Toronto Raptors: Possible lineups for the 2019-20 season

Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors – Serge Ibaka (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Starters (alternative):

  • Kyle Lowry
  • Matt Thomas
  • Stanley Johnson
  • Pascal Siakam
  • Serge Ibaka

Serge Ibaka is more mobile than Marc Gasol, and if opposing teams start smaller centers or more perimeter-oriented big men, Ibaka may be worth starting in Gasol’s place. Ibaka had one of the best regular season’s of his career last year after Nick Nurse moved him from power-forward to center, and the Raptors will need his inside presence on both ends.

Matt Thomas and Stanley Johnson are two new additions that could play their way into starter spots, even if it’s later on in the season.

Thomas is the team’s best perimeter shooter, assuming his three-point percentage is able to carry over from Europe in his first NBA season. Although Norman Powell is a better athlete and defender, Thomas will likely get more open looks with the starters than he would with the bench, and his presence would space the floor for everyone else.

Powell’s shot creation and energy would be useful with the bench unit, and Nick Nurse could always go to Powell at the end of games if Thomas’ shot isn’t falling. However, if Thomas can be an effective floor-spacer who isn’t a complete liability on defence, he may end up being the better choice as a starter.

Johnson has a similar skillset and build to OG Anunoby but with a career three-point shooting percentage of under 30 percent. While Anunoby isn’t the Raptors most proficient offensive player, Johnson’s struggles have been an entirely different challenge.

As a former lottery pick, Johnson has legitimate NBA potential that the Raptors will be pushing to unlock. Whether he sinks or swims in Nurse’s system will be the most important test for him.

With Thomas on the floor, the Raptors would instantly become more dangerous as a three-point shooting team, though Gasol’s absence would put a lot of pressure on Kyle Lowry as the sole facilitator.

Johnson, Thomas, and Ibaka would all have to commit to sharing the ball and improving their playmaking skills. If they can do that, this lineup would be dangerous.