What’s The Raptors’ Secret Weapon?


It’s easy to see that question and assume it’s either one-half of Toronto’s two-headed monster of a backcourt or the other… but this time it’s neither.

The Raptors’ secret weapon is that nobody sees them coming. Ever since Kyle Lowry’s injury and surgery, the Raptors have gone from under the radar to off the grid.

Nobody’s talking about them making a push for the top seed in the East – even though they’re only three games back of Boston right now. They’ve sneakily been on a six-game winning streak, and are 7-3 over the course of their last ten games.

Instead of faltering when Lowry went down, everybody’s adapted to increased roles pretty smoothly – nobody more so than Cory Joseph.

You can tell when a player comes from the San Antonio Spurs organization. They’re usually quiet, modest professionals who can go from limited role bench player to an integral part of an offense at the flip of a hat.

Joseph has also excelled as the starter for Toronto in Lowry’s absence. His last game he scored 15, dished out 13 assists and grabbed six boards, for an example.

Over the past 15 days, Joseph is shooting just a shade under 48% and averaging a little over 11 points per contest to go with six dimes and about four and a half boards. His play has been a big part of the Raptors’ surprising success without Lowry.

Having Lowry out may not be ideal, but how well Toronto has done without him bodes well for them once he returns.

The additions of P.J. Tucker and Serge Ibaka will also be crucial for their defense this postseason.

The Raptors’ bench will have a big impact in the playoffs. Take a look at a team like Indiana, whose bench is flush with injuries right at the wrong time. If Toronto ends up matched up against them, look for the benches to be one of the biggest determining factors of the series.

While they’ll have to slowly work Lowry back into his standard amount of minutes, getting him back come playoff time will be huge for the Great North. And with how well Joseph has stepped up, that definitely takes pressure off Lowry when he does come back.

Keep in mind I haven’t even mentioned the 5th leading scorer in the league, DeMar DeRozan, who’s averaging 27.2 points per game for Toronto.

I also haven’t touched on the Raptors being 4th in the league in plus/minus, turnovers, and steals. In other words, the Raptors have been underrated and have a lot of upsides.

So yeah, their secret weapon is that they’re coasting into the postseason under the radar – among many other things.

About Brandon Wentz

Mayor of the borough of Mt. Carbon, Pennsylvania. Disappointed fan of the Phoenix Suns. Humble narcissist. Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/thebighonch

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