Trent’s bag of offensive tricks expanding as he adjusts to Raptors


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It can’t be all darkness, even though things are bleak right now for the Raptors and the players understandably seem down. So how about some positives from that woeful loss against an Oklahoma City team that was missing well, everybody? It would be much easier to point out the incredibly bad rebounding performance and lack of urgency, but we’ll leave that for another day.

Gary Trent Jr. was great, continuing to show off more of an offensive arsenal that was largely hidden away in Portland where he didn’t get to create much for himself because the big dogs had to eat. There was that highlight reel-worthy sequence to end the third quarter, a game after his brilliant 180 pass got Raptors fans excited.


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Trent started with a late-shot clock fading floater, had another nice floater, a jam, a bunch of catch-and-shoot swishes, some pullups and a lot of step-backs. That move appears to be Trent’s bread and butter. He gets defenders off-balance, before pulling the ball back and launching a wide open shot.

If Kyle Lowry re-signs, Trent looks like a top-notch sixth man. If Lowry leaves, Toronto can field a bigger team and he’s looking pretty viable as a starter too (as he has at times in Portland).

Anunoby was about the only Raptor attacking the glass. He had 11, tied for the second-most of his career. Otherwise, yikes. It was a fitting close to one of the worst months in the history of the franchise. Now they have to play five times next week, all with a tired, short-handed (no Lowry, likely no Rodney Hood, though maybe some of the reserves who have been in the protocols come back) roster.

This is now the fifth one-win Raptors month (not counting months with only a handful of games) and the first since 2006, they year that got the Raptors Andrea Bargnani. Hopefully things go better this time around, though I have fond memories of the first draft I covered early on in my career when I was still a noble desker.


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How tough has this year been? Nick Nurse started the season leading all NBA coaches in winning percentage, sitting north of .700. Now he’s 11th and falling fast (he’s about to slip behind the great Pat Riley, though there’s no shame in that).

One more off the game: I need to find out more about Moses Brown. He’s only 21, is 7-foot-2 and has already had some eye-popping performances. How on earth did he go undrafted? He starred with Cole Anthony in high school so was by no means under the radar. Yes, he violated UCLA’s code of conduct and was suspended for the final game of his sophomore season before entering the draft, but there isn’t much detail beyond that. Portland cut him despite G League success and he landed with the Thunder, the team that probably needs him the least, seeing as they have a million draft picks and another gigantic centre prospect, but he now has a real NBA deal and looks extremely intriguing.

On the ex-Raptor front, keep an eye on the Lakers and Marc Gasol. Gasol has not spoken to the media since Andre Drummond was signed off the buyout market. He played six minutes the other night. Now Drummond is banged up. He’s a prideful guy and though he’s clearly lost most of his game, not starting doesn’t seem to be sitting well.


1 — Gary Trent Jr. (We told you it was a good trade, even though Norm Powell’s really good).

2 — OG Anunoby. (One of the rare bright spots of this game).

3 — Moses Brown (Why didn’t anyone else want this kid?).


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