Raptors coach Casey wants to find Lowry extra rest

Dwane Casey joins Prime Time Sports to discuss being named Coach of the Month for January and how the team has started their west coast road trip.

Having won 12 of their last 13 games, boasting the coach and co-players of the month of January and sitting comfortably in second place in the Eastern Conference with a 33-16 record, things are going pretty well for the Toronto Raptors at the moment.

Despite the high-flying times the Raptors are seeing right now, however, there are wrinkles to be found with one of the biggest being Kyle Lowry’s large workload.

The Raptors all-star point guard is averaging a career-high 36.7 minutes per game this season, a point of concern for fans as he appeared to break down midway through last season.

Lowry is visibly in better shape now than before, but even his coach acknowledges he’s probably playing a little too much.

“We've got to get his minutes down,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said on Sportsnet 590 the FAN’s Prime Time Sports on Wednesday. “Last night he was up to [42] minutes and we probably have to get him out sooner because we're getting caught when there's no stoppage in play, and we have a guy at the scorer's table and there goes another minute.

“Those extra couple minutes add up over a period of the game and now he's at [42] when really he should be at 36, 35 minutes.”

The other hurdle the Raptors need to navigate is the hit they taken to their wing depth with the injuries to DeMarre Carroll and James Johnson.

In Tuesday’s win against the Phoenix Suns Casey opted to go with rookie Norman Powell as his starting small forward, but don’t bank on this being his go-to stop-gap measure.

“Right now we're going to treat that position as being fluid, putting different people according to matchups in that situation, not necessarily starting the same guy,” Casey said. “According to matchups is how we're going to kind of fill that spot.”

Taking a closer look at who else the Raptors could possibly fit into their patchwork wing rotation, Casey mentioned the possibility of Anthony Bennett seeing time as he can fit into the “power three” mold that Carroll and Johnson fall under.

“I think in time Anthony Bennett can turn into that person, with more time and more experience, and that type of thing,” Casey said. “For us, he’s that next guy in line to be that power three.”

Another way Toronto may shore up its issues with Carroll and Johnson out is with a trade and with rumours swirling about the Raptors’ interest in the Suns’ P.J. Tucker and Markieff Morris, there’s a chance that’s how the team will address some of the problems its facing heading into the stretch run of the season.