NBA Teams | Toronto Raptors: great quintet but 3 aspects to improve
Toronto Raptors was one of last season’s revelation teams in the NBA, finishing in fifth place in the Eastern Conference (48-34). Those led by Nick Nurse were eliminated in the first round of the Playoffs against the Philadelphia Sixers 4-2, but left a good image with a core of young players who got a place in the postseason fighting against star-studded teams like the Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat.
The positive season of the Canadian franchise was surprising due to the inexperience of most of its players and for being a team with only two stars, but it was the product of sustained work in which they had a positive record of victories every season since 2011. -12, except for the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the championship won in 2019.
The Raptors rounded out 20 players with the arrivals of Otto Porter Jr., Juancho Hernángomez and DJ Wilson in free agency, interesting role players who could be important in the rotation. This is one of the fundamental aspects that the organization had to improve for the next campaign, since had one of the weakest substitute benches in the league. Malachi Flynn, Dalano Banton, Chris Boucher and Thaddeus Young weren’t up to the starting performance and the team lacked depth.
attack and defense of a great quintet
In this sense, the team will continue to lack a point guard who can sustain the leadership of the team when the figure, Fred VanVleet, is not on the court. The player who can provide the points is Pascal Siakam, who led the Raptors in points average last season with 22.8 and in rebounds with 8.5 rebounds. The team’s third offensive weapon is Gary Trent Jr., but his main target will be on defense, being one of the best 3 & D in the NBA. However, a stat that marks the offensive dominance of the starting lineup is as follows: the Raptors were the only team in the league to have 5 players with 15 or more points per game.
In this sense, The Raptors’ defense is one of Toronto’s greatest attributes, which was the seventh team with the fewest points received in the last campaign. For the scope of that achievement, Scottie Barnes was instrumental who ended up getting the Best Rookie of the Year award thanks to his physical dominance, the defensive intelligence he had to score and the forcefulness he had in the paint. With Barnes and Siakam in the paint, and VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Trent Jr. on the perimeter, the team’s defense was strong. Additionally, they were second in most steals per game with 9, second only to the Memphis Grizzlies.
the star of the team, one of the best three-point shooters in the league
The leader and figure of the team is VanVleet, part of the champion squad in 2019 and who led the team in assists, with 6.7. Plus, he looked much more aggressive last season when it came to attacking and shooting from the perimeter. He went from attempting 9.2 3-pointers in 2020-21 to shooting an average of 9.9 3-pointers a night last season. The growth has been sustained since he entered the league undrafted in 2017-2018.
He averaged 3.4, 4.6, 6.9, 9.2 and 9.9 in addition to never lowering his 37% shooting percentage from the perimeter, averaging 37.7% last season. He was also third in the league for total 3-point shooters with 242, behind Steph Curry (285) and Buddy Hield (262). The 28-year-old point guard scored 2/4.6 triples with catch & shoot, this being his main resource (9th best among 147 players who scored more than 60 triples with this play).
positive and negative points of the raptors
The Raptors are a particular team, on the one hand they have a quintet that seems consolidated, with each of the players averaging 15 or more points, plus a ROTY, one of the best 3-pointers in the league, two All-Stars, and respectable defense (7th in fewest points allowed and 2nd in steals). ball). However, he has several weaknesses from having a young team with low depth. Boucher, Flynn, Banton, Josh Jackson, Justin Champagnie, Young and Precious Achiuwa will all need to step up to make a significant contribution.
In this sense, the arrival of Otto Porter Jr. and Hernangómez they can be spare wheels capable of helping the Raptors travel far in the postseason. There’s others three problems that need to be improved: They were the second worst assisting team in the league, which accounts for the clarified game and little collective they played. Another aspect to improve is that they were the second worst team in losses and the worst team in the entire league in defensive rebounds. The future is anyone’s guess, but there are plenty of reasons why the Raptors won’t go extinct.