Toronto Raptors: 3 Early observations, trends so far this season

Chris Boucher #25 and Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Chris Boucher #25 and Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors reacts against the Philadelphia 76ers. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Fred VanVleet picking up for Kyle Lowry but he needs help

The writing seemed to be on the wall when the Raptors signed Fred VanVleet to a four-year, $85 million deal. He was the team’s next starting point guard when it came time for Kyle Lowry to leave.

So far this season he is the Raptors leading scorer averaging19.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 7.1 assists while playing 38.6 minutes per game. On top of his play on the court, VanVleet has stepped up as Lowry did off the court as well.

However, the Raptors are already seeing the impact of playing the 27-year-old as much as they have. He has apparently been dealing with a groin injury that forced him to sit out of their team’s last game and it’s uncertain how long he will be out for.

This is where the Raptors need to figure out what they can do to provide support for VanVleet. Not only do they need someone that can produce offensively but not be a major downgrade defensively.

Goran Dragic got the start with VanVleet out and did what he could to fill the void. He was able to make some shots and drive to the paint with authority which is promising considering he’s been a healthy scratch.

Unfortunately, Malachi Flynn is still learning and the team wants to be cautious with Dalano Banton’s development as well. It would make sense to ensure both players are getting enough playing time and not just sitting on the bench.

It should be on Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster’s list of areas to address if they want to make upgrades down the road. There aren’t many teams throwing away quality point guards but the Raptors can’t let things continue like they have for long.