Could the Toronto Raptors beat a full strength Team Canada?

Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Fred VanVleet (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

How do they match up?


This is the tastiest matchup between the two teams. Guard is where both excel in terms of star power and depth. Lowry and VanVleet give the Raptors a big edge when it comes to chemistry and having full command of the floor on both ends.

But Team Canada has a better-rounded guard corps as a whole, especially if Anunoby sticks to playing at forward. SGA can defend any guard the Raptors will play and the volume scoring from Canada’s two-guard spot will pose problems for Toronto.

The key matchup here will be Kyle Lowry versus Jamal Murray. While they may not guard each other, they are the engine that will drive these teams. There is more onus for Murray to deliver offensively. Lowry will find ways to spur the Raptors even when his shot is falling.

Toronto will need to find secondary scoring outside of Lowry and VanVleet. Anything they can get from Powell or Thomas will go a long way.

But as it stands, Team Canada has more depth to cushion if Murray goes cold. SGA, Joseph, and Alexander-Walker are all capable scorers and playmakers and that could be the difference.

Advantage: Team Canada


This is where things get a bit lopsided.

Toronto is loaded upfront, even without Kawhi Leonard. Team Canada, however, is lacking a bit in this area of the court. When Olynyk is the most reliable big man scorer, it’s a red flag.

Team Canada will have no answers for Pascal Siakam, especially as he continues to develop his shooting and ballhandling. If he can run either the three or four as a point forward, it’s hard to see who slows him down. Ejim and Clarke are capable defenders, but they can’t handle Spicy-P.

Down in the middle, Gasol will be another major problem.

The presence of the big Spaniard is like having an additional point guard. His adept playmaking is a huge advantage for Toronto. Canada, on the other hand,  barely has any playmakers from the four or five spots.

Barrett, who could play at guard, would be the primary scorer and playmaker for Team Canada. It’s a tough ask as he has to get past the likes of Siakam, Johnson, and Hollis-Jefferson. Then Gasol and/or Ibaka will be waiting for him inside. Yikes.

Advantage: Raptors