Back from Injury, Raptors’ Norman Powell Looks like the Powell of Old
After a disappointing 2017-18 campaign, there were many questions surrounding Norman Powell’s role with the Toronto Raptors going into the new regular season.
Inking a four-year extension prior to the start of last season, many believed Powell was set to take his game to the next level, but poor decision-making with the basketball and shooting struggles pitted the UCLA alum to a bench-warming role on a team filled with depth. With the new contract kicking in at the start of this season, Powell was set to compete for minutes with C.J. Miles, a three-point specialist who added exactly what the new-age NBA is built around – shooting and spacing.
A shoulder injury at the beginning of the season only pushed Powell further back behind the eight-ball.
“I always have faith in my game no matter what the outsiders say,” Powell says. “It’s the reason why I’m here. I have been the underdog my whole life and nothing’s changed. I use it as motivation and I feel like when people doubt me and when people don’t believe, that’s just adds fuel to the fire.”
Since returning from his injuries, Powell has reverted back to the Powell of old – the player who initially earned the four-year contract extension. He has averaged 9.4 points per game since his return. On the season, he is shooting 48.7 percent from the field, as well as 35.4 percent from long range.
“It’s not an emotional roller coaster at all,” explains a confident Powell. “You just go out there, play your game and do the best for your team.”
Despite his recent stretch of productivity, Powell understands that he must continue to get better.
“I am always focused on trying to improve myself no matter what,” says the 25-year old guard. “There’s always ways you can get better, whether you’re playing well. You can always learn from what you’re doing out there to improve your game. That’s what I focus on. I don’t stay too locked in on one game whether I have a great game or a bad game. I’m always trying to improve myself day in and day out.”
While his struggles last season could have effected him further this season, Powell attributes his success to his confidence and constant drive to improve.
“You have to be confident,” says Powell. “You’re going against the best night in and night out. You got to believe in yourself and believe that you belong. Believe that you can repeat at this high level and confidence is key for every player in the NBA.”
With last season and his shoulder injury now behind him, it’s great seeing Powell get back on track!