Preseason Predictions

After a disappointing loss to the Chicago Bulls in the 2023 NBA Play-In tournament, the Toronto Raptors left their fanbase distraught and divided. For some, a rebuild looked like the only option. Still, others held firm in believing that President Masai Ujiri could retool with a contending roster in the 2024 season.

The first step was firing beloved head coach Nick Nurse and hiring Darko Rajakovic, a player development specialist who hopes to help their young prospects grow and develop into stars. 

Then, at the 2023 NBA draft, the Raptors selected guard Gradey Dick, the number 13 overall pick. The selection was another relief for fans, since Dick should be the much-needed help they required in the shooting department.

The start of the free agency period saw Fred VanVleet sign with the Houston Rockets for a lucrative three years worth around USD$130 million. VanVleet had the fifth lowest field-goal percentage of any player in the NBA last season. This statistic heavily contributed to the Raptors placing near the bottom of the league in the same category. Though his departure may be a sore spot for some, it should be seen as a fresh start for the young team.

VanVleet’s replacement was revealed to be Dennis Schroder, a veteran guard coming off a good season with the Lakers. Schroder signed a 2-year deal with the Raptors for a little under USD $26 million. Schroder has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his career but has never been given the opportunity to be a pivotal part of an offense. Fans have gotten an early preview of what Schroder can do in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, where he is currently averaging around 19 points per game with around six assists to match. 

The question of where the Toronto Raptors stand remains. It’s tough to predict how this roster will do because so much depends on young players, their development, and how they fit with the current stars. Should Scottie Barnes take that step to become an all-star caliber player this year, the Raptors will be an exciting team to watch. Scottie Barnes has only gotten better with every game, and an offseason of training under his new coach is exactly what he needs to take that leap to become the star he was promised to be.  

The Raptors may not have gotten better on paper. Still, with a new head coach and better opportunities for promising players, they should hopefully finish with more than 35 wins and possibly compete for a play-in spot.

Raptors Wrap-Up Columnist (Volume 50) — Justyn is in his final year at UTM studying CCIT, with minors in Professional Writing & Communication and Computer Science. Sports is his passion and he loves to keep in touch with nearly every single one. Justyn’s always watching sports games, managing his fantasy teams, and listening to music in the music room. You can connect with him on Instagram or LinkedIn.


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