The outstanding play of the Raptors bench this season is a major reason why Toronto boasts the best record in the Eastern Conference. While having a young, lethal second unit is undoubtedly a good thing, it has pushed third-year man Norman Powell down the depth chart and out of the rotation some nights. Powell signed a four-year, $42-million extension with the Raptors in October, but has often seen his role reduced to garbage-time minutes in 2017-18. As a result, the fan-favourite is averaging just 6.0 points per game this season with his three-point percentage dipping below 30 per cent. Toronto head coach Dwane Casey joined Sportsnet 590 The FAN’s Starting Lineup Wednesday to reiterate that even though Powell’s minutes have been sparse, the 24-year-old remains an important piece moving forward. “It’s hard for Norman Powell, I feel for him because it’s nothing he’s done wrong, it’s just the guys in front of him have played so well and executed,” Casey said. “We’re trying to find minutes because at some point we’re going to need Norm in that rotation somewhere. It’s nothing he and Lucas Nogueira have done wrong.” To this point in his career, Powell has proven that he can step up at a moment’s notice. He was instrumental in Toronto’s first-round series win over the Indiana Pacers in the 2016 playoffs, with his game-tying dunk in Game 5 going down as one of the franchise’s signature moments.
Raptors coach Casey: I feel for Norman Powell
Sportsnet | Feb 28