Raptors Wrap-Up: Looking Forward

The Toronto Raptors haven’t won a game since I last wrote about them, in fact, they’ve only won one game so far in March. The team has had a rough schedule, playing the Orlando Magic twice and the reigning champs, the Denver Nuggets, once. They’ve also lost to some terrible teams: notably the Detroit Pistons, who went on the longest single-season losing streak in NBA history earlier in the season. To put the numbers behind that, they are 1-9 in March and are currently on an eight-game losing streak.

A big part of their dismal record is thanks to the absence of Scottie Barnes, who underwent surgery to repair his fractured hand. At that time, young star RJ Barrett was also absent from the team while grieving the loss of his younger brother, Nathan Barrett. Barrett followed in his older brother’s footsteps, playing on the local Mississauga Monarchs basketball team as a youth and later attending Montverde Academy in Florida. On March 15, the Raptors held a moment of silence for Barrett and his family as they grieved.

A bright spot in the Raptors’ lineup lately has been Immanuel Quickley. Since joining the Raptors, he has averaged nearly 18 points, seven assists, and five rebounds while shooting a cool four per cent from the three point mark. Quickley has taken on the bigger role he was given on his new team with calmness and maturity, leading the team to have even a glimmer of a chance to win the game each night.

Apart from Quickley’s growth on the team, nothing has changed for the Raptors, and nothing will change for the rest of the season. They look to be in the bottom seven teams in the league with a high chance of retaining their first-round pick in this year’s draft.

Since this is the last edition of the Raptors Wrap-Up this season, I think it would be best to give it a wrap-up of its own by forecasting the Raptors’ offseason and making early predictions for next season.

It starts with the draft. The Raptors have next to zero trade capital, making this year’s draft superbly important. But the thing is, the 2024 NBA Draft is expected to be very shallow talent-wise, so the Raptors are in a slight predicament when it comes to their rebuild. Zach Edey is a potential target for the Raptors should he fall to them if they keep their lottery pick. The 7’4” center won the 2023 NCAA Player of the Year award playing for top-ranked Purdue University. The Raptors already have three centers on the roster: Chris Boucher, Kelly Olynyk, and Jakob Poeltl. Should the Raptors draft Edey, they could move Poeltl for young players and picks and allow Edey to learn under Olynyk’s veteran leadership.

You shouldn’t expect the Raptors to do much, if anything, in free agency. To accelerate their rebuild, they could target veterans who can make a difference on a contending team and flip them at the trade deadline for picks. Players like Nic Batum and Boban Marjanovic could be potential targets for the Raptors if they go that route. They may make minor depth signings with players like Justin Holiday or Shake Milton.

But if I can say one thing confidently, it’s that the Raptors won’t be good next season, and they most likely won’t be good for a couple of years—barring a massive leap of growth from their core players. Expect them to miss the playoffs this season and next season.

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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