The Toronto Raptors are second in the eastern conference despite missing their top two power forwards for a large portion of the season. Both Jared Sullinger and Patrick Patterson have been struggling with injuries. This has meant that rookie Pascal Siakam has had to step into the starting lineup, which has produced varying degrees of success. He has provided good energy on defense, however his measly 4.8 PPG and 3.6 RPG have hindered Toronto’s overall success. Sullinger was Toronto’s big acquisition to the squad that went to the Eastern Conference Finals and has been pegged to play a lot of minutes. He has been sidelined after getting a surgically inserted screw into the fifth metatarsal in his left foot back in early October.
Jared Sullinger and Delon Wright Cleared to Practice for Raptors
A bull of a player at 6’9 and 260 pounds, Sullinger is a good rebounder, averaging 8.3 in his last season as a Boston Celtic in only 23 MPG. Toronto is 25th in the NBA in RPG and 27th in defensive rebounding. Sullinger automatically plugs this glaring hole that has become one of the main reasons Toronto’s defense allows 104.4 PPG. Sullinger gives Dwane Casey and his staff more options with their lineups, as he has the size to play either forward position, should Nogueira or Valanciunas get hurt. There is no doubt Sullinger makes a top five team in the NBA a whole lot better as their biggest weakness when he went down with injury has been their depth at the forward position.
In other good news, second year player Wright has also been cleared to practice. Wright had arthroscopic surgery in August to fix a labral tear in his right shoulder. A second-team All-American his senior year in at Utah and the Bob Cousey Award winner for best point guard in college in 2015, Wright could figure to be an important player to Toronto. A 6’5 guard, he has the ability to guard multiple positions; he impressed many with limited playing time last season. Scoring 4 points and 1 assists in around 8 MPG was seen as a positive contributor by Casey. He gives Casey the option to rest star point guard Kyle Lowry and back-up point guard Cory Joseph, who both play a lot of minutes and take a lot of shots at the rim.