After more than a month absent due to injury, Yuta Watanabe played his first game of the season this Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzlies. It was only 14 minutes in which he only managed to score from the free throw line (three points), but in which he also showed intensity and defensive work that can come in handy for the Raptors.
His performance did not go unnoticed by Nick Nurse. He stole two balls and placed two blocks while running the track relentlessly. It is early to ensure that your role will grow in the following encounters; what is certain is that the head coach Toronto was very happy with what he saw.
“I think the game that Watanabe developed was incredible. He ran backwards on a few fumbles, and that’s something we were really having trouble with. He managed to keep some attacks alive with his effort and put in a fantastic plug (to Dillon Brooks). It’s only one game, but he played well and hard.
Watanabe lives his second season in the Canadian franchise after spending the first two as a Memphis player. In 2020-21 he played a total of 50 games to average 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds while hitting 40.2% of the attempted triples. He has yet to find the rhythm of the game, but he seems to have started on the right foot to improve his performance this year.
(Photograph by Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images)