Cory Joseph deserved every bit of the sustained applause he got when he checked in for work at the Air Canada Centre as a member of the Indiana Pacers for the first time.

Going one further: The Toronto Raptors dropped the ball when they didn’t organize a video tribute to Joseph. Sure he was only a Raptor for two seasons, but he was the first GTA kid to come to his hometown team in his prime; was a key rotation piece on the most successful teams the Raptors have ever had; and is quite simply as nice a person as you’re going to meet in professional sports.

But what has become apparent through 21 games is that the Raptors don’t otherwise miss Joseph, who was a solid backup to Kyle Lowry over the last two years.

It’s no comment on Joseph, who is thriving in a similar role with the surprising Pacers. But the Raptors have survived quite nicely without Joseph, a tribute to their surprising depth at point guard.

It was presumed that when Toronto traded Joseph to Indiana to make room for C.J. Miles it was because they needed to find a bigger role for Delon Wright.

But with Wright hurt – he’ll be out for a few more weeks with a shoulder injury – it has meant a jump up in minutes for Fred VanVleet and the undersized point guard, undrafted out of Wichita State two summers ago, has proven up to it.

He’s providing a similar bang for a fraction of the price, too, given VanVleet is earning $1.3 million this season to Joseph’s $8 million.