The Toronto Raptors offseason is about finished. With everything about wrapped up, we asked our contributors the most important questions about an eventful Summer.
The Toronto Raptors went into the Summer facing one of the most critical offseasons in franchise history.
If Kawhi Leonard returned, the Raptors were going to bring back a championship-calibre roster. If he left, and Toronto looked to ship off their one-year contracts, the team could be looking at a full-fledged rebuild.
Ultimately, the team ended somewhere in the middle. Toronto is no longer a true contender next season but should be competitive for an Eastern Conference playoff spot. Perhaps it’s not the offseason Raptor fans were hoping for, but the team should be fun next season regardless.
So what should we make of this offseason? We asked our contributors the five biggest questions after a historically important Summer.
Which of the Raptors moves excites you the most?
I don’t think he’s the best player of the bunch, but I really like the value of Matt Thomas. Thomas was an absolute sniper in the Euroleague, and if he’s able to stay on the floor defensively, can make an impact at the NBA level.
However, this offseason wasn’t about one move, but rather several small, important acquisitions. With their hands tied behind their back for the first couple days of Summer, there weren’t many free-agents available by the time Toronto got into the game. Instead, Masai Ujiri split up his mid-level wisely, going after a few different lottery-tickets.
I don’t know if “excites me” is the right phrase but I’m interested to see what happens with Stanley Johnson. The guy is an awesome athlete, can project to be a pretty strong defender, and might even develop a three-point shot.
He’s not going to be a starter-level player by any means, but he can be a solid wing option off the bench if everything works out.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Just 24 years of age, RHJ is a young, developing NBA talent who has shown flashes of particularly notable defensive prowess during his time in this league. In fact, three of his four NBA seasons to date have seen Hollis-Jefferson average over a steal per game along with eight points per game. These aren’t flashy numbers on paper, but they show some signs of potential.
The Raptors move that excites me the most is the Cameron Payne signing. Payne has the opportunity to learn behind Kyle Lowry and learn some of the things that make Lowry such a reliable point guard. He was already learning behind Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, so he can take a bit from both point guards.
Let’s not forget Payne’s expertise in pre-game routine and dances. Lowry’s pre-game intro was something to watch last year, and this year might be even more interesting with Payne on the roster.