Raptor of the Week: March 8th-14th

Photo credit: Raj Mehta/USA Today Sports

The Toronto Raptors have been shorthanded this last week due to an outbreak of COVID-19, and it couldn’t have hit them at a worse time.

After a terrible start to the season, Toronto climbed their way back to the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference and looked as if they were going to stay there… obviously they didn’t.

It’s tough to complain when the reason why the Raptors have fell is because of a pandemic, so let’s look at a player who has been a bright spot in this tumultuous Raptors season.

Norman Powell

Well, Toronto’s first game back from the All-Star break was… heartbreaking. I am not going to name any names but I do think there could be one active twitter user who may or may not have jinxed this game for all of us.

I don’t believe in curses but like….

All jokes — and gut wrenching curses — aside, Norm played really well against Atlanta in their 121-120 loss, ending the game with 33 points on 55 percent shooting.

So he didn’t play so well in their loss to Charlotte, 13 points on 28 percent shooting, but he did bounce back against the Chicago Bulls — albeit, they lost 118-95 — but Norm had yet another 30 -point showing with 32, proving that he has been Toronto’s most consistent offensive player this whole year.

The man is averaging close to 19 points this season, and I feel like that hasn’t been talked about enough. So much focus has been on the Kyle Lowry trade rumours or Aron Baynes being bad that we aren’t giving Norm the shine he rightfully deserves.

If you were to count only Norman Powell’s 19 starts since returning from injury on February 2nd, he would be in the 50-40-90 club (50% FG, 40% 3P and 90% FT). To put that in perspective, only 8 NBA players have managed to do that in a season, Steve Nash and Larry Bird being some of the few.

So Norman Powell has been balling, which has been good for the Raptors during a time where there’s not much good to go around – Is there a reason why?

Most Definitely

It has been written about extensively, but this is Powell’s contract year and he knows it. The way he is playing, he’s due for a serious paycheque – something Toronto has benefited greatly from.

This is good for the Raptors, not only for his stellar play but for his trade value as we near the deadline. Unless Bobby Webster and Masai Ujiri are confident that Norman Powell can improve his play from this year, it’s unlikely they will match any offers Norm is set to receive in the offseason – he will be too expensive.

Rather than let him walk for nothing, it might be the best idea to trade him to an interested team now as he seems like he could be a great addition to a contender – even if he is a rental.

Saying goodbye to a player like Norm, who’s been with Toronto since 2015, would be tough.

Even tougher, would be to say goodbye to a player like him and get nothing in return.

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