Building out Raps’ roster

I want to take a look at the depth chart for the Toronto Raptors as they exist today.  The Raptors starting lineup is likely going to be the same as the last half of the season.  This would be Jonas Valanciunas at Centre, Amir Johnson at Power Forward, Rudy Gay at Small Forward, DeMar DeRozan at Shooting Guard, and Kyle Lowry at Point Guard.  That starting lineup was quite effective last year and I will discuss that in further detail momentarily.  First I would like to take a look at our bench support and full depth chart.

Centre

1.  Jonas Valanciunas

2.  Aaron Gray

3.  Amir Johnson or Tyler Hansbrough?

Power Forward

1.  Amir Johnson

2.  Tyler Hansbrough

3.  Quincy Acy

4.  Rudy Gay, Landry Fields, Steve Novak?

Small Forward

1.  Rudy Gay

2.  Landry Fields

3.  Steve Novak

4.  Quentin Richardson

Shooting Guard

1.  DeMar DeRozan

2.  Terrence Ross

3.  Landry Fields

4.  Quentin Richardson

Point Guard

1.  Kyle Lowry

2.  D.J. Augustin

3.  Dwight Buycks 

Before the recent signing of D.J. Augustin, I was fearful of Kyle Lowry or Dwight Buycks going down with an injury. I am glad the Raptors will not be relying on DeRozan or Ross to run the point as a third option.  Seeing one of those guys at the Point Guard would be more than a little unnerving as neither had shown a good handle of the ball required for the position nor the passing ability to make their teammates better.  The biggest sign of optimism, as touched on earlier, is the effectiveness of our starting lineup.  Last year the lineup of JV, Amir, Rudy, DeMar and Kyle were the 5th most effective offense in the NBA.  As a group they outscored opponents per 100 possessions by 12.9 points.  That’s quite a good plus minus to have!  Here is the chart which backs up that assertion. 

 

I am most concerned with the bench production next season as there have not been many changes during this off-season to improve it.  It is true we’ve added Hansbrough and Novak, but where do they slot into the depth chart?  Hansbrough takes Bargnani’s vacant spot, trading offense for defense on a bench that struggled to score last season.  Novak slots in as second off the bench for the Small Forward position behind Landry Fields.  This may be an insurance policy in case Fields has another disappointing season like last year’s.  Fields career statistics are 8.1 PPG (points per game) 47.6 FG% (Field goal percentage) and 5.1 RPG (Rebounds per game).  The sub-par year Fields had last year saw him average 4.7 PPG, 45.7 FG%, and 4.1 RPG which were all career lows!  In defense of Fields, he was recovering from elbow surgery, and also being asked to play Small Forward and Power Forward last year instead of his familiar position his first two NBA seasons, Shooting Guard. I won’t be surprised to see at least one more player, specifically a Point Guard, added to the team before Pre-Season games begins.

Topics: DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas, Rudy Gay, Toronto Raptors

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