Toronto Raptors: Offence, not defence is the problem three games in

The Toronto Raptors’ offence needs to be better if they want to compete.

Three games into the season and the Toronto Raptors have not had an ideal start and it’s clear that there are elements the team is missing.

Against the Philadelphia 76ers, it was the departure of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka that got pressed into the spotlight as Joel Embiid was a force that couldn’t be contained. It always seemed like the Raptors always had the right personnel to go up against the Sixers big man but in this one, he was able to play to his strengths.

This once again put the team’s defence in the spotlight after a couple of tough stretches in games where they let leads get away from them. It looked like the Raptors were getting production from Alex Len and Stanley Johnson who impressed in their season debuts.

However, while everyone continues to focus on the team’s defence for the poor start, the offence has been as much of a problem in the early going. In the fourth quarter with a close score, the Raptors only managed 17 points. Ironically enough, Philadelphia scored 17 in the opening quarter but it was the 37 combined points in the second half that was the problem.

This was an issue in the second round against the Boston Celtics when there defence wasn’t able to overcome the shortcomings of their offence. It’s tough to blame the team considering they haven’t had a player capable of closing out a game since Kawhi Leonard.

Seeing how the team has struggled to close out games, it’s understandable why the team was likely hoping Giannis Antetokounmpo would be an option this offseason and why there have been rumours about James Harden. This is what NBA teams need in order to contend.

With time, the Raptors’ defence will provide opportunities on offence but unless someone on the team can step up and provide enough scoring, this is going to be a tough season. Both OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam had 20 points each against the 76ers and looking at the scoresheet it’s hard to not single one player who has been good enough to start the season.

Fred VanVleet got a well-deserved pay raise this past offseason but so far, it has been a tough start for him. On opening night, he had nine points but managed to bounce back with 27 against the San Antonio Spurs.

However, against Philadephia, VanVleet was 3-for-12 from the field with two three-pointers. Simply put, that’s not going to cut it especially with him getting prime minutes in the rotation.

Unless VanVleet can turn things around, the Raptors will continue to find production elsewhere and unless a trade option presents itself like DeMar DeRozan, Harden or potentially Victor Oladipo, it’s going to be a tough season.

What do you think about the Raptors’ start to the season? How do they turn things around? Let us know in the comments below.