Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)
Once you get to the NBA playoffs, a lot of teams will shrink their regular rotation of players. They’ll go from their normal group of 10 to 12 guys to about 7 or 8 guys that they ride heavily throughout the playoffs. We’ve only seen one game from the Raptors so far this postseason, (a 114-106 win over the Wizards yesterday) but it seems pretty clear that the Raptors won’t be shrinking their rotation at all in the playoffs.
In Saturday’s win, the Raptors used 11 different players. They were able to get a lots of different guys out there, and it worked very well for them. It worked especially well in the 4th quarter, when Dwane Casey turned to Lucas Nogueira off of the bench. Nogueira came into the game and impacted it positively on both the offensive and defensive side of the floor. His long arms were able to alter some shots defensively, and he set some good screens on offense. He also made a great pass to set up a huge 3 from C.J. Miles. This great performance from Bebe showed a few things about the Raptors.
First of all, their depth is a huge asset, since coach Casey can turn to anyone he wants and have the utmost confidence that they’ll play well. It also showed how Casey and the Raptors won’t be shortening the bench now that it’s the playoffs; they’re going to stick with what has worked to this point.
Keeping the rotation at 10-12 guys is the right move for the Raptors. Considering how much success their bench has had this season, it would be counterproductive to not play them as much as they normally have this year. This situation is different for a team like the Timberwolves, who ride their starters throughout the year anyway. Their bench was never that good, so it makes sense that they would stick with their starters and a shorter bench. But, for a team like the Raptors, they have no reason to turn away from their depth and great bench, and that’s why Casey did what he did yesterday, and why he’ll continue to do that throughout what we all hope is a long playoff run.
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