Yuta Watanabe Set to Make Season Debut as Raptors Look to Get Back on Track
If there is one role player that encapsulates what Raptors culture means, it is Yuta Watanabe.
The Japanese-born forward made a name for himself last season as a key contributor off the bench for Nick Nurse, earning a standard NBA contract.
The 27-year old has been missing in action in the early goings of the season, rehabbing a left calf strain that he suffered in the preseason. According to the team, Watanabe is set to make his season debut tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies as the Raptors look to finish their bumpy road trip on a high.
“Yuta kind of always gives us a steady defender,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said. “A steady ball mover, cutter, and in the preseason he was shooting the ball really well.”
Outside of Watanabe, the Raptors continue to wait on OG Anunoby’s return as he continues to recover from a hip pointer injury. Khem Birch will be sidelined tonight with knee swelling, while Precious Achiuwa is good to go despite being listed as questionable with right shoulder tendinitis.
“Just a little swelling. It seems to be nothing really wrong with it other than it’s just not handling wear and tear,” Nurse said of Birch.
The Raptors are hoping Watanabe’s return provides the bench some much needed life.