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VanVleet speaks candidly about up-and-down Raptors season

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The Toronto Raptors have entered the 23-game season, but there’s a lot to be said for a growing team full of character and talent.

With wins in Cleveland (twice), Miami, Philadelphia, Dallas and Atlanta, Toronto has shown that they can beat just about any opponent on any given night.

OG Anunoby is one of the frontrunners for Defensive Player of the Year. Pascal Siakam was rumored to be the MVP of the season, but an injury knocked him down. Rookie Christian Koroko makes an early comeback in his first professional season and seems destined to be a great player.

On paper, the Raptors look full of great vibes and look poised to take a step forward after a 48-win campaign last season.

But in reality, they’re just 12-11 and just 8th in the Eastern Conference.

One of the hallmarks of Toronto’s season is its lack of consistency. Not only the starting members, but also the results at the end of the game. His longest winning or losing streak this season is just two games.

Toronto has a four-game winning streak of two games, a four-game losing streak of two games, and many one-offs mixed in.

Following Friday night’s loss to Brooklyn — the second straight time they lost by 40 or more points in the first quarter — the Raptors held a players-only meeting.

“No one here really likes arguing, yelling, cursing, and making a big fuss, so I think some things aren’t said.” Point guard Fred VanVleet needs to speak up at the Raptors’ only meeting of players, let people know what our standards are, and tighten the ship up a bit.

Last night Toronto managed to get on the winning row with a 121-108 win over Orlando, but VanVleet seems to be adopting a “prove it to me” leadership method.

When asked if he thought the team’s player-only meetings would help push the team well above .500, VanVleet replied: “[The young players] I always say “yes” and nod my head. [give them feedback], but actions are more eloquent. So we’ll see how we deal with it in the coming weeks.

It’s also been an experimental season for Nick Nurse, who demoted regular starter Gary Trent Jr. to the Toronto bench every three games past.

“For the most part, I thought we also dealt with that the offense might need to move the ball a little more,” Nurse said. “I thought we really did it all night tonight, and it obviously resulted in so many better shots and more cuts in the basket.”

Toronto will be back on the floor Monday night at 7:30 PM ET when it hosts the Boston Celtics. One can only wonder which version of the Raptors will appear in that version.

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