Toronto Raptors’ weaknesses were not addressed and more created.
The Toronto Raptors off-season weakened the team further than it was, and they won 51 games in 2020. The chief deficiencies on this team were points scored in the paint (21st in the NBA), scoring consistently as the Raptors were 14th overall in points scored, size and length at the point guard position, and now lost rim protection.
The Toronto Raptors dominated games when their defense got them easy opportunities in transition and on the fastbreak. Still, head coach Nick Nurse’s offensive schemes rely heavily on three-point shots as the team took over 37 per game representing 42 percent of their total shot attempts per game.
DeAndre’ Bembry (26.9 percent for his career) and Alex Len (33.3 percent for his career) are not great or consistent three-point shooters. With Len not being a good post player and Bembry being limited offensively. Nick Nurse will have to find ways to involve Alex Len in the offense around the basket, something he didn’t do with Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol.
DeAndre’ Bembry is not a player who can shoot well consistently. The Raptors did not need more defense on the bench; they needed scoring. There are many examples of how they went cold from the field shooting the basketball, including a double-overtime victory in the playoffs against the Boston Celtics in 2020. The Raptors went scoreless in the final four minutes of that game’s regulation time.
According to Sportsnet:
"The weakness in Bembry’s game is he has yet to develop a good outside shot."
The return of Fred VanVleet, a splendid talent who competes hard all over the court, continues a practice of employing two short point guards in the starting line-up. The vertical deficiencies in Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry’s physical statures hamper the Raptors’ defensively. They cannot vertically challenge shooters effectively, and it limits their ability to affect passing lanes as the wingspan both guards provide is not ideal.
While Alex Len and Aron Baynes will provide the frontcourt size, neither center has ever been a starter, and additional minutes don’t necessarily mean better stats but exposes flaws.
Further, Alex Len has averaged one blocked shot per game in his career, with Aron Baynes less adept, averaging .5 per game. Considering how aggressive the Toronto Raptors are with their perimeter defense, a lack of rim protection can nullify its effects.
Below is an example of how Aron Baynes has the lateral quickness to stay with a guard but not the athleticism to contend with an attack at the rim.
Finally, the Toronto Raptors’ transactions this off-season weaken the bench, which featured Serge Ibaka and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in 2020. Also, deducted from this team are about 15 rebounds per game without Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol, and the Toronto Raptors were 11th overall rebounding the basketball in 2020.