2020-21 Record: 27-45 12th in the East
2021-22 Prediction: 39-43 9th in the East
The Toronto Raptors had a very disappointing 2020 season thanks to problems at the center position, injury woes, and no real home games. This offseason was a very important one for the Raptors, and thanks to the moves they made, 2021-22 will be a major improvement. From drafting very promising forward Scottie Barnes, resigning key players such as Gary Trent Jr. and Khem Birch, and getting a good return for Kyle Lowry, the Raptors are poised for substantial improvement.
Raptors Depth Chart
|Gary Trent Jr.
Back Court (PG, SG)
Fred VanVleet will become the primary ball-handler this season if he wasn’t already. Last year he averaged a career-high 19 points, six assists, and four rebounds. He led the Raptors in minutes, 3pt attempts, 3pt percentage, and steals per game. With All-Star guard Kyle Lowry leaving this off-season even more playmaking opportunities will arise for VanVleet, however his scoring should remain consistent with guard Gary Trent Jr. joining the roster.
Gary Trent Jr. is the gambler’s choice at the SG position. He could score 40 points on 6-for-6 3pt attempts one night and only put up eight points on 4-for-22 shooting the next. With Lowry leaving and VanVleet moving up to the starting PG spot, Trent will get starting minutes right away at the SG spot, so his numbers will improve. Unfortunately, his scoring is all he really has going for him, as he’s more of a defensive liability. Looking down the depth chart, second-year guard Malachi Flynn will battle for backup minutes with trade acquisition Goran Dragic. It’s been rumored that the Raptors are looking to move Dragic so eventually I believe Malachi will get his opportunity. Until then, unless you’re in a dynasty league I would advise staying away from both players.
Front Court (SF, PF, C)
Pascal Siakam is the Raptors’ number one option and their best player. He averaged 21 points, seven rebounds, and four and a half assists in the 2021 season. He led the Raptors in points per game, field goals, field goal attempts, and offensive rebounds. While his numbers are impressive, Pascal is coming off of a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the final stretch of the season. During his absence, third-year forward Chris Boucher stepped up big time, averaging 14 points, two steals, and a whopping seven rebounds per game. A major step up, earning him votes for the Most Improved Player award. Boucher should continue to get opportunities in the rotation next year, however, do keep in mind that his major step up was due to injury. As for Siakam, his numbers should stay relatively consistent, provided he can come back from injury at 100%. He should be a third-round lock in any 10-person league, bordering on second-round talent.
OG Anunoby should be a player flagged on every single CAT fantasy managers list. OG does a little bit of everything for the Raptors, being inside the top 5 in almost every single fantasy category. With no real competition for the starting SF spot, he should be a lock for improvement next year. Looking down the depth chart, Scottie Barnes is an intriguing rookie. He is a versatile defender and showed great potential, however, don’t let the summer league hype get to you. Don’t overdraft him based on his potential, especially in redraft leagues. Precious Achiuwa is also a name you may hear, as he is also a promising young player. However, he falls behind Saikam, OG, Boucher, and most likely Barnes on Toronto’s depth chart. Even in the deepest of leagues, Precious should be passed on for now.
Khem Birch could be the fantasy steal that wins you your fantasy league. He is the old-school, traditional center the Raptors desperately needed last season. Although he doesn’t shoot threes and doesn’t space the floor at all, he sets perfect screens and hovers up rebounds. Birch led the Raptors in rebounds per game last year despite joining the Raptors mid-season. With a three-year deal handed to him, the organization clearly has confidence in him. Expect him to get more pick-and-roll opportunities, produce more of the same amazing defensive numbers, and get more hype as the season progresses.