Toronto Raptors preview – 2022-23 NBA season
A classic among classics, the Global Franchise Preview is ready for the customer du jour. We are heading to the Far North today and the country of Drake to analyze the Toronto Raptors, who remain on a pure season symbolized by the rise of the young phenomenon Scottie Barnes. But can they do better than a first round of Playoffs this year?
What happened last season
In a phase of transition after the departure of the face of the franchise Kyle Lowry, the Dinos have returned to their Scotiabank Arena after a stint to be forgotten on the side of Tampa last year, and wasted no time in moving forward . At the same time, when you have a nugget like Scottie Barnes who arrives to do some dirty work, it obviously helps. If we leave aside his « exploits » during All-Star Weekend, the fourth choice of the 2021 Draft has perfectly lived up to his status, going so far as to snatch the title of Rookie of the Year from the hands of Evan Mobley . A magnificent reward for a magnificent season. Other highlights include Fred VanVleet’s first nomination to the All-Star Game and the selection of Pascal Siakam in the All-NBA Third Team of the season after a superb end to the campaign in Spicy P mode. the success of a whole group that we did not really expect in the Top 6 of the Eastern Conference with 48 victories in total. Tired after a long season during which there were a lot of sores and where Nick Nurse sometimes turned into Tom Thibodeau, the Dinos ended up letting go against the Sixers in the first round (4-2), but their campaign is clearly to be ranked among the successes.
The summer market
- They leave : Svi Mykhailiuk, Armoni Brooks, Isaac Bonga, Yuta Watanabe
- They prolong : Chris Boucher, Thaddeus Young, Justin Champagnie
- They arrive : Otto Porter Jr., Juancho Hernangomez, Josh Jackson, Christian Koloko, DJ Wilson
Rather discreet summer market with the Raptors. If we except the fact that they have just recruited Bo Cruz and that it immediately propels Toronto to the heights of the Eastern Conference, there’s not a lot to report. The small addition of Otto Porter Jr. is not uninteresting, but apart from the arrival of interior rookie Christian Koloko via the Draft, we cannot say that the need for the pivot position has really been filled. Instead, the Raptors opted to extend Chris Boucher for $35 million over three years, as well as former Thaddeus Young for two years and $16 million. Also note that Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam, both eligible for a contract extension this summer, have not yet been extended.
The Raptors 2022-23 roster
- Leaders : Fred VanVleetMalachi Flynn, Dalano Banton
- Rears : Gary Trent Jr.
- Wingers : Scottie Barnes, OG AnunobyJosh Jackson, Justin Champagnie
- Power forwards : Pascal SiakamChris Boucher, Otto Porter Jr., Thaddeus Young, Juancho Hernangomez, DJ Wilson
- Pivots : Precious Achiuwa, Khem Birch, Christian Koloko
In orange the expected starters, according to the famous sources close to the file
Still possessing their army of wingers, the Raptors display a profile very similar to that of last season. We can nevertheless ask two or three questions about the starting five: will Nick Nurse decide to start the matches without a real insider? If the answer is no, who is the starting pivot? And more generally, who will join the five alongside Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam? According to the latest rumors from Toronto, Precious Achiuwa could take place on position 5, which would make Gary Trent Jr. the sixth official man of the team. Nevertheless, the latter remains on a good season last year with 69 starts in 70 games, and it is not impossible that he is aligned with FVV, Barnes, Spicy P and OG. For the record, it was the starting lineup that was used the most last season by Nick Nurse and during the first two pre-season games. To see then. A piece of advice also to finish, keep an eye on Khem Birch (starter 28 times last year), even if he is still recovering from a meniscus injury.
A little video by the way?
Toronto Raptors 2022-23 salaries
TTFL: Raptors players to watch
Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and Scottie Barnes.
We could also add OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. who had their best statistical season last year, but the real trio is made up of Spicy P, FVV and Scottie Barnes. The first found an All-NBA level with the good big production that goes with it (23 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists), the second became All-Star by dropping more than 20 points and almost 7 assists per game, while the Rookie of the Year looks set to explode after the superb promise he showed (15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists at 49% shooting) during his first NBA campaign.
Infirmary: update on injuries
When we look at the Toronto infirmary, six names stand out. Pascal Siakam, for starters, only joined the team after eleven games last season. Operated in June 2021 for a tear in the labrum of the left shoulder, he has since returned well. OG Anunoby for his part suffered several injuries: thirteen missed meetings for a contusion on the left hip, fifteen for a fracture of the right ring finger (discovered when he had suffered from it for some time) and four for a contusion of the right quadriceps. Fred VanVleet also experienced several alerts last year. He missed a total of thirteen games for right knee pain, two initially and the others for injury management. He’s also been hampered in his left groin, missing two games this season with strains and the last two Playoff games with a strained flexor. Gary Trent Jr. suffered three absences last year: two games for a right calf contusion, six for a swollen left ankle and three for pain in the hallux (big toe). Scottie Barnes also missed two games for a sprained right thumb, three for right knee tendonitis and two following a sprained left ankle. Otto Porter Jr., to finish, was limited by the management of the pains of his left foot, pushing him to miss thirteen meetings in total. His foot had already caused him to miss four months for a fracture in 2019 and seven weeks for a bone contusion in 2021. Note that he may miss the start of the season following a strained left hamstring during training camp.
What goals this season?
Progress and take a new course.
These are the words used by boss Masai Ujiri himself during the Raptors’ Media Day. This progression will obviously go through the expected rise of Scottie Barnes, Rookie of the Year 2022 and destined to one day take the keys to this team, but also by other players who are still in their young years: Gary Trent Jr. ., OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa, Malachi Flynn…
The continuity compared to last season and the presence of the two All-Star caliber players Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam should allow the Dinos to be even stronger than last season, even if for that it will be necessary a better squad depth to avoid burning too quickly. Nick Nurse will he be able to give less than 35 minutes on average to his hard core without the results of Toronto suffering? That remains to be seen. We would also like a real solution to emerge on the pivot position because it remains light. We know that the NBA is a league of wingers today and the Raptors are fully into this delirium, but for the overall balance of the team it would still not be all bad.
The Editor’s Prognosis
46 wins – 36 losses, 7th place in the East.
46 wins is two less than during last year’s fine campaign. Why this slight regression when Scottie Barnes could release a pure sophomore season and Pascal Siakam believes he can become one of the five best players in the League (ahem)? We still have the impression that Toronto was a bit over-revving last year and with increasingly strong competition in the Eastern Conference, reaching the Top 6 is likely to be much more complicated this year.
If Toronto will remain a solid and reluctant team to play, we have seen during the last Playoffs the limits of Nick Nurse’s group, whether at the level of 3-point skill, because of the absence of a real natural scorer on the half court and the lack of size inside. We can not say that the Raptors have truly met these needs.
Some useful links
So much for the Raptors preview for this NBA 2022-23 season. Like their summer which was clearly placed under the sign of continuity, the Dinos should carry out a campaign which looks a lot like that of last year, with its many ups and downs. Toronto is a Playoffs-caliber team, but for now that’s where it ends.