The Toronto Raptors lineup is beginning to take shape with the start of the 2019-20 NBA regular season less than one week away.
Malcolm Miller and Terence Davis have worked themselves into the final roster conversation, while newcomers Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson have performed less admirably than expected.
Following shootaround at practice on Wednesday, head coach Nick Nurse talked to reporters about the pair’s lack of defensive effort that’s held them back from earning more minutes.
“Those guys have not understood A, how hard we play and B, our schemes,” Nurse said of Hollis-Jefferson and Johnson’s efforts.
In Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bulls, Johnson played 21:05 minutes while shooting 1-for-5.
While he did record a plus-14 (plus-minus) score, Johnson finds himself on the outside of the opening night rotation. Players such as Davis and Miller are receiving longer looks thus far.
“I keep telling them, show me you’re going to play defence, show me you’re going to play hard,” said Nurse.
Hollis-Jefferson, who played 16 minutes on Sunday while the entire starting lineup sitting that game, had a quiet night as well. He produced six points while going perfect from the field.
With all five starters out, there were plenty of minutes available for both players to fill. However, Matt Thomas, Cam Payne, and Davis all played significant minutes rather than the two new signings.