The Raptors were on the receiving end of one of the biggest off-season trades in recent memory. The love lost between Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs carved out a roster spot for one of the league's best defenders. Danny Green was also included in the deal, which gave the Raptors their starting shooting guard. DeMar DeRozen skips town for this trade to happen but losing one player for two starters is something the organization can live with. The level of contribution that Leonard holds begs consistency one both the offensive and defensive ends, a two-way talent that the organization has struggled to retain. Kyle Lowry will gain sizeable targets and won't have to carry a bulk of the offensive load this season. He can transition into a playing style that is more naturalized for a point guard and will have plenty of spread across the court to create passing lanes and plays. The team does lose some of their depth upfront, but experience takes over in these areas to run a minute's share that should keep their big guys happy. Greg Monroe was added in a minimal deal that could pay big dividends.
|Point Guard PG|
|Shooting Guard SG|
|Small Forward SF|
|Power Forward PF|
|Point Guard PG|
|Shooting Guard SG||
|Small Forward SF||
|Power Forward PF||
A: The Raptors sent Jakob Poeltl to the Spurs in the Leonard deal, breaking apart their young legs at the 4 and 5-spots. Pacal Siakam remains on the roster and Greg Monroe is the second mention off the bench. Beyond these two role players, there is limited support to handle these roles. This creates a center of attention around Valanciunas' standing. He will be called on for heavy minutes and usage, which is something the team hopes he can adapt to. He has fallen short a few too many times, leaving this season as a statement year for the big man.
A: Kawhi is known for his defensive prowess, but his offensive contributions haven't been measurable for nearly two years. He is a natural-born scorer, but he also has no problem running offensive plays and getting into his sets. His pace of play will offset the limits of speed the team has upfront. Keeping Green at his side also creates an instant impact of chemistry to this starting lineup. His presence also reduces the need for Kyle Lowry to thread the needle or throw arid passes.
A: The guard presence is full and fruitful. There are plenty of shooters locked and loaded on the bench. CJ Miles continues to prove that he can shoot with the best of them and the team enjoys the energy level that Norman Powell brings. The 4 and 5-spot limits are what creates confusion for this team. They are going to having to keep Jonas or Serge in the game for heavy minutes and the lineup combinations would almost always call for one of these players to be on the court at all times.