Hollinger’s 2021-22 Toronto Raptors preview: Lineup, roster, prediction, can this core rating? – The Athletic
Burning query: Can this core rating?
This yr is probably going a proof of idea for the query of whether or not a staff constructed round Siakam, VanVleet and Anunoby can succeed at a excessive degree. Whereas different questions linger all through the roster (can we get an actual middle, please?), the existential one for the Raptors is whether or not they can win at a excessive degree with Siakam because the offense’s alpha canine. After displaying promising indicators within the first half of 2019-20, he struggled within the bubble in that position and did so once more in 2020-21.Specifically, his iffy capturing (29.7 p.c from 3) made it laborious for him to be an off-the-dribble risk on the perimeter, which in flip subtracts a number of the risk that opens up his shake-and-bake spin strikes within the paint. Siakam did make a little bit of progress as a passer, however 54.7 true capturing isn’t main man materials.The burden on Siakam and VanVleet (who confirmed comparable pressure en path to 53.4 true capturing) will solely improve this season with the lower-usage Trent Jr. changing Powell and Lowry gone. Even with a greater bench than a yr in the past, Toronto is in peril of getting a bottom-10 offense.That’s unlucky, as a result of the Raptors don’t want elite offense to make this roster work. With huge, rangy forwards like Anunoby, Barnes and Siakam, they mission as a fairly hellacious defensive staff even with out a lot assist from the middle spot. Anunoby, actually, appears more likely to play on the 5 in some lineups, and Nick Nurse likes to press and lure with this group.Nonetheless, don’t be shocked if the Raptors wade into the commerce market and have a look at methods to nail down a real offensive centerpiece.
The Raptors confirmed palpable disinterest within the Play-In a yr in the past, however this yr they could pursuit it with a tad extra vigor. For starters, their report is unlikely to be poor sufficient to incentivize a repeat of final season’s tanktacular end. Toronto had the purpose differential of a .500 staff a yr in the past, and even with some modifications, a .500-ish report is an affordable place to start any estimate for this season.
Dropping Lowry, the scrapping, beating coronary heart of his group for therefore lengthy, will depart a dent, however many of the different comparisons to a yr in the past are extra constructive. The core gamers are unlikely to overlook so many video games this time round, most notably, and the second unit must be extra stable as nicely. Plus, no matter you consider the facilities, they will’t be worse than final yr’s group.
It’s tougher to outline what the impression might need been from enjoying all yr out of a resort in Tampa, however one suspects coming again residence can solely be constructive for the Raptors as nicely. They now not have the items to problem the East’s elite, however between Nurse’s schemes and a few menacing defensive expertise, they need to problem for a playoff spot.
2021-2022 NBA Season Preview – SB Nation
WHAT’S THE ‘BEST CASE’ SCENARIO?
A top-six seed within the east looks like the simple reply right here, however finally — this being a transition yr for the Raptors — continued development from the core of OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam is what we actually wish to see. Seeing VanVleet make the All-Star staff and Anunoby make All-Protection could be good indicators of that development.WHAT’S THE ‘WORST CASE’ SCENARIO?
Dropping within the play-in spherical. Underneath Masai Ujiri the Raptors have embraced a “win video games however keep versatile” mannequin, and that center floor of barely lacking the postseason/not getting a excessive lottery choose is the precise reverse of that.WHAT’S THE ‘MOST LIKELY’ SCENARIO?
Most likely precisely what occurred final season: lacking the play-in recreation by a number of video games, resting key gamers down the stretch to enhance the lottery odds. Hopefully I’ll be confirmed fallacious, and the staff shall be higher than I believe. However given the dearth of scoring punch and the absence of Pascal Siakam (shoulder surgical procedure) to begin the season, it’s laborious to be overly optimistic.WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED FOR?
Scottie Barnes. I’m all the time very cautious on the subject of rookies, particularly a rookie who might need been a slight attain on the No. 4 choose. However Barnes is saying and doing all the precise issues, and has impressed his coaches and teammates along with his vitality on the ground in camp and summer time league. He’ll make his share of rookie errors, however must be enjoyable to observe.
Raptors’ pre-season could also be over, however remaining roster selections nonetheless to come back – Sportsnet
Dragic, after all, is one such participant, however one other may very well be rookie Scottie Barnes, who has impressed Dragic over the course of the Raptors’ pre-season.“He makes the sport simpler for everyone else and we want this on our staff, particularly when he will get into the open courtroom and when he will get contained in the paint he makes the precise learn and it makes it a lot simpler for us,” Dragic stated of Barnes, who had seven assists and 0 turnovers Tuesday.Equally, Dragic has appreciated what he’s seen from Flynn, who scored a team-high 22 factors Tuesday.“He’s actually stable. He’s an ideal pick-and-roll participant, he can break guys down, get contained in the paint and make these reads, good shooter and he simply wants that confidence,” Dragic stated.Confidence is one thing that Flynn seemed to be missing through the early parts of pre-season, going 6-of-19 for 19 factors mixed within the first three exhibition contests. However he turned issues round within the final two, notably exploding within the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s recreation for 13 factors on 4-of-8 capturing.
That spark of confidence Flynn discovered figures to be vital for the Raptors because the season opens up, because it seems like he figures to be the de facto backup level guard, in control of the second unit.
In fact, Banton confirmed flashes which will have pushed Flynn at instances through the pre-season, however the job must be Flynn’s.
Then once more, that’s yet one more choice Nurse and co. should make.
The pre-season is over and common season is only a week away. Per week that can certainly be stuffed with agonizing deliberation for the Raptors’ brass.
The Raptors discovered loads of positives within the pre-season, from Dragić’s management to Trent’s defence | The Star
There are surprises down the roster: Nobody was certain what both Dalano Banton or Justin Champagnie could be when camp started. However every has proven sufficient that the Raptors could be comfy throwing both right into a regular-season recreation.
Banton’s distinctive measurement and ball-handling expertise might enable him to problem Malachi Flynn for third level guard minutes behind Dragic and Fred VanVleet; Champagnie is the form of versatile ahead the Raptors are constructing round and he has a knack for rebounding that the staff will want.They don’t seem to be but stars however they’re way over what was anticipated popping out of the summer time.
Some observations from the Raptors’ pre-season | Toronto Solar
AT WORST CENTRE WON’T BE THE TURNSTILE IT WAS A YEAR AGOAron Baynes and Alex Len weren’t the reply and that was clear very early, though personally the Baynes falloff stays considerably puzzling. Chris Boucher gave it a valiant effort nevertheless it wasn’t honest to ask him to struggle and scrap with guys 50 kilos heavier than him.Finally Khem Birch and Freddie Gillespie arrived and the place solidified a little bit.Now it’s Birch and sophomore NBA huge man Valuable Achiuwa dealing with the duties.Birch is simply again from a bout with COVID and nonetheless discovering his stamina and his rhythm however the man proved a yr in the past that even a little bit under-sized on some nights, he’s powerful sufficient and savvy sufficient to offer that final line of defence to the basket and chip in often on the offensive finish.
Achiuwa is the explanation for optimism. He’s simply beginning to scratch the floor of what he’ll turn out to be within the NBA. Not a 7-footer like some groups make use of, however at 6-foot-9 with a mix of pace and deal with that the majority centres can’t match greater than makes up for these few inches. Achiuwa isn’t any shrinking violet both with the physique to battle with the most important bigs after which use his personal distinctive ability set (for a giant) to win the battle outright. In brief, the Raptors are a lot improved on the place.
Tip Sam Holako
Morning Espresso – Thu, Oct 14 originated on Raptors Republic.