What Toronto can learn from their standout G League team


While the Toronto Raptors are fighting for every single victory during their push towards the postseason, Raptors 905 is dominating in the G League bubble. Head coach Patrick Mutumbo has a roster led by Alize Johnson, Henry Ellenson, Gary Payton II, and two-way Jalen Harris sporting a 12-3 record, qualifying them for the postseason.

The Raptors has the league’s best offense, averaging a ridiculous 123 points per game while shooting, on average, 40 3-pointers per game.

Due to the lack of openings on their roster and the difficulties associated with moving players to and from Orlando amid the pandemic, Nick Nurse and the Raptors have seldom leaned on G League talent outside of two-way Yuta Watanabe.

If Nurse isn’t going to bring any of the players from 905 up in the middle of the season, he could at least take some of what Mutumbo is doing into account, as his 905 team appears to be the most lethal offensive squad in the NBA’s minor league.

What are Raptors 905 doing that Toronto can copy?

The Raptors have found some quality shooters in Ellenson and Harris, and they are leaning into the Moreyball system on offense. Either shoot 3-pointers or get looks close to the rim. Doing so has not only made the Raptors a high-octane offense, but it’s allowed players like Johnson and Donta Hall to get uncontested looks in the vacated paint.

While Payton is an excellent defender, Mutumbo knows that he’s going to surrender plenty of points playing offense like that. His solution has been to play an aggressive style of defense predicated on forcing turnovers. The Raptors are currently second in the league in steals, and that cavalier attitude has turned into some easy buckets in transition.

The offense is by no means a huge sore spot for Toronto right now, but they could stand to slightly improve their efficiency. On a team riddled with good shooters, but limited due to a lack of size, going ultra-small and ultra-fast on offense could be a prudent strategy.

What’s the best way to cover up for Aron Baynes’ poor play and Pascal Siakam’s lack of interior defense? Forcing a turnover before the opponent gets near the paint. With enough quality perimeter defenders between Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet, this goal is without a doubt easy to accomplish.

The G League has given the Raptors some quality players like VanVleet and Chris Boucher, and now the Raptors might have to borrow some tactics from their affiliate this season.