Key Acquisitions:

Otto Porter, Josh Jackson, Juancho Hernangomez, Christian Koloko, Dj Wilson, Ron Harper Jr

Key losses:

Svi Mykhailiuk, Yuta Watanabe

 

Last season Record: 48-34

Projection 2022/23: 46-36

The Toronto Raptors caught everyone by surprise last season with their fifth place finish that allowed them to avoid the play-in completely. After losing rookie of the year Scottie Barnes to an ankle injury during the series against the Sixers it was the Raptors who were sent packing in six games. Fast forward to this season and well, like the good Doctor Dre said, “ain’t too much changed”. The team is still brimming over with long athletic 6’ 8″ and over players who can defend multiple positions and move with fluidity in coach Nick Nurse’s position-less offensive schemes.

With Pascal Siakim, OG Anunoby, and Scottie Barnes manning the three, four and five interchangeably it can be a nightmare for opposing teams. Then off the bench comes another wave of 6’ 8″ versatile players in Thad Young, Precious Achiuwa, Khem Birch, Chris Boucher and newly acquired Otto Porter.

From a fantasy perspective, I still believe Pascal Siakim is the leading scorer on this team and the go-to player down the stretch of games in most scenarios. Coming off a career season in which he averaged 22.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.6 blocks, 1.1 threes with shooting splits of 49% and 75%, Siakim showed that he had another gear to his game and it is not unreasonable to expect similar production with room to grow in threes made and free-throw percentage.

Scottie Barnes finished as the 45th ranked player in his rookie season and, while many feel he may take a huge leap this seaso,n I would tamper those expectations. Scottie, as good as he is, plays on a team loaded with players who play his position. It is not to suggest that Scottie will not be better, because he will. It is more to suggest that with the team’s current roster construction there will be limits to just how much he improves in year two. If Barnes can add a more reliable three-point shot, improve the free-throw shooting, and block over one per game, then I feel we could see close to a top 30 finish for him. The problem is we just may have to wait another year for a significant jump.

OG Anunoby had a season marred by injury, which held him to only 48 games played. In addition, we saw his production dip with the ascension of other players around him. Look for OG to have a bit of a bounce back season but keep in mind he is behind Barnes and Pascal in the pecking order for touches.

The back court is painfully simple because after Fred Van Vleet and Gary Trent Jr. the cupboard is getting bare. Malachi Flynn showed a glimmer of being able to play meaningful back up minutes or be a spot starter when Fred is out but he also was injured and had his showcase cut short. There is still hope Flynn could turn into a reliable back up but it may not be on this team. Dalano Banton is another 6’ “9 point guard but he is still too raw to contribute at this level. Look for Freddy to again be among the league leaders in minutes played and keep that in your notes when drafting because the elevated playing time has led to Fred missing time. Still, a solid pick in the later part of your second round.

Trent Jr. easily enjoyed the best year of his career mostly due to high steals (1.7) and threes (3.0). The concern is that steals are one of the most volatile categories that can skew a player’s ranking. If Trent’s steals fall off to 1.2 instead of 1.7 that could mean a 30 spot drop in his value. The good news is Trent is going after pick 85 in early mock drafts meaning there is still value in him even if there is a drop in his production.

Chris Boucher can be looked at if there is an injury to any frontcourt player but other than that, I do not think he sees enough minutes to be relevant in standards.

I do think it could be worth a shot to burn your last pick on Precious Achiuwa. He was able to show an ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim late in the season and into the playoffs. He was also beginning to take and make threes on a more consistent basis while defending inside and on the perimeter. He checks all of Nick Nurse’s boxes when it comes to what he wants to see when a player is on the court. Keep your eye on him, could be a sleeper.

Look for another middle of the pack finish with a tough first round playoff opponent for this pesky squad.

Go Raps!