The Toronto Raptors announced today that Reggie Evans will miss the rest of the preseason with a left foot sprain. There is no specific target for his return – Hopefully he’s back for opening night.
In the meantime, the already soft Raps get a little softer. As outlined today by Scott Carefoot of RaptorBlog, teams rarely succeed when outrebounded on a nightly basis. Evans was one of the guys brought in by Bryan Colangelo to remedy that problem, but he’s headed to the sideline for a while. It’s bad news, but it also opens the door for another newcomer in Amir Johnson to step up.
Yes, technically Rasho Nesterovic and Johnson could both gain playing time, but in an ideal world, most of the minutes would go to Amir.
I say this because while Rasho will play a ton of minutes against big, lumbering centres, Johnson plays a more similar game to Evans. He makes hustle plays, he rebounds, and he even blocks shots (something Evans doesn’t do). Nesterovic will continue to play his expected role, but Johnson will have an opportunity to grab some of Reggie’s. As it stood before, I wondered how Evans and Johnson could possibly play enough – there just didn’t seem to be enough minutes to go around…But now, Amir will have his chance.
So far, Johnson has played better in extended minutes. He often takes some time to get going – a luxury I assumed he wouldn’t have during the season. Johnson still won’t play a ton of minutes, but he should have plenty more with Evans out. At the very least, he’ll have more than enough chances to prove himself throughout the rest of the preseason.