$72-Million Start

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Raptors Split Home-and-Home Against the Sixers to Kick Off Preseason

It may be two meaningless games, but no one has started the year off better than OG Anunoby.

The fifth year forward put together yet another 20-plus point effort, putting the ball on the floor with confidence and finding his shot with assertiveness.

This is the $72-million player the Raptors want and Anunoby’s ability to take the next step forward in his development will be a large talking point throughout this coming season. At the end of the day, the Raptors may find a diamond in the rough or two in the likes of Justin Champagnie or Isaac Bonga – who cares? It is meaningless if the team’s core doesn’t elevate their overall games to the next level.

“He’s really shooting it with a confidence and a stroke that looks really good … and I still say he’s a super effective defensive player. He’s playing well on the defensive end, and multiple positions. That’s kind of his calling card,” said Raptors head coach Nick Nurse. “Now, he is getting a lot of chances to play a lot of one-on-one, some more post-ups … and I would say this to you I’m not so sure that’s the great rhythm of our offence that we’re going to see all the time, but it is part of developing him now and using this time to do that.”

While the Raptors were playing without Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher and a number of others, they were still able to see a few more positives, namely another strong performance from Precious Achiuwa.

The young power forward joined the Raptors this past offseason via the Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade with the Miami Heat and has showed plenty of promise in a small sample size. His ability to put the ball on the floor and push the pace on offence, his projectable perimeter shot, and defensive tenacity are all tools that the Raptors – and any team for that matter – loves to see from a young player.

“Your best defence is to not let them get it at a comfortable spot,” said Achiuwa. “The best defence is to not let them get it down low or a spot where they’re comfortable scoring the basketball.”

After taking game one of this home-and-home mini series, the Raptors fell to the Sixers by a score of 125-113 and will continue to work towards finalizing their opening night roster over the remaining three preseason games.

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