The 2015-2016 season has been a difficult one for Raptors 905. In their first ever season, the Toronto Raptors' D-League affiliate owns a 5-16 record and has lost their last seven games. Here are five reasons for their struggles.
1. They need more offensive consistency
Ronald Robert's is the 905's top scorer (18.2 points per game). He's a fine player with a knack for low post points and rebounding (12.4 rebounds per game), but he's not a creator. The D-League is a proving ground for NBA talent and that means someone is looking to pour in a lot of points every night. The 905 have few consistent scoring options beyond Roberts, and no reliability from beyond the three-point arc. Bruno Caboclo (a frequent assignee of Toronto) is the only 905 in the D-League's top forty in three-point attempts, but only hits at a 29% rate. Without the ability to score in bunches, it makes it easy for the 905 to fall into an early deficit without the ability to climb back out.
2. They are very turnover prone
The 905 rank dead last in the D-League when in comes to turnovers per game, averaging 19.5. Giving up scoring opportunities and handing them right to an opponent is an easy way to fall behind fast in any game.With all those turnovers, the 905 rank 13th in the league with only 83.2 field goal attempts per game.
3. Lack of chemistry
There's a lot of shuffling on a D-League roster every season, but starting from scratch is something else entirely. At the start of the season, there's almost always a handful of players that were there last year. In the case of the 905, every player walked into the locker room in Mississauga for the first time this year. That means new systems, new coaches, and a new home. That's a lot to getting used to. Not only do passes and picks have to be on point, but personalities and quirks have to be learned as well.
4. They're still learning.
It's only been seven months since Raptors 905 came into existence. The Toronto Raptors announced the D-League affiliate in late June, giving the team, Raptors fans and Mississauga community only a few months to prepare for the 2015-2016 season. There's a lot of processes behind running a sports franchise, even at the minor league level and the 905 can't be running at the same capacity of a franchise that's been around for a few years. Those older franchises have also been able to establish themselves in the community with returning players, coaches, and charity events. These type of interactions develop fan bases that show up to games and provide a home court advantage.