I’m sure like many Utah fans, we all have a bit of a soft spot in our heart for the Toronto Raptors, since they drafted Delon Wright and Jakob Poeltl in back-to-back NBA Drafts, both in the first round. As is normal for most rookies, both Wright and Poeltl took a bit of time to adjust to the NBA and earn time in the rotation. Wright has also been slowed by injuries a little throughout his young career. Now in their 3rd (Wright) and 2nd (Poeltl) seasons with the Raptors, both are contributors in the NBA Playoffs, and both had a big impact on Game 5 of their first round series against the Washington Wizards.
Delon Wright has turned into one of the first guys off the bench for the Raptors, and Toronto boasts one of the best benches in the entire NBA. Backing up All-Star Kyle Lowry isn’t a bad gig, but Wright this past season has shown maybe he deserves a promotion, maybe not with Toronto, but he’s showing he could be a starter in the league. Delon was an efficient 6 of 10 from the floor, and has improved his 3 point shooting since being in the league, he was 2 of 2 from distance tonight bringing his point total to 18 points. He has always been a stat stuffing machine, while he only had 1 assist, he also had 5 rebounds, 2 steals and a block. That’s a killer stat line for one of your bench players, and if Toronto wants to keep moving on in these playoffs, Wright will be a big key.
Also coming off the bench, Jakob Poeltl pitched in 9 points of his own. For 15 minutes of action, that’s not too bad for the young big guy, and the 2 offensive rebounds a nice addition. You’d like to see him knock down his free throws, which he was so good at his last season at Utah, he only went 3 of 6. It will be interesting to see how Jakob progresses going foward, not just in these playoffs, but his career. He has a nice touch, and it will go a long way for him if he can hit a 15 footer with the way the league is now. He’s still very young, and to be a rotational player on the top team in the east is impressive for him.
We’ll keep a close eye on how these guys continue to play as these games go along, and if they’re able to help Toronto advance in these playoffs.