance with the container score, the 24-yr-historical changed into in every single place, grabbing rebounds, pushing the pace and setting up his teammates with satisfactory appears in transition.

The latter won’t likely be a one-off, either.

each Siakam and Raptors head train Nick Nurse talked in training camp about him getting extra opportunities to address the ball and make plays within the initiate court this season, and he put his full abilities in these situations on screen time and time against the Blazers.

Fred VanVleet is as constant as ever

What can we say about Fred VanVleet that hasn’t already been talked about?

In sixteen minutes off the bench, VanVleet drilled three of his four shot makes an attempt from deep en path to eleven features. He changed into as constant as ever in leading the 2nd unit, which helped the Raptors separate themselves from the Blazers in the third quarter.

VanVleet had a powerful case for Sixth Man of the yr ultimate season . We should still probably expect extra of the same from him this season.

Jonas Valanciunas towards 2d instruments isn’t gorgeous

Nick Nurse started CJ Miles at energy ahead and Serge Ibaka at core in Toronto’s first preseason online game, so Jonas Valanciunas got here off the bench to fill the Jakob Poeltl function on the 2d unit.

Valanciunas makes up for what he lacks defensively in comparison to Poeltl with his offense, and he feasted on Portland’s backups all night long. It resulted in Valanciunas scoring a crew-excessive 17 facets on 4-for-eight capturing from the box and eight-for-eight taking pictures from the free throw line.

Time will inform if Valanciunas will consume extra time in the starting lineup or coming off the bench this season — Nick Nurse has referred to that he’ll test with distinct lineups during preseason — however he’ll be an important a part of Toronto’s success regardless.

Nick Nurse can be turning the Raptors into the Rockets

Nick Nurse obtained a lot of credit score for giving Toronto’s offense a facelift remaining season.

Now that he is the top educate, he might be taking his gadget to an intense with the aid of turning the Raptors into the japanese conference version of the Houston Rockets.

bear in mind, as Ben Falk of cleansing the Glass cited , that the Blazers are one of the crucial enhanced groups within the league at retaining opponents off the three-point line and getting them to accept lengthy twos.

it’s handiest preseason, but we’re already seeing Nurse enforce some alterations.


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