Will Nick Nurse play starters heavy minutes once the Raptors are healthy?

Imman Adan and Katie Heindl discuss the Raptors' rotation and how minutes will be distributed once the team is fully healthy. Listen to the full episode on the "Raptors Over Everything" podcast feed or watch on our YouTube.

Video Transcript

IMMAM ADAN: Do the Raptors extend their rotation once the other guys-- because you've mentioned it. Rotational guys are the ones who are injured right now. So once they come back, Does Nick Nurse keep this extended rotation and start to play?

You know, he's been playing Dowtin. Malachi's been even getting some minutes. Juancho Hernangomez has been getting some minutes. Does Nick Nurse continue this sort of expanded roster and play everybody, or do you think we get that tight rotation that Nick Nurse wants to do once guys are back?

KATIE HEINDL: I think it's going to extend, if anything, for the sake of minutes and easing, like, whoever's coming back from injury-- like, easing them into minutes and then easing guys off of minutes. Like, you don't necessarily want to have OG playing, like--

IMMAM ADAN: 43 minutes.

KATIE HEINDL: Yeah, exactly, exactly. He played the most minutes of any-- either team, any player on either team last night. And like, it's great. He can handle it.

But out of back to back, no. You don't want him to do that because you don't want to burn them out. You also don't want to risk injury there.

IMMAM ADAN: Yeah.

KATIE HEINDL: So I think there's a lot more reasons to stick with this kind of elongated rotation, and I also think Nick Nurse is also famous for giving opportunities to guys who step up and show that they're ready for them. And I think, like, Malachi has.

Like, everybody-- like, Dowtin Jr. has. Like, I don't know. Ron Harper Jr. hit a 3 the other night.

IMMAM ADAN: Yeah.

KATIE HEINDL: That warmed my heart. So like, I think so because it's, to your point too, like, this is-- in a way, it's all part of conditioning. You're conditioning, like your deep bench, sure. But this is what's going to set a team like the Raptors apart if we're, like, talking way down the road in a playoff situation.

IMMAM ADAN: Yeah.

KATIE HEINDL: Like, when you're in a very, very long series and you need every kind of ready body in the game. So yeah, I think of course, he'll get back to that tight rotation. I think, like, January, February that's probably his ideal. Or, like, if we're talking all-star, like, you want to get Pascal back in that tight rotation--

IMMAM ADAN: OK, yeah, yeah.

KATIE HEINDL: --to showcase him, probably to showcase OG for all-star too, pre all-star. But yeah, I think you're going to--

IMMAM ADAN: Get voting early, guys.

KATIE HEINDL: Yeah.

IMMAM ADAN: I completely agree with that. I mean, like, I think Masai Ujiri has this philosophy, and we've seen it where it's like the anti-Mike Budenholzer thing where you don't want your stars to not be conditioned come playoff time to play 38, 40, 43 minutes a game because we've seen how that tires out guys like Giannis come play-off time because the Bucs are just not used to playing extended minutes. So I think the Raptors have that belief.

They want their guys to be well-conditioned. But injuries happen, and you got a lot of talent, and you don't want to run guys down to the ground. We saw that also last season, right? Like, Fred wasn't healthy towards the end of the year.

OG wasn't healthy towards the end of the year. And this happens when you have injuries. So I do think that the Raptors are going to find some sort of middle.

And as long as guys are stepping up-- and you know Nick Nurse's philosophy. You got to play defense. And if you're defending well, you will get minutes in the fourth.

I mean, we saw Chris Boucher play the entire second half. We saw him close the game because he was the one bringing the energy. Same thing with OG Anunoby. He was out there, defending, playing well because Nick Nurse is not going to play if you're not doing that. He doesn't care what the name on the back of your jersey is.

KATIE HEINDL: He's a great equalizer.

IMMAM ADAN: He is. He is.