Adding in Kawhi Leonard during the offseason was a huge upgrade for their small forward position. He has jumped into a high usage role as expected, and is producing as expected. While he has some rest games, we see OG Anunoby and the guards pick up some of the slack. Toronto continues to have one of the deeper benches, which helps them out. Kyle Lowry is the starting point guard, and is playing next to Danny Green now, after playing so many years next to DeMar DeRozan. Green helps defensively, but has a similar role on offense as he did in San Antonio. The Raptors did something interesting moving Serge Ibaka to center, and playing Pascal Siakam alongside him. This moved Jonas Valanciunas to a bench role, but overall the front court looks much better than prior seasons. Ibaka has turned back the clock, and continues to put in big numbers.
It came out of nowhere, but Toronto managed to land Kawhi Leonard, but gave up DeMar DeRozan in the process. This is actually a sneaky way of moving on from DeRozan, who they just signed last season to a multi-year deal. Toronto had been failing in the East, and mainly it has been because of LeBron James, but with him gone it is odd that Toronto would move away from their core. With all that behind them, things will be interesting for Toronto this year. If Leonard is truly 100% healthy they just added one of the league’s best two-way forwards, and added to a spot where Toronto has lacked for years.
Leonard gives Toronto a great defensive presence, but a different dynamic offensively. This takes away from two-guard heavy approach like Portland runs, and Toronto has over the last few seasons. Kyle Lowry is now the lone top dog in the backcourt. Lowry should see a bump in usage and production this season, despite Leonard joining. Leonard does not need the ball full time to be successful. Danny Green came over in the trade as well, and he will likely continue similar usage and production, which is very little. The Raptors were not shy about using the bench, and Fred VanVleet, Delon Wright, and C.J. Miles are all backup guards on the depth chart, but this season is not guaranteed under a new coaching staff. Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas makeup the front court, and Pascal Siakam is really the only true depth they have. Minutes were an issue for both of these big men last season, but under new coaching we need to see if there are any changes. If minutes trend upwards, then both will carry some fantasy value, otherwise it is the same old story.