Toronto Raptors fans in Japan woke up to some startling news Tuesday morning.
For the first time this season, Toronto decided to assign Yuta Watanabe to the G League to get some playing time with the Raptors 905.
"Fans were kind of shocked by learning that he is going down to the G League," Japanese-based Raptors reporter Takeshi Shibata told Raptors coach Nick Nurse Tuesday night. "Some fans were saying like, 'what is coach Nurse doing for Yuta?'"
Nurse laughed. It wasn't actually his decision to send Watanabe down. Instead, the 27-year-old forward who has struggled to find his rhythm lately decided if he wanted to break out of his shooting funk he better get some in-game reps with the 905.
"He came to us and asked if he could go play the game to try to speed that up. I certainly thought that was great on his part to do that and certainly was not going to stop them from doing something that he thought would help him get better," Nurse said. "So I was certainly on board with it. And I'm glad he did it.
"And tell all those Japanese people I'm sorry over there. We're just trying to get him back to good old Yuta."
Watanabe scored 24 points in 39 minutes with the G League then came right back up and chipped in 22 minutes with the Raptors on Wednesday night.
"Hopefully everybody in Japan's OK," Nurse joked post-game. "That was a Raptors game tonight."