Mired in their worst losing streak of the season, the Toronto Raptors will have to attempt to return to winning ways without the presence of DeMar DeRozan for at least two games.
DeMar DeRozan was never genuinely expected to leave the Toronto Raptors after last season. Regardless, there was some speculation surrounding how the team would do without him, before he signed his five-year, $139 million contract.
Well, now we get the opportunity to find out, at least for a couple of games. As reported by the Toronto Sun‘s Ryan Wolstat, DeRozan will miss Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s matchups with the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies respectively.
With the Raptors currently struggling through their worst losing streak since November 2015, the absence couldn’t have come at a worse time. Speaking to Wolstat and the rest of the media, DeRozan said: “It sucks having to watch.
“I try to go with the mindset this year wanting to play all 82 (games), that was my mindset, just doing that, accomplishing that. But things happen, maybe it’ll force me to sit down and get a rest for a couple of days and come back better.”
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Of course, you could argue that having the 2009 ninth overall draft pick in the lineup hasn’t exactly helped of late. It’s especially concerning, when you consider the trio of losses have come against Philadelphia, Charlotte and Phoenix.
Regardless, the Raptors will hope DeRozan recovers from his ankle injury sooner rather than later. The good news is he isn’t in a walking boot, but we’ll have to wait until he is re-evaluated later on this week, to see if he misses any more playing time.
The 27-year old initially suffered his injury halfway through the fourth quarter against the Suns on Sunday, after landing on Jonas Valanciunas‘ foot. He continued to play through the pain, until finally coming out with 1:30 remaining in the game.
As you would expect from most head coaches, Dwane Casey is doing his best to preach calmness to the team. Also speaking to Wolstat, he said: “Everybody’s in panic mode right now, (but) it’s not time to panic.
“We’re going through a tough time. Every team goes through this time every year…it’s how you come out of it.”
In terms of replacing DeRozan, a lot of people would like to see Terrence Ross move into the starting lineup, although Norman Powell is considered more likely to get the opportunity. Either way, some combination of the duo needs to find a way to make up for the loss of the 28 points their teammate averages per game.
As a point of reference, it’s worth noting the Raptors went 12-9 without their three-time All-Star, during the 2014-15 campaign. Certainly, this season’s roster is stronger, but concerns will remain, in part due to the recent run of bad form.
What are you predicting for the Raptors in their next two games against the Spurs and Grizzlies? Do you think they’ll see their losing streak extend to five games, or will they find a way to win at least one of the two match-ups? Share your thoughts in the comments section.