The Raptors title defense just suffered a minor hiccup early in the season.
While Pascal Siakam is balling out on a nightly basis, they'll need even more from the 2018-19 NBA Most Improved Player, as Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka will miss some time due to injury.
Per Nick Nurse, Lowry has a fractured thumb and Ibaka sprained his ankle.
Both Lowry and Ibaka were important members of Toronto's title run, with the former expected to lead the Raptors back to the postseason this season. At his best, Lowry is an All-Star level point guard, and with the departure of Kawhi Leonard he's not taking a backseat to anyone to start off the year.
But Lowry's injury is a significant setback for Toronto. Siakam's emergence as a legitimate All-Star candidate shouldn't be overstated, but without their floor general the Raps will be forced to rely on role players perhaps not familiar with carrying a heavy workload. Fred VanVleet, for one, will step in for Lowry in the starting five.
Two starters down is never promising, but the Raptors hope that championship experience and pedigree can carry them in the meantime. The role players best be ready.