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Raptors Want to Get Longer Looks at Players Fighting for Roster Spots

The Toronto Raptors are hoping to take a longer look at some back of the bench players in the final preseason games
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With just two preseason games left on the schedule, the Toronto Raptors are going to start taking a long look at the players fighting for roster spots, Raptors coach Nick Nurse said Monday.

Goran Dragic, Fred VanVleet, and OG Anunoby will all sit out one of the next two games, with Dragic out Monday night and the latter two skipping Tuesday's game against the Washington Wizards, Nurse said. That means extra playing time for Sam Dekker, Ishmail Wainright, Isaac Bonga, Freddie Gillespie, and Reggie Perry who are all fighting for Toronto's final two roster spots.

"I woulda maybe thought Sam woulda got some of those minutes. He probably will now," Nurse said. "We kinda know what we're doing with those guys."

Toronto will have Khem Birch back in the lineup after he missed the first three games in COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols following a positive test. He'll be eased back into the lineup, Nurse said, with Precious Achiuwa remaining the starting center Monday.

"I think ideally, between him and Precious, when it gets time for it to go up for real, between the two of them, they're gonna have to man that spot," Nurse said. "I wouldn't say it's 24 [minutes] and 24 [minutes] but I think that plus or minus three or four either way each night, depending on who we're playing and what's going on, is probably ideally what we're looking at there."

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The Raptors didn't spend much time scouting Jalen Green, the 2nd overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Nurse said, but that doesn't mean they aren't aware of how special a player he is.

"He's really really good though. I do know that," Nurse said. "He can really score the ball, man, like a special, special scorer. At that age, there's not a whole lot that look like him at that age."

Further Reading

Khem Birch back & feeling better after bout with COVID-19

Takeaways from Raptors' up and down preseason loss to Celtics

Raptors' depth has shown fight with rotation spots still up for grabs