The Toronto Raptors appear to be almost done when it comes to making new additions, as players like Scottie Barnes and Precious Achiuwa coming into the fold have tried to offset the prospect of the first season in nine years without Kyle Lowry.
While the Raptors will likely have a starting lineup featuring Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. in the backcourt, OG Anunoby at small forward, and the Pascal Siakam/Khem Birch duo at center, it remains to be seen how the rest of the rotation shakes out. The Raptors’ bench is going to be full of healthy competition.
The Raptors are still in need of someone to emerge as a scorer off the bench, both in the backcourt and down in the paint. Between now and the season opener in October, Toronto will have some self-assessment to do if they want to put the best combination of players out there every night.
These 3 position battles will shape how the rotation looks in both the short and long term for Nick Nurse and the squad. Nurse trusting the wrong player in this situation could be a critical mistake.
3 Toronto Raptors position battles to keep an eye on.
3. Malachi Flynn vs. Goran Dragic
Despite some incendiary comments about his ambitions for the 2021 season that he quickly walked back, Dragic remains a Raptor for the time being. The 35-year-old will be coming off of the bench, though he might have to compete for minutes with Flynn, a second-year guard looking to continue improving.
While Dragic has experience at the shooting guard spot, he’s been a primary ball-handler for essentially his entire time with the Miami Heat, and it might be tough to teach an old dog new tricks at this age. Flynn played at the 2-guard a bit during his rookie year, but he looks like a primary ball-handler, and that could make it tough for both to see the floor at the same time.
How will the Toronto Raptors accommodate Goran Dragic and Malachi Flynn?
The Raptors should give preference to Flynn over Dragic, as Goran’s stint with Toronto is likely to be a quick one-year stopgap, while Flynn has the potential to emerge as a contributor that helps out for several years down the line. Dragic is still an effective scorer, so he might need to return to the off-ball role he manned during his time in Phoenix.
Despite how dominant and in control Flynn looked at times in the Summer League, he needs to show that his improved offensive game will translate against NBA defenders. If he doesn’t Nurse might be forced to go back to Dragic as the backup point guard while leaving Flynn on the bench.