What’s Next For The Toronto Raptors?

Boy, don’t you think this Raptors season has been absolutely terrible to watch? Listen, I get it, the best course of action for the Toronto Raptors is to tank, but man does tanking suck. For me especially because I am constantly having to deal with cheering for a terrible team. Mind you, I am a Vancouver Canucks, Minnesota Vikings and Toronto Raptors fan. I know losing on a level not many other fans do. Yeah, it’s not great.

At least the Raptors have won a championship recently so I’ve got to see what it’s like to cheer for a winning team. And that’s what makes the Raptors this season so difficult to watch. You know how good it feels to watch your favourite team win and do well and create such great memories. 2019 was so much fun and it was maybe the most fun I have had watching sports in my life. But there is a desire to re-create those feelings but the Raptors are a bit away from that. They need to rebuild and it sucks to see them lose all the time but it’s necessary.

But that being said, if the Raptors do want to get back to those good old times where they were winning and having fun then they need to make some smart choices going forward. The team made the smart move of blowing up the core and going young as the core they had just wasn’t going to lead them to a championship. After losing Fred Van Vleet for nothing, they couldn’t have the same thing happen with OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam. They did the right thing and chose a direction and traded both of those guys and moved forward towards a younger team that’s centered around Scottie Barnes.

Adding Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett were really good additions to this team but they need to keep building their team up. The Raptors currently have two first-round picks in this upcoming draft and they also own the Detroit Pistons second-round pick which will be in the early second round so it’s basically like having a late first-round pick.

However, they could be down to just one first-round pick if the lottery balls don’t go their way. The Raptors first-round pick is currently top six protected so if it falls outside of the top six, it will be sent to the San Antonio Spurs. That would suck because it’s looking like the Raptors pick will for sure be in the top ten so if they have to give up a top ten pick then that’s gonna hurt.

So now it’s full tank mode for the Raptors for that reason and they could benefit from some of the guys in the top six of this draft. Since the loss of OG Anunoby, the Raptors have been lacking on the wing. While not the deepest draft this year, there are still quite a number of good wings available to be taken, especially if the Raptors are able to keep their own pick. Someone like Matas Buzelis, Stephon Castle or Ron Holland could be intriguing picks for the Raptors and could work as solid pairings next to Scottie Barnes. Or maybe they could luck out and get a center like Alexandre Sarr who plays a game kind of similar to Evan Mobley. They could also use their later pick to get a center like Canadian Zach Edey with their second pick if he’s still available.

There’s so many directions the Raptors can go with the draft and I feel like it’ll be hard for them to miss on their selection. Their immediate need would be to get a wing and maybe a center, but honestly they could draft at any position and be fine. Their team is so versatile that they can move players around and make things work. If they get a wing, they can move Barnes to power forward. If they get a point guard, they can move Immanuel Quickley to shooting guard. They have options and the Raptors need to be smart with their picks and get the most impactful players who will have a high ceiling.

So what about the current roster? What do they do with it? It’s honestly tough to say because they aren’t in too bad of a spot but they still need to upgrade the roster. A lot of their problems can be solved by their own players just getting better though. Scottie Barnes may turn into a true superstar player next year. Immanuel Quickley will continue to get better as a scorer and become and even better offensive player. Gradey Dick will only improve at the NBA level with more experience and could be one of the most lethal three-point shooters in the league. RJ Barrett could continue to improve his overall game and the offensive threat he was once projected to be. There’s so much potential with this roster still and they’ll only get better. Not to mention guys who are slowly getting better like Ochai Agbaji who has seen some improvement since being traded to Toronto.

However, if they want to upgrade the roster for next year, I would look to add a younger big who can provide more offence, protect the rim and spread the floor, and I would look for a backup point guard as well. There are a couple of guys who are on the younger side who I think could fit well for that.

The first being Onyeka Okongwu who is a center for the Atlanta Hawks. Okongwu has had a weird start to his NBA career as he’s been stuck playing behind Clint Capela and hasn’t really been given the chance to thrive in Atlanta. Okongwu is a good shot blocker who also has some underutilized offensive skills. He might be tough to pull from the Hawks, but if the Raptors could do it, he’d be a great young piece to add to this core.

The second being Tyrus Jones who could help be a facilitator off the bench for this team. Jones is a good passer who puts up a lot of assists and the Raptors could use someone like that as they don’t have much depth when it comes to facilitators. Jones has had a solid year and likely wouldn’t cost too much to sign him in free agency.

A third sneaky under-the-radar one could be Patrick Williams. Williams was a fourth overall pick of the Chicago Bulls in 2020 and hasn’t lived up to his potential due to injuries and poor development from the team. Williams had the potential of being a Kawhi Leonard-type player and although he may not reach that ceiling, the Raptors could take a shot on him and try and turn his career around. It could be a bet that could turn out to be unbelievably good so we’ll see if it’s something they do or not.

The Raptors are in such an interesting spot right now because they aren’t good enough to compete for a title, but they really don’t seem too far away from getting back to it. There’s a lot to look forward to in the coming years with the Raptors and I’m optimistic that the feeling we had with the 2019 team may be back sooner than a lot of people think.

You better get ready because the Raptors are coming back baby!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *