The Toronto Raptors were not known in 2016-17 for having an imposing group of reserves.
The team ranked 26th in the NBA in bench scoring, averaging 31.2 points per game, and it’s something head coach Dwane Casey is hoping to change in the upcoming season.
“Our challenge this year for us is to establish a young second unit, which means more minutes for Delon Wright, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, Jakob Poeltl, all those guys,” Casey told Prime Time Sports Friday. “OG Anunoby, once he gets healthy, our draft pick this year. We’ve got to make sure we develop a playing personnel with that second group, so this is going to be a challenge.
“For our veteran guys — Kyle [Lowry], DeMar [DeRozan], Serge [Ibaka], Jonas [Valanciunas], C.J. Miles — they’ll figure things out pretty quick but that second unit is going to be our challenge and hopefully during the exhibition [games] those guys can get some big minutes. Bruno Caboclo will get some big minutes in exhibition because with a shorter training camp it’s going to be important to get those guys some real minutes, some real NBA minutes, before we hit the real thing in October.”
Casey added that he thinks Norman Powell is a candidate on the team to have a breakout 2017-18 campaign.
“He saved us last year in the Milwaukee series,” Casey said. “He came in, played big minutes, he’s a tough kid, he’s mature, he’s hungry… We’ve got quite a few young guys that their time is coming as far as stepping up.”
Raptors training camp begins next week in Victoria where fans will be able to attend an open scrimmage Thursday.