Preview: Toronto Raptors

Preview: Toronto Raptors


Preview: Toronto Raptors

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STAYING: Bruno Caboclo, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Kyle Lowry, Lucas Nogueira, Patrick Patterson, Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas.

ADDED: Anthony Bennett (Minnesota), Bismack Biyombo (Charlotte), DeMarre Carroll (Atlanta), Cory Joseph (San Antonio), Michale Kyser (Louisiana Tech), Norman Powell (UCLA), Ronald Roberts (San Miguel Beerman),  Luis Scola (Indiana), Shannon Scott (Ohio State), Axel Toupane (Strasbourg) and Delon Wright (Utah).

GONE: Tyler Hansbrough (Charlotte), Chuck Hayes (LA Clippers), Amir Johnson (Boston), Greg Stiemsma (Orlando), Greivis Vasquez (Milwaukee) and Louis Williams (LA Lakers).

STRENGTHS: Very potent offense … Quality players at all positions from one to five … Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas are all legit All-Star candidates … Toronto could get something extra out of a slimmed-down Lowry … He’s a fierce and confident competitor whose leadership and clutch play are key to the Raptors … DeRozan is one of the most creative and athletic scorers at the two-guard spot in the Eastern Conference … Valanciunas looks ready to step up and finally become an elite center … The addition of DeMarre Carroll gives Toronto’s defense and three-point shooting a boost … This should be a tough team with physical players like Lowry, Carroll, Valanciunas, James Johnson and Luis Scola … Low-post scorer Scola could be a super sub for this squad … Pretty nice depth.

WEAKNESSES: Opponents converted 45.9 percent of their shots vs. Toronto in 2014-15 … If there’s no progress defensively, Toronto just can’t contend in the East … While the team features several magnificent players, they could use a full-blown NBA star … Perimeter players need to improve shooting percentages significantly … DeRozan, Lowry and Terrence Ross shot a combined 41.2 percent from the field last season …  Valanciunas should be a more featured guy offensively … Will Cory Joseph deliver away from the Spurs’ paradise? … Can they get anything out of Anthony Bennett and Bismack Biyombo, who have been notable flops in the league so far? … Will they miss glue guy Amir Johnson? … Free-throw shooting must get better.

PREDICTION: 1st in the Atlantic Division / 4th in the Eastern Conference.


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