Who are these Raptors?

PG: Kyle Lowry, Cory Joseph, Delon Wright
SG: DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross (GF), Norman Powell
SF: DeMarre Carroll, James Johnson (F)
PF: Patrick Patterson, Luis Scola
C: Jonas Valanciunas, Bismack Biyombo

It’s hard to imagine this team on paper being better than the Raptors of 2014-2015. The loss of Amir Johnson will NOT go unnoticed. I love Patrick Patterson, but let’s be honest he’s not an above average starter in the NBA. The interior defense and rebounding will take a hit. I believe Scola will help on the rebounding aspect, but I don’t see him helping a great deal on defense.

The Raptors Roster

PG) Kyle Lowry

Lowry played strong for 3/4s of the season and happened to be selected to the all-star team. The Raptors definitely value Kyle higher than the rest of the league. Especially when we offered him twice the money of what anyone else was willing to pay last summer. I still believe in Lowry and value him as a top 15 starting PG in the NBA.

SG) DeMar DeRozan

DD is one of two players. He’s the guy that shoots around only 40% with 15ppg half the season with hardly any 3s. And the other half he’s carrying the team on his back putting up 25+ points by getting to the free throw line a lot. When he’s the first kind of player he’s no better than a 6th man. When he is the second kind of player he plays like a number two option on a good team.

SF) DeMarre Carroll

An interesting signing for the Raptors, but ultimately an overpay. Yes, he will bring much needed defense. But I don’t think he brings the shooting touch he had with the Hawks last season. The Hawks were one of the best passing teams in the league to it opened up a lot of good looks for Carroll. However, the Raptors were one of the worst passing teams in the league so I wouldn’t bet on him scoring more than 10ppg and shooting better than 33% from 3. DeMarre Carroll is probably the 4th best player in this lineup.

PF) Patrick Patterson (Pulled from the starting lineup)

The Patman’s numbers were slightly down this season compared to the previous season despite getting more minutes. However, Patterson has gotten fewer touches this season. Efficiency is still his game by shooting well and not turning the ball over. A quality backup is how I would describe the stretch four. He needs to improve his rebounding ability and defence to be trusted to start at a nightly basis.

C) Jonas Valanciunas

Jonas is improving across the board from shooting percentages to defensive intensity despite his minutes being down from last season. He should continue to improve and be a solid starting centre in the NBA.

Bench

James Johnson

There’s a reason why JJ is a fan favourite. And it isn’t his poor FT%. James is a a beast defensively. In under 20 minutes he was able to average close to a steal and block a game. He also is efficient on offense because he shot close to 60% from the floor this season and rarely turns the ball over.

Terrence Ross

T-Ross has been a disappointment this past season. He wasn’t a very good basketball player to begin with, but the fact that he regressed from last season is troubling. It’s been hard to figure out what he does well. He’s not a particularly good passer, rebounder or defender and he doesn’t draw fouls. What I have concluded is that he is a good three point shooter when given space (left open). I would think the Raptors would try to trade Ross because he’s still young so some other team should be willing to flip their disappointing young piece to mix things up.

Bismack Biyombo

I think he’s a underrated player purely for the defensive damage he does in the paint. And I know he’s not a good offensively, but I think he’ll improve to the point where he an finish easy buckets.

Luis Scola

Scola will bring some scoring and rebounding, but he’s not the answer to the Raptors starting PF. I have a hard time seeing him get to 25mpg at his age.

Cory Joseph

I’m not really a fan of Joseph, but if the Raptors can find scoring elsewhere in the 2nd unit Joseph will be a solid backup.

Delon Wright (Rookie)

I haven’t been impressed from what I have seen from Wright. I don’t really see him getting really any minutes unless Lowry or Joseph get hurt.

Norman Powell (Rookie)

I liked the pick when the Raptors drafted him and I have liked everything I have seen from him so far. There’s no way he shouldn’t be getting minutes. If Ross is still terrible or Casey is still hating on James Johnson there should be 10 minutes a game for Powell. In 10mpg, I project Powell to score 4-6ppg.

Bruno Caboclo

Last year in summer league an analyst stated, Caboclo didn’t know how to run the floor. The young Brazilian only played 23 minutes for the Toronto Raptors this season, so it’s hard to judge his basketball game. However, the fact that he wasn’t able to get many minutes in the D-League is certainly a red flag.

Lucas Nogueira

He also saw 23 minutes this season with the Raptors. He is a positive dude which should help the locker room. It’s still very hard to tell if he can play basketball.

Anthony Bennett

The key for him is conditioning. I think for this season Bennett just needs to get into shape. I don’t see him making any impact on the floor this season.

2014-2015 STATS
Top 10 NBA Team Averages at Each Category (Raptors Season Average)

STRONG    POOR

104.54ppg (104) -0.54ppg

45.13rpg (41.5) -3.63rpg

24.12apg (20.7) -3.42apg

8.85spg (7.5) -1.35spg

5.63bpg (4.4) -1.23bpg

46.42 FG% (45.5) -0.92FG%

36.96 3FG% (35.2) -1.76 3FG%

77.77 FT% (78.7) +0.93 FT%

13.07 (12.9) -0.17tpg


2015-2016 PROJECTIONS

Top 10 NBA Team Averages at Each Category (Raptors Season Average)

STRONG    POOR

104.54ppg (98.1) -6.44ppg

45.13rpg (40.8) -4.33rpg

24.12apg (20.5) -3.62apg

8.85spg (8.2) -0.6spg

5.63bpg (5.7) +0.07bpg

46.42 FG% (46.0) -0.42FG%

36.96 3FG% (34.2) -2.76 3FG%

77.77 FT% (75.9) -1.87 FT%

13.07 (13.02) -0.05tpg

In conclusion the Raptors may have a more balanced team, but possibly a less talented one. I don’t see the Raptors getting swept again in the playoffs, but there are very few matchups I see them winning.

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