I know that alliteration was a lot off the bat, but it was too tempting to pass up. Anyway…
The Toronto Raptors capped a very exhausting week with yet another loss. The losing streak is now up to eight games – it feels like it’s been eight years – with a brutal 116-105 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Raptors hung in with the Detroit Pistons but lost a sloppy game after Jerami Grant put them away. They looked like they were finally rounding into form on Friday night, putting up a valiant effort but ultimately coming up short against the Utah Jazz. Tonight, it was ugly, and this team looks discombobulated on all fronts right now.
With so many Raptors in and out of the lineup, just getting back after health and safety protocols sidelined almost half the team, it was very slim pickings for Raptor of the Week. The team as a whole really doesn’t have its rhythm together, but only one player managed to hold it together for this week. That Raptor is…
Weekly Stats: 26.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 56.2% FG, 51.9% 3FG
Norman Powell wins the honour of Raptor of the Week by default, not for being the most consistent and solid player on the team this week, but by being the only consistent and solid player on the team this week. He really didn’t have much competition this week, as the other players were either absent or couldn’t put together a consistent stretch over the team’s three games this week.
Powell, on the other hand, managed to keep his hot scoring going, including a 43-point performance against the Pistons last Wednesday on 14-of-18 shooting. Powell also finished second on the team in scoring against the Cavaliers with 18 points on a night where only Fred VanVleet really helped on that front. It was just about the only positive to a week that was otherwise defined by rustiness and inconsistency.
It’s been an unusual week for Powell, too. Amidst intensifying reports of him possibly being dealt at the trade deadline, he’s been nothing but a consummate professional throughout the entire process, continuing to play at a high level and with tons of effort. If he does indeed get moved, he will most likely go to a team with aspirations of competing deep into the playoffs. Norm deserves that opportunity, and in the off-season, he’s likely to command a contract in the range of 16 to 20 million dollars annually, which will be well deserved with the season he’s put together.
So, congratulations to Norman Powell, your Raptor of the Week! Whether it’s here or elsewhere, expect Powell to continue his strong play throughout the rest of the season. Whatever happens with Powell, he should thrive regardless, because that’s the way he is. He’s worked tremendously hard to improve himself and be an impact player for the Raptors throughout his career, and he understands the grind.