The Toronto Raptors, one of the most beloved sports teams in Canada, are gearing up for an exciting 2023/2024 NBA season. The team is now in a transitional phase after their championship run in 2019. The roster for the upcoming season looks very different. Gone are team stall-worths like Kyle Lowry and recently departed Fred Van Vleet and former head coach Nick Nurse.
But Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster have put together a new cast of players to lead the team to another playoff run (hopefully). Let’s take a closer look at what the Raptors and their fans can anticipate in the season ahead.
A new head coach
The Raptors have a new head coach at the helm – Darko Rajakovic. The former Grizzlies assistant was hired as the team’s 10th head coach after Nick Nurse was fired on April 21. This move marks a reset to the team culture and potentially a new style of play.
Development of the young core
One of the primary sources of excitement for Raptors fans is the growth and development of the team’s young core. Over the past couple of seasons, the Raptors have focused on developing their talented crop of young players, such as Scottie Barnes, Malachi Flynn, Gary Trent Jr., and Precious Achiuwa. These players have shown great promise and have the potential to become key contributors to the team’s success. With another year of experience under their belts, fans can look forward to seeing these young players take significant strides in their development and make a positive impact on the court.
The Raptors drafted Gradey Dick with the 13th pick in the draft. The Kansas standout gives the Raptors a lot to look forward to. He’s a deadly shooter that will immediately fill a much-needed void for the team. He’s a great personality and a player that fits well with the young core. How quickly Dick can adapt to the NBA style will have an impact on how far the Raptors can go this season.
A new role for the team’s veterans
The departure of Fred Van Vleet is providing other team veterans to expand their leadership roles with the team. Players like Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby have proven themselves as reliable and skilled contributors in previous seasons. Their experience and leadership will be crucial in guiding the younger players and helping the team navigate the ups and downs of a long NBA season. With their leadership and the continued development of the young players, the Raptors have the potential to be a formidable force in the Eastern Conference.
Will Masai Make A Move?
The Raptors’ front office has a history of making smart and strategic moves to bolster the roster. They have shown a willingness to be active in the trade market and have a track record of making shrewd draft selections. This bodes well for the team’s ability to continue to build a competitive squad.
There has been speculation that Pascal Siakam could be on the trade block. He’s entering the last year of his current deal and will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2023-24 season.
Raptors fans can expect the front office to explore opportunities to improve the team’s roster, whether through trades, free agency, or the draft, to maximize the team’s chances of success.
The play-in or playoffs?
The Eastern Conference is highly competitive, but the Raptors have proven themselves as a perennial playoff contender. With teams like the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers leading the pack, the Raptors will face tough competition. The 2023/2024 season provides an opportunity for the Raptors to showcase their resilience and demonstrate that they can compete at the highest level.
But the reality is the Raptors are most likely a play-in team. Expect them to finish in the 7 to 10 seed range and have a quick exit from the playoffs. Even so, the Toronto Raptors have several reasons to be optimistic and excited for the 2023/2024 NBA season.
As the season unfolds, Raptors fans can eagerly look forward to watching their team compete, grow, and strive for success in the highly competitive landscape of the NBA.