Three takeaways from Toronto Raptors first two preseason games

Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors – Fred VanVleet (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images) /

Raptors should roll with two point guards

The Toronto Raptors have a host of tough decisions when it comes to the end of their roster. There are 20 guys in camp, and in order to cut the roster to 15, they’ll be some tough decisions in front of Masai Ujiri and company.

One of those decisions will be whether the team needs three point guards heading into the season. Almost every NBA team carries three traditional points (some carry four), and in an ideal world, Toronto would have three players worthy of making the roster. Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet almost certainly not going to play all 82 (Lowry definitely will not), and the Raptors need a backup during those games.

But if the players competing for that third spot aren’t any good, Masai shouldn’t force them on the roster. So far this preseason, and throughout their NBA careers, Isaiah Taylor and Cameron Payne have done very little to earn a roster spot.

Payne and Taylor have each played one game this preseason. They shot a combined 2-7, recorded a combined two assists, and in general, looked about as exciting as a one-pound bag of flour. If we could define an NBA player when we saw one with Terrence Davis, Payne and Taylor provide the opposite effect.

Rather than giving either a spot on the 15-man roster, Toronto should worry about keeping someone like Malcolm Miller. Miller is a viable 3-and-D option who looks as if he could take the court tomorrow. It’s not perfect from a roster construction standpoint, but it’s better than giving a spot to someone who doesn’t belong.

The Raptors will need to grit-and-bear the minutes without Lowry or VanVleet on the floor, but that’s alright. Whether it’s Patrick McCaw, Terrence Davis, or even a no-point guard lineup with Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam running the show, Toronto can find a way to survive those minutes. It’s not as if Payne or Taylor would be a demonstrable upgrade.

Next. Why the Kyle Lowry extension makes sense for the Raptors. dark

With two games left before the real season starts, the Raptors have a few more things to figure out. But while it’s just preseason, we’ve already learned a lot about this young team.