Landry Fields gets a fresh start tonight in Cleveland

He’s missed the last six weeks with an odd elbow injury that messed with his shot and his confidence, but Landry Fields will mark his return to the Raptors lineup tonight in Cleveland.

The last time we saw Fields, he chipped in two points in 19 minutes against the Mavericks on November 7, completing one of the worst five-game stretches I think I’ve ever seen from a Raptor.

How bad was it? Fields averaged 2.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists in over 21 minutes per game as Toronto’s starting small forward, shooting 20.8 per cent from the field without a single made three-pointer to his credit.

An obvious way of looking at it is that he can’t be any worse than he was in that season opening stretch, and if the ulnar nerve entrapment that plagued him really was the root cause of his shooting woes, then perhaps the Raptors are about to get an unexpected boost.

Given that his embarrassing play came in a small sample of games, I’m willing to give Landry the benefit of the doubt for now, but most fans won’t be giving him a long leash to redeem himself and that’s understandable given the three-year, $18.75 million contract he’s locked into.

If Fields can put his struggles behind him and returns as the player he’s capable of being – a solid defender and rebounder who can spread the floor, can get to the basket and who hits the odd clutch shot – I maintain that he can be a solid glue-guy type player for the Raptors going forward, but he’s also going to have to earn his minutes back with Alan Anderson, Terrence Ross and even Mickael Pietrus giving Toronto competent minutes at the two and three spots right now.

Here’s hoping tonight marks the arrival of the Landry Fields I thought the Raptors were getting when they shelled out the money this summer, because early results this season indicated that that the “poison pill” contract turned out to be more toxic for the Raptors than it ever was for the Knicks.