Toronto Raptors: Five crazy predictions that might come true

Toronto Raptors - Fred VanVleet (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Fred VanVleet (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Norman Powell (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Norman Powell takes the next leap

In last year’s predictions, I — like many people — predicted Pascal Siakam would take a leap. He was a bench player the year before; I thought he could become one of the league’s top-10 power forward. Even the rosiest projection couldn’t have predicted what we saw.

But just because Pascal defied expectations last season, doesn’t mean Toronto should expect anyone similar leap this year. Siakam had the most significant improvement of anyone in the entire NBA; this year’s team probably won’t see anyone take that step.

But who could change the way we view them as a player? While everyone seems to be set on OG Anunoby, my early guess is Norman Powell. Powell will be given a chance to start along with plenty of opportunities to shine as a scorer and ball handler. With four years of experience under his belt, it’s time to see if he can shot some consistency.

In the preseason so far — yes it’s only the preseason — Powell looks good. He’s shooting the lights out, hasn’t turned it over much, and appears to be more actively engaged. We won’t be able to judge consistency for a few months, but he did show signs of progress last season.

I’m doubtful Powell will become an above-average playmaker, and at 6-foot-4, he doesn’t have much positional flexibility. But he can shoot it, penetrate off the bounce, and lock onto opponents defensively (at least on the ball).

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If things break right, it’s fair to look at his ceiling as a more defensively capable version of Terrence Ross, a microwave scorer with athleticism and a smooth shooting stroke.

Odds: 30-percent