STAYING: Bruno Caboclo, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka, Kyle Lowry, Lucas Nogueira, Jakob Poeltl, Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam, Jonas Valanciunas, Fred VanVleet and Delon Wright.
ADDED: OG Anunoby (Indiana University), Lorenzo Brown (Raptors 905), KJ McDaniels (Brooklyn), Alfonzo McKinnie (Windy City Bulls), Kennedy Meeks (North Carolina), CJ Miles (Indiana), Malcolm Miller (Raptors 905) and Kyle Wiltjer (Houston).
GONE: DeMarre Carroll (Brooklyn), Cory Joseph (Indiana), Patrick Patterson (Oklahoma City) and PJ Tucker (Houston).
STRENGTHS: Two All-Stars at the guard spots in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan … You can pretty much count on 45-50 points per contest coming from those two … The outside shooting of CJ Miles and Serge Ibaka will open up the floor for Lowry and DeRozan to operate … DeMar can’t make threes, but he draws fouls non-stop and is a great mid-range shooter … Tremendous athleticism at the wing with DeRozan, Norman Powell and KJ McDaniels … Starting lineup with veterans who know how to get it done … It doesn’t take an awful lot to be elite in the Eastern Conference.
WEAKNESSES: Underwhelming depth … A bunch of serviceable role players left the club during the offseason and have been largely replaced by young unproven talent … Any trustworthy backup for Lowry? … Talent-wise, they are further away from contending teams than they were a few months ago … It’s not the most creative offense around … Ball movement has to improve a lot … They’ve been in the Bottom 2 in assists the last couple of seasons … The team’s two stars are notoriously poor playoff performers … Even though they have won three playoff series the last two years, the Raptors have disappointed when the going got tough.
PREDICTION: 2nd in the Atlantic Division, 5th in the Eastern Conference.