There are only a few days left until the Toronto Raptors start their 27th season. They will play against the Washington Wizards on Oct. 20 in Toronto. The Raptors will be in Toronto for the first time since February of 2020, and the excitement is palpable.
The ups and downs this franchise had to suffer through in their early years continue throughout the years until the 2013-14 season. That’s where they became a playoff team for seven straight years. That run of good fortune ended last season.
This is the first time in eight years that there’s genuine uncertainty with their chances of whether Toronto can go to the playoffs or not at the start of the season. They won’t be a terrible team this season, but they won’t be good enough to be a championship-contending team.
However, they have a legit chance to make it to the playoffs. If the Raptors want to make it in the postseason, these three players can get them to the promised land if they step up. They can make or break this season.
3 Toronto Raptors that will impact the 2021-22 season.
3. Fred VanVleet
Fred VanVleet has developed from an undrafted rookie to a starter in the NBA. And this year he can level up. Now that the Raptors do not have Kyle Lowry anymore, VanVleet will have to take the role that Lowry once had which is the leader of the team.
He had some glimpses in which he has shown leadership. Last season, he played Lowry’s position during the 26 games he missed. Now it’s his time to be the primary point guard. VanVleet can use the knowledge that he learned from Lowry so he can go to the next step and become an All-Star type of player.
Fred VanVleet needs to take over for the Toronto Raptors.
VanVleet is getting better every season. He went from averaging 2.9 points per game in his rookie season to averaging 19.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game last season. There is no doubt that his numbers will increase this season with an increased volume. The next step for VanVleet is to get the keys to the franchise and help this team win.
There were games where he stepped up and got the Raptors a win whenever he’s the starting point guard. When Toronto faced the Kings on Jan. 8. Toronto was 2-8 before this game.
They put up 144 points on the Kings, winning because of VanVleet and his 34 points, three rebounds, seven assist performance without Lowry. Everyone remembers how he set a new Raptors scoring record against Orlando, so there is no doubt he can take over a game.
Even though the Raptors had a losing record, he proved that he’s ready to lead.