The Toronto Raptors are getting healthy again. DeMarre Carroll was back in the lineup for their last game.
Now comes the good news that big man Jonas Valanciunas will return on Monday against the Bulls, as reported by Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.
Head coach Dwane Casey said after practice on Sunday that starting centre Jonas Valanciunas will play against the Bulls on Monday after missing 17 games with a broken finger on his non-shooting hand.
Toronto already boasts the NBA’s fourth-best offence and now returns its most efficient scorer, who averaged 12.7 points and 9.3 rebounds in 14 games before getting hurt, on 55.6% shooting.
Toronto was 11-6 without Valanciunas, but they will be better with him — on the season, they are nine points per 100 possessions better when he plays than when he sits. To go into more detail, when Valanciunas is on the court the Raptors shoot five percentage points higher from three, they assist on a higher percentage of their shots, Toronto’s defense is a little better, its offense is 6.1 points per 100 possessions better. He is their anchor inside.
At 19-12, the Raptors are the current four seed in the East, but they have done much of that without two key players. If you’re looking for a team that could break out of the pack to become the two seed in the East, keep your eyes on a healthy Raptors squad.